2006-09-30

Jane Jacobs: Montreal and Toronto

WARNING: Jane Jacob's book on sovereignty is quite convincing. If you do not want to become a sovereignist sympathiser or worse, and actual separatist, do not proceed. You have been warned.

Please see the Contents and chapter one.

From The Question of Separatism: Quebec and the Struggle over Sovereignty (Jane Jacobs, Random House, New York, 1980)

For discussion purposes as allowed under the fair dealing exception of the Copyright Act.



Chapter Two: Montreal and Toronto
To understand why sovereignty has emerged as a serious issue in Quebec at this time, we must look at two cities, Montreal and Toronto. They are responsible for what has been happening in Quebec. Between them, they have converted Quebec into something resembling a new nation, provincial political status notwithstanding. Nobody planned this outcome. Nobody even recognized what was happening at the time it happened. The events that worked this transformation do not go back very far. We can date them statistically as having begun in 1941, but that is because 1941 was a census year. I suspect they began in 1939 with the outbreak of World War II and the beginnings of the Canadian war economy.
Let us begin with Montreal. Between 1941 and 1971, Montreal grew enormously. In those thirty years the city more than doubled its population, increasing to more than two million. Immigrants from other countries contributed to Montreal's growth; as did people from other parts of Canada. Of course, some of the growth was natural increase, accounted for by births in the population Montreal already had. But the major influx was from rural and small-town Quebec.
Before, rural Quebecois had migrated to Montreal, just as they migrated to Quebec City and to New England, but this new migration dwarfed previous rural-to-city movements within the provinces. The rapidity with which the movement happened and the absolute numbers of people involved were unprecedented.
The French-speaking migrants to Montreal spent the 1940s and 1950s finding one another. The "quiet revolution" arose from their networks of new interests and relationships: from new communities of interest and interaction in the city; in the arts, in politics, working life and education. French culture in Montreal was in a quiet ferment as people built these relationships and put together ambitions and ideas they could not have developed even in a smaller city like the capital, Quebec City.
In the 1960s the evidence of this ferment burst forth in French theater, music, films and television. Talent and audiences had found one another. There was a new and rapidly growing readership for Quebecois books and periodicals; writers and readers had also found on e another. At about the same time, for a combinations of reasons, new kinds of opportunities finally began opening up to Quebecois in city professions and commerce. The most important of those reasons was the sheer economic growth of Montreal, stimulated first by war manufacturing and services, then by an influx of branch plants attracted by the pent-up demands after the war, and by growing trade with other parts of a generally prospering Canada and United States. Montreal maintained a rapid rate of economic growth well into the 1960s, and then kept the exuberant expansion -or a reasonable facsimile of it- going a little longer with special stimulants such as Expo, the Olympics and a variety of ambitious public construction programs.
Until the late 1960s, Montreal still seemed to be what it had been for almost two centuries; and English city containing many French-speaking workers and inhabitants. But, in fact, by 1960 Montreal had become a French city with many English-speaking inhabitants. By the time people in Montreal, let alone the rest of Canada, recognized what was happening, it had already happened.

Out in rural Quebec, the old stronghold of French culture and customs, another kind of quiet revolution had been taking place. From farming villages, market towns and mill towns, hundreds of thousands of people, especially young people, were trickling and then pouring into Montreal. As the stream swelled it had its effects on French educations and aspirations. If one's destinations was to be Montreal, there was much to be said for seeking an education and for nourishing ambitions that would have been pointless for one's parents and grand-parents.

Life also changed for people who stayed put in rural parishes and villages. The Montreal market for rural goods expanded rapidly. A million extra city people est a lot and feeding all these former country folk meant increased rural-city trade; much more city money was being infused into the rural economy than before. Not all the food, building materials, country holiday accommodations and other rural goods and services that swelled to supply the expanding Montreal market were produced in Quebec, but a lot were. What with the growing market for rural goods, and so many young people leaving the villages too, it made sense for rural people to spend some to their increased cash on labor-saving devices. Equipment to improve rural productivity -tractors, trucks, piped water, electrical appliances- they began showing up in parishes where, in the past, there would have been neither income to buy them nor need them. Some of the new cash also went for city-made consumer goods that in the past had been out of the question. Some went into bank deposits.

These changes has a profound effect on religious life in Quebec. Contrary to what most people believe, the Quebec religious revolution -the loss of authority of the Catholic Church- was not a cause of the city and rural changes I have mentioned, but as a result of them. The local priest's word about the world and its ways was no longer the last word in settlements where almost everyone was now at least distantly acquainted with somebody who had been off to a Montreal university for a secular education; or in settlements where migrants came back from Montreal to attend weddings, funerals and family reunions; or in settlements where people now went to movies when they got into town and at home listened to the radio, even began watching television; or in settlements where changes in the everyday economy and everyday working methods had burst the bonds of traditional ways of doing things.

One and the same force -the great growth surge of Montreal- was simultaneously undermining an old culture in the countryside and developing it into something new in the metropolis, and sending this new city-shaped culture back into the countryside.

Now we need to bring Toronto into the story. Montreal used to be the chief metropolis, the national economic center of all of Canada. It is and older city than Toronto, and until only a few years ago, it was larger. At the beginning of this century Toronto was only two-thirds the size of Montreal, and Montreal was much the more important center of finance, publishing, wholesaling, retailing, manufacturing, entertainment -everything that goes into making a city economy.

The first small and tentative shifts of finance from Montreal to Toronto began in the 1920s when Montreal banks, enamored of the blue-chop investments of the time, overlooked the financing of new mining opportunities which were then opening up in Ontario. That neglect created an opportunity for Toronto banks. The stock exchange which was set up in Toronto for trading mining shares merged with the old generalized Toronto stock exchange in 1934, and by the 1940s the volume of stocks traded in Toronto had come to exceed the volume traded in Montreal.

During the great growth surge of Montreal, from 1941 to 1971, Toronto grew at a rate that was even faster. In the first of those decades, when Montreal was growing by about 20 per cent, Toronto was growing by a rate closer to 25 percent. In the next decade, when Montreal was adding a bit over 35 percent to its population, Toronto was adding about 45 percent . And from 1961 to 1971, while Montreal was growing by less than 20 percent, Toronto was growing by 30 percent. The result was that Toronto finally overtook Montreal in the late 1970s.

But even these measurements do not fully suggest what was happening economically. As an economic unit or economic force, Toronto has really been larger than Montreal for many years. This is because Toronto forms the center of a collection of satellite cities and towns, in addition to its suburbs. Those satellites contain a great range of economic activities, from steel mills to art galleries. Like many of the world's large metropolises, Toronto had been spilling out enterprises into its nearby region, causing many old and formerly small towns and little cities to grow because of the increase in jobs. In addition to that, many branch plants and other enterprises that needed a metropolitan market and a reservoir of metropolitan skills and other producers to draw upon have established themselves in Toronto's orbit, but in places where costs are lower or space more easily available.

The English call a constellation of cities and towns with this kind of integration a "conurbation," a term now widely adopted. Toronto's conurbation, curving around the western end of Lake Ontario, has been nicknamed the Golden Horseshoe. Hamilton, which is the horseshoe, is larger than Calgary, a major metropolis of western Canada. Georgetown, north of Toronto, qualifies as only a small southern Ontario town, one of many in the conurbation. In New Brunswick it would be a major economic settlement.

Montreal's economic growth, on the other hand, was not enough to create a conurbation. It was contained withing the city and its suburbs. That is why it is deceptive to compare population sizes of the two cities and jump to the conclusion that not until the 1970s had they become more or less equal in economic terms. Toronto supplanted Montreal as Canada's chief economic center considerably before that, probably before 1960. Whenever it happened, it was another of those things that most of us never realized had happened until much later.

Because Toronto was growing more rapidly than Montreal in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, and because so many of its institutions and enterprises now served the entire country, Toronto drew people not only from many other countries but from across Canada as well. The first two weeks I lived in Toronto back in the late 1960s, it seemed to me that almost everyone I encountered was a migrant from Winnipeg or New Brunswick. Had Montreal remained Canada's pre-eminent metropolis and national center, many of these Canadians would have been migrating to Montreal instead. In that case, not only would Montreal be even larger than it is today, but -and this is important- it would have remained an English Canadian metropolis. Instead it had become more and more distinctively Quebecois.

In sum, then, these two things were occurring at once: on the one hand, Montreal was growing rapidly enough and enormously enough in the decades 1941-1971 to shake up much of rural Quebec and to transform Quebec's culture too. On the other hand, Toronto and the Golden Horseshoe were growing even more rapidly. Montreal, in spite of its growth, was losing its character as the economic center of an English speaking Canada and was simultaneously taking on its character as a regional, French-speaking metropolis.

These events, I think, are at the core of Quebec's charged and and changing relationship with the rest of Canada. Things can never go back to way they were when an English-speaking Montreal was the chief economic center of all of Canadian and when life elsewhere in the province of Quebec was isolated and traditional. These changes are not merely in people's heads. They cannot be reasoned away or even voted away.


You are encouraged to post your comments.

Part II (pages 16 to 25) of chapter 2.

Stagiaire francais


Voici ce qui peut arriver lorsque vous avez un stagiaire français (lisez la description de la photo).
Source: site web de la Presse canadienne, 30 septembre, 2006

Jane Jacobs: Separatism and Sovereignty


I should warn you about Jane Jacob's book on sovereignty; it is quite convincing. So if you don't feel like becoming a sovereignist sympathiser or worse, an actual separatist, then do not read it. I'm a huge fan of her work on cities. Her matter of fact writing style has a scent of amateurism, but the flip side is her writings are concrete, easy to follow and quite persuasive.

Give the late Jacobs a thought next time you are stuck in traffic on I-95 in Harlem or on Toronto's Don Valley Parkway. If it wasn't for her, you could be stuck in traffic on a highway in lower Manhattan or on Toronto's extended Spadina Expressway to downtown.

She had a huge impact on city planning. Many of her books on the subject are still in print.

Her book about sovereignty, however, didn't have much impact at all. Her first book after moving to Canada, and her third after The Death and Life of Great American Cities and The Economy of Cities, it is perhaps her best. The subject is touchy for many Canadians, perhaps to touchy. Perhaps this book should only be read by Americans or the British.

But if you live in Canada, and are brave, than give it a try. After 26 years, her truisms are truer than ever.

I'll be typing some chapters here for discussion purposes as allowed under the fair dealing exception of the Copyright Act. The book is no longer in print. You may be able to find a used copy on the Internet. Most probably your library has a copy. I found mine at the local Edmundston library. The book has never been translated into French (or any other language). That is a shame and I think it would find an audience, even today. You could even say that this book promotes peace!

If the copyright holders of this book republish it in electronic or paper format, I'll be happy to remove the work from this blog as I think people who publish this sort of material should be rewarded financially.

And please, no matter what your opinion, feel free to leave a comment. Jacob was very much against any "tyranny of consensus" !

The Question of Separatism: Quebec and the Struggle over Sovereignty (Jane Jacobs, Random House, New York, 1980).

Acknowledgements
This book incorporates and expands the 1979 Massey Lectures commissioned by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, given under the title, "Canadian Cities and Sovereignty-Association." I am indebted to Diane Rostein for research and editorial assistance, to Max Allen, producer of the lectures, and to Geraldine Sherman, executive producer of CBC Radio Ideas, for advice, taste, assistance and the enjoyment of working with them. My greatest gratitude is for a fact: that even though the subject was as contentious as the one I chose, it was possible for Canada's government-owned broadcasting corporation to serve free speech without hint or taint of censorship.

For advice and assistance on this expansion of the lectures I am deeply indebted to my publisher and editor, Jason Epstein.

I thank Decker Butzner , Stephen Clarkson, Kari Dehli, Robert, James and Burgin Jacobs, Douglas Manzer, Doris Mehegan, Alan Powell and the staffs of the Norwegian Trade Commission, the Swedish Trade Commission, the Ontario Ministry of Industry and Tourism, Statistics Canada (counterpart of the U.S. Census Bureau) and the Toronto Public Library for various contributions of data and other information, comments, criticism and general assistance. I am especially greteful of those who found and pointed out factual errors; if any remain and I devoutly hope they don't, I am of course responsible, as I also am for the opinions expressed.

Contents

One
Emotion



Four
National Size and Economic Development

Five
Paradoxes of Size

Six
Duality and Federation

Seven
Sovereignty-Association: Independence

References
Index

Map of Canada

Chapter One
Emotion

It's hard even to think about separatist movements or secessions because the idea is so charged with emotion. Sometimes people literally acknowledge this when they say "It's unthinkable." Nationalist emotions are dangerous, of course. They've helped fuel many a war, many an act of terrorism, many a tyranny. But they are valuable emotions, too. One thing they mean is that we are profoundly attached to the community of which we are part, and this attachment includes for most of us our nations. We care that we have a community. We care how our nation fares, care on a level deeper by far than concern with what is happening to the gross national product. Our feelings of who we are twine with feelings about our nation, so that when we feel proud of our nation we somehow feel personally proud. When we feel ashamed of our nation, or sorrow for it, the shame or the sorrow hits home.

These emotions are felt deeply by separatists, and they are felt equally deeply by those who ardently oppose separatists. The conflicts are not between different kinds of emotions. Rather, they are conflicts between different ways of identifying the nation, different choices as to what the nation is.

For separatists in the Canadian province of Quebec, the nation is Quebec. For their opponents, either inside the province or outside it, the nation is Canada-including-Quebec. Canadians who are indifferent to the question of Quebec separatism are likely either to identify primarily with their own province, such as Newfoundland or British Colombia, or else to identify with a Canada which -for all they care emotionally- may or may not include Quebec. That is how I feel about the question. I will not try to justify it as rational, because the fact is that on some level of sheer feeling, not of reason, Quebec seems to me to be already separate and different from what I understand as my own national community. Not that Quebec seems to me inferior, or threateningly strange, or the wrong way for a place to be, or anything of that sort. It's just not my community.

Trying to argue about these feelings is as fruitless as trying to argue that people in love ought not to be in love, or that it they must be, then they should be cold and hard-headed about choosing their attachment. It doesn't work that way. We feel; our feelings are their own argument.

The irrationality of all this shows up in universal patterns of inconsistency. De Gaulle, who said, "Vive le Québec Libre!," never said "Vive la Provence Libre!," nor "Long live a free Brittany!" He could feel for separatists abroad but not for separatists at home.

That pattern is usual and ordinary, perhaps always has been. The same Englishmen who ardently favored Greek independence from Turkish rule in the nineteenth century did not therefore also campaign for Irish independence from English rule. Rationally, the one would certainly follow from the other; emotionally, not. British support of Pakistani separatists at the time when India became independent did not imply any comfort or support for Scottish nationalists. Just so, many a Canadian who opposes Quebec separatism was sympathetic to the unsuccessful Biafran secessionist movement in Nigeria. I know some of those people. The same Canadians who cans argue eloquently that justice and good sense, both, are on the side of Esthonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Basque, Croatian, Walloon, Kurdish or Palestinian separatists can maintain that Quebec separatists must be out of their minds to want something unnecessary and impractical.

Separatists are quite as rationally inconsistent themselves. If and when they win their way, they always promptly forget their championship of self-determination and oppose any further separation at home. The colonies that became the United Stated declared their independence on the grounds that their grievances made it "necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Power to the Earth the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them." It has often been remarked how inconsistent that ringing declararation is with the war waged by the Union against the secessionist Confederate States some four score and seven years later.

Today's newly independent nations are one and all against their own separatists or potential separatists. As one student of government* has put it, "Leaders of these new regimes are desperately concerned to argue that self-determinations can be employed once in the process of securing independence... but that is cannot be resorted to subsequently." Finland after having achieved independence from Russia in 1918, promptly refused the right of self-determination to Aland, a cluster of islands between Sweden and Finland populated by ethnic Swedes who sought to join their homeland. Pakistan, having won its own separation, went on to fight the separation of East Pakistan, now Bangladesh. And so on. We may be sure that if Quebec eventually does negotiate a separation, it will appose adamantly, whether then or thereafter, any separations from Quebec. That is the way all nations behave, no matter how old or young, how powerful or weak, how developed or underdeveloped, or how they themselves came into being. But this behaviour appears inconsistent only in the light of reason. The consistency is emotional and unreasonable.

These emotions are of course always being presented as reasoned and reasonable, but that does not always stand up to inspection. Take, for instance, the word "Balkanization." Spoken with the ring of authority, "Balkanization" can be made to sound like a compressed history lesson providing the folly of small sovereignties. But what about the Balkans, really?

Before they became small and separate sovereignties, the Balkans had been portions of very large soveringties indeed, the Turkish and Austro-Hungarian empires. As portions of great sovereignties they had lain poor, backward and stagnant for centuries, so that was their conditions when at last they became independent. If a fate called Balkanization has any meaning at all, it must mean that the Balkans were somehow made to be poor, backward and generally unfortunate by having been cut up small, but this is simply untrue. Or else it has to mean that if Romania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia and Albania had been joined together in one sovereignty after World War I, or perhaps had been united with Greece to form a still larger sovereignty, they would be better off now. Who knows? In the nature of the thing there is not shred of evidence either to support such a conclusion or to contradict it.

Consider Canada if Quebec should separate. "Deprived of real authority or purpose, the federal state would simply disintegrate, like the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918." This statement appears in a new work by a professor of political science at the University of Alberta. The trouble with his analogy the Austro-Hungarian Empire did not disintegrate as a result of a successful secession. The empire had its separatists, especially in the Balkans, some of whom were violent, but the central authority managed to keep the movements in check. The empire was defeated in a great war, and as it lay prostrate is was deliberatley dismenbered by the conquerors. The analogy to Canada is so far-fetched historically and so specious factually that we can only understand it rationally as a cry of anguish -not a true account of how things are in Canada, but probably a true account of the depth and desperation of the professor's emotions.

Similar, or even identical, as their underlying themes may be, all separatist movements have their own stories ans their own circumstances. In Quebec, separatist sentiment has its old and its new story. The old story began in 1759 when the imperial Britain defeated imperial France on the heights above Quebec City during the Seven Year's War, and by right of conquest, ratified by the Treaty of Paris in 1763, took over some 65,000 French colonists who came with the territory.

The conquered Quebecois were not mistreated or notably oppressed in comparison with what has happened to many of history's losers. For instance, unlike the Acadians (French colonists in what has become New Brunswick and Nova Scotia)
And PEI

they were not booted off their lands and driven away. Compared with what happened in Ireland or Scotland, the history of Quebec is a gentle story indeed. Only once, in 1837, did Quebec rebellion or British repression flare into the open. By and large, each partner yielded to the other, even though grudgingly, when it felt compelled to. The English repeatedly made accommodations to French demands for local and provincial self-government, while at the same time hedging against French political power, as it grew provincially, by tying Quebec into a larger government -first into a joint government over Quebec and Ontario, then into the wider Confederation extending finally from sea to sea. For their part, the French repeatedly made their accommodations to English economic schemes, to the use of English language in industry, commerce and secular higher education, and to the gradually eroding Quebec influence within the national government as English-speaking Canada outstripped Quebec in population and territory.
But even though it was hardly the stuff of high tragedy, the shotgun union of the two Canadas, French and English, proved neither happy nor fruitful. Each partner kept hoping, in vain, to reform the other into something closer to its heart's desire. The English were disappointed by the obstinate refusal of the French to give up their language and customs and assimilate into the society of their conquerors, then became exasperated with the French as priest-ridden, tradition-bound, backward, clannish and occasionally sullen or riotous. The French resented English assumptions of superiority and English mastery over commerce and industry; they felt they wee dominated, kept dependent, cheated of equality, threatened with loss of identity. While the mutual accommodations put a reasonably good face on the pain and unhappiness, the accommodations themselves, forced on each partner and begrudged by each partner, tended to become sources of new grievances and to feel resentments.

That was the old story. The new story began about 1960 with what is called the "quiet revolution." One of the partners actually did make itself over. After all those years of sulking and muttering, French Quebec suddently became outgoing, educated, liberated, and went in for consciousness-raising. Dazzled and alarmed, the other partner tried to make itself over too -took some French lessons, paid compliments and vowed to remove any remaining impediments to harmony.

But curiously, enough, in view of so much change for the better, the thought of a separation was not laid to rest. Quebec took to discussing the possibility loudly and openly, right in public. The rest of Canada, by turns irritated and frightened, tried to remember most of the time that least said is soonest mended and told itself that with a little firm treatment, the passage of time, and some no-nonsense talk about economic realities, Quebec would get over its emotional jag or neurosis or instability or whatever this folly was, and surely come to its senses. With so much feeling in the air, nobody was doing much thinking or wondering about whether a logic of events might possibly underlie the new story and might tell more about the new separatism than recitals of the old grievances, the old disdains, the old prides.

*References for Chapter 1: Emotion
The quotation beginning "Leaders of these new regimes..." is from Nationalism, Self-Determination, and the Quebec Question, by David Cameron (Canadian Controversy Series; Toronto, Macmillan of Canada, 1974).

The anguished comparison of Canada with the Austro-Hungarian Empire is from Unfulfilled Union, by Garth Stevenson (Canadian Controversy Series; Toronto, Macmillan of Canada, 1979)
My post on the concept of Nation and Liberal leadership .

2006-09-29

I choose Ignatieff

To be honest, I don't really care that much. But if I had to choose, I'd choose Ignatieff. Why? Well, during the sponsorship scandal, he was out of the country.

Think about it, the sponsorship scandal is why the Liberals are in opposition.

Bob Rae said the number one job of the Prime Minister is National Unity. Um, no. That kind of thinking is what caused the sponsorship scandal.

Sure, Ignatieff is a thinker. But I am confident when he realises he can't get the results he wants, he will quit to do something else.

Even though he is a thinker, being out of the country has left him clueless on many issues. But that is a good thing. He will be more open to ideas from other people in the party.

-Hi, I'm the MP from Nunavut.
-Nunawhat?
-Nunavut, we are the nation north of Quebec. We have our own language and everything.
-Interesting, so what is the priority?
-A road or train tracks to the rest of Canada.
-Makes sense.

And so on and so forth. I also like his position on Saddam Hussein: he had to go. You use chemical weapons to kill thousands of members of a minority group. Buhbuy. The execution of the war in Iraq has been terrible. But sooner or later, the world had to intervene to get him out. We never, ever should have let Hussein stay in power after the Kuwait invasion.

I disagree with Ignatieff's position on torture. But you know what, I think he now disagrees with it to.

I was out of the country for almost a year. When I cam back I wanted to go into politics. I had all these ideas on how to improve Canada. I've also moved around Canada. Frankly, I don't trust someone who has lived in the same city their whole life to lead our country. Ignatieff will be an excellent leader on the world stage. Nobel Peace Prize material. And even if he doesn't contribute to world peace, I'm convinced he will be able to make some useful diplomatic deals. The domestic stuff? Well, the cabinet, MPs and party members can pick up the slack (and convince him to stay away from the constitution).

I wish he had made it clear that Quebec and Ontario can raise their taxes if they need more money for social programs. I'm sure he thinks it. The politician who taxes should be the politician who spends. Whatever politician get closest to that, gets my vote (assuming in the process they don't raise the age of consent to 35 and bring back the death penalty).

With federal Liberals with Ignatieff as leader and provincial NDP governments, Canada would be perfect. And if Quebec separates? That might be a good thing to. As long as that is what Quebeckers want (Dion et al's approval not required).

Michael Ignatieff

Appel à la mobilisation des francophones du Canada


Du journal LeDroit:

Trailer Park Boys The Movie

Trailer Park Boys: Baked on a True Story
Doesn't seem right to pay money to see Trailer Park Boys, The Movie. So if you have some illegal copies of The Trailer Park Boys, The Movie , let me know. Then again, the movie version contains nudity!

According to the web site synopsis, the action revolves around stealing coins. Not as crazy as it sounds as it has been done before!

Same Story, Different Film
While trying to find a reference I found this: Loose Change, 1998, Canadian.

Starring: Norton Craig, Brent Wragg, Norton Matt

Three out of work friends plan a crime so crazy it has to work.

This film does capture some of the desperation of unemployment, and the older stoner character is actually quite funny. It is not, however, a very good film. It is a heist film with no heist scene, and no proper ending.


-Last January, $500,000 of coins were stolen in Florida. (Trailer Park Boys, The Movie was filmed in the Summer of 2005.)

Source of Inspiration

The 2005 nickel robbery that may have inspired Trailer Park Boys, The Movie:

Catherine Wilson, AP, Feb. 7 , 2005

MIAMI?A plot to cash in 45,000 pounds of stolen nickels fell apart when a grocery store reported an unusually large deposit in one of its coin machines and a tip came in about bags of buried money, according to court documents.

Four men charged in the theft of the Federal Reserve shipment made an initial court appearance Monday, as the FBI searched for 896,000 missing nickels, or $44,800. A total of $135,200 was found buried behind a stable, and one of the men admitted cashing in $4,000, officials said. Two other men are still on the run.

The FBI said Ricardo Mendoza was driving the money truck for a contractor that had been hired by the Federal Reserve to transport 3.8 million nickels from a bank in New Jersey to a branch in New Orleans.

The truck was found empty in Florida in late December, a day after it was scheduled to arrive in Louisiana.

After the truck was discovered, the FBI alerted a company that puts coin machines in supermarkets to watch for large nickel deposits. A store in Miami called police on Jan. 15 to report a deposit by Juan Brito, who said he had been saving nickels for nearly a year, according to an FBI affidavit.

The group "decided to bury the nickels to avoid being caught" after Brito's chat with police, the affidavit said. Police then received a tip about the nickels that led them to the house where some of them were buried.

Federal authorities said they believe Mendoza has fled to Mexico. Diosdado Cabrera, the owner of the home where the nickels were buried, also is missing.


Red Green All Over Again?
I don't think Trailer Park Boys, The Movie, will be much good. The producers have sat on the movie for over a year. Sure, after filming in August 2005, they must have had some post-production work do to, but I doubt that was much work. The movie probably doesn't include many computer graphic interactions (CGI). In fact, the movie was probably so cheap to produce that the producers felt confident enough to sit on the movie while they found the perfect time to release it. The budget was under $5 million according to the CBC, granted, that was 2005 money, in 2006 money that would be more when adjusted for today's higher price of pot.

Buddy Flick for White Trash
But if you are hanging out with your buddies getting stoned some night, why not. I feel kind of sorry for all the Trailer Park Boys fans who are in jail. One of the only shows that they love, and there is a movie of it they can't see.

TV Version
As a TV show, TPB was on briefly in the USA on BBC America. . One American in a chat room was all insulted because he thought the Brits were making fun of them! I had to explain that we have trailer parks up hear in Canada and assured him the show was Canadian (to the shock of many in the room "you have trailer parks in Canada?!").

First Canada, Then the World
But maybe, in the grand old international tradition of Flodder (1986) , contrary to the show, the film will get international distribution...

Other blogs:

http://www.tpbusa.com/ ;
http://community.livejournal.com/trailerparkboys/ ;
Trailer Park Boys - Welcome To Sunnyvale! ;

2006-09-28

MySpace may be worth $15 billion

MySpace may be worth $15 billion in a few years... or not so much. It is easy to be impressed with MySpace. The growth rate, the usage, the demographics. The question is why? Why are hot Sweedish girls spending so much time in July on MySpace? Why is MySpace so popular among young attractive women? (ugly women to, but this is a serious business analysis, keep up)

I've spent hundreds of hours on MySpace. I've learned that people now say "gay" instead of "lame" (neither is PC when you think about it). I've learned that girls seem to like filling out questionnaires. I've learned that Alanis Morisette is still popular among 20 year olds (how is that possible?). But I'm still not sure why attractive girls spend so much of their free time in front of their computers on MySpace.

I'm still not sure what the business model is. As far as I can tell, none of my MySpace friends have any money. Although one is getting married, but not to me :-( .

But it works, and since nobody can figure out why, it is harder to imitate. So yeah, hold your nose and buy shares of News Corp despite Fox News.

MySpace ;

Map of MySpace Friends ;

Iqualuit, Florida and Australia on Saturday night ;

MySpace: web 2.0? Yah right! .

TV tonight - TELE ce soir


INDEX

LINKS-LIENS

Other Sites:
The MySpace Generation ;
Fox to Make MySpace More Spacious ;
MySpace: No Free Ride in Europe ;
Google Gets Back into MySpace ;
A MySpace That Speaks Your Language ;
invest in MySpace, social networking - Money Week ;
Social Networks: More Bubble Than Profit? ;
Jesus joins myspace.com ;
Debunking the MySpace Myth of 100 Million Users ;
MySpace Set to Tackle Voter Registration ;

Pure laine, comedie: Tele-Quebec et France 5!

Pure laine est une émission à Télé-Québec qui me fait penser à An American in Canada . La comédie Pure laine est plus drôle qu' An American in Canada, mais un peut moins divertissent. On rie fort, mais on ne rie pas longtemps. Mais pour un peu d'humour léger en français, même si parfois un peu grinçant, ça se prend bien.

Selon Calissou, qui a gentilement laissé un commentaire à Aurélie-au-Canada, la série joue présentement en France sur France 5 (ça monte jusqu'à 5? Wow)! Bizard quand même considérent que c'est de l'humour. En plus, des fois on parle très Québécois. Mais s'ils n'aiment pas, tant pis pour eux, ils n'ont qu'à retourn... eux, rester chez... non, changer de poste! Voilà. Oui oui, je sais que le bon mot est chaîne.

"Pure laine" ... une excellente série québécoise qui passe en ce moment en France. C'est l'histoire d'une famille québécoise typique qui ressemble à pâté chinois -c'est ce que le héros de la série dit- (c'est une sorte de hachis parmentier avec en plus du maïs) : le père est d'origine haïtienne qui a émigré au Québec à l'âge adulte, la mère, une québécoise pure souche des iles de la Madeleine, et leur petite fille adoptée est d'orgine chinoise. Cette série est excellente et montre que tout est relatif dans la vie : ce qui est exotique pour l'un, ne l'est pas forcément pour l'autre ; que la québécoise pure souche est sans doute plus perdue dans une grande ville comme Montréal que le Haïtien... Le tout est fait avec une bonne d'humour et d'excellents comédiens !
Si vous avez Internet haute vitesse, vous pouvez regarder la première épisode.

Dans un autre ordre d'idées, saviez-vous qu'il y avait un aquarium à Québec? C'est tous des poissons pure laine, pas un seul étranger ( sauf les visiteurs)!

INDEX ;
LINKS-LIENS ;

Autres blogs:

"Pure laine"

13 Aug 2006 by François Desouche - References
Parler de l'identité québécoise avec humour dans une série de fiction : tel est le pari osé que s'est lancé Martin Forget, auteur de Pure Laine. Cette comédie, diffusée avec succès par Télé-Québec, s'attaque à un sujet rarement abordé ...

Pure laine, pur beurre

30 Aug 2006 by mcabon
Pure laine », une comédie de réflexion. Il ya un je ne sais quoi de magique dans cette série. A la fois par la philosophie qui s'en dégage, mieux comprendre ses différences pour les accepter et les unir, et les situations plus cocasses ...

pure laine

28 Aug 2006
Ce matin, je zappais devant mon petit écran chéri, et je tombais sur une petite perle sortie tout droit du Québec : Pure Laine. Un bijou à voir absolument dès que vous pouvez, c'est sur France 5. Extrait de krinein ci-dessous. purelaine ...

Discussion générale: Pure Laine : une série qui à l'air prométeuse.

26 Aug 2006
Sujet: Re: Pure Laine : une série qui à l'air prométeuse. Posté le: Sam 26 Aoû 2006 21:07:07 ... Pour ceux qui auraient manqué le premier épisode est diffusé IcI - Pure laine épisode 1. Il ya aussi sur le site de France 5 mais c'est payant.

Pure Laine

2 Sep 2006
je suis tombée sur l'excellente série diffusée sur France 5 : Pure Laine. Cette série québécoise nous raconte les tribulations d'une famille représentative des minorités ethniques du Québec et de leurs difficultés d'adaptation aux ...

Pure Laine

7 Sep 2006
C'est sur France 5 que cet été fut diffusée Pure Laine, une série québécoise de 30 minutes. En québécois, pure laine signifie pure souche. Alors de quoi parle cette série? En quoi est-elle originale? Tout d'abord, nous faisons ...

Cyberpresse

Pure Laine

16 Jul 2006
Hier, j'ai découvert une série éducative sur France 5, Pure Laine (traduit en anglais par Pure Breed). Voici un résumé: Pure Laine is a series of 16 programs dealing with a topic rarely discussed on television: ethnic minorities and ...

Pure laine

28 Aug 2006
Voilà une chouette série que j'ai découverte ce matin et qui est diffusé sur France 5 à 9h50 tous les jours pendant la semaine. C'est l'histoire d'un Haitien qui a épousé une quebecoise , et qui ont adopté une ptite fille chinoise. ...

"Pure laine"

12 Aug 2006
C'est le titre d'une série québécoise qui passe sur France5 tous les samedi soir à 19h. ... Ah oui, j'oubliais de vous dire que les "pure laine" se sont les Québécois ... avec les entrelacs et que je choisisse ma laine pour la Lady E! ...

Pure laine en reprise

9 Sep 2006 by Panthère rousse
Télé-Québec passe en reprise l'excellente émission «Pure laine» à partir de mercredi (13 septembre), à 19h30, avec rediffusions le mercredi à 23h30 et le jeudi à 14h30. C'est une fiction, mais tous les nouveaux arrivants au Québec ...
16 Sep 2006 by Olivier
Il ya une nouvelle émission à Télé-Québec (je suis sûr que vous écoutez tous ce poste là?) qui s'appelle Pure laine. Coincidence? Je ne saurais dire? Est-ce un plan du gouvernement pour tous nous dominer? Nul ne le sait?.

Suggestion Télé

23 Mar 2006
Beaucoup de personnes n'écoute pas Télé-Québec en disant que c'est ennuyant, plate, etc. Mais bon... c'est leurs choix. L'émission s'appelle Pure Laine. L'acteur principale, Didier Lucien, qui joue un immigrant qui est maintenant bien ...

en Kirpan et en Kriss

2 Mar 2006 by Caroline
À ce sujet? avez-vous vu l'épisode de la rafraîchissante et intelligente émission de Télé-Québec, PURE LAINE , qui abordait ce thème-là, il ya quelques semaines? C'était du grand art. Le professeur, noir (haïtien je pense), ...

Ma Matob, ma politisée

4 Feb 2006 by Catherine
Alors si tout ces sujets vous passionne, que votre chum s'y connait en char .... __________. Émission tellement bien, tellement fine, intelligente et pétillante. Pure Laine à Télé-Québec. J'aime, j'aime, j'aime. ...

Pure laine

19 Apr 2006 by mystick_c
Ce soir j'ai écouté Pure Laine - émission fantastique présentée à Télé-québec tous les mercredi et que nous adorons - et c'était L'ÉPISODE où ma meilleure amie Nadram était présente à titre de mannequin figurante...

Pure laine

1 Mar 2006 by Maxime Archambault-Chapleau
Pure laine Pure laine Une émission de Télé-Québec. Un petit bijou de télé, comme on en voit de moins en moins dans cette époque d'éloge de la médiocrité (certains appellent ça la télé réalité). C'est parfois touchant, parfois surprenant ...

Object:

26 Jan 2006 by Nic M.
Aussi, est-ce que quelqu'un d'autre aurait écouté par chance l'émission 'Pure Laine' sur Télé-Québec Mercredi soir? C'est pas mauvais, mais... Ca fait un peu trop 'éduquons le peuple!'. J'ai vu ca un peu au hasard en soupant et je vais ...


2006-09-27

Enjeux: discrimination

Discrimination.

L'émission d'Enjeux de ce soir était très émouvant. Elle portait sur une expérience de discrimination avec des enfants de troisième année (9-10 ans). J'avais déjà vue des expériences similaires avec des adultes, mais avec les enfants, c'est bouleversant.

On a vraiment pu voir à quel point la discrimination fait mal car les enfants pleurent. Ça vient vraiment nous chercher.

Les conclusions sont un peu décourageantes, mais je crois qu'il est important de savoir qu'on est tous porté à faire de la discrimination. Le tolérance n'est pas naturel, ça requiert des efforts constant.

Samedi le 30 septembre, Enjeux est en reprise sur RDI à 20h et le même soir à 00:30 (heure de Montréal). Jeudi prochain, le 5 octobre, l'émission sera redifusée à SRC (Radio-Canada) à 13h (heure de Montréal).

À voir!

J'allais écrire un billet sur Israel, mais je crois que je vais attendre quelques jours.

La semaine prochaine, mercredi 4 octobre à 21h (heure de Montréal), Enjeux nous montrera la réaction des parents.

LINKS-LIENS

Autres blogs:
Enjeux... ;
Une expérience unique démontre que la discrimination peut s ... ;
Enjeux - La discrimination ;
discriminaison

2006-09-26

Warning to Liberals: look what happened to the NB NDP

Unilingual Liberal Leadership Candidates: Wrong Party, Wrong Country.

NDP English Speaking Disaster
The NDP elected an English speaking person of many talents as their leader. Speaking or understanding French was not one of them. The French speaking population that makes up 30% of the province's population said a loud and clear "Non-merci" to Madame Dewar.

Fluent in two weeks
Many in her party figured she would learn enough French by the time the elections came around. Bernard Lord sprung an election a year earlier than expected. Dewar said it was OK, she was going to spend two weeks in an intensive immersion course in Quebec City. That outraged many (would be the equivalent of Ken Dryden going to France to learn French).

Acceptable Level of Fluency
Learning a language takes a lot of time and effort. Nobody expects the Canadian Prime Minister to be as fluent in both languages as were Pierre Trudeau or Brian Mulroney. But if you can't have a dumbed down for TV debate in both languages, if your French is worst than Steven Harper's or Stockwell Day's, then clearly you are not ready to lead the Liberal Party of Canada.

Required Skill
An Administrative Assistant with impeccable grammar would not get hired if he or she couldn't type. Why do some think that a unilingual Canadian could be Prime Minister?

Guide to Minimum Fluency Requirements
Here is a guide to help you sort out your readiness for the Top Job:
1. If Her Majesty the Queen of England and Canada decides to show off her French, could you keep up?
2. If John Kerry decides to show off his French, could you keep up?
3. Could you keep up in French with Kelsy Grammer (the guy who plaid Fraser)?
3. Is your French better than John Turner's or Kim Campbell's?
4. Are you more bilingual than George Bush?

If the answer to any of those questions is NO, then you are simply NOT ready to lead any federal party, much less the Liberal Party of Canada. To think otherwise is an insult to French-Canadians.

Wrong Party
People who support unilingual candidates are simply in the wrong federal party. To bad the Reform Party is dead, because that is where you belong.

In case you haven't figured it out, here are the leadership candidates who have an acceptable level of English and French: Stephane Dion , Michael Ignatieff, Bob Rae and Joe Volpe.

If any of the other candidates win, then next election I'm voting for the Bloc Québécois. Which won't be easy considering I live in New Brunswick.

Applicants must speak French

INDEX

LINKS-LIENS

Other Blogs:
The next leader of the Liberal Party has to be more bilingual than ... ;
Acadians criticize Liberal candidates for their poor French ;
How bilingual is your favorite Liberal candidate? ;
Liberal leadership debate ;
Le showdown au Québec (English) ;
Irate Acadian Woman Yells At Liberal Leadership Candidates ;
Job ready ;
Quebec Connection ;
Which Liberal Leadership Candidates are "Bilingual"? .

Ted Rogers to Bell Canada: Kiss my Post.

On Friday I launched Boycott Bell Canada, The Globe and Mail and CTV in order to protest the anti-Quebec spin of the Globe and Mail. Monday, this is what I get in my inbox from Rogers:

As a valued subscriber of Personal TV, your business means a lot to us. To express our appreciation, we're pleased to offer you a FREE six-month subscription to National Post's Electronic Edition.

National Post's Electronic Edition allows customers to enjoy the convenience of accessing national and world news from your computer. It's delivered Monday to Saturday as early as 6 a.m. AST.

I'm sure that is a coincidence. Still...

My living Liberal vote is for sale

This sarcastic post was inspired by Dead Liberals .

Dear Liberal leadership candidates,

I'm unemployed and, frankly, quite lazy. My hopes for a plum job were dashed with the election of the local Conservative candidate in the latest New Brunswick elections. And this blog is far less lucrative then expected (thanks for nothing Liblogs)!

Save 34% on books over $25 at chapters.indigo.ca


I don't really care who wins the Liberal leadership. We don't need the Prime Minister to be bilingual as our Governor General and the Queen can translate. With Google, anybody can understand Iggy's speeches. I've also heard that the new and improved Rae Days will include free tickets to Ontario Place.

I'm grateful Dion brought in the Clarity Act and delayed any concrete measures to meet our Kyoto obligations. After all, our obligations will be much clearer once Quebec votes "Oui" to "On se sépare tabarnaque!".

Therefor, my vote is for sale. I've read the fine print in the Liberal Charter, and as far as I can tell, this is totally cool as long as it promotes Canadian unity.

Please post your bids in the comment area. Many thanks. And don't forget, with the purchase of my vote you will be helping Canadian unity.

More at A2zit.

Top Gear Richard Hammond not dead, but suffered a significant brain injury

*************
Update (2006-10-05): Bristol and doctors predict Richard Hammond will be "back to his old self" within six months. Top Gear has now resumed filming.
*************
A Saturday, September 23 news report suggests that Top Gear Richard Hammond is not dead and in fact will survive.

30 hours after surviving the "world's fastest ever car crash", Richard Hammond was up and walking! Unfortunately, he has suffered a "significant brain injury". No word yet if there will be any permanent side effects.

Please see my previous post for related links and information about BBC World and Top Gear: Richard Hammond, Top Gear, is almost dead

That post is a major traffic generator to this blog. Note to America, people from around the world like the British presenters of Top Gear. Why replace them with Americans?

I'm sure you join me in wishing good luck and a full recovery to Richard Hammond.

Dead Liberals

Mercer's latest blog post is more sarcastic than usual, but I still managed to laugh out loud.

From Rick Mercer:

"Did you know that in the event of your tragic death you can remain an active member of the Liberal Party of Canada?
(...)
So if you are dead or near dead hurry now and give your body to the party ? all the leadership candidates are looking for support from dead people.

Bob Rae, for example, has recently accepted the public endorsement of Hedy Fry."



Nancy c'est ici: l'Est republicain et Ben Laden

Le journal quotidien L'Est républicain, de Nancy, France, dans un article aujourd'hui décrit, tel un bloggeur surexcité, l'attention qu'a généré l'article de samedi dernier au sujet de la mort d'Oussama ben Laden.

Si eux peuvent le faire, moi aussi. Une recherche Yahoo avec la phrase linguistiquement mélangée suivante donne mon blog dans les 10 premiers résultats avec Yahoo et le deuxième avec Google: osama ben laden dead. CNN le nomme Ossama. Fox News le nomme Ussama. C'est un nom Arab donc libre à vous de choisir votre orthographe. Pour éviter les omissions, je me contente de bin laden pour les résultats en anglais et de ben laden pour les résultats en français.

En complément de l'article du journal, j'ai pris connaissance de la "mort de ben Laden" à partir d'une dépêche de AP sur mon site personnalisé de Yahoo. À ma déception, je n'ai pas été le premier à en parler en anglais sur Internet. En fait, Digg.com m'a devancé d'environ une heure. Mais le plus drôle, c'est que personne sur ce site ne pouvait donner une traduction convenable de l'article. On se contentait d'une traduction machine grâce à Google.

Compteur

J'aime bien le machin Geovisitors. Il permet en un clin d'oeil de savoir à quel endroit sont les visiteurs de mon blog. Au début je me fiais sur les commentaires et les rapports Adsences, mais Adsence est tellement anonyme et il y avait si peu de commentaires que j'étais convaincu que la plupart des visiteurs étaient des machines (webcrawlers).

Au que nom. Geovisitors m'a entre autre encouragé de blogger un peu plus en français.

Je m'étais inscrit à Sitemetre, c'est gratuit alors pourquoi pas, mais je n'avais pas mis l'icône sur ma page, me disant que je n'avais pas besoin d'avoir les détails de mes visiteurs. Leurs villes et leurs pays suffisaient.

Mais hier, hier! J'ai reçu plus de 100 visiteurs d'une vingtaine de pays, a majorité francophone. Disons que cela m'a laissé perplexe parce que mon billet de la veille portait sur l'automne et la température. Est-ce que les Internautes sont à ce point obsédé par la météo? Est-ce le lien vers mon site d'immigration qui à attirer autant d'Africains et de gens de d'autres pays du sud? Les paroles de Gilles Vignault? Mistère le plus total.

J'ai donc mis l'icône de Sitemetre (présentement, c'est le chiffre à côté de l'icône Geovisitors). À 4AM (heure d'Edmundston, 3AM à Montréal, 9AM à Paris), le 26 septembre, on commence à compter. Je me suis exclu du compte, donc ce ne sont que des vrai visiteurs qui seront comptabilisés. Cliquez sur le chiffre si vous voulez plus de détailles.

En espérant que cela puisse m'orienter dans mes billets, je vous remercie, chers lecteurs, de votre assiduité. Et n'hésitez pas à laisser des commentaires, ça fait toujours plaisir!

Altavistagoogle.

NB. Voici les pays d'origines des visiteurs des 24 dernières heures:

Canada
États-Unis
Mexique
Venezuela
Honduras
Colombie
Chile
Irelande
France
Pologne
Roumanie
Afrique-du-Sud
Nigéria
Ile-Maurice
Congo
Côte-d'Ivoire
Guiné
Maroc
Vietnam
Australie
Royaume-Uni
Luxembourg

2006-09-25

Mon pays

L'été est terminé. Au moment d'écrire ses lignes il fait 6 degrés Celcius. L'autre soir, le mercure est descendus à zéro. Les feuilles tombent déjà depuis quelques semaines.

Je dois mettre des bas (chaussettes) pour écrire mon blog. Je viens de monter le chauffage, parce que je n'avais pas envie de mettre des gangs.

À ceux d'entre vous qui rêvez de vivre au Canada, pensez-y deux fois, car mon pays, ce n'est pas un pays, c'est l'hiver.

Et pour les Canadiens, avant de tomber dans la déprime, n'oubliez pas qu'il y a le printemps. En Argentine, en Nouvelle-Zélande, et en Australie.

MON PAYS
paroles et musique: Gilles Vigneault

Mon pays ce n'est pas un pays, c'est l'hiver
Mon jardin ce n'est pas un jardin, c'est la plaine
Mon chemin ce n'est pas un chemin, c'est la neige
Mon pays ce n'est pas un pays, c'est l'hiver

Dans la blanche cérémonie
Où la neige au vent se marie
Dans ce pays de poudrerie
Mon père a fait bâtir maison
Et je m'en vais être fidèle
À sa manière, à son modèle
La chambre d'amis sera telle
Qu'on viendra des autres saisons
Pour se bâtir à côté d'elle

Mon pays ce n'est pas un pays, c'est l'hiver
Mon refrain ce n'est pas un refrain, c'est rafale
Ma maison ce n'est pas ma maison, c'est froidure
Mon pays ce n'est pas un pays, c'est l'hiver

De mon grand pays solitaire
Je crie avant que de me taire
À tous les hommes de la terre
Ma maison c'est votre maison
Entre mes quatre murs de glace
Je mets mon temps et mon espace
À préparer le feu, la place
Pour les humains de l'horizon
Et les humains sont de ma race

Mon pays ce n'est pas un pays, c'est l'hiver
Mon jardin ce n'est pas un jardin, c'est la plaine
Mon chemin ce n'est pas un chemin, c'est la neige
Mon pays ce n'est pas un pays, c'est l'hiver

Mon pays ce n'est pas un pays, c'est l'envers
D'un pays qui n'était ni pays ni patrie
Ma chanson ce n'est pas une chanson, c'est ma vie
C'est pour toi que je veux posséder mes hivers

2006-09-24

Canadian Idol Was Fixed

I must admit, I haven't respected my boycott of Bell Canada Enterprise (Boycott Bell Canada, The Globe and Mail and CTV ) as I've watched both the Daily Show and Corner Gas on CTV. However, I haven't used Bell Canada (granted, living in Atlantic Canada, that was rather easy).

But the shit storm against the Globe and Mail brewing in Quebec is perhaps nothing compared to the outrage in Newfoundland about the fact that their guy lost. My boycott of CTV apparently didn't stop an Anglo-Quebecker from winning the Canadian Idol Contest.

The show is hosted by Ben Mulroney, son of the most infamous Anglo-Quebecker in the Province's history, I'm talking of course of the truly evil Brian Mulroney, former Prime Minister of Canada.

The sight of Ben encouraging people, with his Ottawa-Gatineau accent, to vote, and vote often, was perhaps to much for the good people of Newfoundland and Labrador (border between Quebec and Labrador is disputed). Some in the province have clearly lost it. This rant on the subject makes Rick Mercer's sound rather weekly (sorry for the pun, but at least it is politically correct).

In case this post isn't political enough for you, consider that Gatineau eleceted a Bloc Québécois Member of Parliament. Now, one of its citizens wins Canadian Idol!

Disclaimer: I'm originally from Gatineau and I've never been to Newfoundland (I'm waiting for them to finish their stupid road ).

Conspiracy theories abound in Newfoundland after Sharpe's loss on Cdn Idol

17:22:51 EDT Sep 18, 2006

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. (CP) - Newfoundland's popular call-in shows were abuzz Monday with allegations that Canadian Idol was fixed and unfair to Craig Sharpe after their native son lost the top prize on the televised singing contest.

The kind of vitriol normally reserved for politicians or the fisheries hit the airwaves almost instantly after the show concluded Sunday night with the win by 19-year-old Quebecer Eva Avila. The verbal barrage continued Monday, dominating other topics such as Canada's role in Afghanistan and the province's 15 per cent unemployment rate.

"The voting is as rigged as anything has ever been," said Randy Simms, host of VOCM's Open Line, a morning radio show heard across the province.

"That you're allowed to get on the telephone ... and you can make it 200 votes, 300 votes, well then you know that the voting system, like I said, it's anti-democracy. It's get out there and stuff that ballot box," Simms said.

"But we shouldn't forget that it's a TV show."

That didn't calm the nerves of anguished callers fuming outrage and conspiracy theories.

"I think that they didn't pick him because he's a Newfoundlander," said a first-time caller identifying himself as Bill.

"I thought it was ridiculous that they kind of shunned him after she won," said another caller named Kay. "I certainly thought she was kind of cocky."

"I'm not knocking Quebec, but if he had been up against any other contestant other than a Quebec contestant, I really do believe that he would've had this hands down," added Emma.

"They can get more votes in than we can because there's more of them."

As Sharpe moved closer to the finals, residents throughout the province increasingly complained of jammed residential phone lines - so much that a payphone "Vote Craig" campaign was launched. In recent weeks Sharpe supporters drove at night looking for available payphones. Even grizzled old-timers at the pub would slide their drinks aside to drop a quarter for the Upper Island Cove, N.L. native.

Sharpe's loss also sparked accusations in the blogosphere that CTV had cunningly calculated his rise to prominence.

Kurtis Billard of Conception Bay South, N.L., suggested that Idol officials are simply trying to get Newfoundlanders even more revved up for next season.

"Even though Newfoundland has under half a million people, the residents of the province probably make up for about 40 per cent of the voting total ... Newfoundlanders generally have such an inferiority complex that the supporters of this show vote in the hundreds (not even joking) for whomever is representing this province in the show," he wrote on kurtisbillard.bravejournal.com.

"I'm nearly certian (sic) that the Canadian Idol executives ensure that a Newfoundlander gets at least to the top 5 to keep ratings insanely high."

Officials at CTV said such talk was nonsense.

"Canadian Idol is not a popularity contest based on region," said spokesman Scott Henderson.

"Craig and other finalists from Newfoundland have made it as far as they have in the competition because they receive the support of the entire country."

Avila edged 16-year-old Sharpe by a three per cent margin.

It was the second year in a row a Newfoundlander finished second at Canadian Idol. Rex Goudie of Burlington, N.L., lost last year to Calgary's Melissa O'Neil.

Sharpe was also the fourth from the Rock to make it to the top five.

As the soft-spoken teen's popularity grew on the show, the province became galvanized. Even Premier Danny Williams and St. John's MP Loyola Hearn attended the show in Toronto to lend their support.

Other blogs:

Suck it up......... ;

Canadian Idol ;

Regional voting on Canadian Idol ;

Eva Avila Crowned Canadian Idol ;

Longshot ;

WHO'S YOUR IDOL? ;

Canadian Idol ;

Craig Sharpe's Canadian Idol Blog ;

Gobsmacker of the week: Jan Wong's writings are offensive (great minds think alike, I read this _after_ I wrote this post) 20 Sep 2006 by Ed Hollett
Her piece is as worthy of attention as the rantings of the callers to Open Line shows in Newfoundland who think that Canadian Idol was rigged. Incidentally, an ex-pat Newfoundlander now living in Iqaluit has some very accurate ... ;

Wager on the next Canadian Idol ;

Canadian Idol Freaks Me Out ;

Online Casino Taking Bets on Popular TV Series ;

Pink, Enclosed, Blackness, Love ;

Eva Avila is Meant to Fly ;

Review: Canadian Idol (2003 - Present) ;

CANADIAN IDOL LIKE OMG LOL ! ;

2006-09-23

Bin Laden Funeral Picture

Bin Laden Funeral Picture.

Read this article from CNN. 190 Talliban showed up at a funeral in early September!

That is when Osama Bin Laden is supposed to have died. Thanks to Redstate .

A CBS reporter also confirmed that the Saudi think Osama Bin Laden is dead. She says she got the information from an "American Allied Intelligence source".

Typhoid fever can kill you. It exists in the region and is linked to unsanitary conditions and people with kidney problems are particularly susceptible.

There is no evidence bin Laden is still alive.

Finally, someone in the Gatineau Park near the weekend residence of the Prime Minister of Canada has been reading my blog... (What does that prove? Nothing, I'm just bragging).

Subway and Nascar.

Nascar is coming to Montreal next summer. With the Formula One and Cart Series , the Nacsar Busch series is the third major race that will be held next Summer on l'Ile-Sainte-Hélène.

What is the attraction of the site, versus say Mosport in Clarington in the Greater Toronto Area?

Subway. Yes, as far as I know, it is the only non-street track to be accessible by subway.

Osama bin Laden may be dead: Reuthers

Glad to find out that Reuters has people who can read French (even if it takes them 8 hours). See my previous blog post for original source (French Newspaper).

PARIS (Reuters) - A French regional newspaper quoted a French secret service report on Saturday as saying that Saudi Arabia is convinced that al Qaeda leader

Osama bin Laden died of typhoid in Pakistan last month.

L'Est Republicain printed what it said was a copy of the report dated September 21 and said it was shown to
President Jacques Chirac, Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin and France's interior and defense ministers on the same day.

"According to a usually reliable source, the Saudi services are now convinced that Osama bin Laden is dead," the document said.

"The information gathered by the Saudis indicates that the head of al Qaeda was a victim while he was in Pakistan on August 23, 2006, of a very serious case of typhoid which led to a partial paralysis of his internal organs."

The report, which was stamped with a "confidential defense" label and the initials of the French secret service, said Saudi Arabia first heard the information on September 4 and that it was waiting for more details before making an official announcement.

Officials contacted by Reuters in Chirac's and Villepin's offices had no immediate comment.

A senior official in Pakistan's interior ministry said: "We have no information about Osama's death."

Saudi-born Bin Laden was based in

Afghanistan until the Taliban government there was overthrown by U.S.-backed forces in late 2001. Since then, U.S. and Pakistani officials have regularly said they believe he is hiding somewhere on the rugged border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The last videotaped message released by bin Laden was in late 2004, but there have been several low quality audio tapes released this year.

(Additional reporting by Islamabad bureau)

Osama bin Laden is dead (full article). Mort de Ben Laden (article complet)

Français suit.

This is the article from the L'Est républicain newspaper announcing the death of Osama bin Laden. According to the article, the French Secret Service informed the President of France that the Saudi Government believes Osama bin Laden suffered from a "typhoid crises" (translation: typhoid fever?) in Pakinstan on August 23 that paralysed his lower body. He was unable to seek medical attention and by September 4th, Saudi agents became aware of his death.

Avant que le site plante, voici le texte intégrale de l'article paru aujourd'hui dans L'Est républicain , un quotidien de la région de Loraine, en France.

Oussama Ben Laden serait mort

Les services secrets saoudiens auraient acquis la conviction que le fondateur d'Al-Qaïda est mort.

Si elle était prochainement confirmée, l'information tomberait à pic pour le président américain Georges Bush fortement malmené par les sondages à moins de deux mois des élections.

L'information que nous révélons aujourd'hui résulte d'une note de renseignement classifiée « confidentiel défense » émanant de la Direction générale des services extérieurs (DGSE). Les services secrets français l'ont transmise jeudi 21 septembre au Président de la république, au Premier ministre, au ministre de l'Intérieur et de la Défense. Nous vous en livrons le contenu in-extenso. :

« Selon une source habituellement fiable, les services saoudiens auraient désormais acquis la conviction qu'Oussama Ben Laden est mort. Les éléments recueillis par les saoudiens indiquent que le chef d'Al-Qaïda aurait été victime, alors qu'il se trouvait au Pakistan le 23 août 2006, d'une très forte crise de typhoïde ayant entraîné une paralysie partielle de ses membres inférieurs. Son isolement géographique, provoqué par une fuite permanente, aurait rendu impossible toute assistance médicale. Le 4 septembre 2006, les services saoudiens de sécurité ont recueilli les premiers renseignements faisant état de son décès. Ils attendraient, d'obtenir davantage de détails, et notamment le lieu exact de son inhumation, pour annoncer officiellement la nouvelle ».

Les informations recueillies par la DGSE sur la mort de Ben Laden ont été jugées suffisamment fiables pour qu'il soit décidé d'en informer les plus hautes autorités françaises. Une première note avait été rédigée et diffusée le 19 septembre dernier. Elle était intitulée : « Les services saoudiens cherchent à confirmer la mort d'Oussama Ben Laden ».

Avant la divulgation de cette nouvelle, cela faisait plus de trois ans que les responsables américains du contre-terrorisme n'avaient pas reçu d'informations crédibles. Il faut remonter à l'arrestation d'un des dirigeants d'Al-Qaïda, Walid Mohamed Ben Attash en avril 2003, pour trouver une trace de Ben Laden. Il avait alors été établi que ce dernier avait rencontré le chef spirituel du Jihad, trois mois auparavant, dans la province de Khost en Afghanistan. Ces derniers mois, les commandos américains, qui étaient en charge de la traque, concentraient leurs recherches à la frontière entre l'Afghanistan et le Pakistan, au nord des régions tribales. C'est à dire dans la région non contrôlée par les autorités d'Islamabad et où l'armée ne s'aventure jamais. Il faut dire que les militaires pakistanais ont enregistré d'énormes pertes en hommes lorsqu'ils avaient tenté d'occuper le terrain en 2004 et 2005.

644 morts

Malgré les énormes moyens déployés par les Américains pour la capture de Ben Laden, les recherches sont demeurées vaines. Et ce, malgré l'utilisation de satellites, de drones et de moyens d'écoutes sophistiqués. Grâce à l'arrestation de plusieurs membres de la nébuleuse Al-Qaïda, les services américains savent que Ben Laden sort peu de ses caches. Il ne sortirait que la nuit et lorsque la couverture nuageuse est épaisse. Et grâce à ses troupes locales, le milliardaire saoudien a une très bonne connaissance de la région qui offre un nombre infini de planques.

Malgré cette impossible recherche, l'administration américaine n'a jamais voulu renoncer. « C'est notre principale priorité », déclarait le 13 septembre dernier le vice-président Cheney. Tandis que le Sénat débloquait 200 millions de dollars pour recréer une cellule du renseignement spécialement destinée à traquer celui qui le 11 septembre 2001 à oser défier l'Amérique. Et dont l'organisation revendique la commission de 16 attentats, ayant fait 644 morts et 2700 blessés, perpétrés dans le monde au nom d'Al-Qaïda depuis septembre 2001. Une organisation devenue une marque, un label, une référence idéologique au nom desquels des milliers de fanatiques à travers le monde sont prêts à passer à l'action terroriste de façon autonome. Comme les auteurs des attentats du 7 juillet 2005 à Londres.

Bin Laden is dead. Ben Laden est mort.

According to a French regional newspaper, the Saudi Government thinks that Osama Bin Laden died of typhoid fever in Pakistan on August 23, 2006.

Ousama Ben Laden serait mort, selon l'Est républicain

PARIS (AP) -- Le numéro un du réseau terroriste Al-Qaïda, Ousama Ben Laden, serait mort, selon des informations des services de sécurité saoudiens transmis à la Direction générale des services extérieurs (DGSE), rapporte le quotidien lorrain L'Est républicain dans son édition de samedi. ¨

"Selon une source habituellement fiable, les services saoudiens de sécurité auraient acquis la conviction qu'Oussama Ben Laden est mort", dit une note de la DGSE du 21 septembre classée "confidentiel défense" et publiée par L'Est républicain dans son édition de samedi. La note, précise le quotidien, aurait toutefois été enregistrée dans les informations "non recoupées" par la DGSE.

Selon la note publiée par l'Est républicain, les services saoudiens de sécurité "atteindraient d'obtenir davantage de détails, et notamment le lieu de son inhumation, pour annoncer officiellement la nouvelle". Dans cette note, la DGSE précise qu'aucun "site Internet djihadiste n'est pour l'instant fait l'écho de la mort d'Ousama Ben Laden".

D'après la même note, "le chef d'Al-Qaïda aurait été victime, alors qu'il se trouvait au Pakistan le 23 août 2006, d'une très forte crise de typhoïde" et y aurait succombé dans les jours suivants.
Les services français du renseignement auraient transmis cette note au Président de la République, au Premier ministre et aux ministres de l'Intérieur et de la Défense le 21 septembre, selon le quotidien régional, qui ajouté qu'une première note transmise le 19 septembre aux dirigeants de l'Etat français expliquait que les services saoudiens "cherchaient à confirmer la mort d'Ousama Ben Laden". AP

Communist Assimilation and Sex

I started blogging because of wangjianshuo. According to the author, this blog, about Shanghai and whatever else he feels like writing about, generates 2 million visitors a month!

He mentioned a couple of times that his blog is monitored (as are all blogs in China). What gets sensored? We don't know. But he mostly sticks to local issues.

The following post is the closest thing I found to what could be considered criticism of the central government. It is about something I am fascinated with: language. Read on.

From: Wangjianshuo's blog (Events in Shanghai that affect my life and others)

--------------------------------------

Is English Skill That Important

(...)

Do we need mandarin, or Pu Tong Hua?

Let's take a look of the mandarin in China. Lots of my friends and I grew up in Luoyang and can only speak mandarin. We has lost the ability to speak the Hennan dialect, which has existed and been inherited for more than 1000 years. Mandarin is a great threat to the local language. It is good on the other hand, that no matter where I travel in China, there is no language difficulties - it is the official and most popular language.

Surprisingly, I visited Tibetan area last month. The guide there can also speak fluent mandarin. This helped me a lot. However, I cannot communicate with the groom. This was quite bad. Many reports complain that the government is stealing the Tibet from the Tibet people by stealing their language. It can be true in some terms. It is not a matter of the government is stealing or not, it is just a matter of fact.

Not only my home or Tibet, every city, every town and every village is facing the same problem. Maybe only Beijing and some Northeast province can survive. So my question is, should I insist to speak the local dialect?

However, I also have friends who cannot speak mandarin. When they visit me in Shanghai, he cannot be understood by people there. This has brought him a lot of trouble. It is difficult for him to find a job or to find new friends - the reason is simple, nobody will learn his language just to understand him.

Key learning

From my experience and my friend's, I learnt that a language is mainly for communication proposes. Sometimes there are major languages that are widely accepted, and the broad acceptance make it easier for people to communicate, it is beneficial to learn it.

How about English

When English is concerned, it is hard. Since the government enforces the adoption of Mandarin and it is within the same country, people won't push back that much. However, if this adoption span across the border of countries, it will hurt the feeling of the people. It is reported that the people and government of France is working every hard to push back the aggression of English to their language.

(...)

------------------------------

So basically, the Communist central government is actively killing off languages and culture that belong to more people than the population of France. According to wangjianshuo , only the language of Beijing and some Northeast province can survive.

250,000 people in word speak Icelandic (a language said to be similar to Old Norse). There are 1.3 billion people in China. That is 5200 times the population of Iceland. I have no plans on learning Icelandic, much less 5200 Chinese languages. If I go to the trouble of learning Mandarin, I want every Chinese looking person I meet to be able to speak it.

On the other hand, maybe Simple English should be the second language of the Chinese. That way, people could keep their language and culture without being assimilated by the Mandarin speaking population (and central government).

On a side note, did you know that French was only spoken by a minority in New France? The Filles du roi changed that, however. As most of them were institutionolised by the government in Paris, they spoke French. And since they were the only girls in town available for marriage, the Breton, Bask, Provencal and etcetera speakers were happy to oblige.

The ultimate assimilation tool: sex.

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