• Michael Zehaf Bibeau is shown in this Twitter photo posted an Islamic State media account.Michael Zehaf Bibeau is shown in this Twitter photo posted an Islamic State media account.

    It is impolite (and undiplomatic) to say “I told you so.”

    But I will do so anyway: “I told you so.”

    The terrorists’ attacks in Quebec and on Parliament Hill are wake up calls only to those willfully asleep for many years.

    Ever since 9/11, Canadians have lived an ostrich-like existence regarding terrorism.

    Americans (and Canadians) have read and listened to a protracted litany of excuses and explanations.

    “It couldn’t happen to us. We’re too nice a people (everybody loves us – really). We need to examine 'root causes' of terrorism. Islam is a religion of peace. We shouldn’t fight ISIS in Iraq. Canada must have failed these nice young men for them to have done something so misguided. These are criminals, not terrorists.”

    And more, politely, sotto voce, “The Americans got what they deserved in 9/11.” Implicitly, the United States is reaping the whirlwind from the winds it sowed. We relentlessly support Israeli repression and don’t appreciate the injustices done against Palestinians,

    Read More »from Terrorism in Canada: Time to pull our heads out of the sand and attack the terrorist threats
  • A Canadian Soldier salutes the hearse carrying the body of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo.A Canadian Soldier salutes the hearse carrying the body of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo.

    The murders of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo at the National War Memorial and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu evoked an enormous outpouring of national grief. Many Canadians remain affected by both tragedies.

    As both perpetrators are dead, no one will ever really know how much of the motivation was criminal, mental illness, substance abuse, religion, or some of each. If the motivation was primarily terrorism, it has had the opposite effect. Canadian values, such as respect for all members of the national family, seem stronger than ever.

    What, aside from tightening security on Parliament Hill, at the monument and similar locations across the country, should be done to minimize the possibility of recurrence? There is a major risk of overreaction, such as occurred in Oct. 1970, when the separatist Front de libération du Québec (FLQ) kidnapped British Trade Commissioner James Cross and strangled Quebec Labour minister Pierre Laporte.

    Since 1914, The War Measures Act has

    Read More »from Terrorism in Canada: Improving national security should not come at the cost of of our civil rights
  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan at a meeting in Ankara.U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan at a meeting in Ankara.

    It is time to talk turkey about Turkey.

    Ankara, Turkey's capital, has been the proverbial elephant in the Middle East annex for years – particularly since the struggle to replace Syria’s president-dictator Bashar Assad began in 2011. Ostensibly, Turkey seeks to depose Assad for a range of political and religious reasons. Its president, Recep Erdogan, reportedly deeply dislikes Assad. But he declined to take direct action to impose Ankara’s will on Syria early in the fighting, eliminating Assad and installing the more moderate range of rebels in control of the country. And, not incidentally, this reinforced Erdogan’s position as the strongest Muslim leader in the region.

    But his decision not to decide remains puzzling.

    There is little question that the Turkish armed force, which is the strongest Islamic-Muslim military in the region, had the capability to destroy the Syrian military. To be sure, the Syrian army has proved to be tough, loyal, and effective in its own right, essentially

    Read More »from Turkey in the crosshairs: The U.S. must mobilize and strike regardless of Turkey's stance
  • An explosion rocks Kobani during a reported suicide car bomb attack by ISIS.An explosion rocks Kobani during a reported suicide car bomb attack by ISIS.

    Following the recent tragic deaths of two Canadian soldiers at the hands of domestic terrorists, who both appeared to be seeking to assist the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), some Canadians might feel that our country should quit the international coalition confronting ISIS.

    The murders, however, appear likely to cause more Canadians to be cautiously favourable to continue the air campaign against jihadis, who have been denounced by Muslim leaders and believers worldwide.

    The campaign against the estimated 20,000 mostly Sunni combatants of ISIS in Iraq and Syria can probably only be won decisively by soldiers. If so, the challenge is to obtain ground troops quickly from regional governments and communities, such as the Kurds, who are already confronting ISIS effectively. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey understandably queries why his soldiers are being pushed to intervene when other NATO members refuse to send ground troops.

    In an encouraging recent reversal,

    Read More »from Turkey in the crosshairs: Kurds from Iraq, Syria and Turkey should unite to fight ISIS on the ground
  • A woman reacts as pro-democracy protestors gather outside the government headquarters office in Hong Kong.A woman reacts as pro-democracy protestors gather outside the government headquarters office in Hong Kong.

    With the world media outside China focusing on Hong Kong’s democracy protests, it’s easy to forget that it began as a fishing village, became a British crown colony in 1841, and had Canadian soldiers help defend it until the Japanese seized it in late 1941. From 1945 to 2011, its population ballooned from 600,000 to seven million. Today, Hong Kong is a leading world financial and trade centre, enjoying the ninth-highest GDP per capita ($53,203 vs. $11,904 for China) and supporting about a third of the foreign capital flowing into China.

    Various factors have assisted Hong Kong’s development, including: The rule of law/independent courts, economic freedom, free speech/media independence, and an influx of entrepreneurial refugees from Maoist China after 1949. Despite efforts by Beijing to favour Shanghai before and since the transfer of sovereignty in 1997, Hong Kong still surpasses its rival as the principal financial centre in China.

    Canada’s Clive Ansley, who practised law in Shanghai

    Read More »from Hong Kong: It's a difficult battle, but the students should get their say
  • Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying toasts with Chinese commander Tan Benhong.Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying toasts with Chinese commander Tan Benhong.

    Watching events in Hong Kong play out – even from thousands of miles away left an anticipatory sick twinge in one’s stomach. Their conclusion now appears more likely to end with a whimper than a bang.

    There was a “deju vu all over again” element to what we were seeing. It was not just the quarter-century ago Tiananmen Square massacres. It is the more recent, ended badly, “democracy” surges in Tehran, Cairo, Damascus, and Tripoli. The prototype “color” revolution immediately following the collapse of the Soviet Union no longer appear to be the paradigm for peaceful transition from dictatorship to democracy. And February’s bloodshed in Kiev is still being played out in sanguinary exchanges on Ukraine’s eastern frontier.

    The blunt reality is governments have an overwhelming monopoly of force. If they choose to employ it against their essentially unarmed citizenry, they will prevail. Armed forces are increasingly divorced from citizens and/or their beliefs. They have a greater

    Read More »from Hong Kong: Picking a fight with China probably isn't a good idea
  • Even with Western heads severed on social media, it is difficult for anyone beyond the traumatized survivors of ISIS massacres to comprehend its mindless savagery. Earlier, its jihadists attacked the peaceful Yazidis in Iraq, killing many and forcing tens of thousands to leave their homeland. Its recent attack on Kobani and surrounding villages resulted in 130,000 terrified Syrian Kurds fleeing into Turkey.

    Muslim leaders around the world have repudiated ISIS. Iyad Madani, Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, representing Muslims in 57 nations, said ISIS: “ha(s) nothing to do with Islam and its principles that call for justice, kindness, fairness, freedom of faith and coexistence.” Virtually all of the world’s Muslims reject ISIS’s claim to speak for them.

    Barack Obama was correct this week at the United Nations concerning the threat: ’’No God condones this terror … No grievance justifies these actions. There can be no reasoning – no negotiation with this

    Read More »from ISIS: Savage group must be confronted with care, to not do more damage in an unstable region
  • There is a crude challenge to someone engaged in protracted decision wrestling, but it employs language not appropriate for sophisticated essays. Such would be applicable to President Obama’s struggle over Middle East strategy.

    Nevertheless, perhaps this is the best Obama can do. His 15-minute, address on Sept. 10 was as uncertain a trumpet as a president has sounded when taking the United States to war. We did not see a “warrior” emerge from the closet, but rather a bewildered president beset by a metastatic foreign policy cancer that he thought had been excised.

    There was a tinge of grab-bag, “try everything; maybe something will work.”

    • Support the (good) Syrian rebels (but not the bad Assad regime);

    • Support the new Iraqi government while the old players remain on the scene waiting to re-emerge;

    • Send more trainers/intelligence specialists/weapons experts to bolster Iraqi regular forces, while insisting there will be no combat boots on the ground. Amazing disconnect of

    Read More »from ISIS: Half-measures won't work, the West needs to go all-in
  • Every country has them: Those inexplicable elements to which a society appears wedded to that, despite explanation, remain opaque to outside observers.

    For example, Americans believe the government wants to steal guns from private citizens; we cling to the Second Amendment as Holy Writ. Canadians believe Americans want to steal their water. Canadians go into ritualized frenzies of professed fear the United States, akin to an enormous vampire, will suck them dry or, in some Dr Strangelovian manner, tap their precious bodily fluids.

    The reality is Canada has the world’s greatest reserve of fresh water. It should be handled as any product – sold to the highest bidder. And, as the existential example of a renewable resource, refusing to sell water is akin to rejecting solar energy sales because the sun doesn’t shine at night.

    David T. Jones is a retired State Department Senior Foreign Service Career Officer who has published several hundred books, articles, columns, and reviews on U.S.
    Read More »from David Jones: Canada has water to spare and should look into selling it
  • Contrary to a long-cherished myth that Canada holds a quarter of the world’s fresh water, our country contains only about seven per cent of it, and 0.5 per cent of the earth’s total population. The myth and reality together probably explain why we are the second-largest consumers of water as a nation and often take it for granted during showers and other bad stewardship practices.

    Water charges are low across Canada; in 1999 (the most recent survey) an estimated 44 per cent of our residences nationally were not even metered for water consumption. Residential consumers use about 343 litres per person per day – about twice as much as people in other industrialized nations.

    David Kilgour is co-chair of the Canadian Friends of a Democratic Iran and a director of the Washington-based Council for a Community of Democracies (CCD). He is a former MP for both the Conservative and Liberal Parties.

    Provincial and municipal governments rarely seem to get the price of water right. Expert Steven

    Read More »from David Kilgour: Canada's water sources aren't limitless, and we must keep what we have


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