Friday, October 31, 2008


Wow. Very powerful. Very well done.

Much prayer is called for.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Shocked for the Wrong Reasons

Members of a football team are shocked that they were not informed about one of their fellow players being found guilty of sexual assault. But where is the outrage about the guy receiving a conditional sentence that allows him to still play football? Now he's been arrested for an additional 9 sexual assault charges. Of course, he'll likely make bail! If he doesn't make bail and he's found guilty, he receives double credit for time spent waiting trial. And of course with mandatory release laws, almost nobody serves a full sentence!

As a parent I try to protect my children from a world that can be very bad. And I get the feeling that there are a lot of cops who are trying to do the same. But as you go up the chain you encounter more and more people who are more concerned with helping the criminal than in protecting the innocent.

Finally at the top you have politicians of the Trudeau mold who are not concerned about prevention, deterrence and punishment, but only about rehabilitation of the unrehabilitatible. It all stems from the left-wing's favourite doctrine of the perfectibility of man. Since they believe in perfectibility, rehabilitation is the only thing that matters, not the protection of society. As for me, I believe humanity is Fallen, and that human governments are intended to be a restraint on evil behaviour. But I guess I'm in the minority.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Renewing my Mortgage

I recently renewed my mortgage. The bank sent me a helpful set of papers. Essentially, all I had to do was select the term, sign the bottom and pop in the mail. Easy, right? But it would have been a big mistake.

I looked at the interest rate for the term I was interested in, and compared it to the information the bank had on their website. Their website listed a "Best Rate" that was 0.71% less than the renew by mail rate.

So I thought perhaps there were some restrictions on the "Best Rate", but I wondered if I could still knock down the renew by mail rate. After all, what did I have to lose except a couple of minutes to make a phone call.

I phoned the bank, told them my mortgage with them was coming due, and told them I was shopping around for rates. What rate could they give me? They came back with a rate that was 1.35% better than the renew by mail rate, and 0.44% better than their "best rate".

Now remember, I didn't do a lot of heavy negotiating. I didn't shop around to a million other places. I didn't need to move my accounts to another bank. I just made a phone call instead of blindly mailing in a form.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Time to make a choice

It's time to make a choice. Canada is facing uncertain economic times and tomorrow is the election. On one hand we have Stephen Harper and the Conservatives. They have a proven track record of managing the economy. They are unlikely to do anything "scary" even if given a majority government. They have the best leader and a set of responsible and affordable plans.

On the other hand there is Stephane Dion. I'm sure he's a nice guy, but he's not a leader. His only plan is a carbon tax. His only solution is a carbon tax. Institute a new tax and everything will work out. On his team is Bob Rae, one of the most detested politicians in Ontario. In a Dion government, Rae will likely be Finance Minister. A former NDP Premier of Ontario, a man who managed to get the unions to hate him, running the finances of the country.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Somene's Awake

Well, someone at the Green Party is awake and understands the consequences of supporting strategic voting. Their press release is calling upon Green Party voters to support their own party. I'm not a big fan of the Green Party, but this seems a more principled position. I applaud their press release.

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

I know people are losing jobs. Some industries are really suffering. And real people are suffering. But as far as I can see, the overall Canadian economy is in reasonable shape. A couple of months ago it was thought that the Bank of Canada would be raising interest rates to deal with increasing inflation. Since then we've had a crisis in banking and a lot of pain in the stock market. However our overall economy does seem strong. Over the course of this weekend, I've seen 4 ads for businesses looking for help. This includes the local supermarket, a fast food place and a couple of stores in the mall. Now I know these jobs are not the same as a well paying job in the manufacturing sector. But service sector jobs dry up when people are not spending. Since service sector businesses are looking for staff, it is reasonable to assume that there is some strength in this economy.

One more thing to be said for these jobs; they are real jobs. These are jobs being provided by businesses that need staff. They are not artificial government created jobs that require constant support from the tax payers. Jack Layton can put on his angry face and demand that the government create something out of nothing, borne on the backs of the tax payers, but these are real jobs being generated by the economy.


Life is about consequences. This is a fact that Elizabeth May is about to discover. She has urged "strategic voting" in key ridings, whereby her Green Party members would vote Liberal or NDP to stop the Conservatives. And these are the consequences as I see them:

  1. May has demonstrated that the Green Party is more about a left wing agenda than about the environment. A mean spirited "Stop Harper at any cost" attitude will her their support from people who were attracted by some of their non-environmental policies.
  2. May has demonstrated that she does not care about creating a national political party. This will hurt the next time the Green Party wants to participate in a national debate. Being the tool of the Liberals and the NDP does not speak well for them.
  3. May has shown that she doesn't care about the funding that comes from every vote. This is going to hurt the bottom line. The 2009 Green Party budget is going to have some holes, and some staff are going to be looking for other work. After all, when you run a left wing party, you need all the federal funding you can get your hands on; lefties are better at giving away other peoples money than giving away their own.
  4. May has ignored the concerns of rank and file members who are "Green" as a matter of principle. I believe regardless of the results, May has seen her last election; the true Green supporters are going to be calling for her removal.
  5. May's ignoring of the "run a candidate in every riding" principle will hurt the efforts of the Green Party to find strong candidates. Who wants to work like a dog only to have their leader tell voters to vote for the Liberals or the NDP. Yes, they'll always find candidates to fill the slots. There are always some X-Gen kind of people who are looking for something to do, but they are going to have a difficult time finding strong candidates.
Yes, our actions have consequences.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Windsor Star Endorses Harper

The Windsor Star, located in Canada's battered manufacturing area, has endorsed Harper.

Ottawa Citizen Endorses Harper

The Ottawa Citizen newspaper has endorsed Harper. In their words, "It is about leadership".

Montreal Gazette Endorses Harper

The Montreal Gazette, one of the major newspapers in Quebec, has endorsed Harper.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Economy adds 107,000 jobs

It doesn't suit the panic mongers of the political left, but Canada's economy just added 107,000 jobs.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

National Post Endorses Harper

The National Post newspaper has endorsed PM Harper. Specifically they are suggesting he deserves a Majority.

I think it is becoming clear than most of the well connected journalists in Canada are realizing that a Harper government would be best for the economy, and that Dion's ideas would make the economy worse.

Vote Liberal for Immediate Economic Chaos

At least he is consistent and determined. Economic uncertainty isn't enough to slow down Dion's efforts to roll our the Green Shift.

The Strongest Banks in the World

As PM Harper has been saying (and getting blasted as insensitive for not panicking), Canada's banks are considered the strongest in the world.

"The Economist" Endorses Harper

The widely respected international magazine "The Economist" has endorsed Prime Minister Harper.

Globe and Mail Endorses Harper

The Globe is not exactly a hot bed of right wing extremism, but they have endorsed Stephen Harper for another term.

The Prime Minister in Waiting

This is the man whose poll numbers are surging. This is the man who is convincing Canadians that he has a better plan for the economy than PM Harper. But unfortunately, if you get it wrong with the economy, you can't ask to start again.

Leader's Debate

I watched some of the Canadian leader’s debate the other night, in preparation for the October 14, 2008 election. What I saw frustrated me, both in the format of the debate and the content.

Clearly something was off with the format. It involved 80% of the time devoted to the opposition blasting Harper, and 20% of the time Harper defending himself. True, my percentages might be a bit off. The piranhas did take a few swipes at each other (like Layton going after Dion about 43 opportunities to bring down the Conservatives. The media is wrong by the way about this sounding the death knell for Dion’s political career. His career will be over the day after the election). However my basic premise holds; we had four people attacking Harper with Harper only getting a fraction of the time to defend himself. More fair would have been giving Harper 50% of the time to make his own points and his rebuttals. As for Harper, he did a good job keeping his cool and looking balanced.

However some of the content frustrated me even more. It became very clear how dangerous the loopy views on the left really are. For a long time I thought those on the left were nice but naive. But I’m starting to see that they are not only naive but dangerous. I say this because they would take a wealthy nation, lead it to economic ruin, and thereby defeat their own social and environmental policies.

Jack Layton made an impassioned plea for the family, by demanding the creation of jobs in the communities where people are already living, not out in Alberta. Frankly I was sickened at how out of touch Jack Layton is with reality. No government can afford to create jobs where there is no economic opportunity. From time immemorial, people have been migrating to where the work is. My grandparents did it when they came to Canada. And I did it when I graduated from a computer science program and found no jobs for computer programmers in Sudbury. Maybe I will need to do it again some day. And if that time comes, I won’t like it but I will do what I have to in order to provide for my family. And I sure won’t be demanding that the government make a good paying job for me in a place where there are no jobs.

So why do I say “they would take a wealthy nation, lead it to economic ruin, and thereby defeat their own social and environmental policies.” That they would lead us to economic ruin is clear. Capitalism is a marvellously efficient system; so efficient in fact that it can be tapped to pay for all sorts of crazy ideas. But there is a limit to a good thing. A capitalist economic system can be bled by socialism to the point that it starts to fail. At that point unemployment starts to go way up, increasing the demand for social programs at the very time that the revenue stream paying for those programs also fails. At that point you get social chaos.

But there is one other effect of socialism strangling capitalism, and that is the failure of environmental initiatives. Poor people can’t spend the money to be environmentally responsible. They need to heat their homes with whatever is available, not the most environmentally conscious choice. They can’t afford to fix their smoking automobiles. They can’t pay money to have electronics recycled in a responsible manner. When your personal finances are going under, you don’t have environmental choices. Likewise for companies. When a company is economically weak, it can’t afford more efficient equipment. It can’t afford anti-pollution equipment. It can’t afford CO2 scrubbers. When a company is unprofitable, it can’t include environmental considerations in its decision making process. Only a wealthy nation with profitable companies and prosperous people can safeguard the environment.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Malaysia Trip - Friday August 29, 2008

I had a 5:00am wake up call at the hotel, which gave me time for a bath in their extra long soaker tub, and a really good buffet breakfast. There was a fairly long line-up for check-in at the Air Canada counter, but all went well. The flight back was good. I like the Airbus 320 better than the Airbus 330 and 340. The 320 has personal fresh air vents, while the 330 and 340 doesn’t.

Karen and Bethany were waiting for me at the airport. Wow, did I ever get some great hugs! My parents were visiting, and I got lots of hugs also from Joel and Hannah as well. Everyone was happy to see me again. Karen made a great chicken dish for supper, and we had two types of cake for dessert.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Malaysia Trip - Thursday August 28, 2008

I slept well last night, not the least because a Gravol tablet was knocking me out. I can’t believe I’m heading home. I spoke to Karen this morning, and the next time I speak to her it will be face-to-face. As wonder an experience as this has been I can’t wait to see my family!

I had lunch with Keat San and Ginny, showed them some pictures of my family on my laptop, and then drove to the airport. We had an interesting conversation about how to encourage young people in the church and how to encourage our own children, though I was the only one with children. After checking in my bags, we had another bite to eat at McDonalds. The interesting thing is that Burger King tastes different in Malaysia, while McDonalds tastes exactly the same. I had some “Service Coupons” I got from Cathay Pacific on the way over, to try to get an upgrade but no luck.

The flight to HK was smooth and comfortable because I had nobody sitting next to me. They served chicken with fried rice, and it was quite delicious. I also got to watch most of “Prince Caspian” on the flight, and napped for a few minutes.

The flight from HK to Vancouver was of course, long. But with the jet stream it was “only” 12 hours long, and my in-flight entertainment system was working this time. As a side note, I used my “Service Coupons” plus a some extra cash to buy myself a big treat; Bang & Olufsen headphones. I have some cheap headphones I use at home, but this gives me some really good sound as a compensation for 13 hours of boredom on the way over to Malaysia. I also ended up watching most of Ironman on the way home.

I had more questions from Canada Immigration than I’ve ever had before, but I guess this isn’t surprising since my trip didn’t fall into any of their recognized categories. Business, personal or study? Personal. What were you doing? Speaking at a conference. What kind of conference? Church. So you went over for work? No. What do you do for a living? I’m a computer programmer. But you were speaking at a church conference? Yes. Where were you staying? The Dorrset Regency Hotel, the Genting View Resort, a local family, and the guest house at Jalan Imbi Chapel. We’ll you get the idea; it didn’t fit into their categories. Not my fault if the honest answer is confusing to officialdom.

It was late when I checked into the Vancouver Airport Fairmont. I think staying in the hotel at the airport was the right choice. If I had stayed somewhere else I would have lost more than an hour in taxis. The hotel was really nice, and my first priority was a shower. They had one of those fancy rainwater style shower heads. It was good to finally feel and smell human again, even if I still looked like death warmed over.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Malaysia Trip - Wednesday August 27, 2008

This is the start of my last full day in Malaysia. I slept quite well in the Guest Room at JIC, and made myself a breakfast of toast & peanut butter, fresh strawberries and Ipoh white coffee. As I was sitting at my desk I held a roaring and went outside to see Mig-29 fighters flying over in formation, likely practicing for Merdeka Day, which is their 51st anniversary of independence from Britain.

For lunch I went out to a dim sum, then to a mall to buy some souvenirs and another suitcase. Even with the new suitcase it will be difficult for me to get everything home.

This afternoon I started feeling sick, with an upset stomach. We ended up cancelling the evening meeting, a decision that was made easier by the fact that it was pouring rain and the auditorium at the chapel was flooding.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Malaysia Trip - Tuesday August 26, 2008

Today I woke up for my last time in the hotel. I had breakfast, packed and a fellow named Harry picked me up and moved me over to the guest room at JIC. It is well appointed, with an outer sitting room with TV and a kitchen table, and an inner bedroom with 2 beds, a kitchenette and a desk. It has internet access and a TV as well.

In addition to secular employment in his own advertising agency, Harry has an interesting ministry. He works quite a bit with the youth, and specifically in making sure that some of the smaller assemblies around the country get workers (particularly but not exclusively youth) to help. So if there is an outreach happening, he’ll make sure a couple dozen young people are sent to help.

After getting settled in, Harry took me to the Petronas twin towers. There is a shopping complex at the base between the towers, extending up 6 stories. I had lunch there with Harry and Keat San at a restaurant chain known as “Chillies”. I had the Chicken Monterey. After eating we wandered about for a few minutes, because one of the women at JIC works for the CEO of Petronas and was able to get us two tickets for the sky bridge. This is the bridge that connects the two towers, 170 meters up. These tickets are much in demand and I didn’t think I would get the opportunity to go up. Afterward I bought a number of items from the gift shop.

For supper, Ginny Lingam from the Conference Committee took me out for supper with three of the young people. They all had questions about how youth ministry is done in Canada. Two of them were medical school students and one was studying computer programming. I’m afraid I didn’t have a whole lot of answers for them about how to run cell groups.

I spoke in the evening on Hebrews 9. After last Saturday/Sunday where I had 6 messages in 2 days, preaching once a day is a pleasure. They have an expression here; “Here comes the missionary. Let’s kill him.” The implication is that they kill him with overwork. I wore a short-sleeves shirt tonight with no tie, and it was much cooler.

The people here are continuing to do an amazing job looking after me. The conference committee is making sure I’m out for lunch and supper every day, and tonight a lady from JIC came up to me with fresh strawberries and a peach. I’m being given far more food than I can eat!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Malaysia Trip - Monday August 25, 2008

Today I turned down a chance to go to a Bird Sanctuary, because I was really tired. In fact, rather than meet someone for lunch, I just went down to the hotel restaurant by myself. They were serving a “Penang Feast” buffet, which was quite good, with a lot of Indian influences on the menu. There was a spiced chicken dish, a mutton stir-fry with figs, and interesting cabbage dish and some others.

I went for supper to an Italian restaurant with Anthony and Li Coon Too. I’ve enjoyed the Chinese food, but it was really nice to have a wood fired pizza. Anthony is an architect and showed me a beautiful book on libraries around the world.

In the evening I spoke at Jalan Imbi Chapel about Hebrews 7 and 8. I think the ministry went well, though I need to constantly remind myself to slow down because of my accent. However my only clean shirt was a long-sleeve and I was wearing a tie and the spot lights were on, so it was so hot that I needed to remove my tie and I almost fainted because of the heat.

Just a side note... I found it interesting that since we are close to the equator, the sun is directly overhead at noon.

Karen and I have been talking once or twice a day on the phone, mostly using Yahoo Voice. It’s worked out quite well, except at the conference where I didn’t have internet access in my room. But for that I had the phone card that I was provided with, so everything has turned out well.