Eye of the beholder - Macleans.ca

Eye of the beholder


After a day of debate, the Liberal motion was defeated by a count of 144-138, with three Liberals voting against.

The Canadian Press figures we’ve gained no clarity on the government’s position. With the Campaign Life Coalition having deemed this vote a referendum of sorts on abortion, LifeSiteNews calls the result a “pro-life victory.”


Eye of the beholder

  1. The LPC manages to poke itself in the eye.

    I think Critical_Reasoning and a number of other commenters called this one early on: it was extremely short-sighted of Ignatieff to trot out the abortion-funding-in-foreign-aid issue in an attempt to corner Harper, apparently forgetting that a lot of Liberals and a number of Liberal MPs are pro-life. Way to widen the divisions in your own party, Ignatieff.

    And kudos to those Liberal MPs who either skipped the vote or (better yet) helped to vote the motion down. It's this sort of thing that shows out Parliamentary system is still somewhat operational.

    • I don't think it was short-sighted……..I think he was set-up for failure by someone there……after all, have you seen the ones that were absent? not your usual anti-abortion crowd…..Anita Neville? Gerrard Kennedy?

      • Actually Stan, 7 of the missing 11 were Pro Lifers and reportedly asked to stay away.

        Iffy didn't give his MPs the respect they deserve.

  2. Waw, eh! MP Derek Lee, who for the past days, weeks, months has been shouting about the "importance of the House to be surpreme, to be the place where ultimate democracy must take place.

    But then: "Pro-life Liberal MP Derek Lee was torn before the vote and ended up as a no-show."

    Wonder how the G&M will take it from here. I mean, in order to fight a good fight, one needs some courageous warriors, not?

    But then again: "But respondents were split almost evenly on the question of paying for abortions, with nays outstripping yeas 48-46."
    which reflects the vote within the House pretty accurately.

  3. Seriously, Aaron, you guys do nightshifts?

  4. Looks like the Liberals gave themselves a "wedgie" instead of the government.

  5. Would you mind if I looked for your email address, so I could send you an email about this?

    This is sad and unfortunate on a lot of levels.

  6. You linked your website, and your website says "Please feel free to email me". I'll read that as permission.

  7. Best regards to you, Jack Mitchell.

    I really do not visit this blog often.

    However, I did hear Ezra Levant on CPAC talking about the virtues of the Ann Coulter visit and he was taking a slice of humanness from the Ottawa university vice-president.

    I think I took from that interview, the same feeling that you have taken from the relative lack of caring from the Maclean's personalities.

    But, they are 'personalities,' or 'entertainment,' as Ezra suggests.

    Perhaps important because of their availability through their profession. But, it does not make them fair, or even nice folk.

    So, enjoy your new nest and those you wish to surround yourself with.

    You expected too much from folk that do not have too much to offer.

    • Jeez Jack what are we going to do without you? Few people on here have given as much pleasure and had so much fun doing it as yourself – so think about that if you're ever tempted to be bitter. This place was much better for your being here. Glad to see life's gotta lot of good things in store for you. Check in again some time. All the best KC.
      [ i forgive you for not mentioning me in your epic,[ seriously] what the hell rhymes with kcm anyway :) ?]

  8. Congratulations on your upcoming wedding and best of luck in Halifax
    Your posts will be missed.

    Keep your head up and your stick on the ice and let's have a drink after the game


  9. Thank you for all the witty and insightful comments over the years Jack. I understand and support your decision. Your presence will be sorely missed.

  10. Congratulations on the wedding, and all the best at your new position in Halifax.

    What's odd about Wells is that he's banned certain people from the comments boards in the past. This shows he takes the comment board seriously, which is why I'm surprised he's so dismissive of your concerns.

    If the Macleans writers and administrators are as dismissive of the comments boards as you've illustrated, and won't enforce the rules evenly, then what's the point? Why does Macleans bother encouraging any discussion at all?

    • I believe Well's point was not that we don't take our comment boards seriously, we do. That's why we're putting in some effort to keep them clean (with the communities help).

      His point was more so that this is in the internet and there will be people on the internet who's goal it is to offend you. If you plan on spending your time on the internet you need to learn that these people exist and to not take it too personally.

      • I believe Well's point…


      • with the communities help
        community's help

        who's goal
        whose goal

  11. It was a free vote and that's all you can ask for.
    Mr Ignatieff , you could have handed this better and I can't help but think you look foolish.

    Most interesting to me is that the Bloc MP's hail from a largely Catholic neck of the woods, yet all voted against the motion.

    • But Danby, that's the point, it wasn't a free vote. It was a whipped vote and the Liberal backbench ignored it.

      • I meant a "free vote" in that it wasn't just one party dictating through a majority.
        I conclude that the Liberals who voted against it did so because they just couldn't support abortions; what other reason could there be? Of course their actions undermine Michael Ignatieff's leadership, and the unity of the Liberal party; they surely knew that going in.

        There has been much criticism leveled at Stephen Harper for keeping such a tight rein on his MP's. Now we'll criticize MI for not keeping a tighter rein on his MPs?

        • The problem is, if you read the stuff over at Inside Politics, that the leader's office and the whip did a terrible job communicating with the MP's (they are claiming they thought it was a free vote). That speaks to the competence of the people running the party.

    • I think you mean they all voted for the motion.

      Anyway, it's worthwhile to remember the distinction between those who self-identify as Catholic due to their upbringing/heritage vs. those who are practicing Catholics. Quebec is largely populated by the former, not the latter, as anyone who's attended Mass in Quebec (outside the Oratory in Montreal) can attest.

    • "a largely Catholic neck of the woods"

      Ummm, I suggest you Google "Quiet Revolution"

  12. I mentioned this yesterday, but I'll mention it briefly again. Abortion isn't a right/left wedge issue, it's an issue that can wedge any party, and while the traditional narrative is that the issue is a problematic one for the Conservatives, if the Opposition (in this case the Liberals) aren't careful with their attacks on the matter, it can be a wedge issue, and a big one, for themselves. Those who are opposed to abortion are not monsters. it's not an easy issue for anyone to come to terms with, and to be see their leadership trot out with obvious arrogance and indifference an attack on the government on the abortion issue isn't going to be appealing to those MPs who voted against their own party, or the many, many, many Canadians – wherever they be on the political spectrum who are opposed to abortion.

    • However, it is important to me that our gov't was not allowed to whisk the word 'abortion' out of the discussion.

      A woman's choice is too important for our representatives to take away with unseen tools.

    • The Liberals can affect discipline on the matter more easily than the conservatives can because their anti-woman fringe is smaller.

      • You're proving my point about using hyperbole on this issue. You just referred to about half the country as anit-women.

        • Anti-choice people are anti-woman. I doubt very much that half the country is anti-choice.

          • Anti abortion and anti choice aren't one in the same,.

          • Anti-choicers usually say that pro-choice = pro-abortion. Do you agree with such a statement?

          • No.

          • Do you rebuke people for hyperbole when they claim that pro-choicers are killing babies?

          • The subject hasn't come up all that often in my day to day conversations. I'm not entirely sure what you're trying to get at here.

          • Don't feed the trolls.

          • On numerous posts at Macleans in the past few days there have been arguments about abortion, contraception, etc. Some posters, such as Gaunilon, have repeatedly called abortion killing babies. I don't recall offhand who else has done so, probably the appalling Dennis-F and others. But I did note Gunilon talking about killing babies and someone praising him for the thoughfulness of his posts.

            When women get angry at people who want to take away our rights over our bodies, people accuse us of road rage [some guy with an Oscar Wilde icon I think] and hysteria and hyperbole. I see this as the usual tactic of sexist men who want to silence women. I realise that some people are honestly concerned about wanting all commenters to be civil, but some seem to find it easier to rebuke women for getting angry than to rebuke men for assuming that they have the right to control women.

          • Firstly, that would imply that more women are anti-woman than men, as women tend to be slightly (not by much) more pro-life than men.

            Second, have you checked the polls on the specific issue:

            "But respondents were almost evenly split as to whether Mr. Harper's initiative should include funding for abortion services, with 48 per cent opposed and 46 per cent in favour."

            "Still, Liberals have to be careful since 40 per cent of the Grit supporters oppose funding abortions and a number of Liberal MPs are passionately pro-life."

            If the opposition wants to make this a defining issue — well, I'm sure that Harper would settle for taking the 48% and leaving them to fight over the 46%… (Not happy, because he's probably pro-choice, his voters are majority pro-life, and his caucus probably is split about 50/50 on it, and that's never going to make for a fun caucus meeting.)

          • "…women tend to be slightly (if not by much) more pro-life than men…" Are you seriously claiming that a majority of women do not believe they should have control of their own bodies? That they should want some religious extremist men to control their bodies? I do not believe it. Do you have any evidence?

          • It's a general statistical tendency I've noticed in polls on the abortion issue over the years.

            Mind you, I've only really followed American polls on this, because it's only Stateside that this is a politically salient issue — in Canada, both major parties have left the issue alone since the Senate killed the new abortion law in 1990 that was to replace the one struck down for vagueness in the 1989 Morgentaler case. (Canada has no law on abortion at present.)

            But let's see if I can find some Canadian data. I'm pretty sure it should have the same trends, with Canadians being somewhat more pro-choice than their American counterparts.

            Ah, here's one — Angus Reid did a poll in 2008:
            The full dataset: http://www.angus-reid.com/uppdf/2008.06.20_Aborti

            "What is your personal feeling about abortion?"

            Men — Permitted in all cases, 48%, Permitted, but with greater restrictions than now, 17%, Permitted only in cases of rape, incest, and to save the mother's life, 20%, Permitted only to save the woman's life, 8%, Not sure, 7%
            Women — Permitted in all cases, 44%, Permitted w/ greater restrictions, 21%, Permitted only for rape, etc., 24%, Only to save the woman's life, 5%, Not sure, 6%.

            Thus we have in the most pro-choice category — which is probably the only category someone with your views would call _really_ pro-choice — men at 48% and women at 44%.

            Which shows us, as I expected, that women are marginally more pro-life than men.

            I can attribute that to two tendencies: first, women are slightly more religious, on average, than men, and second, men are more reluctant to tell women what they can do with their bodies.

          • American polls are of course useless because Canadians are not Americans and do not hold the same values in the same proportions. Your Angus Reid poll doesn't really justify saying that women are more pro-life, since there are gradations in there.

            Wiki describes various polls which seem to change with the question asked. Note this one:

            "…In a poll conducted by the National Post in November 2002, 78% of respondents answered "yes" to the question: "Should women have complete freedom on their decision to have an abortion?".[citation needed]…"


      • Why do you think Cons wanting to protect females babies from their murderous mothers is anti-woman?

        • Did you know most defence lawyers want middle aged women on their juries if the alleged crime is date rape?

          Women are more likely to conclude the victim asked for it.

          That's just the way it is.

        • Cons are quite happy to let women die for lack of good reproductive health care, including contraception and safe abortions.

          • Gee, it looks like 13 Liberal MPs are also happy so let women die.

            90% of all deaths due to abortions could be prevented by access to contraceptives.
            Contraception is the answer to the deaths, not Canadian funded abortions.

          • Despite your hyperbole, the aim of the maternal and child care proposal is to make a serious effort to help mothers BRING their child to term safely and to care for them during infancy in areas of the world where infant deaths are high.

            Abortions are a rather poor substitute for pre- and postnatal care.

          • I will repeat what many have said before until some of you ignoramuses learn to face reality: women in third world countries die because they have too many babies too quickly. When they die, their children are left as orphans and the children will probably die also. Access to safe abortions helps these women to stay healthy enough to look after the children they have. Yes, contraception is better when it works, but safe abortions also play a part in keeping these women healthy.

            Refusing to fund contraception and safe abortions kills women.

          • Who's refusing to fund contraception and abortion? NGOs who offer those services are presently funded by our government. It simply is not the aim of this program which is to aid women who WISH to have children.

            Do you ever respond to any comment without wild accusations and attacks?

          • Do you not follow the news in Canada? Conservative Ministers Cannon and Oda both said contraception would NOT be part of the maternal health package, although all the science shows that contraception is an important part of maternal hetlh. They then backed down and changed their story and are now weaselling around saying they won't close any doors..

            So you can apologize for your wild accusation against me.

    • And you said there'd be hyperbole…

      • Me of little faith, indeed!

    • Well said. Abortion is and always will be a complicated moral issue, and one on which honest and sincere people can disagree. If the Liberals had allowed a free vote and lost it would have been one thing – it would have at least shown them respecting the convictions of their MPs. But trying to whip the vote, losing, and then punishing people who voted their consciences is not going to look good for them.

  13. Good luck with everything Jack and congrats on the wedding. I'm sorry to hear that you're leaving Maclean's, and I only wish my last post(s) was as eloquent and well-thought out as your posts have been. Best wishes from Calgary.

  14. All the best Jack. I know you will do well in Halifax.

  15. Jack,

    So long and thanks for all the fish. Your verse is definitely not Vogonish and I feel honoured to have been mentioned in it.

    As with the others I too will miss your comments and your poetry.

    Congratulations on the impending nuptuals and your upcoming position at Dal.

    I am sure we will hear from you again.


  16. 'the result a “pro-life victory.”

    The unintended consequences of Liberals playing gotcha.
    Yes, it is a victory for Pro Lifers, and calls for the end of Liberals demonizing Christianity.

    • Read WDM above. You've just dismissed the right of a good many libs to hold Christian beliefs.

    • I can't see this as an outright victory. First, the Lib motion was fairly nonspecific, though I grant you everyone knew exactly what they were referring to, but trying very hard not to say. Second, the motion was larded up this anti-Bush rhetoric that was totally unnecessary and pointless, unless the goal was to link it to the present Cons. Third, the Cons insisted, rightly I believe, that a discussion of abortion is unhelpful when the intended goal is to improve mother AND child care, which I can only interpret as referring to pre-and postnatal care associated Intended/Wanted pregnancies in the 3rd world.

      There is simply no victory to be gained, possibly ever, on this subject. The extreme views are dug-in and unmovable. There a more nuanced and populous center opinion, but when these people are forced into an extreme (yes or no), you get this:

      "The Canadian Press Harris-Decima survey suggested overwhelming support for providing contraceptives to the world's poorest women, with 74 per cent in favour and 21 per cent opposed.

      "But respondents were split almost evenly on the question of paying for abortions, with nays outstripping yeas 48-46."

      Every party has Yes and Nays, so how can anyone really win?

      • If the Liberal motion was about contraceptives only, it would have passed.
        It was about abortion, evidenced by Lib Pro Lifers saying so , and voting against it.

        • I don't disagree, but read my last line again, slowly.

          It's not as if the debate has been settled.

        • It was about abortion, evidenced by Lib Pro Lifers saying so, and voting against it.

          That's your evidence? That Pro Lifers said it was about abortion and voted accordingly? By that logic, a pro-lifer could say that a vote to abolish the gun registry is about abortion, vote against it accordingly, and have this action then cited as proof that the vote to abolish the gun registry was all about abortion.

          • You're reaching a wee bit.

            I think everyone understood what the motion was about even if the Libs couldn't bring themselves to speak the word.

          • Well, I'd be reaching if I said the motion had nothing to do with abortion, that's quite true. However, I think I'm on pretty solid ground in saying that 3 Pro Life Liberal MPs voting against the motion isn't "evidence" that the motion was about abortion. That's pretty specious reasoning.

            I also think the reference to Bush is what stopped it from passing, not the notion that a motion that never uses the word abortion was really all about abortion.

          • You think the prolife Liberal NAY votes were protecting W's honour? Huh?

  17. Sorry to see you go Jack. Your contributions here have been entertaining and thought provoking.
    Wishing you all the best in marital bliss, and best of luck with life in Halifax.


  18. I don't want to go into details, but I dispute some of things you've said. For instance, I never called you, or anyone, "Mein Mitchell". There have been several occasions you have attributed words to me that I have never said. In fact, I don't think I've ever used the word "Mein" or any Germain derivative in my life. I also make it a point to avoid stupid general comparisons with Nazis or Hitler, which generally do nothing but dumb-down a conversation.

    As for the the most recent incident, as far as I'm concerned, you were the one to link the recent incident with the previous incident. You stirred up that tempest again. I took dispute with your comments about Cosh, and nothing more, nobody referred to the Wells flame war except you. Once you had done so, then of course I had to correct all of your factual inaccuracies, because then, as now, you attribute things to me that I have never said.

    I've probably had a grand total of 4 or 5 comments of mine deleted because the were reported by you, not counting that one thread you refer to. Your characterization of this issue is false, as usual. Go to Dalhousie and don't come back, I'm tired of personal attacks, followed by your sob stories. Even in this post you could not resist insulting Steyn once more. Get real.

    • And when you insult Wherry that's somehow different? What's sauce for the goose…
      I have no real problem you criticising AW. [ when i think it through] But i find it odd that JM's views of Steyn, Cosh et al., are somehow outside the pale.[ maybe it's just outside your pale] No need to take this personally, it is after all the internet, right.

      • I try not to personally insult the abilities and credentials of Wherry. Sometimes I call a post of his a "hit-piece". Or I call it misleading, lacking perspective, showing bias, showing Liberal support, whatever. But I stick to the content. I'll never comment on Wherry's professional abiltiies, in fact – I believe he is an extremely skilled writer and prolific blog poster. I just happen to disagree with most of his opinions and his presentation of ideas. Even then, if I see an insult, I don't consider it beyond the pale, but I may choose to challenge an insult. Free speech for all.

        • i think you're rationalizing. I see little or no difference between JM's criticisms of Steyn/cosh and yours of AW. He provides context and reason to his citicism as well as you do. You simply don't like the crticism. Anyway, i've said my piece in defence of Jack. We see things differently – and that's ok too.

          • Well, you're entitled to your opinion. But if people think I'm too critical of Wherry the author instead of Wherry's post (which can be a fine line), then they can challenge me on it – that's fine. I might not back down, but everyone is entitled to say what they want, and Maclean's is entitled to decide what the rules are.

        • I don't know the history here, nor do I really care to know all of the details. I like what you say within this particular posting.

          I believe all participants (including the blog item-writers working at Macleans, for they start off the topic and the rest is allowed to flow as freely as possible) are in the same sort of boat when floating down that river. We need to keep our wits about us and not feel offended so easily. Hell, if Coyne or Wells state somethings that don't make sense, we have a duty to tell them. Does anyone really believe that men such as Coyne and Wells, for instance, have all the insights to dish out and we have none? Each and every morning I rise up out of bed (I'm still in bed!) and say to myself: "What a great new day. And what a great new person to begin the day with!" :)

  19. Those "3 Liberals" should be commended. What are they doing wasting their time in the Liberal Party?

    • Representing their conscience and/or their constituents, no doubt…wish there were more…n every party.

    • Well they certainly are the most important Liberal MPs in the caucus now.
      As true Pro Lifers, are they there to change the LPC?

    • Yes, I'm impressed with them. That took courage and they're likely to face consequences for sticking to their principles.

      I expect that they're Liberals because on most other issues, they agree with more the Liberals than the Conservatives. It's not as if abortion comes up for discussion that much. It should – about half of Canadians think there should be some restrictions on it, but currently elective abortion is available, government-funded and unrestricted up until the moment of birth. Public opinion isn't as unanimously in favour of unrestricted elective abortion as people would think from the political debate (or lack thereof).

      Link: http://www.angus-reid.com/polls/view/half_of_cana

  20. A fitting valedictory.

    Fare thee well, Jack! You'll be sorely missed. Your contribution to these boards over the past two years has been nothing less than heroic, IMHO. With fierce wit, artistic zeal, a background in the classics, and a patriotic interest in the affairs of this country, you've raised the bar here at Macleans and you've advanced the cause of citizen punditry.

    Sometime over the next few days, after I've had some time to reflect, I'll be writing a longer response to some of the points you raised. For now, I just want to congratulate you on the exciting developments in your personal life: your upcoming wedding and your new job (and life) in Halifax. We'll keep in touch!

    PS: Thanks for giving this "frog of wisdom" a leading role in your hilarious mock-epic poem!

    • "Interestingly, I believe these three (s_c_f, jolyon, and JamesHalifax) are all atheist Gentiles of Catholic background." Jack M

      Why do you think that was a fitting valedictory? Do you approve of blood libel insinuations?

      • You should look up "blood libel" to see what it really means. Saying that someone might be an atheist with a Catholic background is about as far from "blood libel" as I can imagine.

        • "the fact that I wished to protect Muslims from the kind of hatred visited on the Jews in 1850-1930 meant that I was, yes, an anti-Semite. Interestingly, I believe these three (s_c_f, jolyon, and JamesHalifax) are all atheist Gentiles of Catholic background. "

          What does our supposed Catholicism have to do with anything, if not blood libel?

          Jack M is claiming to be champion of people while smearing me and Catholics with his odious insinuations about Catholics hating Jews.

          • I'm a Catholic, and your insinuation that Jack was somehow "smearing Catholics" with that sentence is ridiculous and contemptible.

          • "your insinuation that Jack was somehow "smearing Catholics" with that sentence is both ridiculous and contemptible"

            Imagine my surprise!

            Use your critical reasoning skills and tell me what Jack M is implying when he brings up Catholicism in discussion of anti-semitism?

          • Yeesh. He didn't bring up "Catholicism". He said that you were an atheist with a Catholic background, perhaps because he found it interesting that your accusations of "anti-semitism" weren't motivated by your religious or cultural background. He certainly wasn't "smearing Catholics".

            I'm not going to discuss this any further. I have no interest in getting involved in the flame wars of others.

          • Yes, you're only interested in cheering on Jack to do it for you.

            "A fitting valedictory".

            The accusations on anti-semitism were directly related to the words written on the page. Nothing less and nothing more. To bring up Catholicism, atheism or anything else is nothing but insanity.

          • Well. Don't worry. You have resolved the problem known as JM.
            The question is – who will eventually fall next?

          • Talk about more twisted pretzel logic of the JM variety. Contemptible?

            Who knows what the heck made JM say that wacky remark, but there's not doubt it was said with derision.

          • That's right. Beat in your points.
            Who will be next to face the wrath of righteousness?
            Which is better – validity, or class?

          • Validity and class are not mutually exclusive.

            And speaking of class (or lack of it), I see a blog comment that skewers Paul Wells has received a +4 thumbs up rating. Lots of class from those people hitting the button.

          • Isn't it interesting he chose 1930 as the end date of that period?

  21. Atque in perpetuum, frater, ave atque vale. Bona fortuna.

  22. Ok, I'm getting out of bed…….. NOW!

  23. You will be missed sir! Congratulations on your upcomming wedding, and the new job! I wish you all the best on your adventures! I enjoy a good read here on Macleans (often all I have time to do is read) but I make a point to scan the blogs as you and a few other posted always have something interesting to say. I'm saddened that your voice will no longer be amongst them.

    As for your poem, they always give me a good chuckle. It humbles me that you remember me in your final one here. You spelled my name right to boot!

    Cheers from beautiful BC!

  24. Well, ain't that a bummer :-(

  25. All the best Jack.

    Though I disagreed with you virtually all of the time, you were fun to spar with. Your poetic wit was also much enjoyed (your sonnets? made me laugh out loud on more than one occaision – particularly the one where you made fun of my blogging style – nail on the head there).

    I would urge you to return, but it sounds like you've got other reasons for quitting the blogging world besides frustration with this current dissagreement.

  26. It is sad that you are leaving bud although I can't say I blame you. Congratulation on the wedding and good luck at your new job. I am going to miss your comments and poetry on this board, always well written, thought provoking and entertaining.

    Take care.

  27. …sigh

  28. Interesting. I was originally skeptical of your first comments above, but after you've provided all this data, it's certainly an eye-opener.

    Good job digging up the numbers.

    • You're welcome… but wiki did it.

    • The era of Google and Wikipedia. (Imagine having to go to the reference library still — ugh!)

      It's interesting how public opinion shifts over time. For instance, Canadians were fairly firmly in favour of capital punishment (~70% for) long after its abolition, until the turn of the century, after which only a weak plurality (40-45%) supported it. I think it was the Marshall and Milgard cases that changed people's minds…

      Canadian politics is less responsive to public opinion than other countries' — the United States, for sure.

      Stronger party discipline is what does it, I think — individual MPs can't save themselves on a single issue the way congressmen can.


      I wonder if that trend would continue, though, if the power of the last great brokerage (i.e., spectrum-spanning, less ideological) party — the Liberals — were broken. Or maybe its possible replacement, Harper's Tories, would fall into that same role.

      If Canada wound up with two ideology-based parties — say a centre-right CPC including some blue Grits and a centre-left party that drew from Liberals, Dippers, and Greens — would Canadian politics take up the hot-button issues more based on what the public says it wants in issue polls? (If it did, here's an issue that would move — 70% of Canadians support decriminalizing marijuana, and 50% support legalizing it outright.)

  29. Jack, it' s been a slice. All the best. I believe we have a global-warming bet outstanding with a date for a Times Square beer-buying, the buyer being dependent on whether said portion of real estate is swimming in the melted icebergs of the Atlantic. I'll have to look that up, because I wouldn't want you to be alone and dry in your SCUBA gear…

    Enjoy Halifax — it's a pretty town. If ever I am that way I might look you up to buy you a beer over lunch even as we wait for the above wager to pan out…

    Oh, and as to the meat of the discussion: You are free to come and go as you please, for reasons that are valid, invalid, or none of our business. But Wells is not completely off base, here. You can be legitimately peeved if anonymous folk illegitimately insult your true-identity self. Much as we who hang out here like to think Macleans has something way more special than other outlets' comment-messes, a whole bunch of us are anonymous, many legitimately so, and, after all, it is just a blog comment board.

    Take care, Jack.