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March, 2010:

Trashy goes to China.2, en route…

Sitting in the AC international departure lounge in Vancouver right now. Not a bad lounge, but the domestic location has more than one tap of beer. Nothing but Molson available here, so I’ll stick to some Clamato for now. Still another 1.5 hours till boarding, so what better way to kill time than to pen some blah-blah.

Real excited about the trip… yeah, this one… sure, sure… but the one that immediately follows Beijing in yankin’ my chain a helluva lot more!

Juts got off Skype with the Resident Love Goddess and she was just finishing up the booking for our trip to the DR on easter weekend! Woo-hoo! Burn away that jet lag with beach, sun and cervesa!

Both of these trips will serve me well to distract me from my disappointment with the whole Canuck mindset these days. Did you see the EKOS poll the other day? The one that shows the ReformCons pulling open a wee bit of a gap over the Grits… a gap that is just outside the margin of error, but a gap nonetheless.

What are Canadians thinking????

Here we have a government that has made themselves out to be fools in the following ways over the past little while:

  • said they would – for whatever reason – change the words to the anthem. Then decided not to after their supporters screamed and ranted.
  • had two of their Ministers freak out at airport/airline employees… yeah, flying can be frustrating and folks lose their patience sometimes, but for crying out loud! You are supposed to serve as examples for the rest of us!
  • took a cue from their christian conservative base (read: Alberta) and at first excluded family planning from their strategy to ameliorate maternal health in LDCs.

ON WEDNESDAY, Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon told a Commons committee that his government’s initiative for maternal and child health care in the developing world “does not deal in any way, shape or form with family planning. Indeed, the purpose of this is to save lives.”

  • And then, they flip-flopped – in a most hilarious way…

On Thursday, Cannon was sent onto CTV and CBC TV to eat his words. It turns out that he thought — apparently for real — that family planning was code for abortion, and didn’t include contraception.

“I take full responsibility for what I said, but our policy, our government policy, I’m not saying I was misquoted,” he said to Tom Clark on CTV. “I was quoted perfectly. But I did make a mistake. This has nothing to do with abortion. But it does not exclude any other options, such as contraception.”

Cannon, who does not always seem to be the most articulate foreign minister that a country could have, had apparently sown confusion in error.

“I said those words but that is not what the policy is,” he explained. “It wasn’t what should have been said.”

Eh?

So, I don’t get it… who out there would actually vote for these yahoos????

Oh yeah, and check this out:

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Back to the middle Kingdom

I’m writing this sitting in seat 3A of an AC flight to Vancouver and then on to Beijing.
As during my last trip, I’ll be updating this blog regularly if I have anything interesting to say… Yeah, and as if I won’t… 😉
For instance : guess who is on the flight with me? None other than Stevo’s wife! Too bad she ain’t sitting with me!
That does explain the extra security!
I’ll post again from the lounge in Vancouver. Maybe about Stevo and his ever increasing problems…

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Sue them! Sue them!

Helena Guergis may sue Air Canada

Typical arrogant reaction.

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Flying – George Carlin’s take

On Saturday,  I am embarking on another long trip to the Middle Kingdom. So I thought I would review aircraft safety rules… as told by the late and great Mr. George Carlin.

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Canadians OK with ReformCons fighting their deficit on the back of the PS

Of course Canadians back public sector cuts!! No big surprise there!

According to a new poll done by Nanos Research, Canadians feel that the government was correct in making the PS should the burden of the Conservative-created deficit.

“The default position for a lot of Canadians is to believe that there is always fat that can be trimmed in the public service,” says Nik Nanos, author of the new Nanos-Policy Options poll. “It shows that [the public service] is the easiest target. … [Canadians are saying] we would like others to shoulder the burden for managing the deficit as opposed to taking it on individually.”

While I normally don’t agree a lot with what PSAC says, it’s President, John Gordon is correct in saying:

“Every time the government gets into [trouble] they kind of ramp up the rhetoric and the Canadian public starts to believe them …” he said.

In general terms, he added, his members’ wages run behind those in comparable positions in the private sector.

His workers are an easy target, he said, because the government fails to explain what it means to get rid of public servants – that services provided to the public would be affected.

The problem, according to Mr. Gordon – and I agree – is that the average Canadian really isn’t too clear on what services we in the PS provide. It is easy to see what local governments do. Solid waste management, emergency services, road maintenance, etc. are easily identifiable as the responsibility of the municipal level of government. Even some Provincial services are easy to see: Provincial parks, Provincial police, many day to day approvals, car licensing – all are under the purview to one extent or another of the Provincial government (it does vary from Province to Province).

For example, Mr. Gordon points to the work done by federal public servants during the H1N1 crisis to get vaccines in place and deal with the pandemic.

“It’s easy to broad brush it and say they should be freezing wages, which they have already done and cutting public services, which they are already doing. …” he said, but added that the public has to ask itself what services it would like to see gone.

In truth, it is hard for the average Canuck to see how much we contribute. Yeah, with PS cutbacks come tax refund delays, long border line-ups, passport delays, drug research and approval delays, and a plethora of other services as well would feel the impact. But one of the bureaucracy’s biggest roles is to provide operational, research and logistical support to the government of Canada and its polices.  And we do this well and efficiently regardless of the party in power.

Yet, this is background and grunt work that we do. Often out of the public eye and seldom recognised by our political masters. But we chose our vocations and living with a target on our backs during times of fiscal restraint is just one of those things we have to accept.

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As I get older, there are these things I am becoming really bitchy about…

As I approach the down side of my 40’s, I find that many of my attitudes toward certain things are becoming more resolute. It used to be that that I would shrug off most things that annoyed me or ran counter to my way of thinking with a “whatever”. I still consider myself to be fairly flexible and open to different points of view. But, more and more I am finding myself getting more pissed off than usual about some things.

  • My political and social views have become very well established. I have belonged to all three of the major federal parties – yes, even the PC’s briefly back in the early 1980’s…they were so different from the ReformCons. They would actually listen to an opposing view, debate it and agree to disagree. Unlike the Harperites, who just shout at those who disagree with their version of things. And launch attack ads. They are very American that way. But in the past ten years or so, I have found myself less and less patient with those that tend to the right, politically or socially. I still hold onto enough civility to try to debate those who counter my arguments, but my patience grows thinner a helluva lot quicker.
  • I also have less patience with zealots on the left. One of the reasons I left the NDP was the “all or nothing” attitude. To be truly accepted into the party, it wasn’t only required that you buy into the political beliefs of the Left, but ALL of the social ones as well.
  • Here in Canada, it’s ZED, not ZEE!!! If you want to say zee, move to the U.S., dammit!!!
  • Speaking of Americanizations, it’s a hockey sweater, not a jersey. Baseball has jerseys as does football (both types). But with hockey, it’s a sweater. And that place you use to change into and out of your hockey gear, it’s a dressing room, NOT a locker room!
  • Have your damn pass or tickets ready for the driver before boarding the bus and do NOT waste my precious time rifling through your bag or pockets!
  • Big companies who send me their bills via the post office. Do NOT stuff them with all kinds of stuff that I am not remotely interested in! I have gone to electronic billing for many of my accounts but this option is not available everywhere. Make them available!!
  • Seniors! Why must you take so long paying for everything? Do you think that because you suffered through the Depression, WW II or the Cuban Missile Crisis that you have the inherent right to take 5 minutes of my life away while you count out ever last fricking penny???? Learn how to use a debit card!!!
  • Why have all of the mainstream media news outlets fired their proofreaders? Attention to detail is an important part of my job and it used to be something I could count on in the better news outlets. But no!! Even the venerable Globe and Mail, which I could count on being precise to a fault is getting lazy and letting spelling and grammatical checks fall by the wayside.
  • Religion! I am becoming more and more firmly of the opinion that this is a root cause of all that is hurtful and evil in the world! Not your garden-variety believer, mind you, but those fire and brimstone, we’re ll going to hell, if you ain’t with us, yer against us type. Evangelicals and fundamentalists of ANY religion fall into this net.

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ReformCons – climate change deniers extraordinaire

The old adage, actions speak louder than words has never been more applicable than to the news that the CPC is shutting down the climate change research station off Ellesmere Island.

It is common knowledge that the Harperites and their core supporters (read: he oil and gas industry, Sarah Palin) do not accept the science that – to any intelligent individual – points to overwhelming evidence that the planet is warming up and that human activities have and are contributing to this.

It’s quite clear we have a government that says they believe this is an issue but really don’t care about it.  Andrew Weaver, climatologist at the University of Victoria

But the minority government had yet to do anything to show this view. Yes, lots of inaction but not a lot of action. This withdrawal of research funding tells me three things:

1) Any hope that the Cons would change their position on climate change is as dead as the Leafs’ playoff hopes.
2) We should expect more of this type of the decision in the future.
3) The Cons much vaunted ballyhooing about being a solid supporter of the scientific community is a bunch of crap.

To Iggy and Jack : please merge your parties, force an election and kick these cowboys all the way back to Calgary!!!

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Isn’t it ironic?

Like I blogged about yesterday, Sarah Palin is getting dragged through the mud a wee bit about her statement in Calgary that her family hustled across the border to Whitehorse to receive medical treatment.

No mention of this over at Fox “News”, though… now THAT’S a surprise!

But what is most amazing about her interview was that she used the word “ironic” in a correct way! You betcha, Sarah!

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Cage match! Chevrolet Bel Air vs. 2009 Chevrolet Malibu

A 1959 Car vs. A New 2009 Vehicle in a Collision:

This is a pretty cool video to watch.

You know how we always think about what big tanks the old cars of the 50’s and 60’s were. And how we – or at least our parents –  go on about how there is so much plastic on the new cars that if one of the old tanks ever collided with a new car, the new car would be demolished?….

Well – not so much…

Someone in the insurance industry put that theory to the test and after watching this video you may change your mind.

Though the poor, poor Bel Air – whatta waste…

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Public service efficiency

The Harperites, under the guidance of the dry-suit guy, is gong to “unveil” (1) a plan to increase “the efficiency of the federal departments”.

Mr. Day is scheduled today to unveil a government initiative aimed at increasing the efficiency of the federal departments – which manage activities ranging from the war in Afghanistan and relief in Haiti, to income-tax collection, employment insurance and old-age security claims.

Huh, I didn’t realise we were inefficient? Haven’t all of the efficiency programs that we have been subjected to almost each and every year counted for anything or resulted in these cherished “efficiencies”?

Are we still that inefficient? After Blue Ribbon Panels? Streamlining? Corporate Business Architecture?

Man, we in the PS MUST be sooooooo incompetent! You’d think that we would by now be the smoothest and most efficient public service in the freakin’ GALAXY!

And so iut begins – Day has announced the first round of cuts by reducing the number of Governor in Council appointments by 245.

It is interesting to see where these cuts have been made.

Yes, they are patronage appointments and yes, many of these seats were already vacant, but I think this spells out the shape of things to come..

                                                            March 8, 2010

                 Reduction of Governor in Council Positions

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                     Current
                                                          number         GiC
    Department/                                           of GiC   positions
    Agency              Organization                   positions     reduced
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Agriculture and     Canadian Grain Commission              9           6
     Agri-Food Canada   -----------------------------------------------------
                        National Farm Products Council         9           2
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Canadian Heritage   Canadian Council on the Status
                         of the Artist                        12          12
                        -----------------------------------------------------
                        Canadian Radio-television and
                         Telecommunications Commission        19           6
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Citizenship and     Canadian Race Relations Foundation
     Immigration Canada  and Investment Committee             24          11
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Environment Canada  Historic Sites and Monuments
                         Board of Canada                      15           2
                        -----------------------------------------------------
                        National Round Table on the
                         Environment and the Economy          26           8
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Department of       Canada Development Investment
     Finance Canada      Corporation                          20           9
                        -----------------------------------------------------
                        Canadian International Trade
                         Tribunal                              9           2
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Fisheries and       Freshwater Fish Marketing
     Oceans Canada       Corporation - Advisory Committee     15          15
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Foreign Affairs     Asia-Pacific Foundation of Canada      7           2
                        -----------------------------------------------------
                        International Boundary Commission      1           1
                        -----------------------------------------------------
                        International Development Research
                         Centre                               21           3
                        -----------------------------------------------------
                        Roosevelt Campobello International
                         Park Commission                       3           1
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Health Canada       Assisted Human Reproduction Agency
                         of Canada                            13           1
                        -----------------------------------------------------
                        Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse     7           1
                        -----------------------------------------------------
                        Canadian Institutes of Health
                         Research                             19           2
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Human Resources     Canada Employment Insurance
     and Skills          Commission                            4           2
     Development Canada -----------------------------------------------------
                        Canada Mortgage and Housing
                         Corporation                          13           3
                        -----------------------------------------------------
                        Canada Pension Plan/Old Age
                         Security: Review Tribunals          400          40
                        -----------------------------------------------------
                        Canada Pension Plan: Pensions
                         Appeals Board                        12           2
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Indian and          First Nations Financial
     Northern Affairs    Management Board                     12           2
     Canada             -----------------------------------------------------
                        First Nations Statistical Institute   15           2
                        -----------------------------------------------------
                        National Aboriginal Economic
                         Development Board                    20           7
                        -----------------------------------------------------
                        Northern Flood Agreement               1           1
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Industry Canada     Business Development Bank of Canada   15           2
                        -----------------------------------------------------
                        Canada Foundation for Innovation       7           1
                        -----------------------------------------------------
                        Canadian Space Agency                  2           1
                        -----------------------------------------------------
                        Canadian Tourism Commission           25          14
                        -----------------------------------------------------
                        National Research Council of Canada   22           3
                        -----------------------------------------------------
                        Natural Sciences and Engineering
                         Research Council                     22           3
                        -----------------------------------------------------
                        Social Sciences and Humanities
                         Research Council                     22           3
                        -----------------------------------------------------
                        Space Advisory Board                  19          19
                        -----------------------------------------------------
                        Standards Council of Canada           13           2
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    International Trade Export Development Canada             15           2
                        -----------------------------------------------------
                        NAFTA Secretariat, Canadian Section    1           1
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Labour              Canadian Centre for Occupational
                         Health and Safety                    41          18
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    National Defence    Military Police Complaints
                         Commission                            7           2
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Natural Resources   Alberta - British Columbia Boundary
     Canada              Commission                            1           1
                        -----------------------------------------------------
                        Alberta - Northwest Territories
                         Boundary Commission                   1           1
                        -----------------------------------------------------
                        British Columbia - Yukon -
                         Northwest Territories Boundary
                         Commission                            1           1
                        -----------------------------------------------------
                        Cape Breton Development Corporation    7           7
                        -----------------------------------------------------
                        Energy Supplies Allocation Board       1           1
                        -----------------------------------------------------
                        Manitoba - Saskatchewan Boundary
                         Commission                            1           1
                        -----------------------------------------------------
                        Saskatchewan - Northwest Territories
                         Boundary Commission                   1           1
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Transport,          Intercolonial and P.E.I. Railways
     Infrastructure      Employees Provident Fund              1           1
     and Communities    -----------------------------------------------------
                        Marine Atlantic Inc.                  15           5
                        -----------------------------------------------------
                        Parc Downsview Park Inc.              13           4
                        -----------------------------------------------------
                        Via Rail Canada Inc.                  17           4
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Treasury Board      Canada School of Public Service       15           3
     of Canada          -----------------------------------------------------
     Secretariat        Public Sector Pension Investment
                         Board                                12           1
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

1) I always thought “unveiling” was a term better used for art shows, new models of cars or a line of clothing… but this?

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