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August, 2010:

Ottawa 10/25/2010 – Julia Ringma – College Ward 8

I see that Rick Chiarelli has announced he will be seeking re-election in College Ward.

This is too bad as it means that newcomer Julia Ringma has a rougher road ahead of her as she seeks this Council seat. It’s not impossible, but definitely more difficult.

But I truly believe that the events over the past few years (the OC Transpo strike, the thoroughly messed up and convoluted Lansdowne debate, underground tunnels, train garages, etc., etc.) have caused folks in this fine borough to rethink the strategy of re-electing incumbents year after year. So challengers may indeed have a shot at some seats.

Julia is one of those challengers and has some great ideas about the growth and expansion of our City and the importance of our libraries. As a planner, I do appreciate her planning insights (Jane Jacobs rocks!) and as a lover of literature, I applaud her stand on libraries.

While some on Council will always vote for unhindered and sprawling development while bowing at the shrines of Minto and the like and some may not consider our libraries as a core service, Julia would be different.

She is a new face with new ideas. And, like the OCDSB, the Ottawa City Council is also in need of new faces and new ideas.

If you live in College Ward 8, I hope you give her a chance to prove herself on October 25.


Ottawa elections

As much as I love to rail on the Harperites and their version of a Comedy of Errors, I’m going to shift the focus of the political part of this blog (um, OK, so it really is 95% political… as much as I like to write the odd “daddy-blogger” entry here and there) to the Ontario municipal races – especially here in Bytown. I’ll likely keep with the practice of scribbling my Friday Miscellany notes and will vent my anti-DeceptiCon rants in that space.

Why refocus? Because I was/am a student of local government and despair that this level of government – the level that is closest to the people who vote for them – is largely ignored and widely misunderstood. Voter turnouts for municipal elections are in the 40-55% range and this pitiful level of civic engagement shows little sign of improving any time soon.

I think it important to encourage a focus on local issues because these are what touch us directly. Our emergency services, schools, road maintenance and snow clearing, libraries and waste management are all the responsibility of our Council and School Boards. Decisions are taken by our local Council and School Boards on how our communities are planned, the protection of our natural environment, and where and our children are educated. Local decisions made by local people like you and I.

Local government is vital. It is in our backyards. And it is largely ignored. That is unfortunate.

So – just for old times sake, here is a candid shot I took of John Baird during last spring’s session of Parliament. I think he is making a point of order.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to make a point of order..."


Lying to Parliament is OK? To Congress, not so much…

OK. Can someone explain to me why our southern neighbour takes lying to legislative authorities so much more seriously than we do up here in the GW North?

Really. Former pitcher Roger Clemens could be in for some hard jail time if found guilty of lying to Congress about his alleged steroid use. Americans apparently put value on saying things under oath to elected officials.

Not so here in Canada. Here, a Minister of the Crown can go before a Parliamentary Committee, be asked point blank about certain conversations, lie about what transpired, be shown irrefutably to have lied, and suffer not a single consequence for his actions. What gives? Are Parliamentarians granted some kind of immunity while before a Committee that allows them to say whatever they damn well please?


So mixed martial “arts” are coming to Ontario – thanks to yet another reversal by the McGuinty government. This decision has been framed as a good-for-the-economy type of thing. Mayorlarry is looking forward to it!

What a bunch of b.s.

The Libs in Ontario are doing exactly what the Harperites have done in Ottawa- pander to the lowest common denominator in a pathetic attempt to buy votes.

These spectacles of sub-human testosterone spraying are a single step above Gladiator matches and should be censured everywhere. We don’t need our kids growing up thinking that acting out the fantasies of a Mad Max addict is appropriate behaviour in a civilized society.  I used to respect Dalton (he IS my MPP), but after this, and cowering to the religious right on the sex education changes AND fumbling, then backing off completely the perfectly fine Eco fees… well, the respect is gone. Poof!

Though I still hold a great deal of admiration for his brother David and hope that he one day takes the reins of the Federal Grit stagecoach.

The sacking of a couple of high level officials by the Reformatories shouldn’t surprise anyone.

OK – so the RCMP dude in charge of the Gun Registry wasn’t technically “sacked”, but he did suddenly need to go on language training right before delivering a report that praised rather than buried the value of the Gun Registry… not what the ReformCons want to hear…  whatta joke!

And now the Minister responsible for Veterans Affairs has pissed off a significant core of Con support…

Anyone that has read any of my posts before knows that I’m a major Peacenik, but J P Blackburn has dissed all vets by defending a compensation system that puts dollars and cents ahead of injured soldiers’ long term financial well-being.

While the treatment of Canada’s wounded should be improving with the climbing casualties from the decade-long deployment to Afghanistan, it has actually gotten worse in some respects.

Paul Franklin, who lost both legs in a January 2006 suicide bombing, was actually one of the lucky ones.

Back in Canada, he was offered a choice between the outgoing system for disability payments – $4,000 a month for the remainder of his life – or compensation under the new system, a $250,000 lump sum payment.

“I did the math real quick and $4,000 a month works out to $2 million if I live 40 more years,” he said. “It was a no-brainer.”

Michael Barnewell, 29, injured just 10 months later, never had Franklin’s easy choice.

“With a lump sum payment, the problem is that it’s not enough. You either try to use it now and then it’s gone so you don’t have it for the future, or you try to invest it for the future and what do you do now?” he said. “Under that old system, when you get those payments, you’re just taken care of. It’s just such security. It’s always there. It just comes.’’

But that security has been eroded by tight-fisted officials and a Conservative government that promised to honour the country’s soldiers and veterans but has left them feeling abandoned, Stogran said.

Stogran chose against an outright attack on his elected political masters, but did circulate a 2002 Canadian Alliance political pamphlet in which then-leader Stephen Harper promises to defend Canadian soldiers the way that they have defended the country.

Speaking in Mississauga, the prime minister sidestepped the strident criticism from Storgan in recent days and said the government is open to suggestions that could improve future programs.

But like other federal watchdogs who have either been fired or undermined by the government, the Tories may just bide their time until Stogran’s term expires in November and his pulpit evaporates.

Does this government have no shame? Even a Peacenik like me has heaps more respect for these guys than do the Harperites. There has been some attempt by the right to deflect the blame on to the public service staff and away from the politicians. But let me be clear – bureaucrats take their directions form the government of the day. And especially with the Soviet style of government practiced by the PMO, you can be damned sure that senior bureaucrats MUST do as told… and if they cannot do so, then resign with honour.


Tour de Lance – help if you can

Hi all:

I have never solicited funds for any cause whatsoever on this site, but that is ending now, and I hope you can help.

Cuz this is family.

Brian Millar is my wife’s cousin whose health has been nuked by cancer. The guy was living the life – his life – as a 20-something, when this merciless disease hit him. And hit him hard.

Chemo. Radiation. He’s been down all those roads and right now Brian is on a bit of a dip in that road. But it is one that we are all sure he will rise from.

Brian took this disease and said: “Look. I’m going to make this into something positive and raise a shitload of money so I can ride with Lance Armstrong in the name of cancer research.” Brave frickin’ dudes, both of them. He conquered testicular cancer a while back and has become a general leading the war against this horrific monster of a disease. And Brian is still kicking back at the sonofabitch.

So, here’s the “ask”. Please go to the site and decide if this is worth a few bucks or even just posting the link on your site. Colleen (the Resident Love Goddess) and I want to help and this is the best way I can right now.

Do what you can for Brian and his family. Because man, this is Hell for them. And if they can raise enough funds, maybe their Hell will be a little less painful.



Link to donate.


Friday the 13th miscellany…

The Cons ran a focus group to get some ideas about the best ways to divert the public attention away from all of the bone-headed moves they have made lately.

So here are the Top Five ideas they came up with.

1. Hire a cargo ship. Hire a couple hundred Tamil refugees. Put said refugees on said ship. Have said ship steam toward the western coastline, this precipitating an immigration crisis that only the CPC is capable of dealing with.

2.Turn the short form into a longer form. Thus shortening the long form that is now shorter but not really because the questions on the long form will still be asked on the long form as well as the short form… creating a medium form.

3. Invent one of those instant memory loss devices. Just like the one used in Men in Black. Then stream it into every computer and TV in the country and hope for the best.

4. Take the summer as a mulligan and ask the GG for a do-over.

5. To capitalize on the both the popularity of vampires and of hockey, have His Glorious Leader avoid sunlight for a month and coach a hockey game with a bombastic bigot Don Cherry.  DONE!.

Other stuff…

OC Transpo, OC Transpo, OC Transpo... up to your old tricks again, I see. 6:30 buses coming at 6:48… 200 m ahead of the 6:51 bus. The 7:50 #86 simply forgets to show. And two west-bound buses from the ‘burbs swoosh through Hurdman like there was a pack of wild hamsters ready to swarm any unsuspecting bus that happened to stop.

Heading to China again in the fall… tickets have been booked. But there is no word whether it will be the real or imaginary China. Or whether we will be travelling on a imaginary airplane that takes off from an imaginary airport with imaginary crew on board. I’d better call Stock to get his take on thing… always good for a laugh!

Did you know that the fear of Friday the 13th is called friggatriskaidekaphobia, frigga meaning “Friday”?


OC Transpo mechanics are hot under the collar…

… and scheduling talks heat up…

Better than another strike though…


The Robot’s health – again…

Further to my post yesterday about the state of Harper’s health, it seems though I am not the only one who thinks that he may be spending more time lunging a windmills than he should be. Inventing his own reality of the day seems to be the direction that Steve and his henchmen have taken.

I mean, how else can you explain a number of recent decisions taken by the CPC government? A lot of them simply did not and do not make sense and have seemingly little value from a political vantage point. Harper et al have been masters at seeing and exploiting  political advantages. Even I admit this.

But suppose for a second that something is seriously wrong with the PM. I am NOT wishing this on the guy – as much as I cannot stand him or his policies, I would never wish illness on him. He is a fellow father after all. Yet, if he is ill and hiding it from all of his caucus, some of the back-benchers must be whispering amongst themselves by now about how the Boss just does not make bad judgments when it comes to strictly political decisions. It’s out of character and damn, he looks like shit. Is he OK?

Even if his inner sanctum is “in the know” about there being something amiss, they sure as hell aren’t going to say anything about it. These guys know that when the lead wolf in the pack is hurt, the rest of the alphas sense this and take advantage. Some of the alphas MacKay, Prentice, Flaherty want to be the lead wolf and would love to see an ill Harper try and run an election campaign this fall when he is not up to it and the party itself is tanking in the polls. After all, anything less than a majority would mean that the ol’ Dead eyes would be left to buzzards.

But the rest of the wolves should not get sick to the Vested One – even if he is sick, he is still dangerous.

Maybe I’m seeing things that aren’t there. But what if I’m correct?

This will bear watching.


Why does Stevo look like crap?

Judge for yourself.

Doesn’t he look a lot paler to you? Like he has had his blood sucked clear out of his system by his evil, undead masters?

Man, doesn’t he get into the sun at all in the summer? He could grow mushrooms under that chin!

And what’s with those specs? They look kind of intrusive to me… maybe x-ray lenses looking into homes of honest Canadians and counting how many rolls of toilet paper we all have in our vanities!

Just sayin’….


Ah… some comic relief that isn’t named Doris…

Check out this guy, Basil Marceaux, who is the GOP candidate running for the Governors post in Tennessee.

What I don’t get is:

  • How did this guy get through the nomination process? Is the gubernatorial race for the GOP that much of a lost cause?
  • Why, oh why didn’t someone tell him that doing his video campaign ad while drunk was a bad idea.

Maybe my cousin Chris who lives in Tennessee (state slogan – America at Its Best) can shed some light… Chris?