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March 29th, 2011:

ATTENTION! Federal party leaders!!! Yes! You!!!

Are any of you going to address the dire needs of Canada’s cities?

Once again, the mainstream media is correctly pointing out that Canada needs to address its urban infrastructure deficit – and it needs to happen NOW!

Main point of the article:

A national urban strategy must recognize the predominant role cities play in our economic growth. Rather than provide all municipalities with equal per capita shares, this long-term plan needs to have a greater strategic focus on Canada’s urban centres – the places that will provide the biggest boost to our economic growth. The priorities may differ across the country – from transportation infrastructure in Toronto to housing in Calgary – but the need for federal support extends from coast to coast.

I know that, the majority of the time, whenever someone to the right on the political spectrum hears the word national strategy”, they start running around in circles and flapping the arms while screaming “SOCIALISM”!!!” But this is different – and even the Harperites sort of recognised this in last week’s ill-fated budget where they announced intentions to make the gas tax contribution toward infrastructure permanent, while also pledging to help develop a new long-term infrastructure plan (what ever that means).

It remains to be seen if this will hold if the Harperites come back as a majority government… the über-right elements in the party will need placation… but it was a good intention, I suppose.

But as Calgary’s forward-thinking Mayor Nenshi has said in reference to the one liner in the Budget :

“It is sort of a weird thing to put into a budget -‘We’ll plan to make a plan,’ ” he said.

“It’s better than having no plan, but like I say: I would have liked to see some elements of what that plan might look like, even today.”

Flesh it out, Harper, Iggy and Jack. Tell us what such a strategy would look like!


Blog of the week – XUP

Although XUP herself has been on a self-imposed exile for the past several months (on an island called l’Île de la formation linguistique), this has been and continues to be one of my all time fave sites.

From the quirky to the outrageous to the heartfelt, her posts are always certain to evoke an emotion in the reader. Great authors can do this seemingly at will. Good authors can do this too – but with considerably more effort (I humbly consider myself as part of the latter category – but it can be hit or miss sometimes).

You know what a blog is? A blog is really just a collection of connected or not-so connected short stories. And like any good piece of writing, a well-assembled and displayed blog is technically well written, interesting to a wide audience, and, as noted above, infused with emotion engaging prose.

And this is XUP to a tee.

From this post extolling the glories of bacon (XUP is a vegetarian) to this – which is one of my faves since we both have daughters who are about the same age. She talks about her baby girl going on her “real first date”.  Here’s a taste:

And so began a (so far) 10-day battle over why I’m insisting on meeting this shy, handsome teenager who intends to drive my daughter off into the night in his own car versus why I’m always trying to ruin her life to make sure she’s miserable, alone and unhappy until the day she dies.

Why do I have to meet him?

  • Because I want to make sure he’s not a total and complete idiot and if he is, yes, I will call the whole date off. (OH MY GOD MOTHER!!!)
  • Because I want to quiz him on his driving qualifications.
  • Because I want him to know there is someone attached to this girl he’s taking out who will feed him his own testicles if he harms one hair on her head and/or doesn’t drive like he’s taking his brittle-boned great-grandmother on her first ever outing in an automobile.

Is this totally unreasonable of me? Isn’t this what parents do who don’t want to spend the entire evening of the date peering out the window with their finger on the 911 speed-dial button?

Or this short post entitled

Ottawa: The City That Fun Forgot

where she goes on about how awesomely nanny-ish we in National Capital Commission can be:

To ensure even less winter fun the National Capital Commission has also decided not to have the outdoor concert series during Winterlude this year because heating the stage will “cause damage to the environment”. They’re aiming for a carbon-neutral/fun-neutral Winterlude this year.

Isn’t that awesomely responsible of them?

Whatever XUP tackles, it is always with panache and more than a bit of an edge. I hope that, after her language training is complete, she returns to blogging. We miss her!

Check out her site – you’ll thank me for it!