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March, 2013:

Kim Jong-un…

… reading things…

Probably written in English.



Say what?

The Canadian government is OK with drought and all of the human and environmental tragedies that go with it?


What is Stevo thinking? We can get a higher price for water exports to countries with drought conditions? Admitting that drought is a problem might be seen as an admission that climate change is real?

Man, this government is embarrassing me, as a Canadian, more and more each day.


Kim Jong-un….

… looking at things.

Far away things.



Hyper-centralised control freaks…

… rule the PMO and the CPC caucus… Including the Chief Freak with the initials “SH”.

Two cases in point:

There is the recent decision by the Minister for nEnvironment Canada (aka, like all Ministers, lackeys for the 20-something’s in the PMO), to demand that The National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy (NRTEE), due to shut its doors this week, not to upload any more information on its site and indeed, turn over all information, papers, etc., to the environment department to be *ahem* disposed as it sees fit.

Yes, it is true that NRTEE, although it was an arms-length body, was still a public body using public funds and is thus accountable to the government of the day. No doubt. But the PMO could have gone about this quietly and simply revoked access to all things that have a public face at the soon to be former Agency.

But no, in the supercharged partisan environment at the PMO, there must be zero risk that some rogue group – and certainly some bitter folks – cast any negativity on the government messaging. It is the reason why NRTEE was nuked in the first place; too many facts were published that called into doubt specific government stances on issues like global warming and the tar sands.

Case in point number two.

And this one might have long term consequences for the Harperites…

Backbench CPC MPs are becoming vocal about the lack of independence and interference by PMO staffers in the content of their S.O. 30 speaking time.
It seems like some of these pols with decades of political and life experience don’t like to be overlorded by a nerdy 23 yr old who happens to be the kid of some large party donor.

Go figger.

It has come to a head with a certain backbencher wanting to introduce a non binding Motion to condemn the use of sex specific abortion… just a Motion.
But, in order to stay on the message that the Cons are having naught to do with the abortion debate, the MP was told, 15 minutes before his speaking time, that he wouldn’t be allowed to speak.

This is reportedly happening elsewhere in the CPC caucus and some are not taking lying down, claiming that “gee, isn’t it our job to represent and communicate on behalf of their constituents, and not so much to simply keep the PMO happy”?

Go figger. Again.

Yeah, of course the other parties whip their MPs on votes etc., and that is a part of the party system. But taking the control to the extreme as has the CPC goes further than that and works against the principles of the Westminster parliamentary system.

It doesn’t matter whether or not one supports the intents of these motion s or member’s statements. But they do have the right to exercise what little influence they have.

Nevertheless, some of these bad boys will be read a certain “act”, im





In Cuba…


Friday miscellanées

Budget, Hell, Bobby Orr and Cuban edition…

So, another Con Budget and more spouting on about the so-called “Economic Action Plan”…

Wake up people! The plan is over! Done. Finito! So why the frick are we still hearing about it and why the frick are millions of dollars still being spent on this CPC propaganda horse???

Susan Delacourt summarises this travesty up quite nicely here.

Seriously Harper? Seriously???

On average, this government has exceeded their budgeted ad spending by 37% per year. At a time where departments have their budgets cut, where staff are still being released, and where fiscal prudence is the supposed buzzword of the day, this government continually feels the need to try and convince you that they are doing a terrific job, and are spending your money to do it – not always in the most ethical fashion either if we recall back to those big Conservative logo cheques being used as stage props when funds from the Economic Action Plan were released. And really, do we still need to keep hearing about the Action Plan? The initial cost of those ads were over $21 Million, and this year again the government is spending a further $16 Million on advertizing the Plan.


I don’t normally pay a lot of attention to the emails that I receive from my union (CAPE), but this one caught my eye…. pretty much nails my sentiments about the Budget as well.

Another Another Unimaginative Budget Designed to Pave the Way for the 2015 ElectionOttawa, March 21, 2013 – The Canadian government today tabled a budget so devoid of innovative measures and oblivious to the economic challenges facing Canada that we can only wonder what planet the Minister of Finance is living on. We note, however, that the Minister did announce the government’s intention to review its human resources management methods and the total compensation of its employees, and we wish to remind the Minister that any changes in terms and conditions of employment must be negotiated at the bargaining table with the unions representing federal employees.


Holy shit. When I die, and if I’m wrong (I’m not, but let’s imagine) about the whole heaven and hell shtick  this is what I’ll be looking at upon entering my new home for eternity (yeah, that would be 666 Main Street, Hell, my man!)


 BTW, why do pols – Cons and others – have this annoying desire to stick their thumbs up at every opportunity?


Yeah, the fam and I went for a vacay in the land of Fidel. Had a blast. The sea, sun and cervesas were amazing. But the best part about Cuba is its people. I have seldom met nicer, warmer and proud people as the Cubans. They are very family-oriented, always smiling and helpful in spite of the fact that they live in a repressive state.

The totalitarianism will end eventually. I suspect that once Fidel dies and maybe his brother as well – then there will be some true reforms… and “opening up”, if you will. I wonder what will happen then? It could go two ways, I reckon. The country may indeed join the other western democracies, the US sanctions will end and all will transition quite nicely.

Or, it might not go so well if the military attempts to hold on to power and a civil war is parked.

For my Cuban friends, I hope it is the former.


Finally, #4 turned 65 this week. For this former Parry Sound boy, he was and is the greatest hockey player who has even played the Game.

And he’s a helluva class act too…

Happy birthday, Bobby!



Residential snow removal and safety…

Or, how those quick moving snowplows and snow blowers are a hazard to pedestrians and other vehicles.

Winter is winding down once again, and city crews are out clearing back snow banks to ensure that the storm drains are clear in order to mitigate against flooding. These crews take care. They have signs, flag guys, and they ensure that pedestrians and cars are top of mind.

And then there are the residential driveway clearing cowboys.

Shortly after each storm, the streets are filled with snow clearing equipment of every shape and size. But in urban residential areas, these are usually backhoes with snowblowers hooked up to their power take-off, or mini-kubotas with plows and blowers or just about any small sized vehicle. Their size allows them to fit between cars and navigate snow filled streets and lanes.

And they are quick. Real quick. The owners want them to be quick because the faster they can clear the lanes of their customers (who usually pay a contract price for the full winter before the first flake had fallen), the happier the customers will be and they’ll sign up again for the next year.

The problem lies in this need for speed. Most (not all) have little awareness of what is around them in the street. They are focused on clearing one driveway and moving on to the next as fast as possible. And this could have tragic consequences.

Two winters ago, I witnessed one of these cowboys smack right into the rear end of my neighbour’s car which was parked in the street. The operator simply wasn’t watching behind him. Luckily, no one was hurt – and the cowboy likely lost his job.

This winter I was pulling out of my driveway, took a good look both ways at the end, and pulled onto the street (a crescent that usually doesn’t see speeders), I look ahead and there is an orange speeding death bullet coming right at me, and not slowing down. He was doing about 50 klicks. I laid on the horn and the guy looks up from his phone just in time to hit the brakes. And he gives ME the finger.

So here’s a question. Aside from Highway Traffic Act provisions, does and municipality monitor or have bylaws that address the issue of snow clearing equipment safety? I doubt it because it would be very difficult to enforce, but I am curious.


Stompin’ Tom…

I sure my LEGIONS of readers (LOL!) have noticed that I haven’t been blogging with my same regularity as normal. Truth is that I really haven’t had anything that interesting to say and haven’t had the time lately.

But today, I would like to pay homage to a Canadian that was as symbolic of this country as the Rockies, the maple leaf, hockey, poutine, the CP railway, Saskatchewan grain elevators and the CN Tower.  He was a rough-around-the-edges kind of guy who used music to talk about how he saw Canada. Much like Gordon Lightfoot, Connors eschewed the glamour of the south to write and perform songs that would have almost no appeal anywhere else but in his homeland.

My earliest memories of his music were when I was a lad of maybe 9 years old. One of my parents friends named Frank (Mom, if you’re reading this, you’ll know who I’m talking about) had a penchant for Labatt 50 with Stompin’ Tom blaring out on the 8 Track. There was much talk of hockey and ski-doos and I remember growing bored quickly listening to the adults talk and laugh.

But Sudbury Saturday Night, Bud the Spud, The Hockey Song and all the rest… even though I wasn’t and never have been a fan of country-ish music, were fun to listen to.

And they still are.

Cheers, Mr. Connors, and thanks!