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X predictions for MMXI

I. Ottawa City Council’s love-in with one another will end when the ATU threatens to strike in February. The Council is split between turning the whole transit system over to Blue Line taxi… and eliminating buses completely to replace them with red dirigibles piloted by OCDSB Trustees.

II. While meeting with Mayor Watson in March, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford inexplicably chugs a fifth of rye on camera, kicks the Watson in the shins and then seizes him in a headlock until Mayor Watson passes out. Ottawa City Council promptly declares Ottawa a “No Ford” zone which Don Cherry immediately decries as unpatriotic and an affront to the troops.

III. Also in March, Don Cherry will finally lose his job on HNIC after going berzerk – live and on camera – on the head of a CBC cameraman who happened to have a peace sign button pinned to his shirt.

PM Stephen Harper appoints Cherry to the Senate the very next day.

The next week, the Senate passes a dress code motion that prohibits loud and tacky attire in the Red Chamber. Cherry immediately decries this as unpatriotic and an affront to the troops.

IV. Stephen Harper will NOT be caught on YouTube doing hits from a bong.

Laureen, however, will be. The clip goes viral. The Prime Minister is informed that “viral” means a lot of people are viewing it. He is livid, blames Igantieff, then then drags a piano onto Sparks Street. Astounded tourists and pedestrians are treated to the sight of the prime Minister of Canada belting out Piano Man. In his pajamas. With his arm around Senator Cherry.

V. In the midst of an August election campaign forced by the Opposition, Laureen Harper joins Twitter under the pseudonym Lady LaLa. Under the influence of said substances in said bong, she begins a series of “tell-all” Tweets that bring about the resignations of 8 cabinet members. The media quickly dubs the Tweets HarpiLeaks.

VI. Julian Assange is cleared of all misdeeds and buys the rights to HarpiLeaks for an undisclosed sum. The following Friday, Assange is gunned down while attending an I/T security conference in Kitchener, Ontario. Rumours abound on the Hill that Harper himself ordered the hit. John Baird can not be reached.

VII. While on vacation in Ireland, ex Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams calls CBC News to disclose that John Baird showed up at his door raving about being framed by that bastard Flanagan. Somewhat surprisingly, Williams is hailed as a hero by a nation desperately in need of one.

VIII. In spite of HarpiLeaks, PLUS a leader gone ga-ga, PLUS an Interpol investigation of the Harper Cabinet involvement in the Assanage assassination PLUS a late campaign revelation that former GG Michaëlle Jean was blackmailed into allowing prorogation (the details of which will be revealed in MMXII)… the CPC STILL wins another minority government, losing 3 seats to the Bloq. Voter turnout is 12%.

IX. McGuinty wins another majority after receiving the blessing from the now national hero, Danny Williams. Voter turnout is 89%.

X. In November, Blue Line is awarded the City transit contract and the drivers immediately go on strike.

They are replaced by red dirgibles piloted by OCDSB Trustees that carry on the routes above the Transitway until they are replaced by the newly acquired F-35s – whose pilots were bored with chasing Russian turbo-props, weather balloons and Danish biplanes.

And then they strike after being forced to call out the stops.

Rob Ford states that this would have never happened in Toronto.

Senator Cherry immediately decries all of this as unpatriotic and an affront to the troops.

And Mayor Watson calls Larry to ask if he wants his old job back.

Larry declines.

Happy 2012!


2010 – the year that was…

It is time for my end of the year / beginning of the year summary post about the YEAR THAT WAS…

In January, I blabbed on a lot about Harper’s prorogation of Parliament. And yeah, yeah, yeah – it was perfectly legal… but so are coalition governments…

But the story that touched me the deepest – and still does – was the Haitian earthquake. And from the news reports coming out of this impoverished nation, things have not improved a great deal a year later. I don’t think that the big players on the world stage, as global citizens with global responsibilities, have stepped up to the plate as much as they should have .

Hopefully, 2011 will see some improvements.

February brought the Great Onion Ring versus Harper popularity contest! Had some fun with that! But it also brought the Olympics to Vancouver. And while Canada did well in terms of the number of medals won by our athletes, I still question the purpose of such an extravaganza in terms of how $3 billion could have been put to better use. The Squid Dude put it well when he said:

This is a back-of-the-napkin calculation, but I think that $3 billion would allow the government to replace every car and truck over the age of 5 or 7 years for every person who has one in Canada.  This would boost the auto industry, boost the economy, and clean up the air.  Every junker could be taken off the road.

And that was reason #7 of 13.

March, March, March… it’s usually a month where I’m in a funk from a mood point of view – and the 2010 edition was no different. I especially liked this post that I scribbled that wasn’t about much else aside from bitchin’ and complainin’.

The end of the month was all about my second visit to Beijing – and it looks as if I’ll be back there in April 2011.

April 2010 saw the great Icelandic volcano that halted trans-Atlantic and European air travel for weeks. It was also the month when I chose to rant about my second fave rantable subject – WalMart. I like ranting on the Evil Empire – and it’s almost guaranteed that I’ll do it again in 2011.

Oh, and that oil rig went kablooey in the Gulf of Mexico… which segues into..

May was a time when we were hearing about the environmental catastrophe that was unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico. Negligence. Neglect. Lack of regulation. George W. Bush. All came together in a massive perfect storm to create the BP disaster.

June was the month of the Great Ottawa Earthquake! OK, it would have been barely a shudder for someone from California, but it caused quite a ruckus around these parts.

It was also the month where Canada saw the police-state-like actions at the Gee-Score Summit in Toronto. Forget about the fake lakes and the political posturing for a moment and think about these over the top heavy handed tactics that were used against what was largely a peaceful set of protests.

Besides, why do we need these expensive photo ops at all? Can’t the world leaders teleconference? Or hold the meetings on an island somewhere where security would be less of a concern? But nope – not gonna happen because they are indeed just photo ops.

June was also a time when I finally got completely disgusted by Don Cherry – and I thought that the limits to my disgust had been reached… until later in the year when he spoke at Rob Ford’s (again – welcome Toronto to Ottawa of 2006!) induction as the mayor of Hogtown. Please, PLEASE make 2011 the year that his tacky, bigoted white ass is shown the door!

Upon looking at my posts from July, I see that I was all over the map from a subject matter point of view… though a mid-summer anti-ReformCon trend was clearly there. Lot of ruckus in Canada about issues that would normally not be headline inducing, but rather more coma-inducing… big oopsies courtesy of the communication plebs at the PMO!

I did like this particular missive that I scribbled that month and still laugh a bit to myself upon a re-read.

The dog days of August kicked in with a number of posts focussig on some specific Harperites. Stockwell Day was the target of a couple of these.

You know, as much as I hate to say it, I hope bozos like Day, Polievre, Baird and Toews stick around for a while! Canadian bloggers would have much less to write about if they were ever defeated or abandoned politics!

The latter part of the month was the point where I went into full municipal governance mode… and have stayed on this track ever since.

To expand a bit – I take pleasure in writing about local politics and local issues – especially those that impact education in the City. The local levels of decision-making is what touches each of us the most in our day to day lives and we should pay close attention to who are the players managing this ship.

And I also enjoy learning more about the strengths and weaknesses in this province’s systems of education. Hey, I have three children – two of whom will be in the “system” for a long time to come… so why wouldn’t I take an interest?

September and October was all about the municipal elections and my run at a School Board seat. And while I don’t at all regret running and really learned a lot about our system of public education the campaign was quite tiring for me and my family.  However, I am well aware that if I were to run again – and be successful – that the job of the Trustee would be many, many more times taxing on the ol’ endurance thing than a simple campaign.

Trustees do much, are paid little and ask for ziltch in return. Even if you do not agree with them all of the time – please respect them.

November saw little activity on my blog except for my accounts of the second trip of the year to Beijing.

There was nothing remarkable about December. The WikiLeaks controversery carries on and more and more government are getting pissed at Julien Assnage. And no, I don’t think that the guy is some sort of über folk hero, but I do think that this has been a wake-up call for governments everywhere about the way that they manage and guard information.

It was also the month where the winners of the October municipal elections took their seats and were appointed to Committees. The OCDSB has taken a bit of a leftward veer and Ottawa City Council – with all of the new faces – is still in the honeymoon stage… but that may end soon if the ATU again starts to worry folks about job actions.

I haven’t covered everything in this post. Chilean miners. The World Cup (and those damned vuvuzelas!). Wacky weather in much of the world.

And I won’t even get started on the purchase of those fancy-schmancy fighter jets that the Harperites think we need in order to defend ourselves from the Commie threat… Nope. Won’t go there. My old buddy Mike would just get himself worked up again 🙂

But it was indeed a busy year! And one with lots of fodder for my keyboard.

Happy 2011 everyone! I hope to keep you entertained again over the next 12 months and wish all health, happiness and wisdom!


Labour settlements – as they should be

Breaking news out of Ottawa this morning that the Via Rail strike is over almost as soon as it started. Both sides have agreed to a mediated settlement and service will be back on “track” starting today.

IMO, the engineers really did not have a choice but strike as they had been without a contract for 2 1/2 years. And the tactic worked – as we can see this morning. Contrast this to the protracted and bitter OC Transpo strike a few months ago where neither side was willing to give an inch. Instead of reaching a sane and mature agreement that would not consist of fighting a battle on the backs of riders, both the ATU and the City of Ottawa decided instead to behave like two kids in a sandbox fighting over a toy bulldozer.

Congrats to both the Union and Via Rail for showing us how labour relations should be carried on.

I wonder if the City of Toronto and their municipal workers are paying attention?

One sidebar to this: Canadian Press and broke this story on their websites well over three hours before the two so-called “major” media outlets ( and… cutbacks in action, folks.


Return of the buses

The phasing in – according to the Citizen:

No word on dates… but I’m guessing we’ll see the O-Train and the 80 & 90 series routes back as early as late next week. Here’s hopin’!

OC Transpo has a tentative plan for restoring transit service as quickly as possible, but a return to full service will take some time. Mechanics are working to bring all the buses back, but vehicles that haven’t had significant maintenance in more than 50 days can’t all be put on the roads immediately.

This is OC Transpo’s tentative plan for which routes will be back first.


Will operate during their regularly scheduled day, including rush hours:

• O-Train

• All school routes, numbered in the 600s

• Rapid transit routes 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 101, 102 and 106

• Major routes 2, 7, 12, 14, 85, 86 and 118

• Peak employment route 105

• Van route 123

• Early morning routes 824, 825, 830, 835, 837, and 873

Will operate evenings and mid-day only, outside of rush hours:

• Routes 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 16, 18, 87, 111, 112, 114, 115, 116 and 117

• Local black routes numbered 121 through 178

Will not operate immediately:

• Green express and rural express routes

• Red rush hour routes other than 102 and 105

Saturday & Sunday

All routes that normally run on weekends will operate at full service.


A letter to Jack Layton

I encourage everyone to send a copy of this (or modified if you don’t really admire the guy or the NDP) to :

Hi Mr. Layton:

As much as I admire much of what you and what your party has done for all Canadians in challenging the current Government on a number of issues, I do hope that you will put partisanship aside and support the Government (yes, that leaves a bad taste in my mouth) in supporting back to work legislation to end the Ottawa transit strike.
This disruption has reached a point where intransigence is prevailing over cooperation and ego over conciliation.
I know it is generally not the policy of the NDP to support this type of  legislation, but it is my hope that you and your party will think about how the public transit users in this community have suffered over the past 50+ days.

Thank you and good luck this year!

John Marshall


Optimism all ’round

Just saw this comment on the story about the City changing its bargaining position (whatever that may mean).

Go Larry Go – The city is behind you all the way (although you may not know it) and we support you and the city in not letting the OC transpo workers and their union enslave us to their demands. Spring is coming, commuting will be a bit easier, and we can keep them (the union sheep) on KD as long as necessary.

Eh? Spring is coming? In Ottawa? Isn’t it the 25th of January?


I think the poster is either the most optimistic soul in the NCR, or he or she has spent way too many hours in the -30 weather sans chapeau.


It’s still not over.

I’m too nauseated to scribe any insightful witticisms.

Both sides are juvenile, spoiled, egotistic assholes.



City Council proves to be as stubborn as the ATU! Yay team!

Ottawa’s “embattled” City Council met into the wee hours of the night discussing the ATU’s latest proposal. Undoubtedly putting back urns of coffee, chain-smoking cigarettes and ordering in pizza from Lorenzo’s..

OK – they likely weren’t smoking.

Which they essentially turned down by presenting a , uh, counter-offer.

And yes, I fully expect the union to turn down the counteroffer and we’ll be no further ahead – leaving Canada’s Capital City once again without transit for the foreseeable future.

This reminds me of a game that little boys play when they stand side by side to see who has the most, um, “distance” – if you get my drift. It is a game better appreciated in the winter where the lengths of  the yellow tracks in the snow are easier to compare.

So what next? Like I said, I don’t expect the ATU to go along with the City – but I hope I end up eating my words.

But remember – never eat yellow snow, eh?


The transit strike may end – IF the City agrees

The Citizen is reporting that the end of the strike may be near if a proposal put forth by the ATU is accepted.

Under the proposal, the issue of work scheduling that led to the strike would be put into a separate mediation-like process where both sides would state their goals and try to come up with an agreed-upon solution over a period of time.

The rest of the outstanding issues — wages, accounting for sick days and contracting-out language — would go to binding arbitration, Mr. Graham said. He added that if the city agrees, the union’s leaders will consult their members to get approval to proceed and the strike could be over almost immediately.

“We could have the vote in hours,” he said.

City officials are getting together a respons to the union’s proposal. Agreeing would require the municipality to back down on principles it has maintained since the outset of the strike and that city council reaffirmed unanimously at a council meeting Thursday.

The city maintains that the scheduling issue, because it has financial implications, must be part of an overall agreement, and that all aspects of any agreement must fit within the total financial envelope represented in its last offer, which was rejected by the union.

For the city to agree to the union’s proposal to end the strike, the city would have to abandon these two principles and take its chances in arbitration and in the mediation-like process to deal with scheduling.

It would likely require a city council meeting to approve agreeing to the union’s offer to end the strike.

Put an end to this nonsense. Call your Councillor and tell them that!


OK, OC – what next?

In the aftermath of yesterday’s vote, there are plenty of opinions about the next steps in this damaging and increasingly tedious labour fight. Some, like Jenny on Facebook, suggest a practical approach

Get your neighbour to write or call or email the Canadian Industrial Relations Board to mandate OC Transpo back to work! This is a limited time opportunity for us the public to get our voices heard. The city and the union gets to speak their message on the radio and tv constantly. This is the public’s chance to tell OUR stories and OUR side of the argument, but its only until 5pm TODAY. Go to by 5pm TODAY! Tell them why the OC Transpo strike affects YOUR health or safety.

Or Monel – also practical – but edgy.

I don’t support this retarded strike, but we’ve been without buses for 30 days. Its time the city starts using its head and takes scheduling off the table to get these guys back to work. Once they’re back at work start the process to turn OC Transpo into an essential service so these suckers cannot strike again. Lose the battle, win the war, and fire Larry O’ Brian for this disaster :/

And sometimes, just angry folks who just want to fire all of the drivers.

Management dictates the schedules in most shift jobs, including at jobs where employees get paid no where near the amount these drivers get. If you told your boss that you don’t want to work those shifts and that you want to work on these days only, you wouldn’t have a job for long! 34,000 people lost their jobs last month and you people are complaining about schedules when you’re getting a 7.25% raise, $2,500 bonus and have job security! The word greedy doesn’t even begin to describe you people!

On principle, I completely agree with those, like the Squidman, who say that the City should hold the line firmly and wait it out.. Yet, this situation has reached a point where I believe principles may have to be shelved for the moment. I am inconvenienced by this travesty… but that’s all… inconvenienced. But there are those who are losing their livelihoods, putting to risk their or their children’s safety or are suffering from a health perspective during this strike.

It is time for both sides to take a deep breathe and focus on doing what is necessary to get the buses rolling. I am not saying that the City should roll over, close their eyes and think of the Queen… but I am saying that for the greater good of many folks in this City, they do need to give a little bit.