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Friday miscellany…

Encyclopaedia Britannica edition…

Bye-bye to that venerable institution.

I remember when my parents bought a set from a door-to-door salesman. I went through every single page! But the truth is that research tools have come a long way and we shouldn’t mourn the death of the candle because of the invention of the light bulb… as Ayn Rand might say.

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The National Capital Commission – abolish it. Soon. It’s an antiquated, short-sighted and undemocratic body that is in charge of BILLIONS of dollars worth of properties in the NCR. Its time has passed. Disperse the lands to the City.

OTTAWA — Nicholas Hoare, owner of the independent Canadian bookstore chain of the same name, said he was forced to close his Ottawa store when the National Capital Commission tried to hike his yearly rent to nearly $145,000.

The NCC sent Hoare a notice in mid-December stating his new lease agreement would increase the $84,000 rent of his Sussex Dr. store by 72 per cent. The letter also said the rent would continue to increase incrementally each year for the duration of the five-year lease agreement.

“We got this registered letter out of the blue from these clowns telling us in no uncertain terms that this was final and not negotiable,” he said.

Hoare said Matthew Mitchell, the manager of the Ottawa store, tried to contact the NCC and negotiate the lease but he received no response.

“Nobody would phone him back. It’s like dealing with a brick wall,” he said. “There was no discussion, no argument, no negotiation.”

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Hmmmm… RoboGate seems to be unfolding a bit more clearly now. I wonder how the Cons are going to spin this? Again, I’m not going to jump to conclusions until the investigations have concluded.

But still…

An investigation by CBC News has turned up voters all over Canada who say the reason they got robocalls sending them to fictitious polling stations was that they’d revealed they would not vote Conservative.

Although the Conservative Party has denied any involvement in the calls, these new details suggest that the misleading calls relied on data gathered by, and carefully guarded by, the Conservative Party.

Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand announced Thursday that he now has “over 700 Canadians from across the country” who allege “specific circumstances” of fraudulent or improper calls. CBC News examined 31 ridings where such calls have been reported and found a pattern: those receiving those calls also had previous calls from the Conservative Party to find out which way they would vote.

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For St. Patrick’s Day:

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Still amazed that, even though my Leafs are struggling right now, Sens fans are still obsessed more with the Blue and White rather than their own damned team! I will NEVER understand these people! They are in dire need of therapy!

RT @redscarfunion: Who’s jacked up for a big weekend? #FirstPlaceFriday #Sens #Sens20 #ottawa #ottcity #habssuck #leafssuck #suckitphaneuf

I’ve noted this before… I guess some things never change.

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There’s a group here in Ottawa that is trying to get the municipal ban on backyard hen-raising lifted. Specifically:

Objective: To influence revision of City of Ottawa bylaw #2003-77, to allow hens in urban and rural residential back yards.

I personally don’t have a problem with the idea of hens (no roosters) in the backyard. Other cities have done it and there seems to be an answer to every question posed about health (human and chicken), noise, vermin, etc. Plus, I think it important that we, as a society, begin to re-assess how our properties are used; food gardens and small-scale poultry operations, or, as a colleague has put it, non-productive domestic crops (i.e., lawns).

I have converted a nice proportion of what little backyard I have into plots for my tomatoes, beans, raspberries, horseradishes, beets and cucumbers. The food is GREAT and fresh as can be, plus, my youngest daughter has taken a keen interest in our wee little “farm”. And this is good as it is teaching her the value of work plus teaches her that food doesn’t just magically appear on store shelves.

So I say, hell, why not! The City might at least direct staff to take a closer look at this issue rather than dismiss it off the cuff like this:

“First and foremost, sincere apologies for our slow response to your message. By-law and Regulatory Services does not support the introduction of urban chickens for many reasons you refuted in your communication (noise, odour, attraction of predatory animals such as coyotes, potential for the spread of zoonotic diseases). The City is not presently resourced to issue permits nor respond to complaints concerning chickens – including chickens at large – and the Ottawa Humane Society (who provides sheltering services for the City) would have to be consulted on whether or not they have capacity to expand to shelter stray chickens and at what cost. We further question what becomes of chickens who grow too old to continue to produce eggs.

You speak of “responsible” hen ownership. Our concern would be the residents who do not take this responsibility seriously.

I appreciate and respect your submission and will retain it for future reference.

Linda Anderson
Chief
By-law and Regulatory Services”

If you are on Facebook, check them out here.

 

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I don’t know…

.. how many of you have seen the cheesy ad (oops… NOT an ad… just a video, according to the NCC) made by that reactionary of all reactionary groups in Canada – the so-called National Citizen’s Coalition. I don’t think it is getting a lot of air time. And it IS really cheesy. And the NCC has disabled comments on the vid. Chickenshits…

And no, I’m not posting it on my blog. The stench would sully my else-wise nice and tidy venting space that I call Trashy’s World.

It’s about Grit interim (in name only) leader, Bob Rae. The vid goes on about how Rae ruined Ontario when he was Premier, spent like a madman, ate babies… that sort of thing. This is an ad for the Cons without the blue and white logo, pure and simple. And it’s an attack ad. The CPC really, really likes these ads because it suits their bumper sticker politics of fear: keep the message simple and portray the other guy as the baby-eating, spend-happy demon who will jack taxes up by 10,000%

And, as we saw in the last election, these ads work. And while the CPC themselves are not putting these ads out at the moment, their minions at the National Conservative Cabal are more than happy to oblige.

Now, there are two things I have to say about this.

  1. The vid is inaccurate about the timing of Rae’s ascension to the Premiership. It claims that the NDP pulled Ontario into a recession. This is factually wrong. The recession was already well under way when Rae took office. Look it up.
  2. Some Grits are whining about this video not being “fair” and that rules around third-party advertising should be tightened. And they are probably right. But instead of crying about how mean the Cons and the Nut-bar Convention of Cucumberheads are being, they need to strike back. And fast! They have some momentum coming out of the Ottawa Convention and they need to maintain it.I do hate negative ads and how they lower the level of political debate into the sewers. But they do serve to package the candidate in a negative light before the candidate has the opportunity to do so themselves. The CPC did it to Dion and masterfully to Iggy. And this must be stopped in the tracks. ASAP.

So, my fellow progressives and Liberals, quit whining about the rules and fight fire with fire. It pains me to write that, but it must be done.

Now.

Go.

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Frank Graves spoke as he should – honestly!

The latest EKOS poll results are out and surprise, surprise, the ReformCons are hovering around the 32% range…

Sigh. Watching the movement in the latest polls is becoming about as predictable as a Mike Weir Saturday melt-down…

But wait! There is something interesting coming out of EKOS! Franks Graves – President of EKOS research – is apologising for some remarks he made to G&M columnist Lawrence Martin on what advice he would have for the Grits in their ongoing (and hopelessly slow) attempt to overtake the Harperites.

In case you missed it, this is what he said:

In his advice, Mr. Graves could hardly have been more blunt. “I told them that they should invoke a culture war. Cosmopolitanism versus parochialism, secularism versus moralism, Obama versus Palin, tolerance versus racism and homophobia, democracy versus autocracy. If the cranky old men in Alberta don’t like it, too bad. Go south and vote for Palin.”

He apologized (though somewhat lamely) by saying :

[Ottawa – April 23, 2010] – In the course of an interview with the Globe and Mail columnist, Lawrence Martin, this week, I made some suggestions for a strategic course that presented itself to the federal Liberal Party.
My intention was to foment debate. However, I used incendiary language that had not been carefully enough considered. I recognize now that my stark language was understandably offensive to some Canadians.
In that light, I wish to retract my remarks and unreservedly apologize for making them.

True. In his position it is extremely important to appear unbiased – bias can cast aspersions about the neutrality and validity of the data that his firm collects. But general advice from a pollster is hardly new or rare. One often sees folks like Nick Nanos, Allan Gregg or Michael Adams on line or on TV or radio opining on what the Grits/CPC/NDP should do to better their fortunes. Lawrence Martin notes this as well.

No, it wasn’t the fact that advice was given, rather:

  1. The words used in Graves’ opinion were stark and honest.
  2. By being the CBC pollster, Mr. Graves has let himself vulnerable to screams of liberal media-bias.

On the first point, well, duh! Of course the best way to build support for the centre-leftward side of the spectrum is to further widen the nasty schism that exists between the right and the left in this country. And I agree with that. If the sole goal is to gain political ground then exposing the difference – be they cosmopolitanism versus parochialism, secularism versus moralism, Obama versus Palin, tolerance versus racism and homophobia, democracy versus autocracy will do the trick. These are real differences between rural and urban and east and west and taking a stand on one side of the line is a way to cement what you stand for. The Harperites sure havn’t had a problem doing so and who cares if you alienate a few yahoos in tar sand land, right?

While I agree this is an approach that may be used to pump up the numbers, I am worried that the bitterness and anger that would result in such an active pursuit of a culture “war” would forever harm the unity of this country.

But that does seem to be the direction in which we are headed.

The other issue is that of perceived media bias. Here, I think the Cons are blowing out their air holes! Of COURSE there is bias! The Star is biased toward the Grits, the Post toward the Cons, CanWest is a Harperite trumpet.. etc. And as Simpson said:

The subject of media bias is a complex one in Canada because of the political culture. Normally a journalist is considered neutral or objective if he or she is somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, reflecting neither the left- nor right-wing point of view.

But in Canada, the big mushy middle is the home of the Liberal Party, which has sought to locate itself in the mainstream and has profited over time from doing so. Therein lies the conundrum. If you’re a centrist, you can well be accused of having a Liberal bias.

In other words, it’s inescapable. You’re biased if you’re on the left, right or middle. In other words, everyone is biased; you, me, CBC, CTV; you, me and Mr. Graves and Stompin’ Tom Connors and the polar bears of Frobisher Bay.

So gimme a break Harperites and go back to your power breakfasts…

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Now for a community moment…

A colleague of mine who is an avid cyclist, asked me to pass along the following request. While I am not a cyclist, it pains me to think that Ottawa dentists might be profiting because of poorly maintained bike paths!

Hi folks, Can folks send a quick note to the NCC requesting they begin work rehabilitating the bicycle path between Andrew Hayden Park and Britannia Beach? This section of path is so bad it will knock your fillings loose! Maybe then the time frame for fixing the path will be less than “several years” as I was told. Email address: info@ncc-ccn.ca. Pass this on to others who you think would like to help out! Thanks!

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