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Progressive Bloggers

I would like to give a quick tip of the hat to Scott (of Scott’s Diatribes) and the others behind the scene who make the blog aggregator – Progressive Bloggers – plug along year after year… And now in its TENTH FREAKING YEAR! 

Older than the Harperite nightmare, it is!

Quite an accomplishment, indeed.

For those of you not in-the-know, PG accepts applications from like-minded progressive bloggers to be included on its site. It is THE collection of blog posts that promote, to one degree or another, the belief that progressive policies and thinking should be the cornerstone of public policy decisions. I’ve been a member of this site for, um, about 6 or 7 of the ten years (I think) and will often click on the PG posts to see what crazy shit is the talk of the day.

Now, the blogs that feed into this site vary pretty widely on the political spectrum from centrist to the far left. And we don’t always agree with one another. But, unlike the vitriol that is often spat from similar regressive conservative sites, we progressives are usually respectful of our differences and civil in our dialogues.

Keep up the great work, Scott! Have a nice celebration today… I believe a chai latte is on the menu, no?

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Bring on 2015!

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Like any year, there were ups and downs over the past 12 months. However, 2014 was unfortunately just a bit more about downs, than ups.

On the positive side (cuz I like to mention good things first):

First, and most importantly, the kids are thriving. My eldest is working full-time in retail and had come to the realization that working retail kinda sucks. I’m hoping that this translates to post-secondary education in September. I’m proud of the girl for sticking with it even if “it” isn’t quite a lot of fun.

My now-11-year-old is growing into a brilliant and beautiful young lady. Although with this comes those wonderful preteen moments when parents go “WTF did I say?”. Her love for horses and all critters has remained and she seems quite serious about her riding. Though I know full well that this may end up in a second mortgage!

My youngest is batshit crazy. He really is. Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and all that, I suppose. He’s very extroverted but has a great focus when taking on tasks… Like Lego or homework. He is digging school and his grades reflect this. He started hockey this year and is LOVING it! And scoring his first goal was very special! He has already surpassed my career total.

No, no, no, I’m not one of those parents who thinks his kid will be the next Bobby Orr, but I do like this hockey Dad gig, for sure!

Second, the political fortunes smiled in my favour in 2014. Tim Hudak managed to hand the provincial Liberals another win. My brother was successful in his run for a seat on Parry Sound Town Council and two good friends were successful here in Ottawa. I wish all three of them the best in the coming four years and know that they will make their constituents proud!

And may 2015 see the barn down smack Harper on the butt as he leaves Canada’s political scene… and we start a new and more positive era with Justin Trudeau.

(Had to say it.)

Third, I continued with my volunteer activities and even notched them up a tad. My stint on the Board of Aladin Childcare will come to an end in 2015 after 6 years… time enjoyably spent. I continue to serve my kids’ school community as the Secretary of the Parent Council and work with an incredibly dedicated bunch of parents and staff!

And I was surprised and humbled to receive a United Way Community Builder award. I so wasn’t expecting such a thing but am honoured to recognised and am looking forward to the official award ceremony early in 2015.

Finally, I took on a new role at the Canterbury Community Association as its President after the previous one won a seat on City Council. This will be a challenging role but one I’m certain I will love. I am surrounded by capable and dedicated community members and am truly excited thinking what great things we will accomplish in 2015!

On the meh, sorta neutral front, was my work life. I’m very proud of the work I do and love most of the people I work with. As much as the current regime tries to demonise professionals like me and my colleagues, we continue to work hard on behalf of Canadians. Although I, and most of us, would admit that over the last few years, it has been very, very difficult to maintain our enthusiasm for our vocations. Morale has never been lower. But we do professionally soldier on knowing that it can only get better (?).

Now, on the downer side…

Health was an issue in 2014 like no year before. My Mom had a fall and broke her hip in June… she has fully recovered but it was worrisome as hip fractures at her age can be problematic. On the plus side, she was forced to quit smoking (apparently not allowed in hospital rooms) and has stayed off the killer weed ever since!

Staying on the fracture front, my wife broke her ankle quite badly in July, resulting in a surgery, screws and plates and a lengthy rehab period. Even almost six months later, it still gives her some trouble. Worst of all, most of the family summer plans were scuttled… Including a trip to Cuba which was scheduled for the day after her surgery. Ah well, we’ll make up for it next year!

On a very sad note, I also lost an uncle in 2014. It was quite unexpected and has been very hard on my aunt and cousins. I’m hoping they have a better 2015.

For my part, I cannot remember having a worst year, health-wise. First, I had a painful issue that required surgery but reappeared a few months later. Second, my high blood pressure hasn’t improved. But worst of all, it appears that I have a genetic blood disorder called hemachromotosis. It results in excess iron being stored in my body and there is a tendency to accumulate in my vital organs; the heart and liver being the most susceptible.

It can kill me… so not to be taken likely. I should have the genetic test results in early January and the treatment is, well, blood letting. Or, in modern terms, phlebotomies. But until I get my ferritin levels down to normal (20-200 – mine are in the 1100-1400 range), I’ll have to live with quite painful arthritic symptoms, abdominal pain and incredible fatigue.

But I’m confident I’ll be fine a year from now and will just have to get used to having blood drained from me fairly often… maybe I should invest in leeches? And after all, there are folks out there with FAR worse health issues than this.

It was a difficult year, yes. But, upon reflection, the positive stuff did balance out much of the negative. Still, I am looking so forward to 2015 and the excitement that only a new year can bring!!!

Happy New Year to all!

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The last traces of the…

… hated-by-the-west National Energy Program (NEP) were gone by the end of 1986 under PM Brian Mulroney (who is, incidentally the last true Conservative PM… unless you count Liberal PM Paul Martin, but I digress…). Using my superior mathematical skills, that makes it 26 years since the NEP was around.

Twenty-six years.

And still some Westerners obsess about it.

I have a theory about this. It isn’t your average Albertan who is still oh-so obsessed and who decries any and all Liberals as the NEP Party: it’s really only those who have another agenda. An agenda not grounded in energy policy nor of a national vision. Nope. This hatred carries on because there are some in the West- especially in Alberta- who want to drive a wedge between the West and the RoC. They’d like nothing more than to rid themselves of the have-not provinces to the East and the dope-smokers of B.C.

And many of these folks are prominent in the Alberta CPC caucus and the far right Wild Rose Party.

Call me crazy but it is a possible explanation of the unabated huffing and puffing over a policy that hasn’t been around for a quarter century.

In the meantime, Albertans and other Westerners should pay heed that their energy wealth can end as quickly as it began. Energy efficient transportation and industrial production practices may one day drive prices down to a point where tar sand exploitation is no longer viable. And the oil will one day run out.

As well, the American economy will one day be once again robust. With that will come a rebirth and resurgence of Ontario and Quebec. Western provinces may one day be once again have-nots.

We Easterners will remember these days when Westerners called the political shots.

Oh yeah, we will not ever forget.

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David McGuinty is an honourable man….

… And I suppose he did the honourable thing by apologising for what was spun as an anti-
Alberta slur.

But he was utterly and unequivocally accurate in what he said.

Wasn’t he?

No, as an MP, he shouldn’t have said it.

But I can.

And to all of the CPC hypocrites who jumped all over this misstep: when was the last time a single one if you apologized for anything? ANYTHING?? Even after you have clearly f$$$ed up.

That’s right, you hypocrites.

I’ve been accused from time to time of playing “gotcha” politics. Well, I guess it’s OK when the Cons do it, eh? I don’t see a lot of dissent on Blogging Tories.

David should have chosen his words more carefully for sure but the CPC hypocrites could take lessons from him in honour and humility.

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But is there substance?

Cuz Justin The T sure as hell has the sizzle.

His speech yesterday was what many of we progressives were waiting for. It was honest, open and positive. I really cannot picture The Robot or Mr. Angry saying those words because absent were the vindictive hateful diatribe.  Can you even picture either of those guys giving a speech of that length (or any length) without dissing the other parties and their leaders???

No way.

Good speech. Safe speech. I liked the positivity.

The best thing about JT entering the fray is that people will start to talk about the Liberals again – and in a good way. It’s already happening.

Now, do I support him? I would like to but am reserving judgement. Dude has the sizzle but does he have the substance? I can’t wait to see his first hour-long interview with a top-notch journo who will ask him about fiscal policy, monetary policy, international relations, etc. I will, of course, vote for him. But my level of engagement (e.g., whether I donate, volunteer, etc.) will depend largely on how he defines himself in terms of substance.

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M 312…

… is happily dead.

203-91.

Happily.

Wait till the next one. It’ll happen.

Defenders of a woman’s right to choose. Be vigilant.

 

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Here is the Harper Hates Us…

…banner being flown over southeast Ottawa yesterday! It went by the school playground where I was picking up my kids.

I, of course, seized upon the occasion to give a quick lesson in politics and civil disobedience to my young ‘uns and some of their friends who were curious to know what the banner was all about.

Hee hee…

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If the GOP and The Chair…

… do the next to impossible and beat President Obama, I will be curious to see the US to Canada emigration data about 12 months later.

I wonder if the Harperites have thought of this? Millions of Democrats and other progressives trying to escape an emerging theocracy… should they be granted political asylum? How about refugee status?

Food for thought.

But I still think Obama will kick ass.

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Statement by a Member…

     Mr. Speaker, ’twas the week before Christmas and all over the Hill
The self-absorbed Tories were imposing their will
The stockings in Muskoka were stuffed to the brim
But life on first nations remained woefully grim.
And at the North Pole, Santa’s problems abound
There was much work to do, but no workers around.
How can we do Christmas with no reindeer or elves?
The sleigh is a wreck, there are no toys on the shelves.
Costs have just spiralled, the elves threaten strike
They won’t work this Christmas without a pay hike.
Federal money for deer feed and vets
Has just been reprofiled for big jails and jets.
Heartbroken children would spring from their beds
The first Christmas ever shut down by the feds.
No presents for Christmas, Tories felt the frustration
So they saddled the elves with back-to-work legislation.
No reindeer or sleigh can stop our roof-topper
Call Coast Guard and send in a Cormorant chopper.
The moral I share: Tories lack rhyme and reason
Nonetheless, all the best for a great Christmas season.

 

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Briefing note

Prepared for PM Harper and immediate staff attending APEC meeting in Hawaii

Re: November 13 meeting with President Obama.

1. Drawing on experience gained at first bilateral, the PM is reminded that the President does not appreciate being called “gangsta”.

2. Related to 1. above, the symbolic colours of the main political parties are the opposite to those in Canada. It is therefore advised that the PM wear a blue tie. But do not refer to it as “my gangsta colours” like the last time.

3. If Vic Toews is travelling with the PM, tell him that referring to The First Lady as “that hottie” when speaking to Ms. Clinton is not acceptable.

4. Please do not allow Mr. Polievre to speak to Ms. Clinton. At all. Our bilateral relations are still recovering from the last time.

5. Plead with the PM to not go on about the missed call by Kerry Fraser during the 1993 Leafs / Kings series. He won’t understand.

6. Pretend to understand basketball. It’s that sport played by very tall people who bounce an orange ball.

7. Don’t bring up Keystone. Really. He has heard enough.

8. Stay inside the beltway. Your security detail has been informed.

9. The President is not Martin Sheen. Never has been. Don’t listen to Baird.

10. You are not in charge here. Remember that.

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