Posted: 05/03/2014 7:34:01 AM
When Justin Trudeau became leader of the Liberal Party there were a lot of unknowns. People wondered, and rightly so, does he have the right stuff to lead? And now he's riding high in the polls and he’s made one thing crystal clear. Justin Trudeau is a master at the art of the apology. No surprise really, as they say practice makes perfect.
Last week he apologized to Ukraine; before that Alberta; before that the used car salesman of Canada; before that Peter Kent because when Peter Kent was Harper's Environment Minister, Justin called him a piece of... Well, you get the idea. And clearly three out of these four apologies were warranted.
What I find fascinating is Trudeau doesn't get in trouble because of his ideas. He gets in trouble when he tries to be funny. Now maybe he is funny one on one, I have no idea, but I know this, when Ukraine comes up in the conversation, that's not the time to reach for the seltzer bottle.
This is a problem that affects all political parties. Leaders, they surround themselves with people who will not tell them the truth. Is there no one in that super brain trust the Liberal party apparently has who can’t say, “Hey Justin, remember you’re applying for the job of Prime Minister of Canada, not open mic night at the giggle barn.” Hey, there’s worse things in life Justin, accept it. You're tall and handsome and not that amusing. We should all be so lucky.
And all parties are guilty of this. Is there not a single advisor in the Prime Minister's Office honest enough to say, "Hey Prime Minister, great job in the House of Commons today, and uh, one more thing, you’re a horrible singer, so stop doing that.”
We all need to take a breath and remember, these are mortal leaders, not kings. And if a bad joke or a butchered Beatles song can't be stopped? Who's going to kill the truly bad ideas?
Posted: 26/02/2014 7:40:51 AM
Do you ever have those days where you feel like there’s a higher power who's entire purpose is to constantly test your grip on reality? You know those days when you wake up and hear that Pierre Poilievre has been chosen by Prime Minister Harper to reform democracy in Canada. I mean on a day like that, it’s entirely normal to think I must be hallucinating. Because I guarantee you, you get any member of the Conservative caucus alone in a room and you ask them who is the last man on earth who should be put in charge of reforming democracy and they will tell you Pierre Poilievre.
But the Prime Minister gave him a job to do and boy has he done it. He has tabled the Fair Elections Act. And I promise you, if you read this bill you will feel like you have left Canada and slipped into a parallel universe. When this bill passes it will be illegal for elections Canada to encourage young people to vote. Because, well, there's the problem right there, isn’t it? I mean you get young people voting, next thing you know you have an entire generation of informed citizens running around taking part in democracy and feeling a real ownership in Canada.
Now if you ask the government they will tell you voter turnout in Canada is at a historic low and therefore that's proof that encouraging people to vote does not work. Not true. People do not vote because they look at the way that politics is being performed in Canada and they feel like they’ve been given a feed of bad oysters. After that, they just avoid the buffet altogether.
Canadians, we love to brag that we are one of the world's greatest democracies. If we abandon the principal that voting is important and must be encouraged, we forfeit the title.
Posted: 05/02/2014 7:42:03 AM
It's been an open secret for years now that our country has been involved in a covert war against veterans. Now don't get me wrong, in some ways the government loves veterans; they look great in a photo op. What they don't like are veterans as a budget line. Because veterans, especially disabled ones, cost a lot of money. So now with new vets, say from Afghanistan, when they’re injured or disabled, our government likes to give them a one-time lump sum payment, no fuss no muss, and then you’re on your own and don't call us, my friend, when the money runs out. Remember our Prime Minister likes to fancy himself a bit of an economist.
Then we have our Second World War vets; fewer of them are using Veteran's Affairs Offices, which is true. We lose over one-thousand World War II vets every single month in this country. That’s what economists call a downward trend. And really how many of them are going to be around for the next election? So let’s just shut their offices right now.
If there’s a hero in this covert battle, it would have to be Veteran's Affairs Minister Julian Fantino for dragging this entire conflict out in the open. Recently veterans from all over Canada, they travelled to Ottawa to meet with the Minister to discuss these issues in a scheduled meeting. Well, the 88-year old who fought the Nazis, he managed to make it on time. The soldier from Afghanistan with the shrapnel in his brain, he managed to make it on time. Whereas Fantino, he was a no show. He let those soldiers wait down the hallway for over an hour. Then he waltzes by, he gets mad at them and then walks out in a huff. Julian, you’re a public servant. Try acting like one.
In some battles you have to choose sides and when it comes to government vs. veterans it's hard to go with the government when they’re not even offering common courtesy or respect.
Posted: 29/01/2014 7:31:11 AM
I have come to the conclusion that when it comes to winter, Canadians, at least those of us that live in the cities, suffer from a seasonal amnesia. When it snows or gets cold, or when the rain turns to ice and it gets slippery, it comes as a complete and total shock. We like to think we're good at winter but we’re not anymore. And it seems like every year we’re all getting worse.
I did an informal poll, and it turns out that I know people that live in this country, in this city, where today it is 27 below, who don't own a single pair of long underwear. Whereas my grandfather, his generation, he wore long underwear every day for six months straight, so he probably had two pairs.
And I'm just as bad. I was away from Toronto over the holidays when the power went out. And after three days I was worried my pipes might freeze. And my father, he looked at me with total confusion and said, “It's the winter, why didn't you drain your pipes before you left?" And I’m like, "I didn't drain my pipes before I left because I don't live in the dark ages.” Not a very good come back when the city you live in has no power. And it’s not like I don’t know any better. I mean I have lived through half a dozen ice storms. I know what to expect and yet I was completely unprepared. It's not climate change I'm worried about, its memory change.
So next time I leave, I will be prepared. The pipes will be drained, the long johns will be packed and I don't want to cause panic but one of these days I might get myself a box of emergency candles. So let's say it together people. This is not new, it's not a polar vortex, it happens every year. It's called winter.
Posted: 22/01/2014 7:25:35 AM
My new year's resolution this year was to be more Zen. I look at my father, stuff doesn't bother him and I admire that. Specifically I resolved not to get so angry at my government; to always give them the benefit of the doubt and to look at both sides. Total failure. I might as well have resolved to grow a third arm.
My problem was, and I see this now, if I wanted to remain Zen I should have resolved to avoid the news all together. Because in this country that's all it takes, 5 minutes of any newscast is enough to send any rational Canadian into such an intense rage spiral you’ve got to hold onto your ears to stop your head from popping off.
This past week the numbers were released. Our government spent $2.5-million advertising a job creation program that does not exist. As in, it is fiction. It’s a pretend thing. $2.5-million advertising something that is not real. Just saying it out loud sounds like the ravings of a mad person.
In the private sector if a company did that it would be called false advertising. It's a criminal offense. If Ford Motors advertised a car that runs on water and floats on air in the middle of the Superbowl, the president would be fired, and then institutionalized.
Meanwhile, the very real Cabinet minister in charge of pretend programs, Jason Kenney, he says it is money well spent. And the prime minister agrees. Apparently they had a secret meeting in a fort they made out of couch cushions, they read the “Emperor's New Clothes” by flashlight, missed the point of the fairy tale, thought it made for good economic policy. Why not? Entirely plausible.
We have entered a world of unicorns and magic beans. The only reason a government would advertise a program that does not exist is because they believed people were too stupid to tell the difference or too beaten to care. And if we don't get angry about this one, they will be right.