Posted: 04/12/2013 3:45:37 AM
Well here we are, the month of December, heading in to Christmas; a season of reflection, a season of giving. And boy do we give, which is a good thing. Half of our economy is built on the notion that we all max out our credit cards in December purchasing things that will be broken or discarded by February 9th. But for many people that's what the season is all about. It gives us great joy to give gifts to the people we love, especially the children.
But then there's the flip side, the madness of the season. Things like the secret Santa office pool which, I'm sorry, I’m just gonna say it, does not bring joy to anyone. It’s the opposite. It brings anguish, resentment, and re-gifting. If you are a grown man or woman there is nothing you need at the dollar store for under ten dollars. Oh look, it’s um... it’s a mug.
If you were born in Canada, if you live in Canada, you won the lotto. Which is why this Christmas my sister is not getting an iTunes gift card, she's getting a goat from Plan Canada for 75 bucks. Now she doesn't keep the goat, the goat goes to a family in Africa, but you get the idea. And if that's out of your budget they also do sheep for 50 bucks. Chickens are available, as are vaccines. And my personal favourite – the ten dollar anti-malaria bed net – a perfect stocking stuffer.
This season tell them you love them with Plan Canada and do it with a goat.
Posted: 27/11/2013 7:24:07 AM
So the RCMP have finally confirmed that they are investigating the Prime Minister's Office for criminal wrongdoing. No surprise really, the entire operation stinks like day old mussels. But what I find truly astounding is that until recently, the Prime Minister himself denied over and over again that any investigation was happening. In fact, when it was suggested, he stacked one high horse on top of another high horse, he crawled up on top and did a handstand of indignation.
This reminds me of many years ago. I walked out my front door in Newfoundland into a torrential rain storm. It was freezing cold. There was a neighbour standing in the middle of the street in a t-shirt. I knew something was wrong. I said to him, "You have to go indoors. It's raining out.” He looked at me, perfectly calm and said, "If I say it's not raining, it's not raining.” Well, turns out he was having a full blown psychotic episode. It happens.
What's the Prime Minister’s excuse? His chief of staff wrote a cheque to a senator for 90 thousand dollars. The RCMP say that’s bribery. The Prime Minister went into the House of Commons and said nobody in my office knew. We now know a lot of them knew.
So if you believe our Prime Minister, these people who knew, they either hid this from Stephen Harper or they lied to Stephen Harper. Either way, they allowed Stephen Harper to mislead the country. Well, when Stephen Harper found out about this, what did he do? Did he fire these people? No. Two of them got promotions. One of them is now his new Chief of Staff, the same job that Nigel had when he wrote the cheque. Who does that? I'll tell you who: someone who doesn't know when it's raining or someone who's been in on it all along.
Posted: 20/11/2013 7:40:15 AM
There really is very little left to say about Rob Ford. The truth is that man is so messed up, if he didn't have family and money, he would probably be on the streets barking at parking meters. He's this close to biting the heads off live chickens on the Latin America freak show circuit. But no, of course, instead he is the mayor of Canada's largest city and like another man, whose name escapes me at the moment but recorded a song called “Gangnam Style,” he is temporarily an international sensation.
So, is he bad for Toronto’s reputation on the world stage? Not really, if anything he makes us more interesting. And let’s face it, Toronto could use the help. So why is he so popular? Well number one, he's obviously entertaining. He's gone from being a car crash, to a ten car pile-up, to a scene in a disaster movie where space junk flies out of the sky, crashes into an overpass, it tumbles over, crushes a bus load of singing nuns. Huge laughs.
The other reason he’s so popular, number two, his agenda. What about all those people in Ford Nation who say they will vote for him tomorrow? What they are saying loud and clear, and what everyone on the left should pay attention to, is this: They are saying, we would rather have a guy on crack, than a mayor who will raise our taxes. They are saying, we don't care if he drives his escalade drunk through the city we care that he wants to privatize garbage collection. They are saying, we will vote for a gerbil if we get a dollar back.
Rob Ford's popularity has nothing to do with the man himself – he is a circus act – but his politics are very real. And they should not be written off just because he's about to be.
Posted: 06/11/2013 6:18:45 AM
Prior to the Battle of Vimy Ridge in 1917, Conservative Prime Minister Robert Borden said this to the Canadian men in uniform: As you go forward into this action, know that your courage is known to the Nation and know that no man, whether he comes home or remains in Flanders shall have cause to reproach the government for having broken faith. Well flash forward to 2013 –that faith is broken.
Canadian soldiers qualify for a fully indexed pension after ten years of service. And this month as we head into Remembrance Day, our Government has been throwing soldiers out of the service six and seven months shy of that magic ten year mark because they are no longer technically eligible to deploy overseas.
And why can’t they be deployed overseas? Because they are missing limbs; they are blind; they are deaf; they are suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. We sent them to Afghanistan, they came back broken and our Government has found a loophole to throw them to the curb, so no pension for them.
How does a government allow this to happen? Canada’s last three Defence Ministers promised over and over again this would never happen. They should all take off their poppies and stab themselves in the head. Cabinet ministers by the way, like all MPs, they qualify for their fully indexed pensions after six years on the job. Not that being a cabinet minister is not a dangerous job. Most of them gain two suit sizes for every year they serve. The threat of adult onset diabetes is real.
But this goes beyond politics. How we treat injured veterans goes to the very heart of what we stand for as a nation. We ask these men and woman to defend us; if we harm them, when they can no longer defend themselves. We stand for nothing.
Posted: 30/10/2013 7:40:47 AM
Last week was one of those rare weeks when suddenly everyone was paying attention to the goings on in Ottawa. And from a show biz perspective, the House of Commons had it all: scandal, betrayal, intrigue. The only thing missing was gratuitous nudity. And I was thinking, the Prime Minister, the government, the MPs, must be stoked because they know that, for the first time in a long time, people are paying attention. They are going to bring their A game. No such luck.
It's like they all got together and decided to intentionally ensure nobody would ever watch ever again. It's called Question Period. MPs get to stand up and ask the government questions and they’re supposed to get answers. It's there because a long time ago we decided it’s an improvement over sword fights and dueling. But it is broken and it needs to be fixed.
How about from now on, if someone asks the Prime Minister a question like, I don’t know, say, "Prime Minister, when you said that nobody in your office was aware of the secret payment to the senator were you telling the truth, yes or no?," he’s got to answer the question. If he doesn’t answer or he stands up and starts talking about trade deals, a giant red X appears on the screen and a buzzer goes off. I know, it's not very elegant but it’s better than the system we have now. Now when the Prime Minister avoids a question his caucus leaps to their feet and they start cheering like little girls at a Justin Bieber mall appearance.
Normally I bemoan the fact that young people don't pay attention to politics but you know, maybe it's a good thing because really, parliamentarians, you are a bad example to youth. If it's not acceptable at the dinner table why is it acceptable at the House of Commons.
I don't care what party’s in power or who the Prime Minister is. But when you have a leader of a party that refuses to provide a straight answer to a straight question about something that happened on their watch, then it's time for that party to find a leader who will.