Monday, May 26, 2008

Heroes of a different sort

On June 2, 2008, about 50 cyclists will start off in Vancouver on a 19-day, cross-Canada bicycling trip. The Sears National Kids Cancer Ride is to raise money and awareness for kids battling cancer, and every one of these riders, along with the countless others who will join them for local rides, deserve whatever help and support you can give. Whether it’s just moral support - cheering them on as they pass through your town - or making a significant contribution to this very worthy cause, your help is needed and will be appreciated by all, especially the kids.

Sears National Kids Cancer Ride website also has links to a number of the rider’s blogs so you can follow progress as they train and prepare for what will be quite a gruelling but ultimately very rewarding experience. And once the tour begins, regular updates will be posted on the group’s progress. With two friends among the national riders, you can be sure I will be following closely indeed.

Check them out, and please help if you can.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

"It's the Liberals fault!" - Queen's Park version

Six Nations protesters and the OPP are facing off over a blockade in Caledonia. It's heating up and tensions are building. Then Ontario's Aboriginal Affairs Minister Michael Bryant steps in and helps defuse the situation, thus possibly avoiding a serious altercation that could conceivably have ended up with injuries or worse. Should be a good thing, right? Six Nations Chief Montour thought so, and sent Bryant a letter thanking him.

Oops - mistake. The provincial Tories got a copy of the letter and now claim that it's an "incriminating document" that contains "serious allegations" against the provincial Liberals. Conservative leader Runciman is now calling for an RCMP investigation into their claim of political interference in the OPP operation.

Stupid. Just stupid.

Canada's "Unhappy" Government

In today’s National Post, Don Martin says, “An official high in a Cabinet minister's office has an interesting label for his employer: The Unhappy Government.

He then goes on to describe the malaise surrounding the Harperites and the general dysfunction of Parliament which has resulted from Stephen Harper’s unconstrained quest for power.

Ending with “...the only people with a legitimate right to be unhappy are the voters”, this article describes, in a nutshell, why the average Canadian holds Parliament and politicians in such disdain.

All thanks to Stephen Harper's "new way of doing business". Way to go Stevie!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

In my Canada...

I recently sent out an email to all my contacts imploring them to consider donating to their (non-Conservative) party of choice in an attempt to, as I put it, “get our Canada back”. That prompted the obvious question, “What do you mean by ‘our Canada’?”

Well, here goes:

In my Canada we are recognised around the world as an independent and honest broker, not encumbered by the geo-political policies of the US, Great Britain, or any other country.

In my Canada we take strong, principled leadership positions on matters of global import such as climate change.

In my Canada we do not accept as normal our young people coming home in body bags from a foreign war we didn’t start and can’t win.

In my Canada we do not believe that a toxic waste dump in northern Alberta the size of PEI is just ‘the price we have to pay’ for prosperity.

In my Canada tougher sentencing and more and bigger jails are viewed as part of the problem, not the solution, for making our streets safer.

In my Canada the federal government and First Nations leadership actually get off their respective soap boxes and do something constructive to resolve the crises facing First Nations people.

In my Canada the federal government protects and supports Canadians imprisoned in foreign lands without prejudice, not negotiated on a case-by-case basis as determined by the degree of public outrage or the perceived political advantage/disadvantage of helping.

In my Canada we view the failed policies of the US war on drugs and say “not here”.

In my Canada the federal government is a uniting force, bringing provinces, people and cultures together rather than dividing and conquering for political gain and power.

In my Canada openness and transparency in government are a reality, not just an electioneering slogan.

In my Canada Stephen Harper is a civilian.

Friday, May 9, 2008

You were elected ... we trust you.

With all the to-ing and fro-ing (ins-and-outs as it were – nudge, nudge, wink, wink) of l’affaire Bernier-Couillard, one key point has to be made. All those MPs who are screaming that a security check on Mlle Couillard should have been done, are conveniently overlooking the fact that none of their own spouses or significant others was ever subject to a security check.

According to CTV News, the ONLY check done on elected members of parliament (including Cabinet Ministers) is a police background check. That means they’re checked out only to determine if they have a criminal record or are facing financial difficulties that may be compromising. That’s it. Neither they nor any members of their families are investigated by the RCMP or CSIS as is the normal practice for any senior civil servants.

So there it is. The people who have access to, and in fact produce, some of the most sensitive secrets this country has, are not security vetted.

This is not new - it's always been that way - but perhaps it's time our elected representatives are held to the same standard as those they manage. Or those they would criticize.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Keep your hands where I can see 'em and step away from the Timbits.

In the most recent quarter ending March 30, Tim Horton’s posted a net income of $61.8 Million. Same store sales rose over the same period last year by 3.5%.

Now comes this

Giving a free Timbit to a baby has cost a single mother of four her job.
Nicole Lilliman, 27, was fired yesterday from her Tim Hortons job for giving one of the 16-cent blobs of fried dough to a tot.

One could argue that the reason they made $61.8 million in the first place is because they didn’t give away food. But equally one could argue that the reason same store sales grew is precisely because of people like Ms. Lilliman who make Tim’s patrons want to come back, again and again.

Whichever view one wants to take about Ms. Lilliman’s actions, if I were the CEO of Tim Horton’s I’d be much more concerned about the judgement of a management team that thought making an example over a 16-cent Timbit was worth all the negative press this story would surely get.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

You'd rather be called Sue?

From the ridiculous file (and the Australian News Network):

BRITISH soldier Kerry Hylton is suing the army because of the embarrassing nickname given to him by fellow troops.

Hylton claims he has been "demeaned'' by the nickname "Paris'', after the notorious blonde American socialite and Hilton hotel empire heiress. He is suing for race discrimination, alleging that his fellow soldiers ignored orders to stop calling him Paris.

The Daily Express newspaper reported that Hylton, a chef with the Welsh Guards, finds the nickname offensive because he considers Paris Hilton "a white woman with a low reputation''.

The Jamaica-born 33-year-old also alleged he was called several racist names at his barracks in London. An employment tribunal in London is expected to hear his case next month.

If every soldier who was given a less than complimentary nickname by his mates stared suing, there wouldn’t be an open court date anywhere until about 2025. Ridiculous that this should even get to an employment tribunal.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

So if I give you $20K and you give it right back, I can get how much of a rebate?

So here we go again, except it’s now surveys and polling.

If I understand this latest elections financing scheme by the CPC, it looks like this:

1. Riding X sends party headquarters $20,000, which is then recorded on their local riding books as an expense for surveys and polling.
2. Riding X then reports that $20,000 “expense” to Elections Canada, for which it then gets a $12,000 rebate from the taxpayer (60% rebate if they got 10% of the vote).
3. Party headquarters then sends the riding’s $20,000 back to them.
4. Net gain to party: $12,000.
5. Net loss to taxpayers: $12,000.

Multiply that by the 50 or so ridings that supposedly participated and we’re in the area of a half-million bucks that, if the allegations are correct, have been taken out of taxpayer’s pockets for the enrichment of the Conservative Party of Canada. And that’s without considering any taxpayer rebate that might have been paid to the national party for the same surveys and polling expenses.

While I personally will miss seeing Pierre Poilievre stumble and bumble his way around this particular minefield, Elections Canada needs to pull out all the stops to get to the bottom of all these election funding allegations as quickly as possible and either deal with it themselves or pass the file on to law enforcement and the courts for legal action. As long as the CPC remains under investigation, they will use whatever political spin and posturing they can to bring Elections Canada’s own judgement and impartiality into question. That cannot continue for long before the credibility of the very organization that is responsible for a fair and transparent elections process in this country becomes irreparably damaged itself.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Cons lie, cheat and dismantle Canada piece by piece. The Libs rant, rave and do fuck all while they wait for the perfect conditions (which, at this rate, won’t be in my lifetime). The Dippers lob grenades in from the sidelines. And the Greens do... well, I’m not really sure what the Greens do, to be honest.

Nothing but petulant bullshit all around IMO.

So instead of posting yet another perspective on the old in-and-out or how Stephen Harper views the world as being out to get him (awfully paranoid that man), I thought I’d brighten things up a bit with a spring-time garden pic. The fact the tulips are red is merely a coincidence.