a conservative heretic commenting on hypocrisy and stupidity in a world with too much of both
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#1? #6? #15? Take Your Pick – We’re all of ’em

iStock_000002554429Medium2-300x199A link has been circulating on Canadian social media about a report that in terms of personal freedom, Canada is ranked number one. It has been primarily been circulated by former Conservative Cabinet Ministers and their supporters and was posted on my Facebook time line by former Conservative Cabinet Minister Pierre Poliviere. I thought that being ranked number one was quite nice and I wondered who it was that had ranked nations so took it upon myself to try to find out.

It wasn’t all that difficult to track down as it turns out. Canada’s ranking was determined by the Legatum Institute as part of a larger report they issued recently on the state of 142 countries. What is the Legatum Institute, I hear you ask? I had never heard of them either so I took a brief trip over to their web site.

Here’s what I learned. Continue reading

Sunny Ways for Most but Not All

“I have had before me as a pillar of fire. . .a policy of true Canadianism, of moderation, of reconciliation.”
Sir Wilfred Laurier


PM Justin Trudeau, his wife Sophie Gregoire and the new Liberal Cabinet appointed on Wednesday. (Photo CHRIS WATTIE/REUTERS)

Well – it’s official.

Justin Trudeau has been sworn in as Canada’s new Prime Minister, appointed his Cabinet and the sky hasn’t fallen. I know this because I went outside immediately after the ceremony Wednesday and looked. It was still blue skies and a few clouds hovering way up high. It is going to rain tomorrow but it’s rained before so I’m optimistic it won’t bring the sky down with it.

Ever since the Liberals won the election, I’ve noticed a significant change in mood within the country. I see it every day on my social media timelines and in casual conversation with folks out in the real world. It’s like the sun has come out again after a prolonged period of cold, bitter winds. I think that is what Justin Trudeau was referring to on election night in his victory speech when he paraphrased former Canadian Prime Minister Sir Wilfred Laurier.

It was a bit flowery for my taste but it did have an historical context.

Laurier who was Prime Minister from 1896-1911 defeated the Conservative government of Sir Charles Tupper which was embroiled the Manitoba School Controversy at the time. The Tupper Government had been intransigent, even threatening and Laurier contrasted it to his planned approach using Aesop’s fable of the Wind, The Sun and the Coat in which the sun and the wind compete to see which can make a man named Greenway remove his coat.

In a speech first delivered in Morrisburg Ontario he summarized his position by saying,

“…the government are very windy. They have blown and raged and theatened, but the more they have theatened and raged and blown the more that man Greenway has stuck to his coat. If it were in my power, I would try the sunny way. I would approach this man Greenway with the sunny way of patriotism, asking him to be just and to be fair, asking him to be generous to the minority, in order that we may have peace among all the creeds and races which it has pleased God to bring upon this corner of our common country. Do you not believe that there is more to be gained by appealing to the heart and soul of men rather than to compel them to do a thing?”

Fast forward to today and Canadians embraced the sunny ways of positive politics over the harsh winds of the politics of division and threat.
Continue reading

We Have Too Many Drips Under Pressure

Math formulae.

Math formulae.

In mathematics, an ‘X’ is an unknown quantity. In plumbing, a spurt is a drip under pressure. Combine the two and you have an X-spurt or as it is more commonly known; an expert. Increasingly, we are surrounded by self-professed experts; unknown drips under pressure who have been working overtime to make a mess of the world in which we live.nepal

To be fair, some of them are just cynical greedy buggers who are in the ‘spurt’ business for the cash. It may not make the nonsense they impose on society easier to deal with but at least it’s honest. Under the right circumstances, who knows how many of the rest of us might not become a Spurt if there was enough cash being presented.

The Spurts that really get under my hat, however are those who are true believers in their own expertise. Their faces glow with earnestness as the light of Jesus shines from their eyes and a constant flow of stupidity flows out of the mouths. They are folks that tend to worm their way into positions of influence (often at great public expense) and then proceed to take themselves far more seriously than we take them. Continue reading

Neither Rain nor Snow nor Common Sense. . .

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.

imagesCanada’s postal service announced a few months ago that it was ceasing door-to-door mail delivery. Instead, it would install neighbourhood mail boxes and people would be required to go to their assigned box to pick up their mail. Canada Post has been installing these mail boxes in newly built neighbourhoods for years and the Crown Corporation has indicated that it needs to make this change across the board in order to cut operation costs.

This isn’t an issue that I’ve been too concerned about to be honest. Maggie and I have been collecting our mail from a neighbourhood mail box for years and at the end of the day, it really isn’t all that big a deal to us. But it is a big deal for many Canadians.

There has been quite an outcry at the loss of daily door-to-door delivery and the roughshod manner in which Canada Post has overruled municipal governments and citizens about where the boxes will be installed.claire-marie-gagnon-sits-in-front-of-the-canada-post-communi

Many people are – well, to put it delicately – pissed.

Some have taken to protest by planting gardens on the site of a proposed mail box. Others have picketed and a few enterprising souls have laid down on the site of a new box and refused to move out of the way of the installers.

It isn’t quite the French Revolution but we’re Canadian and that’s how we do things here.

The Conservative government pretty much ignored the issue, most likely because there didn’t appear to be any niqab-wearing letter-carriers but the new incoming Liberal government has ordered a halt to the installation of the mail boxes until a full review has been conducted.

That caught my attention – not because I agree or disagree with any of the decisions taken before or since but rather because of the amount of political indecision triggered by a fundamental lack of business vision by all concerned. Continue reading

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

First, I should probably acknowledge that I didn’t set out to take the entire summer off from the big blog but after my last post on June 4th, I thought a couple of weeks of R & R would be a good thing. It had been a long winter, damp spring and I wanted to take some time to enjoy the nice weather and just wander around with my camera and grab some photographs of whatever.


A saucy Harris Sparrow looking for handouts in the Byward Market in downtown Ottawa

Although I’m not really much of a bird watcher, I ended up taking more than a few photographs of birds because they seemed to be everywhere I went; especially gulls. Those buggers are even more urban than I am.

A mallard checking his "junk" in a park in Ottawa

A mallard checking his “junk” in a park in Ottawa

Things were going well. I was enjoying my time off and playing with my camera and post-production software but was starting to feel like it was time to get back to writing and that is precisely when we had the flood.

At some point in the middle of the night, a valve in the main upstairs bathroom sprung a leak and by the time we woke up in the morning, water had flooded the bathroom, the upstairs hallway, my office/studio and flowed down through the ceiling into the kitchen, a second bathroom and the main hallway to the garage.

Well shit! Continue reading

One-Trick Ponies

The governing Conservative Party of Canada has launched its latest attack ads against Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and there has been a slight shift in strategy. They have decided to employ a two-tier advertising strategy.

The first tier is to have taxpayers pay to advertise the Conservative election platform and the second is to attack Justin Trudeau as usual, although in a kinder, gentler way. The new Conservative attack ad is – embarrassingly – a retread of an NDP ad from 2011. The staging is identical, the script almost the same only the NDP weren’t talking about Justin Trudeau.

Oops! Continue reading