a conservative heretic commenting on hypocrisy and stupidity in a world with too much of both
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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

Trying to Justify the Present by Rewriting the Past

“History is written by the victors.”
-Winston Churchill

“Those who can’t change the future, are left with rewriting the past.”
-Zehava Galon, Leader of Israel’s Meretz Party

As the Nazi regime of Adolf Hitler rose to power, it targeted identifiable groups as enemies of the state starting with communists and gypsies and the mentally infirm. Its real target, however, was the Jews. Once in power, a series of laws were enacted first restricting Jews in countless ways and then forcing them to wear the now infamous yellow Star of David badge on their clothing. Eventually, they would be rounded up and ‘emigrated’ from Germany to camps in Eastern Europe.

They became slave labour and when they could no longer work, they were simply killed. By 1941, the killing of Jews had become unofficial Nazi policy and was left in the hands of local and regional leaders to organize.

Initially, Jews were shot but there were a number of problems that arose. Bullets were expensive and necessary for the war effort. It was a time consuming process that did not rise to the standards of typical German efficiency and finally, it was having a negative effect on the morale of members of the SS doing the killing; something Nazi bureaucrats had failed to consider.

By the summer of 1941, the Nazis were experimenting with different methods of mass killing including the use of carbon monoxide gas. Specially designed and built trucks were used to transport Jews who were gassed by carbon monoxide from the vehicles emissions. Because of the sheer numbers of Jews to be exterminated, however, it was becoming increasingly clear to the Nazi hierarchy that an even more efficient means of mass killing was required. Continue reading

They Would be Giant Slayers

DonquixoteAnd Don Quixote said,

“…see those thirty or so wild giants, with whom I intend to do battle and kill each and all of them…”

“Now look, your grace,” said Sancho, “what you see over there aren’t giants, but windmills, and what seems to be arms are just their sails, that go around in the wind and turn the millstone.”

“Obviously,” replied Don Quixote, “you don’t know much about adventures.”

– Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote



In 1964, then American President Lyndon Johnson declared war to overcome poverty. Subsequently, successive leaders in various countries joined the fight and the War on Poverty has now been fought for almost seven decades in nations around the world.

The result? More poverty, the continuing growth of the welfare state started under Roosevelt and continual tax increases to help pay for it all.

President Richard Nixon declared a War on Drugs and introduced a number of new measures and increased funding to fight the import and distribution of illegal drugs to the United States. Once again, various world leaders joined the fray and once again the result was the opposite of what was intended – more drugs; not to mention more violence, more crime and more corruption.

Since 9/11, world leaders have followed American President George W. Bush’s call for a global War on Terrorism. That has resulted, as we are reminded every day, to increased terrorism and a Middle East region destabilized by wars and conflicts into which western nations have been drawn

Do you see a trend emerging here? 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