Tough Sell

Posted: 11/02/2015 8:01:00 AM

These are confusing times for the Canadian economy; when the dollar is low, there are winners and there are losers. But one thing we all understand, a low dollar is good for the tourism industry. But you can't have a tourism industry without advertising. Look at those Newfoundland tourism ads, boy have they ever paid off. Tourism is now a billion dollar industry in Newfoundland. Yes with a B.

So now with our low dollar, you can only imagine how much money the Federal Government is spending in the United States promoting Canada as a tourism destination. And we all know how much this Government loves to advertise. Take a guess. How much are they spending? Wait for it. Zero dollars. The United States is Canada’s largest tourism market and two years ago the Harper government decided to stop advertising there.

I don’t know what's more astounding, that the Feds are getting out of tourism or that Elizabeth May is the only politician actually talking about this. And I admit, when I first heard Ms. May say this, I didn't believe her because you know, Green Party. But I checked. She’s telling the truth.

Apparently in 2015 telling people to visit Canada is very old fashion and unbecoming of an energy superpower. In the year 2000 Canada was on the list of top ten most visited countries in the world. Now we are 18th.

Tourism is not ideological. There's no left wing and right wing view of tourism. There is a defeatist view and our Government has one.


Fighting Those Who Fought For Us

Posted: 04/02/2015 7:31:58 AM

Three years ago the Harper Government went to court in a fight with Canadian veterans. The government argued that if a disabled veteran was compensated for say, losing a limb, then the government should be able to clawback that money out of their pension. Now thankfully, the court ruled no, the government can’t take pension money away from the disabled because losing a limb is not the same as getting a bonus at work.

Now we find out that once again the government’s back in court, fighting veterans, and this time they’ve spent $700,000.00. And their argument is simple; it’s that Canada has no obligation to veterans whatsoever. None whatsoever. They admit, yes, prior to the Battle of Vimy Ridge, Prime Minister Sir Robert Borden promised that Canada had a sacred obligation to veterans. But our government is saying that’s no longer true. No obligation at all. Now sadly, for anyone who knows veterans, or disabled ones, this comes as no surprise.

My buddy Paul is a veteran. He lost both his legs in Afghanistan. Every year they make him prove over and over again that his legs are still gone. Four times they’ve said nope, we’re not taking your word for it. You have to prove they’re still gone. Get a note from a doctor. Literally a note saying his legs have not grown back. You know, in case he's pulling a fast one. His friend was shot in the head and has to prove over and over again that he still has no vision in his left eye. His left eye, by the way, is made out of glass.

So the next time you bump into an MP, and they’re telling you how much this government does for veterans, don’t take them at their word. Tell them to prove it.


Economic Bewilderment

Posted: 28/01/2015 8:52:57 AM

There’s nothing I hate more than those situations where the more I read, the more confused I become. Welcome to the Canadian economy. Five minutes ago the Government was crystal clear—it was all about the oil. It was practically Government policy that every first born child in Canada should become a pipefitter. If anyone dared suggest that our economy was too dependent on oil, they were nothing less than an enemy of the state.

And now the price of oil has tanked, the world is dumping our currency and the Prime Minister is showing up in Ontario of all places talking about manufacturing. Yes Alberta, I hate to break it to you but Big Daddy's flirting around Eastern Canada saying, “oil-schmoil, I barely knew her.” Give him another week, he’ll be admitting he was born and raised in Toronto.

This is why I am so confused. The Bank of Canada says low oil is very bad for Canada. All of Canada. And yet the Government is saying there are tax breaks for the wealthy coming and everything is on budget. But oh, wait, there is no budget. How can there be no budget? You know why there’s no budget? Because behind the dull eyes of the Finance Minister is a brain melting in full blown panic.

Look, I lived in Newfoundland before the collapse of the fishery; I understand how upset people in Alberta are. But one thing we know is no matter what happens, we will get through this together. As sure as the sun will rise, the sun will set, and there are very expensive commercials on TV paid for by us, telling us, wait for it, our economy is the envy of the world.


Talk Amongst Yourselves

Posted: 21/01/2015 7:11:17 AM

On January 30th, every premier and territorial leader in Canada will gather in Ottawa for a meeting. Imagine, all those leaders in one room behind closed doors. They call it the Council of the Federation. And once again the Prime Minister of Canada will not attend that meeting. He's been invited but he said no. He will not pose for a photo; he will not engage in small talk about hockey, the weather, or plunging oil prices. And nor should he. He’s got six episodes of the Murdoch Mysteries in his PVR; he needs to catch up.

Now of course the premiers, they don't like the fact the Prime Minister refuses to meet with them again. He hasn't done that in 6 years. But if you read any great book by any great leader they will tell you, the last thing you should ever do is get all the decision makers together in one room.That could lead to discussion and even solutions.

And as a leader, the other thing you must never do is engage in frank talk with people who have been elected to represent every part of the Nation. It’s that kind of thinking that lead to the creation of Canada in the first place.

And what I cannot abide is the suggestion that the Prime Minister is afraid to meet the premiers. That is a low blow. He's not afraid to meet the premiers; he just has no interest in anything they have to say on any subject.

So let the premiers go off and busy themselves with the silly work of nation building. My Canada includes my Prime Minister across the street, at home, alone, in the dark.


No Words

Posted: 14/01/2015 7:35:31 AM

On the morning of October 22, Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was gunned down while guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the National War Memorial. In the weeks after the shooting there were probably ten million words written about that incident. Yet nothing came closer to capturing the mood of the nation than the cartoon that was published the very next morning in the Halifax Chronicle Herald. The artist is Bruce MacKinnon. He is one of Canada's greatest editorial cartoonists. We have a lot of them in this country. Which is why, every week, in every newspaper in Canada, there are letters from people who are deeply offended by a cartoon. That is what comes with opinion.

In all my years of wandering around spouting off in an alley I have gotten hundreds of emails from people who are offended for one reason or another. And yet, I can't remember one that said I didn’t have a right to my opinion. They said I was stupid, wrong, pig headed, ignorant, yes, but no death threats. The most I've had to deal with was a late night drunk dial from an agitated cabinet minister.

How lucky are we that we live in a country that when offended, that’s what we do. Send an email or leave a rambling voice message. Like most people who move around upright, I have beliefs. I’d like to think I have beliefs that I would die for. The freedom to offend is very near the top. Thankfully that has never been put to the test. It was put to the test this past week in Paris.

Honestly, I can't put into words how I feel about what happened in Paris. But when I go online and I see the editorial cartoons created in the aftermath, I don't have to.