Netflix is Exceptional

Posted: 11/10/2017 9:12:15 AM

So much fanfare, hoopla, and dare I say flimflammery this past month with the Liberal announcement that Netflix, instead of paying taxes in Canada, will spend 500 million dollars, over five years, making TV and film here. Ok, let’s just back that up. Instead of paying taxes? So the Netflix opening position is: we do not have a physical presence in Canada therefore we will not pay taxes in Canada. Wow! That’s a clever trick.

If you or I want to sell widgets in Canada we have to pay taxes. Even if they are virtual widgets. If anyone wants to do business in Canada they have to pay taxes—that’s how we pay for hospitals and roads and the wonderful work of the Winnipeg Ballet.

I believe it was Benjamin Franklin about 200 years ago who said, and I’m paraphrasing, the only two things in this world you cannot avoid are death and taxes. He did not say unless you’re streaming old episodes of Law and Order.

And as far as the 500 million dollars they say they’re going to spend here—they do that anyway. TV and film companies from all over the world shoot in Canada because we have good crews, a low dollar, and BC looks like twelve different planets.

I love Netflix and I’ve had it since day one. But they’re not a religion, they’re not a not-for-profit. When the $10.99 comes off my Visa, I am well aware that I am purchasing a service and not making a donation to World Vision. Okay, so they make a lot of money. I’m happy for them. Profit is good. But Netflix, if you want to operate in Canada, contribute to Canada just like everybody else.


Grid Block

Posted: 04/10/2017 9:25:17 AM

I have a picture in my telephone of a Ford F-150 pickup truck and it is blocking an entire intersection. Now I watched as he slowly entered into a crowded intersection, on a yellow light, knowing full well he was not going to make it all the way through. His light turned red, boom, he’s stuck. My light turns green but can I move forward? No, of course not, because thanks to him I’m stuck. Everyone behind me, they’re stuck. Total gridlock in all four directions.

People are getting frustrated; people are late for dinner; carbon is flowing into the atmosphere; kidneys are not getting to the O.R. on time all because of that guy. And the guy just sat there with that look on his face that was like, yup, here I am blocking an intersection, ruining everyone’s day and I don’t care.

Look, traffic is a real problem in this country. We’ve all spent too much time stuck in it. Yes, experts have all sorts of theories on how to improve it but if you want a solution, one that’s not going to cost money, one that’s going to make money, this is it: Make the people who block the intersection pay. Make them pay a lot. All of them. And there are a tonne of them. This is a gold mine in Narcissism.

Hire someone to stand on the corner during rush hour and if someone puts their big stupid minivan in the middle of an intersection and blocks traffic, issue them a large prohibitive fine. Except we do not call it a fine, we can call it what it is. A -- Yes Everyone Hates You -- tax. If you want to act like you’re the only person on the planet, pay for the privilege.


Blame the Bogeyman

Posted: 27/09/2017 7:17:57 AM

It is a political truth in this country that we do not elect governments, we like to throw governments out. It’s been about two years now since we took a look at Stephen Harper and his blue meanies and we threw them out the door. It is another political truth in this country that new governments, around the two year mark, tend to lose perspective on how and why they got elected in the first place.

Which is why the Liberals are suddenly under the misguided assumption that they’re in power not because we threw the blue meanies out, but because everyone fell in love with Liberals and everything they stand for. They think they’re in power solely because they are the smartest, most competent, most beautiful people in all the land. No Justin, no. You’re what’s called the booby prize. Canadians looked at you during the last election and said hey look at him! He can walk and talk at the same time. He will do. Then we biffed the old guy out. Sunny ways, you said. Bring it on, we said.

Which leads us to our current situation regarding the Liberal’s decision to make small business the new Canadian boogie man. Why? I’ll tell you why. Because small business is up to no good. Small business owners are getting away with stuff. The details are shady but this government, this cabinet, they are committed to putting an end to it.

Remember the good old days when the Tories would just blame everything on the elites? They couldn’t even say who the elites were but it was all their fault. The Liberals are doing the exact same thing. They’re just swapping one boogie man—the elites—for a new one—small business. Let’s not forget their latest boogie man—farmers. Really Justin? Farmers?

You want proof that a government is starting to lose its ways, see if they’ll pick a fight with farmers. Why they would do such a thing? I have no idea. Maybe Liberals are against vegetables. In the ground I mean, not in cabinet.




Kids and the Case for Optimism

Posted: 29/03/2017 9:49:39 AM

It is, without a doubt, my favourite time of the year. I get to pop around the country and meet the kids from the Spread the Net Student Challenge. It is more exciting than jumping out of an airplane.  It is more restorative than hearing the harmonious screams of a terrified Jann Arden. Because if you’re like me, you’re easily distracted.

Perhaps you spend a big part of your week immersed in Question Period. Perhaps you just watch the news on occasion. Either way it’s easy to get sucked into a dark place.  If you do, the cure is in Fort McMurray.

Yes, Father Mercredi High School in Fort Mac. It’s like any school anywhere in the country except the kids there have one thing in common. Every one of them had to flee their homes because fire threatened to destroy everything they loved. Less than a year later, guess what else they have in common? They’re all back at school, hard at work, raising money to help kids on the other side of the planet who are less fortunate than they are. If you could bottle that, the world would not need anti-depressants.

And if you ever think the glass is half empty, go to Riddell Elementary in Hamilton, Ontario. There’s a girl there, she’s in grade eight.  She is so excited to go to that school, in that town, in this country. She is so proud that she helped buy bed nets to help kids that she does not know sleep safely at night.  Less than one year ago she was a Syrian refugee. That’s who I’m going to think about the next time I hear about the odious expression Canadian values.

Yes, it is my favourite week of the year. Spread the Net and spread the word. The kids are alright. The future is bright. Now let’s get to work on the present.



Posted: 22/03/2017 9:45:08 AM

Politicians love to change the channel when things aren’t going their way. That said,  it’s easier said than done. You can’t just snap your fingers and convince the entire world to stop talking about one thing and then start talking about something else. Or at least that used to be the case before Donald Trump.

I hate to say this but nobody changes the channel quite like Trump. It’s like he’s got the magic remote control.  You will not find that guy sitting around pray ing for a natural disaster to save him. Because when he tweets, people go berserk. They read the tweet, go into a full body spasm and their eyes start rolling in the backs of their heads. They do everything but wet themselves.  Every one of his tweets, they are talked about, analyzed, mocked and ridiculed.

But do you know what people aren’t talking about? What he’s doing for the other twenty three hours a day when he’s not playing with his phone. They announced drilling in national parks. Did anyone notice? Hard to tell because that’s also when he tweeted that Meryl Streep was over rated as an actress. Please Mr. President, have you seen Sophie’s Choice?

He’s stopped funding the removal of toxic waste from the Great Lakes. Was the left outraged? Hard to tell, mostly they were appalled because he tweeted about Snoop Dogg. He’s stopped all money allocated to fight the Asian carp. Google Asian carp people. It’s like every single alien invasion movie ever made. But is anyone talking about the carp? No sir, because OMG he tweeted about Schwarzenegger again.

Every time you hear someone say, “did you see what Trump tweeted?” — it’s all going according to his plan. It is often been said that politicians will sell their soul if they could just get away with murder. Turns out no sale required, all you need is a twitter account.