I've Been Everywhere Man

Posted: 24/09/2014 3:05:07 PM

I’ve been everywhere man… and we haven’t even started yet.

RMR is back for another season, we launch on October 7.

Three weeks ago my crew and I (all four of us) hit the road and started shooting segments for the coming season. I’ve flown Toronto to Halifax, Halifax to Fredericton, Fredericton to Toronto then on to Edmonton on to Vancouver then back across the country to St. John’s before popping back to Toronto to wash my smalls and then back to Calgary and Edmonton again. Throw in a road trip to Kingston Ontario and a couple of thousand miles on the rental van and it’s good to be back. Although sometimes I forget where back actually is.

Without giving too much away, we may have outdone ourselves this season already. I now have a scar on my right index finger from a shark. Yes I said shark. Also I may have swam with this shark. I know that makes me sound incredibly brave, and let’s face it I am, but it is a very tiny scar. In fact it is nothing compared to the bruise the size of a dinner plate on my left kidney that Jann Arden gave me when I took her on a date. I think it means she likes me.

I now know what it’s like to land a plane on a glacial lake in the mountains of British Columbia and just how glacial those lakes feel. I’ve blown up a popular nightspot in St. John’s using all manner of explosives. I have harvested wild blueberries and I was convinced for some reason to try a sport called face first repelling; without revealing too much it involves a cliff, a rope and a man with a dream.

Did you know pilots in World War one threw bombs out of planes by hand? I did that too, except instead of bombs I used baking ingredients. Somewhere in Canada there is a mayor who is a very good sport and has a new fear of flour.

Oh when using a chain saw that has a blade longer than a dinner table, beware of the kick.

Also removing wheat seeds from ones ears can be accomplished with what doctors call “a light rinsing”

Along the way I may or may not have carved something in a wheat field while driving a half a million dollar combine harvester. I am always amazed how generous Canadians are when passing me the keys.

Anyone flying East over the prairies keep an eye out of the left side of the plane. It is visible from 30 thousand feet.

The season hasn’t even begun yet and of course there are more trips planned. Every week until Christmas we will be back on the road. Early in the season Don Spence my cameraman made me promise that I wouldn’t make him go on any more boats in the North Atlantic. I broke that promise in week one. Next week I shall do it again except it doesn’t really count because the water off Newfoundland is famously flat and calm.

The countdown is on… I’ll see you on Tuesday Oct 7 on CBC @ 8:00. 8:30 in NL.

Now if only there was something to rant about.


The Kids Are Online

Posted: 02/04/2014 7:06:21 AM

One of the advantages of a majority government is they can pretty much do whatever they want. Now, how we ended up with a strong, stable majority government with just 39 percent of the popular vote, that’s just a fun fact of Canadian democracy. 

But with voter turnouts at historic lows everyone realizes that our democratic process, it needs some tinkering. Which is why the government has introduced the Fair Elections Act. Ironic title because in a clever move they have decided the way to deal with low voter turnout is to make voting more difficult. Gotta hand it to them. Did not see that coming. 

How is it possible in 2014, in a bill that deals with how we can vote, was there absolutely no discussion of online voting? And I know, online voting makes a lot of Canadians very nervous. I'm one of them. I’m old fashioned. I like the notion of lining up in a church basement, getting a little stubby pencil and marking an X. And do you know what that makes me? A dinosaur. 

Because while I may not like the idea of online voting, I know who will love the idea. Young Canadians. They are some of the most wired people on the planet. They go to school online, they work online; heck, they find husbands and wives online. There are literally millions of young Canadians who have never walked across the room to an attractive person and tried to score a phone number because there’s an app for that. If the biological imperative won't get them out of the house, I don’t know how voting is going to do it. 

The government has a responsibility to make voting available wherever Canadians live. And yes, all Canadians reside in a riding but young Canadians, they live online. If we let them pay taxes there, let them vote there.


Split Decision

Posted: 26/03/2014 8:26:30 AM

Hats off to Jim Flaherty. Canada's Finance Minister has left the building after 8 years on the job, and I for one, I’m going to miss the guy. Cause no matter what you think of Jim Flaherty, I can say this: He was never afraid to speak his own mind. Which is why on the way out the door he made it pretty clear that the Government’s plan for income splitting is a bad idea. 

Now this was a bomb shell in Tory circles because income splitting is the biggest promise that Stephen Harper made in the last election. And on paper it looks great. I mean the Government is going to take 3-billion dollars that hard working Canadians paid in taxes and just give it back. What's not to like? Well the problem is in the fine print. Jim Flaherty see, he saw the fine print. Turns out the vast majority of Canadians, 85 percent will not see a dime. Although we’re all going to have to pay for the TV commercials telling us how great it is. 

Income splitting is a massive tax break no doubt about it, problem is the people who will benefit the most are married couples with young children where one parent makes a lot of money and the other parent stays home. Someone like, I don’t know, who would be the poster child, the poster boy for this tax break. It would be Stephen Harper. There you go, he’s an average Canadian. He has a big job, makes a lot of money, his wife volunteers, he has lovely children. God bless him, he deserves a raise, and with this tax break, he's gonna give himself one. 

Now who’s not going to see any money? That would be everyone else. Those couples where both work like dogs but neither are rich. Single dads, single moms, sorry, no breaks for you. 

Stephen Harper has said that this is an excellent tax break designed to help Canadian families. Well I can't believe this needs to be said in 2014, Prime Minister, but families, they come in all different shapes and sizes. And here's an idea, if you're going to give a tax cut, how about giving one to all Canadians, not just Canadians that look like you.


Amicable Fantasy

Posted: 19/03/2014 9:12:19 AM

I guess, like in so many marriages, we all just got a bit complacent. It has been 20 years since the last Québec referendum. We can't be blamed for thinking that those marriage troubles were behind us. I mean yes, we had that rough patch there in 1995, when Québec wanted to see other people, but we got through that. And now all of a sudden we turn on the news every night there’s Pauline Marois talking about an independent Québec.

Now I’m not saying the marriage is over, we got a long way to go before we get there, but you just know there's going to be a whole lot of awful touchy feely conversations in our future, that and the throwing of dishes. Because just like the last time we were in marriage counselling, the Parti Québecois are completely delusional. I mean to hear Pauline Marois tell it, this divorce would not be amicable. It would be downright pleasant. I mean Québec is going to be this wonderful country without borders and no tolls, and they’re going to use the Canadian dollar and oh, they’re going to have a seat on the Board of Directors of the Bank of Canada. Really Pauline? Anything else we can get ya?

The Parti Québecois is like some guy in a bar telling his friends he's going to leave his wife except he's going to keep the house and the dog and plus they’re going to sleep with each other when he’s in the mood. And oh she's going to take over the car payments. See, in the real world that guy would have friends there to give him a smack and tell him he was an idiot. But in the fantasy world of Québec politics, these notions they go completely unchallenged.

Look we all know there are troubles in most marriages. And some marriages sadly end in divorce. And an amicable divorce is the best kind of divorce. And if you believe they exist — I’ve got a bridge to sell you, it's well-constructed and in Québec.


Everything Butt the Truth

Posted: 12/03/2014 7:50:44 AM

The very worst thing that anyone can do in the House of Commons, believe it or not, is to suggest, or even hint that an MP is lying. If you do that and you do not apologize immediately the Speaker will throw you out of the House. And the reason why it's such a no no, is because Members of Parliament are such upstanding members of society they would never intentionally lie to the House. Meanwhile back on planet earth, we know better.

Last month Tory MP Brad Butt stood in the House and said that he witnessed widespread voter fraud in his riding. He saw it, he saw rival campaign workers, pluck voter ID cards out of the blue bins and then use them to commit voter fraud. He used the phrase “I saw” and "I witnessed” five separate times. Shocking allegations. Except, a complete lie. He just made it up to make his Government’s legislation look better. He just made it up.

Bear in mind MPs, they take an oath of allegiance before they take their seat in the House of Commons. And it's serious, it's like being on the stand, swearing on your mother's grave and a double pinky swear all wrapped up in one. In the real world if you’re caught lying there are consequences. You do it in court you go to jail. You do it on the job you get fired. A seven year old understands this. They may not get fired but they would get a time out. But not Brad, oh no. All Brad had to do was stand up and like a sulking adolescent say, "I did not mean to mislead the House.” Ironically, he said this in the House, another lie in the House.

I have to believe in my heart of hearts that MPs, most of them, would not intentionally lie. But it is getting harder and harder to be shocked when they do. Because without any consequences, the House is becoming more and more common and less and less honourable every day.