Posted: 03/04/2013 7:56:12 AM
Sir Wilfrid Laurier once quipped that the 20th century would belong to Canada. Not quite. But by the looks of it the 21st century may be ours because, thanks to Stephen Harper, our country Canada, the true north strong and free, has pandas. And not just any pandas – giant pandas from China. Well, they’re not our pandas. They’re rental pandas. But at ten million bucks, they are awesome.
And I for one am proud to say that I am on the panda train. And kudos to our Prime Minister for clearing his schedule, gassing up the plane and flying to Toronto to meet the pandas in person. The only time he’s done that before was for Obama and the Queen. And this is way cooler because unlike those two, the pandas may mate on Canadian soil.
And what an honour it must have been for the pandas themselves. I mean think of it, one minute you’re sitting there in Chengdu, chewing on a bamboo shoot spiked with Benzo Diazopine, 15 hours later you wake up on a tarmac at Pearson International where Stephen Harper is banging on your cage and making a smiley face. These are moments in a panda’s life that they will not forget.
And kudos to my friends at the CBC News Network for their exhaustive coverage because I’m too young to remember the moon landing or the end of the Second World War so it’s nice to know what those events must have felt like.
Now don’t get me wrong, I have always loved pandas. I’ve always had a soft spot for big cuddly vegetarians that purr when the prime minister scratches them behind the ear. But enough about John Baird.
Stephen Harper said that over the coming years, thanks to these pandas, we will learn more about one another and ourselves, namely we can forget federal responsibility for national debt, youth unemployment or the sorry state of aboriginal schools because: We got pandas!
Posted: 27/03/2013 7:16:41 AM
This past week, I am ashamed to admit that I did something that I promised myself I would never do again. Five years after going cold turkey I fell off the wagon. I found myself in the nation’s capital and I had a few hours to kill. I let down my guard and next thing you know I was in the House of Commons sitting in the gallery watching Question Period live. Why do I do this to myself?
Like so many addicts, I thought enough time had passed since I gave up the habit. I can go to one. What harm will one do? It will be great! No such luck. I was left feeling angry, bitter, depressed and empty on the inside. And that was just the first five minutes. In fact, the only thing that has changed since the last time I was there is that there were no children present, which is a good thing. Because I want young people in this country to grow up believing that serving in Parliament is an honourable thing to do.
As it stands now, going to Question Period live is like attending one of those scared straight programs for kids that are dragged into a maximum security prison where big gang members freak them out. And it’s not pretty. I mean the place is filled with not very nice people who have nothing to lose because they could never survive on the outside world. And their behavior is completely unacceptable in a civilized society. And I’m talking about the House of Commons now, not a federal prison.
MPs from all parties love to say they believe in transparency. And yet, when you attend Question Period live, where the nation’s business is being conducted on the public’s dime, the very first thing that happens is they confiscate your cell phone and not because they don’t want you talking on your cell phone. They are terrified that someone might roll video and if that happens, the people at home might find out what’s really going on. In fact, keeping us in the dark is the only thing all the parties actually agree on, which is reason number one for that to change.
Posted: 19/03/2013 11:00:30 PM
I admit I was never really a big fan of the Canada Action Plan ads when they first came out. I mean they look great and I was glad that some actors got hired to wear hard hats and run around and look busy although I assumed that when the Canada Action Plan was over, the ads would stop. I mean McDonald’s doesn't advertise the Shamrock Shake in July. They don't spend millions of dollars telling people to eat the McRib when the McRib is not on the menu. No. That would be idiotic. If someone from McDonald’s made that decision they would be fired in disgrace and then they would be forced to move here and become Canada's Minister of Finance. Because that’s what our Government is doing.
We’re spending more money than ever before on Action Plan ads and the Action Plan doesn't exist anymore. In fact, the only action going on is the action of buying ads saying there’s action even though there’s no action. And now they’re just starting to make stuff up. There was an Action Plan ad on TV the other night saying the Government loves the environment. I mean come on! Some people, they think this Government is doing a great job, some people think not so much. That's politics. But no one thinks they love the environment. Not loving the environment is part of their brand.
I swear, one of these days we're going to find out the whole Action Plan thing is the result of a bet between the Finance Minister and the Prime Minister over how stupid Canadians really are. “Hey Jim, here’s one. How about we’ll show a girl running through a meadow, then we’ll cut to a puppy, then we’ll show the Rockies, and say it's part of the Canada Action Plan.” Great! What does it mean? “I don't know. But we’re shooting in IMAX.”
And every Action Plan ad ends the same way. Visit our website, find out what's in it for you. Well, I'll save you the trip. I’ll tell you what’s in it for all of us this year: another bill for advertising – 78 million dollars. That's not an action plan, that's madness.
Posted: 05/03/2013 10:56:52 PM
Well it took three and a half months, but it can finally be said – the Liberal leadership race is starting to get interesting. Now the entire thing is scheduled to last for 151 days, which coincidentally is the gestation period for a baboon. Justin Trudeau is the front runner, and then we got Marc Garneau and Martha Hall Findlay. And then rounding out the bunch is a very exciting group; there's the woman with the hair like this and the woman with hair like that, and then the grumpy lady, the tall guy and the not-so-tall guy. One other candidate George Takach recently dropped out and endorsed Justin, which is pretty cool because I think he's the gay guy who played Sulu on Star Trek.
But sadly the race is getting interesting for all the wrong reasons. The candidates are starting to feast on one another. Garneau and Hall Findlay are attacking Justin. Now this is important in politics because if Justin does win, the other parties will need footage of Liberals attacking him if they want to destroy him.
But what's really interesting is now we have a senior Harper cabinet minister entering the fray which normally isn’t done. Jason Kenney says that Trudeau shouldn't lead any national party because before politics all he did was work as a school teacher. Bit of a gamble because not everyone dislikes school teachers, just people who’ve had a bad one. But really Jason Kenney shouldn't pull on that string because the only thing he did before politics was work as a lobbyist. And yes, while teachers may not be that popular, lobbyist is worse. That’s like two notches below puppy mill owner.
So, I would like to say that the reason the race is getting interesting is because of big ideas. No such luck. It’s getting interesting because the mud is starting to fly in all directions. So my advice to the Liberal party is to take a page from the NDP book. During this race keep the bad blood behind closed doors.
And my advice to Justin, yes school teacher is on your resume but so is punching Patrick Brazeau in the head. Lead with that and then do yourself a favour and come up with an idea.
Posted: 26/02/2013 11:10:53 PM
Well another week, another story about scientists in Canada being muzzled. This time it's eggheads up in the arctic studying climate change – a joint project between the Canadians and the Americans. And of course our government told them they had to sign a piece of paper saying they could never discuss their findings in public unless a political staffer in Ottawa said it was okay which is never going to happen.
Now of course the Canadians did what they were told, they signed on the dotted line because, well, they want to eat. But the American scientists went ballistic because, well, they’re Americans and you know what the Americans are like. It’s freedom of speech this and freedom of speech that. And the way they were carrying on you'd swear that they had been transported back in time and dropped behind the Berlin wall at the height of the cold war. Nope, you're in Canada in 2013. You want to do science in these parts you better get used to it. And get over yourselves. It's not like scientists are the only ones being told to shut up in this country. No, it's everyone.
Remember when Canada used to have a Veterans Affairs Ombudsman? He used to go on TV every night and scream bloody murder every time the government abused our veterans. Well, he's gone. They got a new guy in there now. Do a Google news search, he barely comes up. And then there's the Cabinet. If scientists have been muzzled, half of the Cabinet has had their voice boxes removed. And then there’s the backbenchers. They have taken to communicating with a series of blinks and twitches like in a hostage video.
So if you are a scientist, don't take it personally, times have changed. The days of discussing science and your findings in public, they’re over. It is a bygone era like smoking in the supermarket. This is the new Canada. Thank you for not talking.