We've Got Issues

Posted: 07/10/2015 9:31:50 AM

Well here we are in the midst of yet another federal election. Now normally I love an election, but this is not just any election. This is the longest election in modern Canadian history. We are sixty-six days in and I would love to tell you that we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but with two weeks left to go I can't even see the tunnel.

Now the Prime Minister says we needed this extra long election so we would have more time to discuss the issues. Then he announced that he would not take any follow-up questions on any issue, ever. You can ask this guy what he had for lunch; he can say Saskatchewan, and that issue is done. Which is why we’ve burned through all those silly issues early on like jobs, the economy, the plunging dollar, the price of oil, did I mention jobs? And we have settled on the definitive issue of the campaign: the niqab. If this keeps up, in a week we will be discussing which leader has the best hair. Oh right, we did that.

So for those of you who are feeling worn down by this campaign, who want to zone out and stay home—I feel your pain. I never thought I would say this: I would rather drink paint than hear the words “the following is a paid political announcement.” We must remain vigilant.

Remember this is not their election. It is ours. They do not get to choose what this election is about, we do. Just like we get to choose who runs this country. That's our job. All we have to do is show up and do it.


There's Bad News and Good News

Posted: 01/04/2015 7:04:20 AM

I love the Samara Institute; they’re an amazing charity. Their entire reason for being is to inspire Canadians to become more involved in democracy. What’s not to love? They aren't stuffy, they’ve got a great sense of humour. If you love politics, you could spend hours on their website.

But if you love democracy, it can be kind of depressing. Their latest report card is out and it’s clear. If Canadian democracy was a patient, it would be in the hallway on a gurney on its way to palliative care.

Turns out, the majority of Canadians are completely disgusted by Canadian politics. If this keeps up, the only people who will ever vote are the base. The base, by the way, no matter which party you're talking about, are a group of blindly loyal drones who live to get a Christmas card from their MP. As I said, fairly depressing.

But there is good news. Canadians are incredibly active and generous. A healthy majority gives money to charity or devotes time to causes they believe in. They want to be engaged. They just don't want to be engaged to anyone on Parliament Hill.

I just spent an entire week surrounded by young people age six to twenty-six who want nothing more than to make the world a better place. But you suggest they join a political party—you might as well tell them to go slam their head in a locker. When it comes to politics, abstinence is on the rise.

So to the leaders of the major political parties, this is go time. Canadians, especially young Canadians, they’re just not that into you. There's less than one year until the next federal election. Please, look beyond your base. Because democracy is far too important to sacrifice to partisan politics.


The Monument Men

Posted: 18/03/2015 7:32:40 AM

Ottawa has 24 national monuments and memorials, all different shapes and sizes. The largest and most prominent monument in the Nation’s capital is the National War Memorial. Now Ottawa is getting another monument. It’s yet to be built. It will honour the victims of communism. Entirely appropriate but everything about this story is completely bizarre.

For starters, it came out of nowhere. This was the brainchild of two Cabinet ministers, Jason Kenney and then John Baird. These boys, they have big egos, so this is not just any monument. This is going to be huge. If they were going to have their names on it had to be bigger and more imposing than the National War Memorial. I’m sorry, that’s just weird.

The thing covers an entire city block downtown. The land alone is worth 30 million dollars. The land was supposed to be for a Federal Court building. Kenney and Baird went in behind closed doors and the site was theirs. Now is this on the up and up? I don’t know. But they kept the land transfer secret for an entire year. What does that tell you? The entire thing is shrouded in so much mystery it’s like they’ve taken inspiration from the communist countries the memorial is condemning.

Now John Baird says the people of Ottawa want this. Personally, I think the people of Ottawa want a hockey rink that’s not 36 kilometres away. But that’s another story.

What is true is this Government, for all their talk of transparency, allowed two Cabinet ministers to decide, without any consultation, that the War Memorial should be a poor cousin. This is nothing but a nervous Government trying desperately to cement themselves in history before it’s too late. This is not how grown up countries act.


Give It Away

Posted: 11/03/2015 7:13:52 AM


Do you know what I am eternally grateful for and yet don't like to think about very much? My organs. Out of sight, out of mind has always been my philosophy. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad my organs are in there doing whatever it is they’re supposed to do, I'm just not particularly attached to them.

When the day comes that I don't need them, I hope someone else can use them. Now this does not make me unique. 89 percent of Canadians support the idea of organ donation. We are a generous, intelligent people. We are also a nation of procrastinators. We view organ donation the same way we view cleaning up the basement; we support the idea, it's just very easy to put it off until, well forever.

And every province is different. I assumed that I was a donor because I live in Ontario and I checked “take 'em all” on my driver's license years ago. Turns out that’s no guarantee. I'm also supposed to register online. And no matter where you live, if your second cousin twice removed shows up at the last minute saying no, your kidneys aren't going anywhere. And if you live in one province and you get hit by a truck in another, who knows what’s going to happen.

Now, there is a solution, a national registry. This is 2015. We should have an app for that. Sadly, we live in a country where no government, federal or provincial, has any interest in doing anything that everyone can get behind, because there’s no political points in that. That's not going to change soon. Let's face it, if any of our organs go on the fritz tomorrow, we’re all going to want to be on the list to get a new one. Well it works both ways.

Take a few minutes, talk it out with your family; figure out how it works in your province and make sure when you leave you don’t take your organs with you.



The Frighteners

Posted: 04/03/2015 7:54:59 AM

Which great political leader was it who said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”? Well you can Google that later but we know for certain it was not Stephen Harper. He loves to remind us over and over again that danger is lapping at our shores. 

These days there’s a lot of things to be afraid of. The government and the media are constantly telling us that terrorism is at the top of that list and so it should be. But that is just the tip of the iceberg. You want to go down the fear road, there’s a lot of things we should be afraid of. 

Danger is not just lapping at our shores, it's in the bathroom. Do you have any idea how many bad things can happen to you in the bathroom? People die in there every year, hundreds of them. And I for one would welcome it if, from now on, in every speech the Prime Minister gave, he would go on at length about the dangers of slip and fall. Any discussion about the economy should be met with tough talk on how to keep us safe in the bathroom. 

And we need new powers, new laws forcing Canadians to use those rubber bath mats. And there is no time to debate these laws, and obviously the state will need new powers to enter the bathroom. If Peter MacKay or Jason Kenney wants in your toilet — upstairs or down — that is a small price to pay. 

And while we’re on the subject, do you have any idea how many Canadians are killed every year in the summer? It is our deadliest season. And yet we are encouraged to go outdoors. That needs a rethink. 

If you go online and you research all the frightening things in this world you would realize that Stephen Harper is right. We have every reason to be afraid. But if we give into that fear, we would never debate a bill, go outdoors or take a shower again.