Monday, August 29, 2005
MY SO-CALLED LIFE: PUBLIC SERVICE EVALUATION, HIPSTER STYLE
I did. Last week. and it was a wallet, by the way, you perv.
What a huge pain in the ass. The biggest problem? My whole ID was in that little leather pouch: credit cards, bank cards, birth certificate, SIN card, driver's license, OHIP card, office ID card, Blockbuster rental card, etc, etc etc.
Thank God that I didn't cram my passport into my wallet. Not sure what I would have done then.
So anyway, I have begun the long process of being able to prove I am who I say I am. In doing so, I have had to interact with numerous government agencies, their kiosks and the employees who run them. There have been many discrepencies, which I would like to share.
My basic thesis in this exercise was that the government response time would be esentially uniform, regardless of who I would be dealing with. I also expected that the private sector would move quickly. Here's what I have so far:
BANK CARD (2 HOURS): This was the most important to me, as I had no real access to money without it. I can tell you that begging for money from your wife isn't as glorious as it sounds. I'll have to learn from Kevin Federline. With passport in hand, I had a new card in the time it took me to take a subway to the branch. it was activated immediately. Full marks.
OHIP CARD (5 MINUTES): I didn't even have to go anywhere with this one. I called the Ministry of Health, they asked me for my address and Date of Birth and they said a new one was on its way. Kind of scary that I can get access to a card that quickly. Hmmmmm. Fraud, anyone? But still--no headache at all for an upstanding citizen like myself reporting a lost card.
DRIVER'S LICENSE (30 MINUTES): Not too bad. It on the MTO website that I needed 2 pieces of ID, but they only asked for one (again, my passport). After I put down $10, I had a temp right away. Line up was only about 5 minutes, so it wasn't too bad. I even had the option of taking a new pic, but since those gym visits haven't been happening as of late, I decided to keep the one I had (even though I do look like a convicted felon).
SIN CARD (ONGOING): Now I started to move into the not-so-great. Although not immediately needed, the government office was near my bank, so I thought I'd go over there. When I get to the front, there is a station that tells you to take an application from the pile and fill it out. No pen provided, so I take one and figure I'll fill it out when I get to the front. Then I get into the line with lots of babies, most screaming because its pretty damn muggy in there. I wait for a half hour (it was 10 am, so off-peak) only to be told that I need a birth certificate to get a SIN card. Thanks for wasting my time. How about a sign on the wall? Guess I need to get the ol' birth card first.
BIRTH CERTIFICATE (2 DAYS): Being born in the great State of Alberta, I had to deal with them remotely. Redemption! Now, "the source" of all ID verification is the Birth Certificate. It really is the grandaddy of government identification. I called up the fine folk at Registry Connect and they told me that they could have it too me pretty quick, depending on how much I was willing to pay. I'm totally cool with that--in fact, i wish more government agencies would act in that fashion. Considering that I had an expired passport and was travelling to the U.S. the next week, I figured "immediately" was my category of urgency. Once I faxed in my application, I had it on my desk in less than 48 hours.
PASSPORT (ONGOING): Back to the dregs of the federal government. So, I go into the Passport Office with my expired passport and there is no real clear indication of where I should go. There is a "pre screening" line for passport applications, but I figured since I had one already, it was different. No one there to tell me otherwise. After wandering for a few minutes, I decided to join the "pre-screen" line and take my chances. After waiting 20 minutes, they tell me that I needed to fill out an application and that I needed to get out of the line to do that. They also told me that renewing a passport is just like getting a passport for the first time, so I needed a birth certificate (which I didn't have at that point). A helpful young lady behind me in line told me to fill out the application online. She then told me this was her 3rd time in that line, after various corrections and miscues.
I went online and filled out the application, but it is unclear whether my application is being processed, or that I still have to go down to the Passport Office to fill out all the paperwork. I'll look into that when I have a few minutes.
CREDIT CARD (ONGOING): Now, I have to be fair. These guys weren't that great either, but it really depends on the company. My Mastercard was little problem, but that might have been that I cancelled it earlier in the week due to fraudulent charges on it from some online gambling site (Nope, not me). But I still needed to let them know and they were good with it--quick and easy.
My Visa, on the other hand, was difficult. After being in cue for 30 minutes, I finally got someone and answered increasing obscure security information (i.e "What are the last three digits of your cable bill account?"). When I asked to put a hold on it, the woman on the other end couldn't get into my account. She wouldn't tell me why, just that she was "unable to access my file". I told her I wanted to ensure no one was using my card right at that minute, but she blathered through an apology and said there was little she could do (although, from the sounds of her, it didn't seem like there was much she could have done). So, I hung up and decided to call again. This time, I had a bright young gal that quickly diagnosed the problem: they had an old phone number on file. With that fixed, the issued a new card, which has yet to arrive.
So, it was a real mixed bag, which I didn't expect. I totally understand that I needed to be put through hoops to ensure I was who I said I was. But most of my frustration came from waiting in line, unhelpful attendants, and missing information. Not from the actual protocols themselves. I can just imagine what it would be like if I was in a real pinch and I needed to get these documents ASAP. Big problem.
That's what I've been doing for the last week.
How about you? Things good?
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
POLITICS AS USUAL: THE DEMISE OF A PROVINCIAL POWERHOUSE
I wake up this morning to find out that the Ontario Chamber of Commerce will be releasing a report today which will argue that the fiscal imbalance between what Ontario takes in versus what it gets back from Ottawa is making it a "have not" province.
Huh? Ontario as a "have not" province? Oh please--do tell.
Apparently, Ontario --you know, the most populous province in Canada that was a scant 5 years ago the economic engine of the country -- is "struggling" with a $2.8 billion deficit and is receiving less $23 billion less than it was in 1995 by way of transfer payments, programs and services.
Undoubtedly, the McGuinty government will use this new report as fresh "evidence" that Ontario is in a strucutral hole it can't possible dig out of without help from the federal government: "Sorry, folks, I'd like to help you, but Ottawa has been real stingy this year. You should go talk to them".
What a maddening, absolute and complete cop out. And no one in this province should let them get away with it. Let the Hipster provide all of you with a few talking points, if I may:
- The so-called "fiscal gap" isn't widening, its narrowing. According to the province's own Economic Outlook, Ottawa transferred $11.6 billion to Ontario in 2004-05. That is a 17% increase from the year before.
- On the other side, the federal government collected only 5% more in taxes in 2004-05 than it did the previous year, most of that due to a sluggish economy.
- The Ontario government collected $1.4 billion more in tax revenue than it had originally forcast for the last fiscal year, which includes that infamous $700 million health tax, which hiked middle-income tax bills by an average of 16%.
- Program spending for Ontario increased by $5.5 billion last year: $850 million in priority areas (healthcare, education, agriculture) and $650 million in non-priority areas.
- Spending per capita (adjusted for inflation) is at $12, the same level at it was under Bob Rae's NDP government.
- This is the same government spends $500 million on auto industry subsidies, $400 million on a casino hotel, $170 million for increased health bureaucracy.
- At the same time, the McGuinty government spends its time banning pitbulls, smoking and eliminating P3 opportunites, corporate tax cuts and any kind of private business in healthcare and allowing business payroll taxes to increase by $7 billion over 7 years.
So much for the "fiscal imbalance". It seems the province is authoring its own demise by spending wrecklessly in non-priority areas, hiking regulations and taxes on businesses and generally not getting its fiscal house in order.
If anything is "have not" in Ontario, its the FIBeral government. They "have not" kept a check on spending. They "have not" used the huge tax winfalls to benefit Ontarians and their conmmunities. They "have not" come up with a plan to secure cheap, efficient energy in the province. They "have not" kept up with other jurisdictions in creating a positive business climate. They "have not" found ways to provide healthcare in an efficient manner and reduce wait times. They "have not" taken responsibility for their actions and been accountable to voters.
Don't let McGuinty and his FIBerals crash this province into the ditch. Don't let them off the hook by blaming Ottawa. Don't let them cry about Alberta's gas-driven surpluses.
Don't let Ontario become a "have not" province.
Now's the time to demand the government spend less time crying about what it doesn't have, and more time maximizing what it does have.
Thursday, August 18, 2005
RIGHT SIDE OF MY BRAIN: HE'S GOT MY VOTE
Not sure if this is real or not, but its still awesome.
UPDATE: It is a hoax (part of a promo campaign for "Wedding Crashers") but its still hilarious, so I'll leave it up.
Because as they say, the world needs a lot more cowbell.
P.S. Sorry Brian--I'll get you something good next time.
POLITICS AS USUAL: WHAT'S HE WAITING FOR, A KICK IN THE HEAD?
I know we as Conservatives are all scared to death of talking about private services in health care, but how much more evidence does Stephen Harper and the CPC need to realize that Canadians are further along in accepting the idea of integrating private services into the system than we all seem to be?
Allow me to present the following recent evidence, if I may:
- Decima recently polled over 2,000 Canadians across the country to ask them for their opinions. The result? 23% said they would be "likely" or "very likely" to use pay into a plan that allowed them to screen for various diseases, in the hopes of catching them early. Imagine if 23% (or about 5 million people) had these preventative meausres taken without adding to the overburdened system. Amazing.
- The Canadian Medical Association, the group that represents Canadian doctors recently voted --by a 2 to 1 margin-- that " patients should be able to go outside the public health-care plan and use private insurance if they can't get necessary medical care quickly enough".
- As we all know, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that long wait lists are a violation of a person's guaranteed right to security and that Canadians should be able to puchase private health care services through insurance if they so desire.
- Ispos Reid polled over 1,000 Canadians shortly after the SCC decision and found that 70% of Canadians fel they should be able to buy private services if they want. 60% think it will lead to shorter wait times, 54% feel it will improve the system.
So, let me get this straight. We're willing to go to the wall on Same Sex Marriage, which directly affects a small percentage of the country (I know, more on a national values paradigm, but work with me here), but not on an issue that affects everyone?
How much more proof does Harper and his caucus need to realize its the politicians that are afraid to incorproate private services into the healthcare system, not the public.
Aren't our leaders supposed to um, lead? What are they waiting for? Do I need to hit Harper and caucus with a 2 x 4 "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan style?
The public is way ahead of us on this issue. Let's get on it, people!
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
POLITICS AS USUAL: PARTISAN G-G?
Any particular reason the (supposedly non-partisan) G-G's recent statement is on the Fiberal website?
Take a LOOK for yourself.
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
POLITICS AS USUAL: COP CALLS THE CRIMINAL BLACK?
There has been a fair amount of discussion about the gang violence here in Toronto, but little has be discussed about how to approach the community (in this case the black community) -- in search of gangs and criminals -- withot targetting the community as a whole.
A Toronto City Councillor, Michael Thompson, feels that the police shouldn't make that attempt. In fact, he thinks the police should stop black residents at random.
From the Globe:
Stop black youths at random, Toronto councillor suggests
Toronto — A Toronto city councillor is floating a controversial idea on curbing gun violence in the city.
Michael Thompson says police should be allowed to “target” young black men at random as part of a crackdown on guns. Mr. Thompson, who is black, said a large percentage of the guns being used and a large number of people being killed are in the black community, so there is a need to target people in the community.
He said he is not calling for police to pull people over just because they are black but because gun violence is affecting the black community.
Deputy police chief Keith Forde, who is also black, says chief Bill Blair would “never, ever agree to that.”
There have been 30 gun-related deaths in Toronto among the 44 homicides in the city so far this year.
In a new effort to reduce violence in the city, Mr. Blair announced Monday that he is reassigning 100 desk officers to uniform duty.
They will join street patrol officers and provide a bridge until 96 recruits graduate from police college next month.
Mr. Blair redeployed 50 officers to a problem area in the northwestern part of the city earlier this month
Is this the right thing to do? Given that this crisis is affecting (almost solely) the black community, should the police engage in these kind of tactics? Is it now okay because a Black Councillor says it is?
I'm conflicted. On the one hand, I see the need to get deep into these communities when fighting these gangs. And when you are showing you mean business, it often means some inconvenience (and frankly harassment) of completely innocent people.
But at the same time, I'm concerned about the long lasting effect this will have on the relationship between the community and the police. Lets face it, some cops are a tad overzealous when it comes to "enforcement". At the same time, signficant harrassement will only build suspicion on both sides. When you're trying to establish roots in the community so people will trust you enough to give up the perps. distrust is can be viral.
There's no problem the issue needs to be solved (or at least controlled). It will be interesting to see the community's reaction for the Councillors plan.
Thursday, August 11, 2005
B! TALK DAILY: REAL MEN LOVE REAL LADIES
These are REAL women, folks
From advice to Stephen Harper to advice to all the CH readers of the gentler sex.
For the last number of weeks, I have seen posters and ads for Dove moisterizer, as part of their "Campaign for Real Beauty". I gotta tell ya, I think its great.
More often than not, consumers (but particularly women) are bombarded with images of razor thin models or super buff actresses who are held up as the idea specimen for the female form. I'm here to tell you that most guys I know don't agree.
I have always stated to my guy friends (and also to my wife) that what I love about women are the parts that make them women. No, its not the violent mood swings, lack of physical strength or aversion to video games. Its their curves! Who wants a stick figure woman with the body of a 12-year old boy (Michael Jackson nothwithstanding)?
Look at young Stacey in the picture above. There's nothing wrong with that, my friend. Are guys going to tell me that they don;t find her attractive? Sir Mix-A-Lot wasn't just whistlin' (rapping) dixie. While I understand that Dove is in the business of selling skin care products, its still nice to see real women with real bodies featured in ads.
Look, I'm no Brad Pitt, and I don't expect women to be Eva Longoria. I think women would be (pleasantly) surprised to find out how many guys think like I do. We like your curves. We like women who look good in faded jeans and a t-shirt. We like that you don;t have less than 3% body fat. We want some meat on your bones!
The thing that makes women sexy isn't their weight. Its their attitude. I have seen girls (Aside to wifey: in the past, I can assure you, my dear) who were somewhat on the heavy side, but they carried it extremely well. They were confident, relaxed and happy and that made them attractive.
So, lets see more real-life women on TV, movies and advertisements. Good on Dove for leading the charge.
P.S. I have to get this off my chest: Angelina Jolie doesn't really do anything for me. I know, I know. But she just doesn't.
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
POLITICS AS USUAL: AN OPEN LETTER TO STEPHEN HARPER
Hon. Stephen Harper, P.C.
Leader, Official Opposition
House of Commons
Dear Mr. Harper:
RE: The Future of Canada
As a member in good standing of the Conservative Party of Canada, I thought I would express my concerns with the subject above. First, let me tell you a little about myself, as we have only met once (I was the handsome bald man at the Toronto dinner). I was born in Calgary but moved to Ontario when I started public school. Like many Canadians, I was raised in a household that discussed current events and encouraged free expression of ideas. My family is also proudly Canadian. For as long as I can remember, my parents spoke of a strong country that could always be counted on to do what needed to be done both at home and abroad. Its values were rooted in common sense and community and Canada warmly welcomed success and new ideas.
Canadians were never afraid to do the right thing, for themselves or for the country.
In October, my wife and I will welcome our first child into the world. Along with experiencing all the joys an expectant father, my thoughts have increasingly returned to what kind of a country we are bringing our child to. I can say without hesitation that I am worried. This is why I write to you today.
In many respects, this great country has lost its confidence. Once influential on the world stage, Canada has now been relegated to an afterthought in both diplomatic and military circles. Our once proud military relies on other countries to fill in the operational gaps and our top generals are ridiculed by sitting MPs as being "truly barbaric" for talking openly and frankly about the jobs of soldiers in battle. Our Prime Minister seeks the company of rock stars, and even they are disappointed in his efforts in other countries. We watch passively as nations in Europe and Asia match then exceed Canada in productivity and economic growth, wondering why that doesn't happen here.
On the home front, Canadians are afraid. Many of our citizens hold on desperately to iconic symbols such as universal healthcare, scared that any change will mean the end of Canada as they know it. Intuitively, Canadians know something is wrong. Younger people hear grand stories about this country's past, but those tales don't seem to match up with the Canada they know. Innovators are looked upon with indifference and receive a "good luck" and a wave goodbye when they pack up for greener pastures to the south or to the east. Businesses both big and small face a regulatory steeplechase while being burdened with more and more taxes. Canadians fret the fact that Canada has lost its luster, but shy away from new ideas.
Real dialogue in this country has devolved into the equivalent of a late night infomercial. Its now about who has the easiest, most convenient answers for today instead of what is the best plan for tomorrow. Political discourse focuses on the art of "gotcha" politics, where its more about destroying your opponents than debating them. We have fallen into an "us vs. them" mentality where those who disagree with you are evil and hateful, or just plain enemies of Canada looking to dismantle our collective way of life.
This is the country my child will inherit. This is what worries me.
This is where you come in.
In these lazy days of summer, there has been a lot of discussion with what is wrong with you and the Conservative Party. Pundits talk endlessly about your personality, your leadership style, your suits, your bar-b-quing skills, etc. There is also much discussion about why the Conservatives have not been able to overtake the tired Martin Liberals, even while they are currently awash in scandal. Party members wring their hands over bias in the media and the erosion of Canadian values. Allow me, if I may, to impart some advice as one Party member to another.
Lead, Mr. Harper.
Canadians across the political spectrum are looking for real leadership in this country. They aren't worried about who kisses the most babies; they want to know who they can trust their baby's future to. Citizens of this country long for a bold vision of Canada that improves on what makes this country great, but also prescribes specific remedies for what ails it. This goes beyond lines in an election platform. This is about how you would mold this country, if given a chance. Don't just tell us what's wrong with Canada, tell us how you would make it better than it ever has been.
Dream, Mr. Harper.
Tell us about how your experiences, education and other factors have brought you to your way of thinking. Get Canadians excited about what the future could hold if they think outside the box. And don't be afraid to think big. Ask Canadians to think big as well. They have shown time and time again that they have the smarts and the courage to take big steps forward. Tell them that this is once again that time in our nation's history. Ask them to join you in that journey to make this country great again.
Be confident, Mr. Harper.
Don't spend time worrying about how the media will "spin" your ideas, or that they are out to get you. Use them for what they are: disseminators of information. Talk to Canadians. Repeatedly. Let them be the ultimate judge on your vision of Canada. Lay it out in clear detail so Caandians can become comfortable on where the country is headed under your leadership. And if needed, tell them again. And again.
Do not waiver. If you are not willing to bet on your vision of the future, no one else will either. Show voters that you believe so strongly in your ideas, you are willing to stake your political future on it. Canadians will see that if you are ready to risk something so important to you for your plan, it must be worth a long look at.
I believe that if you proudly and boldly present you vision of Canada, Canadians will repond in kind. They want a better country too. They want to be global leaders. They want to be the envy of other countries. They want to be proud again. And they can be.
If you lead, I believe Canadians will follow.
I know I will.
Monday, August 08, 2005
POLITICS AS USUAL: A BEACON OF LIGHT IN AN OTHERWISE DARK LAND...
"Afghanistan is a 20-year venture," Maj.-Gen. Andrew Leslie told the annual Couchiching Summer Conference yesterday.
Leslie warned that the war-torn country is going to need a long-term commitment from Canada to help it "break out of the cycle of warlords and tribalism."
And the results will be worth the cost, both in blood and time, he promised attendees of the conference in Orillia, on the shore of Lake Couchiching.
"There are things worth fighting for. There are things worth dying for. There are things worth killing for," Leslie told the conference.
Its nice to see ONE branch of government and ONE Canadian willing to speak truthfully, directly, and with the same grit and determination that used to define this nation many years ago.
Its so rare these days that I posted on it.
How sad is that?
P.S. Before she even opens up her mouth--I don't give a damn what Carolyn Parrish has to say.
POLITICS AS USUAL: THE WAR ON STREET TERROR
UPDATE: Imagine if a version of THIS was happening to gun runners, drug dealers and criminals.
Two issues of striking similarity continue to dominate the news, both of which at odds with our way of life here in Western society.
The first, CH readers are unfortunately all too familiar with: terrorist attacks and suicide bombers. We have all seen the images and aftermath of the attacks on the World Trade Centre, the London subway system, Bali, and Spain. And the story is also the same: Islamic fundamentalists who have taken their bloody jihad as close to the heart of their "enemy" as possible, by blowing up innocent civilians in dense urban centres.
And all western societies are feeling the repercussions: how many of us have not wondered (or more likely openly debated) as to whether their city, town or country will be the next target? The difficultly in fighting this type of horrific act is to weed out the truly dangerous and hateful from a community as a whole. Any rational person recognizes that the vast majority of muslims in North America and Europe do not advocate the indescriminate killing of innocent people. These murderers are radical fundamentalists who represent a small yet violent part of the muslim community.
The problem lies in separating those muslims who are looking to destroy our way of life from those muslims who want to live in harmony with westerners. Many have advocated for swift and harsh action on anyone connected or even associated with radical islamic sects who openly advocate violence against others to advance their agenda.
The second has been dominating newscasts in the Toronto area. Over the last two weeks, some areas of the City have become something akin to the wild west. In 14 days, 17 people including a 4-year old boy, have been shot on Toronto streets in an escalating gang turf war.
These shootings have struck fear in the heart of residential neigbouroods across Toronto: bullets have been flying in parks, backyards, shopping malls and even in the middle of a crowded street festival with hundreds of witnesses and a signficant police presence. Innocent victims have been caught in the crossfire of armed thugs.
In this case, the neighbourhoods where these shootings have been predominately black, with the perpetrators also being of african origin. The Toronto police have vowed to bring the criminals to jail (with some success already) and have pledged to work with the black community to ensure the guilty are hunted down while ensuring the community as a whole doesn't become a suspect.
Both types of violence have similarities:
- Innocent people have been hurt or killed.
- The crimes or acts have been to advance an agenda.
- Both sets of crimes have a population in fear.
- A particular ethnic community has been linked to the crimes.
- Authorities in either case are hunting a violent section of that community while trying not to target the community overall.
- Authorities are (frankly) having some difficulty in distinguishing betwen the two.
- The violence in both cases continues.
In response to the attacks in London, PM Tony Blair has announced sweeping new plans to deals with extremists linked to terroist organizations. The measures include:
- Expanding ground for deporting foreigners, including fostering hatred or advocating violence;
- Creating a list of websites and organizations linked to terrorism;
- Expanding and streamlining government powers to quickly strip naturalized citizens of citizenship if they participate in terrorism;
- Refuse asylum for anyone with terrorism links; and
- Expanding powers to hold suspects for 3 months without charge.
The UK has taken very specific action to root out fundamentalists and rid the country of the terrorist element, even while risking strained relations with the muslim community in Britain. According to Blair, "the rules of the game are changing".
Why couldn't Toronto or Canada take the same route with street gangs? While not targeting a radical sect, the same principles could apply in Toronto's "war on street terror". Britain is saying that not only will there be harsh penalties for those who commit these acts, there will be strict action taken on anyone who is associated with those involved in these crimes.
Specifically, they'll be deported. Quickly. For many involved in street gangs, that would also be a potential penalty. Many gang members and associates are from the West Indies, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, Haiti, etc. Deportation would be a real consequence.
And the expanded powers would allow the Toronto police to conduct massive gang sweeps to pick up those suspected of being involved in drive-by shootings, murder, extortion and drug running. It would show those in the community that the Canadian public is taking gang violence as serious as terrorism.
That would be a strong statement.
And why wouldn't we? Like terrorists, these gangs are keeping the public in fear. They are using that fear to get their way. And like terrorism, random violence against innocent people deserves the harshest of responses. And it would give the vastly innocent, hard working people on Toronto's black community a strong incentive not to associate with gang members and to ensure they are caught quickly and brought to justice.
That change of approach would send a clear, unwaivering message to street thugs: If you mess around in a gang, one way or another, you will be routed out, punished, and in some cases deported.
UPDATE: I totally agree with Warren Kinsella's take on Mayor David Miller and his crime policies (or lack thereof).
Sunday, August 07, 2005
RIGHT SIDE OF MY BRAIN: BLOGGING TORIES ARE HIP(STER)
Featured Blogging Tories Site of the Week!
I very much appreciate it. And hats off to DazlinDino for letting me know.
Its all downhill from here, boys....
Thursday, August 04, 2005
POLITICS AS USUAL: WAIT AND SEE ON THE NEW G-G
- She apparently said: "Well, the attacks in New York and Washington were, in a way, foreseeable."
- Her husband directed a documentary La Liberté en Colère, that is being billed as a pro-soverignty film.
Give me a break. There might be things in her past that make her a tainted candidate for G-G, but this ain't it. On the first point, I agree with her. Considering what Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda and other islamic fundamentalists were saying/threatening about "the great Satan" (including using planes as flying bombs on U.S. soil) they WERE foreseeable.
One the second point, admittedly I haven't seen the film, but from the description, its not exactly a propaganda film for the BQ:
Thirty years later, four members of what was Le Front de libération du Québec
discussed why they create or participate in this revolutionary group. And their
explanations are not without passion...
C'mon folks. This is just a lame attempt to taint a candidate and blatant partisanship. Yeah, I don't know everything about these 2 quotes/facts, but neither, it seems, does anyone else. Right now, its pretty bush league stuff.
Now, on to my original post...I have tried over the past months not to just link articles, but the Globe's John Ibbitson (almost) perfectly summarized what I was going to say:
"Prime Minister Paul Martin has made a fascinating but highly controversial choice for the next governor-general. Unless you are a regular viewer of CBC Newsworld or Radio-Canada -- and the ratings suggest you aren't -- you probably haven't heard of Michaëlle Jean."
"Although equipped with a potent résumé -- arriving from Haiti as a child, she has mastered five languages, taught Italian literature and earned high praise for her talents as a television host -- Ms. Jean is far from nationally prominent. Some will question whether a person with such a relatively modest profile should be asked to serve as head of state in Canada."
"Others (CH note: that would be me) will howl at what they see as the incestuous nature of the appointment. After all, Adrienne Clarkson was a female, visible-minority CBC broadcaster from Toronto. Ms. Jean is a female, visible-minority CBC broadcaster from Montreal. The only crucial difference between the two is that Ms. Clarkson was far better known outside Quebec than is Ms. Jean."
"Ms. Clarkson had to withstand her share of brickbats from pundits (CH note: me again), politicians and writers of letters to the editor who complained that she personified the Central Canadian cultural elite: too left leaning and too high brow to speak on behalf of the vast majority of Canadians who live outside Toronto or Montreal's better postal codes. Since Ms. Jean is the second consecutive choice from that pool, the criticism this time around will be even more intense."
Couldn't have said it better myself.
The bottom line is that I will wait to see what our new G-G is all about before I pass judgement. I like the fact that she is relatively young an many have described her as energetic and full of ideas. I do agree that Dutchess Adrienne did spend a lot of time working in the North, etc and for that I give her credit.
I just hope Ms. Jean becomes a Governor General for ALL Canadians, not just the cultural elite in this country. The office is more than Order of Canada awards ceremonies and representing Canada at state funerals.
I hope Ms. Jean remembers that.
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
B! TALK DAILY: OPRAH SELLS CUBA
Oprah showing her humble lifestyle
I was flipping through the channels on the ol' idiot box on Monday and I came across the Oprah Winfrey Show. What caught my attention (I swear to God) was all these beautiful women about my age of varying nationalities talking about what it is like to be a 30-year old woman in their country.
What really caught my eye was the segment on Cuba.
The piece focused on a 30-year old dancer who talked up how great the communist dictatorship was. She says she would never have been such a "success" (barely getting by, but at least she's on stage!) if she went to another country. And the surprising part was that the CNN correspondent narrating the piece and the show's audience all seem to be in agreement with them!
I don't have a transcript, but here are some highlights from memory:
- Women's Rights: Unlike other countries, because its a socialist country, there is much more equality amongst men and women. In fact, if a man is cheating on you, you can get a divorce in 5 minutes and for less that $5.00 ($3.50, actually). Most women have already been divorced 3 times by the time they're 30! Abortions are legal and easy to access. Most Cuban women have also had on average 4 abortions by the time they are 30 (I guess 1 for each marriage, plus a bonus).
- Equity in income: Standard of living is poor, but that's OK because everyone makes about the same. The correspondent actually said "The dancer only makes $25 a month, but its the same salary as a doctor." Like its a good thing!
- Healthcare: You don't own a car and you live in a shack, but don't worry--the state picks up all heathcare costs, education up to college. They even pay for some food rations! Yippee! Now I can get that extra (cardboard) fibre gruel. Mmmmmm.....
The piece ends and there's the Big O and the audience doing their "Ooooooo" and "Ahhhhhhhh" routine like this is some sort of feminist utopia. I couldn't believe it. I spent the whole time thinking to myself: "I wonder how Oprah would take to making the same as a factory worker or a shoeshine boy." I suspect it would be a rough transition.
Anyway, I'm not sure how living in Cuba would be a desireable thing, but the gals in the audience looked ready to sign up.
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
THE RED ENSIGN FLIES AGAIN......
..over at The High Places.
POLITICS AS USUAL: PETER AND BELINDA--THE CREATURE LIVES!!!!
Damn, Pete--get yourself together!
Conservative Hipster is not usually known as a clearing house for gossip, but I thought I would pass this one along.
It seems our version of Bennifer, Peter McKay and Belinda Stronach (who I will call "Petinda") has risen like a phoenix from the ashes.
According to well-placed sources up on ye Parliament Hill, Peter and Belinda are back together! Apparently, the two showed up together arm-in-arm a few weeks ago at the Molson Indy in Toronto.
What is also known is that after the infamous "Crossing of the River Ambition", young, heartbroken Petey continued to inquire on the personal status of Canada's newest addition to Cabinet through a Calgary-area MP (who shall remain nameless for now) who was a mutual acquaintance of both halves of Petinda.
Anyone with any further info on this (or any other) piece of important national business can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or post in the comments section.
Gossip (however unsubstantiated) posted.
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