Rob Ford was talking about, you know, eating cats. Could be. He’s kind of stupid, after all.
Despite what I posted yesterday, I’m pretty sure Brad Wall is pretty glad that he ducked a political minefield with Senator Pamela Wallin and the PMO expense account scandal. It’s Harper’s problem, not his.
Let’s say that Harper did call for a Senate election to fill that vacancy, which they could have done between May 2009, when the SaskParty passed the legislation, and now, as Wall says they will repeal the legislation (they could have held the election in November 2011, in conjunction with the provincial election). Let’s say that Wallin won (Given the strengths of both the Saskatchewan Party and the relative disinterest in Senate reform by either the NDP and Liberals, it’s impossible to imagine otherwise). And let’s say the scandal had happened just as it is happening now (Given that PM Harper sees the Senate as nothing but a place to continue fighting his elections, it’s also impossible to imagine otherwise).
Instead of most SaskParty and Saskatchewan Conservatives distancing themselves from Wallin as if she had caught a communicable disease, they would be personally tainted by the scandal more so than by Harper appointing her. They would have put their credibility on the line for her, and the catcalling and outrage (feigned or otherwise) in Question Period in the Legislature or Parliament would have been nothing compared to the outrage every card-carrying party member would have received on coffee row, or at the grocery store, or wherever, from the public mocking their party members caught snout deep at the public trough.
Wall got away with one because in the Canadian political scale, senate reform is like changing the light bulb in the garden shed – it’s one of those things we’ll get around to someday. Not now, but someday.
Meanwhile … Wallin’s shtick has always been that she’s this pure, simple, kind-hearted prairie girl who works hard. Her former aide says that’s a load of you know what. They are starting to turn on each other, and there’s a chance of an internal Conservative civil war by the time of the 2015 election.
December 2008 — Pamela Wallin is appointed to the Senate of Canada as a Saskatchewan representative. Wallin says she will run in a Senate election for the Conservatives if the Saskatchewan government passes legislation requiring senators to be elected rather than appointed.
I wonder why Brad Wall’s not calling for a Senate election now? It’s not because Pamela Wallin couldn’t win now? Or is she too busy?
Of all the reams of ink and pulp and HTML that will be expended on the fate of Rob Ford, the worst include the Twitter catfight between Steve Ladurantaye, a Globe and Mail media affairs reporter, and Toronto Sun columnist Sue Anne Levy, who once considered Ford a heart-throb. Five months ago, when Gawker first broke the story of the Rob Ford crack smoking video, she did the Tammy Wynette thing by Ford, claiming that it was all a giant conspiracy by The Left Wing Media (FWIW, the closest thing I’ve seen to The Left Wing Media, apart from Briarpatch’s subscription drives, is a celebrity hockey game between some Balcarres locals and Global’s rec hockey team about 15 years ago, where Warren Woods played left wing). After yesterday’s press conference, Steve Twittered her old column, and Sue Anne threatened to sue Steve for it.
That’s right, people. Sue Anne Levy, a working journalist, is threatening to sue another journalist because he linked to an old story of hers. She’s threatening to sue him – for quoting her words.
But the worst comes from National Post columnist Robyn Urback, tut-tut-tutting the Toronto Star because their newsroom had a good day. I haven’t seen someone display their inadequacies and shortcomings since the last redneck hillbilly streaked at Mosaic Stadium during a Labour Day game a few years ago.
Back in the old days, newspapers had their biases, yes, but they had newsrooms filled with people busting their asses to get the story (think of the intense and legendary media battles between the now-defunct Toronto Telegram, The Toronto Star, and The Globe And Mail). There would have been intense competition to get this story. Instead, the Sun and the National Post, and to a lesser extent the Globe and Mail, left the field to the Rob Ford crack scandal wide open because their editors, their publishers, and their corporate owners didn’t want to know. They had built their newspapers’ view of the world around the idea that The Right Is Always Right, and since Rob Ford was right-of-centre, better him than some granola-eating hippie, Birkenstock-wearing environmentalist, supposed unreconstructed Marxist-Leninist, or some lesbian feminist who won’t shave her legs. Ford may be a little off the wall, but he’s a Man of The People … until he’s not.
What Urback is saying is this: the Toronto Star ate the National Post’s lunch. The Star is a better paper than the Post. They know more than the Post. And in the old days, this column wouldn’t have made the paper, but would have been something the author would have aurally lamented to his/her friends while drinking away the severance cheque at the press club or some tavern, hours after being frogmarched out of the newsroom.
The Toronto Star newsroom made their bones this week. They earned a credibility that much of the rest of Canada’s media refuse to even try to earn. The found a story, stuck it through to the end, and have earned every right to celebrate that they took a stand, based it on the facts – not, as the North American political right-of-centre philosophy increasingly does, wishing and hoping and making shit up – and were proven right. Good for them. And if any of them at the Star have a mousepad or coffee cup to spare, I’d gladly buy it and use it. Well done.
Instead of using Twitter, Durant should have gone to the guy’s job and hassled him there, just as Christian Zuck hassles Durant at work. I can see it now …
“HEY YOU! JACKASS! I SAID EXTRA SAUCE AND NO PICKLES ON THIS DOUBLE BIG MAC! WHATSAMATTA YOU? DEAF OR SOMETHING? CAN’T EVEN GET A FARKING ORDER RIGHT? AND THE FRIES ARE COLD! I WANT A FREE DOUBLE BIG MAC FOR THIS OR I’M TELLING YOUR MANAGER …”
As the result of last week’s referendum sink in, it’s pretty apparent that the Yes side has a few things to take stock in. First of all, they have a pretty good base of support in certain areas for the next civic election, if they can figure out a way to hold it together. And secondly, they now know that the once-vaunted Saskatchewan NDP political machine is now as useful as nipples on a boar.
During the referendum campaign, former city councillor and onetime NDP candidate in Regina Qu’Appelle Fred Clipsham sent a letter to the Regina Leader-Post, saying in effect that since Regina city councillors had approved the P3 system, that should have ended the debate. If council let it be written, council should let it be done. As well, Sask NDP leader Cam Broten was silent on the issue, as were (at least publicly) the Regina NDP caucus.
From what I have seen the NDP, especially in Saskatchewan, has long taken the activist community for granted as a political base. In a province full of rednecks and Chamber of Commerce suckups, where else are union types, social activists and low-income types going to go? But it seems to me that the NDP, especially since the Romanow years, has been more interested in selling itself as good economic managers – the types who won’t rock the economic boat – than whatever passes for the social gospel today.
And this is probably why Broten stayed out of this debate. But it’s not a good strategy. The Chamber of Commerce types – of this and the upcoming generation – would cut off their feet and eat them rather than acknowledge that the NDP may have a point with something. There’s nothing that the NDP can say that could interest them, or even neutralize their support for right-of-centre economic and social policies. And rolling over and playing dead is what the NDP have done in the face of right-of-centre economic forces in Saskatchewan for a long time.
As well, the NDP appears to be husbanding all its resources for its provincial electoral campaigns, which doesn’t make a lot of sense. Municipal politics is a pretty good proving ground for politician wanna-bes (Harry Van Mulligan served a few terms on Regina City Council before making the leap into provincial politics. He and John Solomon, Simon DeJong’s executive assistant and who later became a Regina-area NDP MP in the late 1980s/early 1990s, shared an office), so where’s the next generation of NDP candidates going to cut their teeth?
Shorter Bill Maher: California, the state that first embraced Reganomics in the 1960s, is now the first state that’s rejecting that philosophy. And things are getting better. Much better. Better than anything put up by Reganomics’ descendants.
Whatever people have said about the Hummer as a vehicle or as a status symbol, there may be a real good reason to buy this one:
Alright so here’s the deal, i am selling my 2005 Hummer for parts or repair, its been deemed a total loss through sgi and is repairable. I made the bright decision to get all pissed up one night with some broads down in swift current, it was a night fueled by alcohol and hallucinogenic drugs (LSD). I ended up hitting a meridian while i was swerving for “panda bears” which than sent me flying into a parked vehicle. Cops showed up and had me in cuffs instantly, at this point i was naked with blue and red face painting on along with two other females in the vehicle (they too were naked) No injuries thank god but i had blown 4 times the legal limit. Of course i do not have any insurance to fix this “once beautiful ride” I am making the adult decision to cut my losses and use this money to pay for my rehabilitation center for drugs and alcohol abuse down in beautiful British Columbia.
It’s not much of a coincidence that the new national census, as designed by the Stephen Harper government, will reflect the Canada that Stephen Harper wants to keep. And that Canada doesn’t contain the poor, working or otherwise.
Around week six or seven of the CFL season, I took a look at how I thought the Saskatchewan Roughrider season would turn out, and felt that I couldn’t have been more wrong. But after sitting through yesterday’s loss to the B.C. Lions, to a team that was starting its third string quarterback (the third consecutive time the Riders lost to a team starting its back-up quarterback) well … let’s just say Elliot does the Told You So dance better than me.
That is, if I felt like dancing. After Sunday’s game, I didn’t feel like doing anything except having a shower. The game was as dull as any match I’ve seen there, and it brought me back to the 1990s when I would turn my Walkman from the radio to my cassette about halfway through the third quarter and listen to the Tragically Hip play “Emergency” (‘Until it’s no longer fun/until it’s no longer relevant …’), which typified much of the Al Ford era Roughriders. And these Roughriders in their last six games.
What’s the matter?
They lost their most valuable player, for one. Ever since Chris Best was injured, the offensive line has not been able to consistently block for the run, nor can they provide adequate pass protection. Nobody can quarterback when they’re running for his life or flat on his back. Offensive line is a combination of talent and consistency that comes from working together. Without Best, the Riders are … not at their best.
If you want me to spend $200 to see people model NHL jerseys in Regina, I’m going to a sporting goods store, I’ll buy a retro Winnipeg Jets home jersey, and I’ll ask my wife to put it on.
Our family went Sunday-go-to-meeting this morning, and on the drive to and from there, I saw at least a dozen Vote Yes signs on peoples’ lawns. I didn’t see any Vote No Signs, apart from the ones on billboards and on City property.
So, one has to wonder? Is the Vote No campaign an astroturf one — no grass-roots but a lot of money? And If City Hall won’t listen to people today, then what’s it going to be like for the next three years if City Hall loses this referendum?
The real choice that will be made in a representative democracy is whether the voters have trust in the elected officials and the people they employ. The real issue, in both last year’s mayoralty race and in the upcoming vote on the waste-water initiative, is this: do you trust the people we currently have at City Hall to make important decisions for us?
In my case, the answer is ‘no.’ I don’t know what the original design or use was supposed to be for the City Square Plaza, but on a good day it’s a barren wasteland of concrete stone: in the winter I half-expect Snake Plissken to descend on a hang glider and crash into one of those Jedi lightsaber poles to rescue the President of the United States. The former chair of the Regina Public Library Board oversaw a needless $400,000 study on expanding the RPL Central Branch that was done on the assumption that the Grand Lodge of Saskatchewan would be willing to sell the Masonic Hall and its parking lot – a cheaper way of finding the answer would be calling up the Grand Master, or Grand Pooh-Bah and asking him over coffee (and finding out there would be no way that would happen). That former chair served on the executive of Mayor Fougere’s election committee.
The Roughriders’ stadium deal with the province is a very bad one, which Regina taxpayers will find out over time. And considering he didn’t fight very hard with the federal government regarding Ottawa’s strings on the waste water project funding, it’s pretty obvious that Mayor Fougere didn’t fight very hard for leeway to determine what option was going to be the best one for Regina citizens.
So is Mayor Fougere actually paying attention when he’s going to work at his desk at city hall? Or is he just an automaton programmed long ago by some conservative programmer, would up and let loose on civilization with no idea his program was last edited in the 1990s?
Well, here’s evidence that Michael Fougere and his staff aren’t taking their jobs seriously.
Plans for Regina to celebrate something being called “European Heritage Week” are being cancelled after it was revealed a white supremacist group is behind the event.
Civic proclamations are generally granted as a way of recognizing or bringing attention to significant issues, historical occasions, or charitable events. The city confirms that at some point earlier this year it received a request to have a week in October proclaimed as “European Heritage Week.”
The request was made by the Nationalist Party Of Canada. What the Mayor didn’t realize, at least not until News Talk Radio informed him, is that the Nationalist Party is a white supremacy group.
“We were hoodwinked on that one,” Fougere admitted.
I don’t know what the protocol is for getting civic proclamations, but I don’t understand why someone at City Hall wouldn’t check out the group requesting the proclamation. It could have saved Mayor Fougere a lot of embarrassment. He wouldn’t want people to think that he was endorsing the ravings of white supremacists. Any time a group wants to talk about ‘Eurpoean Heritage,’ someone should have checked this out: the term is a frequent dog-whistle that means ‘white supremacy.
But the fact of the matter is that the people Fougere has hired at city hall didn’t do their homework. And they’re supposed to. Otherwise the city looks bad. And if Mayor Fougere and his cronies can’t handle the simple jobs at City Hall, God knows what’s going to happen with the more complex jobs …
As a provincial capital tucked far away from other major metropolitan centres, I always had a feeling that the movers and shakers of Regina had little idea how to run a business or a bureaucracy, and relied both on their authority and the supposition that people in Regina didn’t know any better to not make the extra effort to, you know, do things right.
Like the City of Regina,. for example. Despite the administration’s desire to deal with people as ‘taxpayers’ (implying that the more taxes you pay, the better treatment you’ll get from City Hall) or ‘consumers’ (implying that the only choice you have is to pay for fees or not to — which isn’t the way a democracy runs), the city’s satisfaction level with the services the provide is about as high as you would get from, say, Wal-Mart.
Your latest example? What happens when the city doesn’t upgrade its servers and then opens on-line registration for its leisure centres’ activities. If people feel City Hall won’t listen to their complaints, there’s always Facebook, in this day and age.
When someone in sports says something dumb and tweaks the other team, it’s called ‘trash talking’ and ’bulletin board material.’Here’s bulletin board material for every municipal infrastructure planner, courtesy of the May 26, 2013 edition of the Winnipeg Free Press — a column by former Blue Bomber defensive lineman Doug Brown:
So it’s hard to get in and out of Investors Group Field, the designers and constructors, in their infinite wisdom, built it with an outdoor press box (in Winnipeg), the facility’s neighbors aren’t happy with the noise levels and traffic, the total cost of the stadium has skyrocketed from the original $110 million to $190 million – and, according to this Winnipeg alt-news website, beyond that – and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers are 1-4. They had a couple thousand empty seats as they stumbled, bumbled, and fumbled their way to a 37-24 loss to Calgary. The new stadium was promoted as a major drawing card that would ensure good attendance for many years, based on the novelty effect alone. Instead, it’s a ‘meh’ factor three games into its existence.
So, using the logic of the Freep writer and ex-jock, either the Blue Bombers aren’t a professional football franchise, the city, province and Bombers spent more than $200 million on a facility that isn’t first rate, or … ?
Things to think about as the new Rider stadium discussion continues in the ‘monorail, Monorail, MONORAIL!’ phase.
The Conservative Party of Canada’s home mailing kit contains a message about how they’re making life easier for people who facing ability challenges — for example, the visually impaired. They reprint the headline of the text in Braille.
What was the Conservative Party back room smoking when they came up with this?
You know, there was a time when the Conservative Party of Canada didn’t treat whistle-blowers the way schoolyard bullies treated tattletales. Hell, they had one of them as a star candidate in the 2006 federal election.
So, here’s another example of the honest, open and transparent government promised by Stephen Harper …
Sylvie Therrien was suspended without pay in May for leaking documents to the media in February that revealed the government had told investigators to find about $485,000 in EI fraud every year.
The “fraud quotas” were just one aspect of an office culture that encouraged cutting benefits from as many people as possible to save money, Therrien said in an interview Monday.
Governments, like criminals, do these sorts of things when they have something to hide. I wonder how Alan S. Cutler is feeling now.
The debate over the waste water project continues. According to Wascana MP Ralph Goodale’s blog, the City of Regina will face the Wrath Of Harper – in the form of a $60 million penalty – if the City of Regina doesn’t use the P3 funding formula.
And why is that? Whether the funding for the project is done through the conventional route, or through the P3 route, the government is still spending money: the difference is that through the P3 route, most of the money goes to the private sector (i.e. they make the money off of it). This is why you never hear anti-tax groups complain about P3 projects – otherwise, any other form of government spending is a ‘waste of money,’ in their opinion.
But there’s precious little evidence that a P3 run system will provide any better service or be cheaper in the long run than the current funding mode – and, according to the Canadian Centre For Policy Alternatives, a lot of evidence that it doesn’t. The money just moves from one ledger on the government’s books to another – which is why right-of-centre governments like it: it hides deficit capital spending. But if the service is okay – and there’s nothing the matter with the way it’s running, the equipment and infrastructure is just worn out – then why change the service delivery system? It’s not the problem.
The P3 model may or may not be a more cost-effective system. Hell, it’s probably not, without the evidence of a lot more study that neither the City nor the federal government will provide. But it stands to make a few people in the private sector richer. Put it another way: if the P3 model is so good in this case, why would the federal government force a $60 million penalty on the project if another funding model is used? If the P3 project can’t stand on its own financial and operational merits something is really, really wrong with the project.
It appears as though the petitions’ organizers are going to have to fight Stephen Harper as much as they have to fight City Hall – in this case, Mayor ‘Don’t Care’ Fougere.
Maybe it’s because I live with my two daughters, my wife, and my mother-in-law, but I think that a guy expressing anti-women sentiments is like a guy bitching about the Roughriders in Taylor Field. No sense in complaining: it’s going to go on around you whether you like it or not.
That’s not going to stop some people, though. Especially if the women in question don’t behave the way the misanthrope expects them to.