On Residential Schools And The “Well-Intentioned Men And Women” That Ran Them

I forgot to put this in this morning’s aggregation but it’s just as well: this needs its own post.

Conservative Senator Lynn Beyak defended residential schools in the Canadian Senate on Tuesday.

“I speak partly for the record, but mostly in memory of the kindly and well-intentioned men and women and their descendants — perhaps some of us here in this chamber — whose remarkable works, good deeds and historical tales in the residential schools go unacknowledged for the most part,” she said.

Yes, we wouldn’t want to further besmirch an institution that killed 6,000 First Nations people.

Someone should send Beyak a copy of this book. What is wrong with Conservatives?

Weekly Reckoning: Things That Happened Edition

weekly-reckoningEvery week things happen: things: events and people colliding off each other into ever-more complex concatenations of what ends up being just more things happening. And every week, we sit quietly in a corner and wonder whether the ever-expanding cloud of happenstance points to some design, or whether, once again, it’s nothing but a random whirlwind of flux and death and sadness with the occasional ice cream cone thrown in to keep us around for another week. Then we take a nap.

1 IT’S A MAN’S MAN’S MAN’S WORLD (BY DESIGN) In news that shouldn’t surprise anyone, everything from seatbelts to medicine is designed by men – to the detriment of women. If ever there were an argument for more women in STEM fields, here it is.

2 MILLENNIALS AREN’T RUINING HOTELS Hotels are ruining hotels.

3 GOODBYE TO MISS DAVIS Nancy Reagan died at 94, reminding us that the Reagan presidency actually happened. But what did she do before she and Ronald entered a life of politics? She was a Hollywood actress from 1948 to 1962. Yes, I’m sure you knew this already.

4 “THEY PREFER NAMES LIKE RUTH, PETE, BOBBY, CHARLOTTE AND PEARL” Two professors of language and literature ran computational tests to determine the differences between contemporary novels by authors with an MFA and those without. The results were… well, let’s just say that you can take your tuition money and spend it on a writing studio somewhere.

5 SOMEONE TELL THE SASK PARTY THAT CHILDRENS’ FACES ARE FULL OF OIL Do you like language schools in Saskatchewan? Well, sucks to be you then.

Another Conservative Shits The Bed

Hello, RCMP? I’d like to report a #BarbaricCulturalPractice:

A Conservative candidate in suburban Toronto is defending therapies that attempt to turn gays straight, having penned an editorial that referred to homosexuality as “unnatural behaviour” and heterosexuals as “normal. Jagdish Grewal, running in Mississauga-Malton, wrote an editorial in the Punjabi Post earlier this year entitled “Is it wrong for a homosexual to become a normal person?” He describes an NDP private member’s bill passed unanimously in the Ontario legislature in June that removed public funding for services designed to “change or direct the sexual orientation or gender identity of a patient.” Grewal writes in the piece that some psychologists blame a “shock” during childhood for causing a person to become gay, but that the change “can be corrected.”

cdnelxncircleOkay, one more time for the thick-skulled nincompoops: people are born gay. They don’t choose to be gay. That’s coming from both medical authorities AND the reported experience of LGBT people. Ignorant ideas like Grewal’s should not. Be. Expressed. Stop it. Conversion therapy is a failed idea and homophobia is barbaric.

At this point, what are we supposed to think about people who support candidates? Are they  racist? Are they homophobes? Are they assholes? I know Conservative supporters will bristle at my harsh language, but what the fuck are we supposed to think? What is wrong with you people? Stop supporting this awful political party.

Also: nice turban, Mr. Grewal. I’ve always been a vigorous defender of the right to wear turbans because I tolerate cultural practices when they don’t impact people who don’t freely share them. Besides, turbans are objectively cool. Homophobia is not.

Best Of Food Secrets, Revealed!

On Friday, a reader seemingly unfamiliar with Prairie Dog’s Best-Of reader polls e-mailed us a bunch of questions about the recent Best Of Food & Drink issue. I thought some Dog Blog readers might have similar questions so I’m sharing his letter, along with my attempt to address his concerns. Here it is!

The best of Regina issue has to be one of the best hoots of the year. Do you actually expect anyone to take this nonsense seriously. Why don’t you state how many people voted for each of the so called best. I’m guessing no way since you don’t want anyone to know for example the best Beer Menu, whatever the hell that is and who cares, was named the best based on 2 votes. Both from people who work there.

The best server selected by chickens in the parking lot. How the hell could anyone know the best server in the whole frickin city unless they went to each place. I know and you nobody did this.

How are votes tabulated? Vote online as many times as you want?

C’mon Prairie Dog. Show us the numbers voted on for each best of category Or have you something to hide. Why not, most know it’s a farce already.

Unsigned Reader

Hey Unsigned, thanks for writing! I’m glad you enjoyed Best of Food & Drink 2015! That’s a lot of questions but I’ll try to answer them. Let me know if I miss anything!

1.) “Do you actually expect anyone to take this nonsense seriously.”

Readers can take Best Of Food & Drink any way they want. If they don’t want to take it seriously, that’s fine — it’s a public popularity contest narrated by an obnoxious fictional character. It is a little silly. But a lot of people enjoy it and that’s good enough for us. Besides, the results are useful — they give a valuable, if imperfect, snapshot of Regina’s dining scene. For example, Best Restaurant winner Flip is a great place to eat, but the odds are many Reginans still don’t know about it. Best Of Regina gives Flip, and the entire restaurant scene, more exposure. As a supporter of local businesses, I think that’s worthwhile! Continue reading “Best Of Food Secrets, Revealed!”

Weekly Reckoning: Peek Freans Edition

weekly-reckoningHave you ever tried to concentrate on putting together a web post but suddenly you’re interrupted by a craving for Peek Freans? Even though you don’t particularly like them? But then you start wondering about the name and why in the world anyone would call them Peek Freans? Then the phrase “Peak Freans” hits you and start thinking about Frean resources? Then “Freak Peens” pops into your brain and you start laughing at your computer? Fortunately this has never happened to me, but I can imagine the mental stress of the Freen-afflicted. Hang in there!


PUNDITS GONE WILD. It’s ‘Lection Day on November 4, which means that my favourite bad TV shows will be pushed into next week by the juggernaut of American democracy. Here’s an enjoyable wonky piece on how these elections play in the political funhouse of Louisiana.


NOBODY LIKES JIAN. Last Sunday, the CBC announced that it was firing Jian Ghomeshi. On Monday the Toronto Star ran a story detailing the experiences of several women who had been assaulted by Ghomeshi, painting a picture of a psychologically damaged sexual predator incapable of understanding consent and utterly without compunction about his acts. His PR firm dropped him, speaking and hosting engagements (including the Giller Prize) dried up, and friends and associates (see Owen Pallett’s piece for a particularly powerful response) began to speak up. Teddy bear references appeared. More women came forward, including ones who are talking to the Toronto Police.  Now his former band mates from Moxy Fruvous have released a statement, and let’s just say that it’s not overflowing with support for Ghomeshi. I can’t imagine what next week is going to bring.

STOP HARVESTING! STOP IT RIGHT NOW. Harvest operations are 99 per cent complete in Saskatchewan, which means that you can stop harvesting right this moment, bub. Hop off your harvesters and run screaming through the naked fields, sacrificing your vocal cords to the corn king who dances through the sheaves in the dim autumn light. You’ve earned it.


Weekly Reckoning: Turn, Turn, Turn Edition

weekly-reckoningHappy mid-September everyone! The leaves are turning, the weather is turning, and generally everything is spinning right round like a record, baby. In honour of September’s revolutionary axis, let’s read some stuff and let our minds slowly rotate over the burning issues of the day.

1. LET’S iOS. Good day, Apple owners. iOS 8 is out and haunting your devices already. What amazing/irritating features does Apple’s latest ghost in the machine have? Here’s a resource.

2. SOME GOOD NEWS ABOUT OMAR GONZALEZ, THE MAN WITH THE KNIFE WHO BROKE INTO THE WHITE HOUSE ON FRIDAY NIGHT Apparently the 18-year military vet was just trying to warn Obama that “the atmosphere was collapsing and [he] needed to get the information to the president of the United States.” Good thing he wasn’t, say, someone from ISIS coming to warn Obama about the atmosphere.

3. THIS ISN’T TERRIFYING AT ALL Josh Barro wonders why American conservatives seem so enamoured of Canada lately. The most obvious answer – that our country is currently run by a reptile wearing an ill-fitting suit of human skin and hair – isn’t addressed. Seriously, conservative voters in Canada must have said, “Well, he’s not human and possibly not even terrestrial, but I respond to his fiscal policy/ revulsion to science/ diet of human orphans” before marking their ballots.

4. WHO’S GOT A GENOCIDE? According to PostMedia columnist Stephen Maher, Canada’s got a genocide, even if we don’t want to acknowledge it. Article accompanied by a profoundly strange photo of A Tribe Called Red.

5. SASKATOON TRANSIT IS A TOTAL MESS Feel like taking a bus in Saskatoon? Good luck with that; city bus services braked to a halt last night. Meanwhile, people who can’t afford cars are out of luck.

Weekly Reckoning: Reckon To The Max Edition

weekly-reckoningThis week, there’s no stopping the Weekly Reckoning. It’s totally extreme. It’s taking reckoning TO THE LIMIT.


1. LET’S PRIDE. Saskatchewan flies the pride flag. Way to go. Regina is still not flying the pride flag, because why respect and support human rights unless absolutely given no other choice? This has been written about already on the Dog Blog, but it bears repeating. Oh, and that Leader-Post  currently stands at 84 per cent bigot.

2. COME BACK TO THE iOS, FLAPPY BIRD, FLAPPY BIRD. Flappy Bird, the mobile game that no one can stop playing, is no longer available on Google Play or Apple’s app store. The success of the game has ruined creator Dong Nguyen’s life. So there you go. Sometimes even $50,000 per day in ad revenue isn’t worth it.

3. LET’S PRIDE SOME MORE. There are six out LGBT athletes participating at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, and one of them just won gold. Congratulations, Ireen Wüst of the Netherlands.

3. DANISH CHILDREN TREATED TO LIVE GIRAFFE EXECUTION, DISSECTION. I’m not kidding. This weekend the Copenhagen Zoo killed and dissected Marius, a healthy two-year-old male giraffe, in front of a live audience. The zoo carried out the act in order to prevent inbreeding (apparently Marius’ genes are overrepresented in the captive giraffe population), despite a petition and offers from other zoos to shelter the genetically unremarkable animal. The dissected carcass was then fed to lions – again, in front of an audience. The article contains some fairly graphic images.

THE LAST BEST WORD (SO FAR) ON THE NEAR-FUTURE DYSTOPIAN HELLHOLE KNOWN TO THE WORLD OF SOCHI. See if you can figure out whether these images are Sochi hotel rooms or contemporary art installations (It’s actually not too difficult to figure out which is which, especially since the bizarre hotel pics have been circulating for a few days now, but it’s fun to think of Sochi as a gigantic Russian art piece work that people ended up inhabiting because it was no worse than anywhere else in Russia).


Regina Tells L-P, “Heck No, We Don’t Want The Pride Flag”

Leader Post LGBT Flag PollI know it’s just a dinky little online poll so it doesn’t mean anything really. But still… as of 6:32pm on Saturday, Feb. 8, the poll the Leader Post has up on their website has 1,302 out of 1,538 people voting AGAINST flying a pride flag at city hall during the Olympics.

Only 236 people have voted in favour.

That means L-P readers are voting more than five to one against this expression of solidarity with LGBT people.

It’s fucking shameful.

But it does make me think there aren’t nearly enough Prairie Dog readers hitting that poll.

As always if you’ve thoughts on this issue, I’d love to hear ’em in the comments below.

UPDATE: Hey Regina, look at this… even your Sask Party Premier supports flying the Pride Flag:


Weekly Reckoning: Your Favourite Woody Allen Film Edition

weekly-reckoning1. MINE IS MANHATTAN, A FILM IN WHICH ALLEN IS TORN BETWEEN AN ADULT WOMAN AND A TEENAGE GIRL. HUH. After a whole lot of back-and-forth about whether Woody Allen molested his daughter at the age of seven, Dylan Farrow speaks up with an open letter that minces no words. In a piece that leads with the question “What’s your favourite Woody Allen film?” she states plainly and unequivocally that Allen sexually assaulted her when she was a child and got away with it. Trigger warning.

2. HERE’S A QUICK GUIDE TO LOSING YOUR ORDER OF CANADA 1) Be Conrad Moffat Black, aka Baron Black of Crossharbour. 2) That’s it, really. It helps to have fraud and obstruction of justice convictions pulling you along like two mighty horses of venality, but you know that Black and Canada would have come to this point by some route.

3. MISTER HOFFMAN, HE DEAD. Thoroughly excellent actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, usually the best thing in any movie he appeared in, was found dead of an apparent drug overdose. The guy who told me about it shook his head, snorted a bit and said “Hollywood.” So there you go. Hollywood.

4. LEX LUTHOR AS MARK ZUCKERBERG. Jesse Eisenberg has been cast as Lex Luthor in the upcoming Man of Steel 2: Batman Loves Superman, in which the two heroes leave their friends behind and open a bar in Chicago Superman movie. Hmm. I see what they’re doing there. Maybe Luthor will invent a ray that puts red underwear on Superman, which is intended to humiliate him, but actually increases his Kryptonian powers. Then Superman punches Luthor into the moon and flies around the Earth a few times in order to reverse time so he can punch him through the moon all over again.

5. YOU STUPID, STUPID, STUPID AND ALSO STUPID GROUNDHOG. Six more weeks of winter. Thanks, ritual animal harbinger. It’s not enough that you get to live the life of Groundhog Riley, with liveried men attending to your every groundhog need. Why are we getting our weather from some glorified marmot?

Weekly Reckoning: Carrot Top Edition

weekly-reckoningNo, there’s nothing new to report about Carrot Top. I just wanted to remind you that we live in a world where Carrot Top exists. Not much we can do about it, so let’s just carry on.

1. IT’S TIME TO ADMIT THAT APPLE KNOWS WHAT IT’S DOING WITH ITS iPHONE BUSINESS. Oh, I see you there, laughing at Apple and poo-pooing the 5C. But now you have to admit that Apple was right all along! HAHAHAHHHAAAA oh who cares.

2. ROGER AILES MOVES TO A TINY TOWN IN UPSTATE NEW YORK, TERRIFYING THINGS ENSUE. Here’s a story about the head of Fox News and what happened when he tried to reproduce his peculiar brand of American fantasia in the town of Garrison, New York. Read this story – it lays out the entitlement and paranoia of the ultra-rich in fascinating detail. Ailes comes off like a tin-can William Randolph Hearst in his attempts to control the editorial direction of the local paper, which he transformed from a glue-and-scissors weekly into a conservative rag.*

3. ONCE AGAIN, MAGNETS MAKE US FEEL BETTER. Chief psychiatrist for the Regina-Qu’Appelle health region, Dr. Dhanapal Natarajan, is feeling pretty good about a machine that uses magnets to “induce changes inside the brain that result in improvement of the depression and anxiety symptoms.” It’s being promoted as an “add-on therapy” for sufferers of depression. If magnets can help us overcome the creeping suspicion that we’re leading ghastly imitations of real lives in the 21st century, then I’m all for it. Bring on the brain-altering waves. Or you could just look on the bright side, like Shae Therrien here.

4. DON’T DRINK THE TAP WATER. A state of emergency has been declared in West Virginia, where a chemical spill has left 300,000 people without drinkable water. A foaming agent used in coal processing leaked from a 40,000 gallon tank. Freedom Industries (really?), which owns the coal processing plant, has issued an apology. Residents are currently experiencing freedom from having to drink the local water, bathe in it, or wash their clothes with it. They can still flush their toilets, though.

5. CHEWBACCA WAS GIVEN A CAMERA. YOU WON’T BELIEVE WHAT HE DID NEXT. Actually you will believe it: he took tons of behind-the-scenes Star Wars photos. Peter Mayhew, the once and (fingers crossed) future Wookiee, has been posting photos that he took on the set of Star Wars movies. I hope someone can explain Mark Hamill’s weird floral shirt.

*I’ve never written the phrase “conservative rag” before. That was fun.

Weekly Reckoning: The Hot Button Edition

Weekly ReckoningDon’t touch those buttons! They’re hot.

1. THE FUTURE IS DARK AND STORMY.* Increasingly lousy weather is one of the most easily observable and predictable effects of climate change. Oceans heat up, moisture increases, storms a-brew. Even Toronto Hydro had this one figured out. A 2012 study predicted increased incidence of storms, ice storms, rain storms, dark skies, massive charges of electricity leaping between the earth and heavens, that kind of thing. So Torontonians should buckle down, because power interruptions, fallen trees and ice coating everything like a crystal skin are here to stay.

2. RACIST BABE. Remember the early ’90s, when folk music got a jolt of energy from musicians like Ani DiFranco? I first saw her over 20 years ago playing “Both Hands” at one of the workshop stages at the Winnipeg Festival. She blew everyone else off the stage (with the possible exception of Greg Brown, who’d keep his cool in a tornado). Anyway! DiFranco has re-entered the zeitgeist, because she’s holding a retreat for fans at… a plantation. You know, one of those grand old Southern mansions where black people were reduced to the status of cattle (even though Nottoway Plantation would prefer not to tackle that topic). The backlash has been swift but ongoing, with former fans castigating DiFranco and one of the featured musicians respectfully backing out of the retreat. But if you like DiFranco and don’t care about racist things, buy a ticket, because “there’s room in the circle for everyone.” That is, everyone who a) isn’t bothered by the gaudy status symbols of slavery and b) has anywhere from $1100 to $4000 to plunk down on a mind-expanding good time.

UPDATE: Ani DiFranco has cancelled the event. She also released a long, thoughtful, considerate, self-justifying statement on Facebook in which she neglected to actually say that she was sorry.

3. THE DREADED D’S. Phil Robertson, the douchetastic dickhead of Duck Dynasty, has been reinstated on his show. He’s the biggest draw on A&E’s biggest show, so if you were looking for further proof that life is a popularity contest and popular people can say any old thing they like, knock yourself out. Son Alan Robertson  says that “[w}e will continue to represent our faith and values in the most positive way through Duck Dynasty.” Because nothing represents faith like standing around in front a couple of cameras while producers shout lines at you. Oh, and shooting ducks. Oh, and being bigots.

4. IT IS NOW THE LAW that all headlines about Russia must contain the phrase “as the Olympics near.” Because that’s clearly the most important thing in a story about a train station bombing that killed at least 16 people.

5. THE SHOCKING TRUE HISTORY OF “THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS.” Have you ever wondered about the implicit status marker of Santa’s pipe? Are you curious about the sociocultural matrix in which one of our founding Christmas stories was embedded? More importantly, do you have nothing going on tonight? Because this is a long one.

*Dark & Stormy:

1 can Barritt’s Bermuda Stone Ginger Beer

1 oz (or more) Gosling’s Black Seal Rum (151 overproof, no less)

Combine. Add ice. Garnish with the will to destroy your brain.

No Transfer For Khadr

12 years in prison, a chunk of that in Guantanamo, and it’s not enough to justify transferring the former teenage soldier to a regular prison. From the Edmonton Journal:

The federal government said it “welcomed” the court’s decision. “Omar Ahmed Khadr pleaded guilty to heinous crimes …” said Public Safety Minister Stephen Blaney. “The Government of Canada will continue to vigorously defend against any attempt to lessen his punishment for these crimes.”

Well, at least his lawyer’s going to appeal. We want other cultures to act civilized but ours demands vengeance for a teenage combatant who, again, rotted in Guantanamo for eight years. Doesn’t make Canada look good.

Guess There’s Nothing Wrong With Darian Durant’s Thumbs

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 …


Crowdfunding Jumps the Shark

“Disney didn’t pay us enough. Would you like to finance our vanity projects?”
“Disney didn’t pay us enough. Would you like to finance our vanity projects?”

James Franco makes seven million dollars per movie. Yet he expects you to finance his artistic whims.

Following the example of Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas, Bret Easton Ellis and Zach Braff, James Franco has joined the crowdfunding trend by requesting 500,000 dollars to shoot ten stories from HIS OWN BOOK Palo Alto. The level of self-involvement is off the charts, as some of the rewards include a painting by James Franco, dinner with James Franco and a James Franco’s yearbook, signed by James Franco.

The trend is troublesome. Sure, without crowdsourcing, the Veronica Mars movie would be dead in the water, but Franco has advantages most filmmakers lack (Ellis and Braff get a passing grade only because their clout has diminished significantly over the years). IndieGoGo and Kickstarter are fantastic tools for wannabe artists competing for your attention in a leveled field.

Franco is basically using his sway with audiences to finance a vanity project, while protecting his personal fortune. It must be mentioned, Publishers Weekly said of Palo Alto: “The author fails to find anything remotely insightful to say in these 11 amazingly underwhelming stories.”

Rob Ford Update With Bonus Duffy And Unanticipated Mulcair

CTV says police knew about the “that sure looks like Rob Ford smokin’ crack” video before Gawker and the Toronto Star reported on itsexistence:

CTV News has learned that Toronto Police were investigating the existence of an alleged video involving Mayor Rob Ford, several weeks before the story first appeared in the Toronto Star. As part of the investigation leading to the raids on Thursday, officers obtained telephone wire-tap evidence. A highly-placed source confirms to CTV News that on those wiretaps, persons of interest discussed that video in detail, and referred to the mayor’s alleged presence in the video. CTV News has not seen the video, and cannot confirm its existence or authenticity.

More here. This is likely more trouble for Ford, who’s been busy lately voting against gay festivals and cultural events and institutions, presumably because he’s a gigantic dick who panders to the stupid, selfish douchebag vote.

In other political news, the RCMP have launched a criminal investigation into the $90,000 cheque Nigel Wright gave to Senator Mike Duffy and NDP leader Thomas Mulcair apparently thinks he’s too important to follow the rules.

Pamela Wallin Is About As Saskatchewan As The Boyd Gang

Remember last February, when Pamela Wallin first got into trouble for representing Saskatchewan in the Senate while not actually, you know, living in Saskatchewan?

Here’s what she said then.

“My home is Saskatchewan, and I just don’t think there’s much dispute about that whole issue.”

And Brad Wall did his best Tammy Wynette impersonation.

Here’s what was really going on. According to a Toronto company for which she once sat on its board of directors, Wallin lived in Toronto for the past seven years.

For the past seven years, however, Gluskin Sheff has listed her residence as Toronto. That occurred in seven separate annual corporate filings that were each approved by the board on which Wallin sat, the CBC’s James Cudmore reports.

She also continued to sit on this and other corporate boards of directors, making over $1 million while working (I guess that’s what the kids in the PMO’s office call it) in the Senate. Isn’t that a conflict of interest? Could have fooled me.

Wallin shouldn’t resign from the Senate. She should be fired. Preferably from the Big Bertha field gun the Kaiser’s army used to shell Paris from 80 miles away in the First World War. The only debate on corruption within the HarperCons is not how bad it is: it’s why we gave power to Stephen Harper, who thinks people such as Wallin are the best he can surround himself with.

(Oh yeah, here’s the story of The Boyd Gang).