Archive for January, 2010

Comment for today

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

Stockwell Day will ensure that the good ship Harper is secure,

But who will tell Mr Day when another iceberg is on the way?


Comment for today

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

Premier McGinty has given his cabinet a shake up,

Doesn’t he know that his ‘good before’ time is up?


#05-10 – The despicable Mr. Brown.

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

I have really had it with Mr. Brown,

He’s causing me a permanent frown.

That person has not an ounce (or ml) of decency in his body. It has been said a few times that the person’s posturing annoys me but this is the final straw. He has Canada Post stick these badly printed, ignorantly written grey things in my post box all the time promoting his re-election. Most of the time, they are drivel and discarded. The last really stuck in my craw. He has overdone it.

This useless excuse for a Member of Parliament has the effrontery to use a seriously awful disease to promote himself. While many people question the ethics of an MP becoming involved directly in charity fundraising, this is the first time I have ever seen an MP make a career of it. Last week it was making chilli for the Alzheimer Society. Before that it was hockey for Royal Victoria Hospital. Can he not find Ottawa? The man has absolutely nothing to say for himself. It is obviously not modesty, though he does have much to be modest about.

But to use Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS or, as American’s call it, Lou Gehrig’s disease) as something to use and discard as last week’s promotion, is despicable. How dare he? When taking over as president of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, 35 years ago, I was surprised to find that ALS and other motor neuron diseases came under the umbrella of the MS Society. In fact, one of our hard workers on the national board had a son with ALS. It was after extensive discussions with the medical experts that we realized that despite the shared value of basic research, upcoming trials that the MS Society was funding were not going to relate to motor neuron research needs.

Based on our studies, it was agreed by all concerned that ALS and the related motor neuron diseases needed to be addressed separately. This would bring more attention to the concerns about ALS and it would improve government direct funding into the specific needs of the different diseases. And that led to the founding of Canada’s ALS Society. The society had our full support to get going.

In many years of working with charities in Canada and around the world, we have always cheerfully used politicians of all stripes to gain publicity, understanding and funding support. The one thing you may be sure of is that we never, ever allowed a politician to use us! Mr. Brown’s actions are shameful.

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Comment for today

Monday, January 18th, 2010

Couplets, he explained, are poor poetic form,

But when using it daily, it is the easiest norm.


Comment for today

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

They’re back out on the ice in Babel,

They’re gonna have fish on the table.


Note to Readers:

Yes, Babel really does rhyme with table,

Just like covet can rhyme with Corvette.


Comment for today

Saturday, January 16th, 2010

Sometimes I write something so funny, I am rolling on the floor,

It means the wife has to vet that item before it goes out the door.


#04-10 – Babel’s Wise Men tell us when the ice is safe.

Friday, January 15th, 2010

It is an amazing thing that people are suddenly out on the bay strolling from shore to shore. Your first instinct is to call 911 and tell them to send rescue people in wet suits and to bring jackets with extra long arms that tie behind for the idiots out there on the ice. From experience, you know better than to call 911 with your concern and instead you call an informant at City Hall and ask how people know if the ice is safe or unsafe.

“Ahh,” exclaimed the informant at City Hall. “We have the Wise Men of Babel to advise us of such matters. If you hurry down to the government dock at Babel’s waterfront, you will see how the Wise Men of Babel determine if the ice is safe for nature walkers, fishermen, Skidoo drivers and ice-boating enthusiasts. It is a very special event this year, in as much as it is an election year.”

There is nothing for it but your intrepid reporter goes forthwith to the Babel waterfront and the Government Dock. There, your reporter finds the Wise Men of Babel—all ten of them, joined at the hip, forming a semi-circle around the Mayor of Babel. The Mayor—a pathetic creature, at best—is wearing an old fashioned bathing costume and on the parts where the swimming costume does not cover his body, he has goose bumps bigger than Barriehill Farms’ strawberries. He is also holding a very large boat anchor that is tied around his neck.

Flashing his Press Badge, your reporter rushes into the middle of the melee and asks: “Mr. Mayor, what are you doing?”

The mayor draws himself up to his full 5-foot, 3- inches (160 cm) and says, “The Wise Men of Babel are allowing me the honour of testing the ice this year. Normally, the ten of them would stand at the end of the dock and push and pull until one of their number falls in. If the ice does not break from the impact and the Wise Man—so honoured—does not drown, the ice is declared safe. It is a time-honoured tradition and has only caused two by-elections for replacement councillors in Babel’s history. “

“But, Mr. Mayor,” your reporter asks. “What is the purpose of having an anchor tied to your neck?”

“That is just to even things up. The Wise Men know how light I am on my feet and this is just a weight allowance such as they give to race horses. They think I am running to succeed myself this year so they say I have to have a handicap,” he explains.

It is at this point that (it is claimed) the female Wise Man became impatient and pushed both the Mayor and your reporter off the dock and onto the ice. The ice, of course, fractured under the triple threat of the Mayor, your reporter and the anchor. Luckily, your reporter clung to the Mayor who rose to the surface and used the opportunity for his first bath of the year. One of the Wise Men standing on the edge of the dock looked down and said (we think of the Mayor), “Oh, just our luck, that son-of-a-bitch floats!”

And that is why that particular son-of-a-bitch is still serving his term of office and your intrepid reporter is home with a cold: “Kaatchoo!”

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Comment for today

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

The bank’s financial planner gave my retirement plan a gander,

She said, “It’s not a plan you jerk, you better get back to work.”


Comment for today

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

It was the end of the world in Haiti, a nation so poverty racked,

A people who needed helping, we ignored and nature attacked.


#03-10 – Back to school for Michael Ignatieff.

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

It has been reported by the Toronto Star that Michael Ignatieff is being sent back to school. In his case, it is at the university level. It is hardly likely that he will learn anything about politics there but he will have a chance to rebuild his confidence and develop new speech ideas. And that is critically important for him. The idea is for him to practice sharing his liberal philosophy with the students.

A university audience is a unique opportunity to speakers. It is an audience that you can challenge with words and concepts. You can test ideas. Admittedly, the up to 50-minute format of lecture time makes for a demanding effort. Your most sympathetic member of the audience is the professor whose class you are addressing. They appreciate the break you have given them.

Hopefully, Michael will not draw upon his academic specialty for his lectures. A world-renowned historian, he really needs to discuss Canada’s future. Despite the interesting parallels he could draw between Harper’s Conservatives and Oliver Cromwell’s Roundheads in 17th Century England, Michael needs to keep his attention on our 21st Century needs.

What Michael really needs to discuss and clarify is how real liberalism fits into the new century. What will not work for Canada is the right-wing liberalism of Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin that was evident over the turn of the century. While claiming that these were times when budgets could be balanced, they were balanced on the backs of Canadians who could least afford the costs. It was Martin, as finance minister, who destroyed the efficacy of Employment Insurance—turning it into a tax centre instead of a safety net for Canadian workers. He squeezed funding to the provinces while allowing the excesses of the sponsorship scandal. Neither Chrétien nor Martin left a legacy of true liberalism for their successors.

True liberalism is people oriented. It does not put government, business, process, organization or other bureaucracy ahead of the needs of individuals. True liberalism is like the movie ending cliché where the hero risks personal life and limb to go back for the cripple or aged parent or child or the nubile young woman so that they can walk forward together, into the future behind the credits in a feel-good ending.

This forward look is critical to the future of the Liberal Party. This was the liberalism of Pearson and Trudeau that lead the country from the 1960s through the 1980s. It is the kind of leadership that would have directed more investment to people instead of infrastructure over the past year. It is a strategy that would have been paying dividends through people instead of leaving us just with massive debt.

So let us see how Michael fares with the university crowd. They are critical audiences but they are also people who can measure the man and his ideas. Their assessment will be most telling.

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