Cheers and stroking on the Washington trail with Trubama

Dear Diary:

Left undisciplined and off the leash now by the absence of thoughtful people in power – anywhere – our nation’s scribes and bingo-callers have returned, affectionately, to their preferred, lazy, opinionated, intellectually dishonest state of being.

Exhausted from 10 years of being held to account but alas left unreformed, unrepentant and unredeemed, CBC News Network gushed all weekend over the Prime Minister’s interview (when does that boy find time to work?) on the U.S. stalwart program, 60 Minutes. We think, Dear Diary, that all Canadians should be ashamed when the nation’s publicly-funded broadcaster clearly reveals our dirty little secret – a soft, mushy, lefty inferiority complex – occasional rebellious but always, always yearning for daddy’s attention and approval. Nevermind that the CBS program was unable to distinguish the PM’s mother, Margaret Trudeau, from one of the PM’s father’s dates, actress Kim Cattrell – facts these days are the sole preserve of knuckle-draggers.

This continued through Monday morning when CBCNN’s infotainment specialist, Heather Hiscox, led the morning with “reaction” to the PM’s 60 Minutes appearance. Digging hard, her program grabbed a handful of tweets in a tepid effort to give journalistic justification to what was pure propaganda. So, OK, to be fair some of the propaganda was to promote that CBC itself would be heading to Washington for the PM’s visit there and what it cloyingly referred to as his “coveted” invitation to a State Dinner hosted by the much-loved President Obama.

Which brings us to Rosie Barton, who without so much as a blush continued to use our money to breathlessly thump the PM’s tub, pointing out this would be the first time – in almost 20 years! – that a Canadian would be “honored” with a state dinner in Washington. Digging deep, she provided viewers not only with the complete list of previous occasions: Power & Politics displayed its investigative journalism skills to let us know what was on the menu for each occasion. The people, after all, have a right to know.

What she failed to do – and we expect this will continue all week – was notice what was immediately obvious. Here is the list and see if you can’t figure it out in, oh, maybe, 10 seconds: Truman hosts King; Eisenhower hosts Diefenbaker; Nixon hosts Trudeau senior; Carter hosts Trudeau senior; Reagan hosts Mulroney (twice) and Clinton hosts Chretien.

Yup, you got it – of the seven previous state dinners with one exception (Nixon), all involved either Republicans hosting Conservatives or Democrats hosting Liberals. And when was the last time that dynamic was in place? About 20 years ago. This, friends, is what the CBC is trying to pass off as a rare honor being bestowed upon the boy king. This, friends, is what the CBC is trying to pass off as journalism.

What Barton also might have done is point out the connection between Jennifer O’Malley Dillon , (past executive with the Democratic National Committee and deputy campaign director of Barack Obama’s campaign) and team Trudeau. A summary of her work as “lead American consultant for Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party of Canada” can be found by clicking here. So, while the people may have a right to know what past prime ministers had for dinner in Washington, Barton, Hiscox et al obviously feel there is no need for the people who pay their salaries to know How The Democrats Worked to Defeat Canada’s Conservative Government, which would be a helluva yarn. And, yes, she might have asked how that might have something to do with our Prime Minister’s “coveted” invitation to dinner. Surely, as one of the most connected people in Ottawa, Barton would know this.

Further, while we recognize that useful context for viewers might have interfered with CBCNN staff’s pitch to have their travel request approved, this will actually be – according to the U.S. government – the 98th visit by a Canadian prime minister to the USA. And, because we know you are curious, our most recent prime minister visited 13 times. The most by any PM was 19 by Mackenzie King (14 of which were between 1940-45 when there was plenty to talk about), followed by Trudeau senior and Brian Mulroney at 14 each.


 

Speaking of crimes against that craft, the usually calm Gary Mason of the Globe and Mail this weekend tore a strip off Saskatchewan’s Brad Wall for failing to kow-tow to Ottawa’s demand that he impose a carbon tax on his people.

Wall, Mason said, was being irresponsible and failing to take responsibility for the fact that, since 1990, Saskatchewan’s emissions have grown by 66%. That, of course is true. But by stating a single truth and ignoring others, Mason misinformed his readers – an old trick more closely associated with advocacy than journalism. The facts  are that under Wall’s watch, emissions in Saskatchewan have grown by only 7.6% since he took the reins of a jurisdiction that was depopulating, wallowing in economic and cultural despair and shepherded it into a land of pride and prosperity – a “have” province. Saskatchewan, he might also have pointed out, is responsible for about 0.15% of global emissions.

Saskatchewan, he might have pointed out, did not do like Ontario and waste billions and billions on failed wind projects. Saskatchewan, he might have pointed out, instead created the world’s first clean coal commercial power plant. But he didn’t.


Speaking of resources, yet another train transporting oil literally went off the rails in northern Ontario this weekend. One wonders how often this needs to occur; One wonders how many times lives need to be put at risk; One wonders just how thick people can remain before they realize they are allowing this to occur because their ideology won’t allow them to admit pipelines are the clearly superior – in every way – method of transporting oil. One wonders why no media made the connection, preferring to see the issue as one of railway safety only.


The nation, our government tells us, needs investment to have a healthy economy. But it’s clear it prefers that to be public money drawn from the pockets of its peasantry rather than private money raised and invested in industrial infrastructure. How else to explain the fussing over the “upstream” impact on global warming of pipelines – most notably Energy East – carrying oil that is already carried on trains and therefore is either a fantasy or a deliberate attempt to hobble the nation’s largest industry. Energy East alone is a $9 billion project.

But, hey, while all this environmental politicking has been going on, everyone seems to have forgotten that the LNG project proposed for British Columbia is worth $36 billion and is about to buy the farm.

We read today that its major partner, Petronas of Malaysia, has pretty much had a bellyful of Canada.. Exhausted by dealing with aboriginal demands, environmental demands and years of insatiable bureaucratic nagging, it has given young Trudeau until the end of the month or, we are told, it is cutting its losses and leaving town. Maybe it’s a bluff. If it isn’t, you can kiss it goodbye. Burn, baby, burn.


A final note of condolence to Power & Politics panelist Alise Mills who – bless her heart – burst her banks on Monday’s show. When it came to the PM’s above-noted “coveted” and “extremely rare” visit to Washington and his relentless efforts to stifle Canada’s economy she noted to her fellow panelists and host that instead of analysing issues “you guys are stroking his hair.” She was, of course, dismissed out of hand amid hoots of derision. For what it’s worth, Ms. Mills, you were too kind. Some might – but surely not us – have indicated that more than his hair is being stroked by the self-styled guardians of democracy these days.

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The awesome power of Crony Capitalism

Kathleen pink
Kathleen Wynne shows her delight at being captured in a photo op gone terribly wrong. This has nothing to do with the post and is a cheap gimmick to attract your attention

Dear Diary:

For many years, we struggled to understand Quebec politics, eventually deciding that the process of moral turpitude required to do so would so imperil our immortal soul that, in the end, it just wasn’t worth the risk.

So, we will not try to understand how what is done there makes sense to people there because it for sure makes no sense to people elsewhere. What we do know, is that having presciently stated less than 48 hours ago that Real Change in Canada was likely to result in more regional divisions in less than five months than had been apparent in the previous 10 years under a government notorious for its dislike of terrorists, nos chers amis have Westerners looking for – and finding – the keys to their rhetorical gun cabinets.

That’s because Quebec decided to file a court injunction against the Energy East pipeline because, it said, TransCanada Corp, which recently added 40 jobs to its Montreal office, was refusing to comply with its environmental review process regarding the extension of its Energy East pipeline. This came as a surprise to TransCanada, which said it was preparing to show up at the hearings, which begin Monday.
This resulted in outrage from a sadly isolated Brad Wall who threatened trade reprisals but also, notably, from Alberta’s increasingly crenelated Premier Rachel Notley who decided to hold fire for now but, as she put it, keep her holster handy.

But you can read about that elsewhere. What we found most compelling was that at the same time Quebec’s Environment Minister David Heurtel was saying this was a simple matter of “fairness toward all companies that wish to do business in Quebec,” his government was tabling legislation to ensure there would be no environmental review whatsoever for the McInnis Cement Project in Port-Daniel-Gascons in the Gaspe region.

McInnis cement is owned by the Beaudoin and Bombardier families. You may remember them as the same folks who are in the process of – having already dipped into Quebec taxpayers pockets for $1 billion likely thanks to the $9 billion in annual transfer payments from oil-producing provinces – getting another $1 billion from the federal government to help them recover from some bad business decisions they made operating their aircraft company, Bombardier.

We will not try to comprehend. We just stand, slack-jawed, in awe at the power of crony capitalism.


Ever curious and having recently diarized regarding carbon taxes, we asked ourselves the question “do they even work?”

Proponents often say that the best way to reduce the use of something society needs less of is to tax it. They point to tobacco, booze and other sinful behaviours as examples. They do not point to earning an income or buying things or operating a business as activities that are taxed in order to reduce their occurrence. But they do like to tax them. We digress

Many point to British Columbia as an area where emissions fell following the implementation of its carbon tax without having a negative impact on economic growth which appears to be the case.

Most of this is due to the fact that gasoline became so expensive in the Lower Mainland area (where it is also subject to a public transportation tax) that a great many people left the car in the garage and hopped on the bus, or train or their bicycle instead.

This seems sensible and productive provided you live in a dense urban area that has buses and trains and within a climate with minimal snowfall like on the west coast where you can ride a bicycle or skateboard – dude – and wear flips flops 12 months of the year.

We do think, however that some thought should be given not only to the fact that many Canadians do not have bicycle and public transportation alternatives but also to the reality that when B.C. taxed carbon it did so in a revenue neutral fashion, matching it with an income tax cut. The latter put more cash into consumers’ hands and avoided the sort of economic drag Ontario and Alberta are imposing with their save-the-planet taxes. And, hey, it proved that what turned out to be a net tax cut improves economic growth. Who knew?


Snooping around on the topic, we also found this study by Annagrete Bruvoll and Bodil Merethe Larsen of Statistics Norway (and nothing goes untaxed in Norway) which indicated that the impact of carbon taxes is, well, meh – at least when it comes to reducing consumption.

So, if the Prime Minister and his eco-henchmen insist on having carbon priced from coast to coast to coast they might at least tell us what they think it will achieve. Or – and, here’s an idea – media might ask them: “How will putting a price on carbon make Canada better?” Because as we know better is always possible. Right?

When it comes right down to it, you could wipe Canada off the map, return to the apparently idyllic economies enjoyed by its Indian/Inuit/First Nations/aboriginal/indigenous people for thousands of years despite the lack of things like, uh, the wheel and its carbon emissions would continue to rise and the planet (and if you hadn’t heard this is history’s only fact established by consensus) will die.

This country is responsible for precisely 1.6% of global emissions , rounded up here  to 2%. That’s it. Of that, the biggest criminal is transportation which we assume has something to do with the fact it’s a really big friggin’ country. Yes, you will if you wish find charts indicating that on a per capita basis Canada ranks very high but let’s be clear – that is nonsense. With the exemption of a very few areas, Canada is also a really friggin’ cold country where if you don’t have heated shelter you will die.

 

CAPP carbon graphic GHGcropLarge2 (1)


Finally, on a lighter note Dear Diary, we have discovered that there are subversives within the education system.

There is, in Edmonton, someone holding a teacher’s license who actually thinks it is wrong to let students fail to produce assignments without consequence and who says things like :

“We are the last chance our kids have of not becoming entitled, materialistic, spoiled monsters.”

As if there’s something wrong with that.

This, folks, is how someone who used to be thought of as a sensible, responsible person gets labelled an “iconoclastic rebel” in the media.
Read it here.

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Say hello to carbon – the new government growth industry

Dear Diary:

Carbon here, carbon there; carbon, carbon everywhere.

If you are looking for an endless source of revenue for pet projects that will grow and sustain your government in power forever by ensuring its capacity to enrich your friends, pet projects and supporters, there’s nothing quite like it.

Heck, we’re made of the stuff. Every time we exhale, we produce it – 2.3 pounds of it daily for the sedentary and up to eight times more from the very active such as joggers. Based on the human average of 30 farts daily (that does seem a lot,, doesn’t it?) we each contribute 750 cc to the world’s emissions total. And if you really want to save the planet, kill a cow. They are emissions machines – American ones produce 10 times as much of the stuff as could have been accredited to all that “dirty” Canadian oil that people once thought might flow through the Keystone pipeline.

Every time you turn on a light, drive your car, catch a bus, turn on the heat or air conditioning, you consume it.

Sure, there’s methane and nitrogen and other stuff in there but that was long ago bundled into something called CO2 equivalent so, because we believe in science, it’s all carbon now, baby. And it is the ultimate consumption tax: ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-ching.

Which is why Canada’s new Climate Change Minister, Catherine McKenna is determined to make sure there’s a price on it everywhere and why sensible people like Saskatchewan’s Brad Wall (one out of 10 premiers) thinks it’s a bad idea because, really what nonsense must be going through your head to make you think withdrawing money from an economy during a recession is a good idea?

But never mind that – it’s also why Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne smacked a 4 cent a litre tax onto gasoline (hey, why not, the price is low and who’s going to notice?) and scooped up any loose change Ontarians might have had laying around following the federal government’s middle class tax cut.

This has anthropogenic global warming believers (who, let’s not forget, believe with a fervour once reserved for Pentecostals speaking in tongues) in an orgasmic trance.

And while we all wish we could more occasionally enjoy such a condition, none of this will have the slightest impact on global warming. What it might do and what we suspect it will do, is eventually take all the money we currently spend going back and forth to work and heating/cooling ourselves and stick it in Her Majesty’s treasury while convincing us we have achieved a state of moral grace while, unemployed, we freeze in the dark.


Speaking of herds, Canadian media continue to mill about in a fashion reminiscent of cattle making their way to an abbatoir. Their response to their plight, typically, is to convince each other that, despite a distinct lack of evidence to support this claim, they are vital to democracy.

Apparently satisfied that, having said it, it must be true because they said it, they continue to moo and mill and be not very good at being journalists. To wit, on the weekend when the 25,000th refugee from Syria arrived, both CTV Newsnet and CBC Newsnet led their broadcasts with the announcement that “Canada had met its target” without giving the slightest thought to even inset the word “revised” in between “its” and “target.”

Nor have any of them paid the slightest bit of attention to the words of Martin Bolduc of Canadian Border Services who, when appearing before the Commons Public Safety Committee recently, made it clear that of the Syrian folks that have  come “very, very few came out of camps.” So, pretty much all of them (and it doesn’t mean they aren’t happy to be here) were living in apartments and can’t be considered to be among the most desperate from the refugee camps our politicians are so fond of visiting.

In other words, they did not tell the whole truth, which some of us think makes them not very vital to democracy – we’ve already got plenty of fudgers and liars thank you very much.


If there is something actually vital to democracy, it is the Internet and the things you learn on there that are things that – no doubt for their own reasons – the aforementioned mainstream media decline to tell you about the aforementioned carbon tax issue.

In any list of countries with the largest oil reserves, Canada is No. 3 in the world, trailing only the delightful societies of Venezeula and Saudi Arabia. Sucking our potential emissions exhaust and filling out the top 10 are the oh-i-gotta-move-there states of, in order, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Russia, Libya and Nigeria.

Guess how many of those have “put a price on carbon?” Oh, you are so clever. Your are correct: the answer, of course, is zero. But, what possible reason could there be for media to inform you of such facts?


Finally, a belated tip of the hat to our new Prime Minister. Following 10-15 years of relative calm between the regions, the new “sunny ways” have proven to be highly effective at creating fractures.

First, there was the ill-conceived and even more ill-received announcement of $750 million in assistance to Alberta which, they being sensible people rightly suspicious since the province’s founding of Ottawa’s intentions, figured out pretty quickly was just a moving forward of money already designated. And then of course there is the certainty of a $1 billion bailout to protect the 7,000 or so jobs dependent on bad business decisions by Quebec’s Bombardier family – which would be new cash and compares oddly to the response to 100,000 jobs lost in Alberta.

Now, Irwin Cotler is upping the pressure on the Sunny Ways gang to cancel the $15 billion deal to sell combat vehicles to the Saudis which, if successful, would eliminate about 3,500 jobs near London, ON.

And, the previous government’s Nova Scotia shipbuilding contract  for warships is “under review”  no doubt befuddling Maritimers who were pretty excited about it.

So, in just a couple of months it looks like a possible to-do list of a) deny, for ideological reasons, $9 billion pipeline investment that would aid an industry suffering massive job losses; 2) Deny, for ideological reasons, $15 billion in investment in struggling Ontario manufacturing section; 3) create uncertainty and delay over $26 billion infrastructure investment in struggling east coast region 4) Write large cheque to company in home province.

In other words: fill air with gas fumes; light match.

Just like the old days when Dad was in charge, isn’t it? Can’t wait for the “why should I sell your oil?” line, resplendently delivered with a toss of the hair and a Gallic shrug.

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Canada embraces the sanctity of death

While social media appears to have nothing much to talk about other than Donald Trump, Canada is about to become the first nation in the world in which the sanctity of life no longer exists as a moral or philosophical concept – unless of course it applies to mass murderers once subjected to capital punishment.

The absence of any law whatsoever regarding the termination of pregnancies has long since granted us membership in a very small club of nations: China, for sure, North Korea, Cuba and large parts of the USA. Here, you can terminate any pregnancy right up to the day before the entity that exists within the womb without the state so much as raising an eyebrow. This view is considered so thoroughly sacred under its current leadership that one cannot hold any form of alternative view and be a sitting member of Canada’s governing party.

Such are our sunny ways – the once sacred is now profane.

It doesn’t matter that throughout the rest of western civilization other highly progressive and liberal  nations long ago recognized science indicates there is a point beyond which pregnancy should be legally terminated only in extremis. In France, it’s 12 weeks, Sweden 16, Netherlands 22, ditto Britain (although there was talk recently due to new understanding of the viability of life of lowering it to 16). Our point here is not to beat any sort of drum but simply to illustrate that in most of the world similar to ours people have thoughtfully wrestled with the concept of life and brought in laws that best represent the compromise of conscience these matters entail as matters of public policy.

Here, we are so radicalized that we can’t even think about it. Here, we can’t even reasonably place motions before the House of Commons indicating that we think the popular Asian practice of aborting females just because they are females (proactive genocide) is objectionable. Instead, when it was tried, people called for the removal of Rona Ambrose as minister because she supported the idea that women should have the equal right to be born – or not. (This practice had become so widespread in B.C. that the health care system there will no longer provide routine ultrasounds at the request of pregnant mothers; instead, they go now to private clinics which will tell them it’s a girl and then they can go from there.)

Wanna talk about equal pay for work of equal value? We’re all in. Wanna talk about equal representation of women in cabinet? Hey, it’s 2015. But wanna talk about getting terminated Because I’m a Girl? Heavens, no.

The intellectual incoherence is breathtaking.

It is against this backdrop – one which indicates we now live in a land where most of us clearly lack the vocabulary to have a debate of conscience – that Canada is about to introduce legislation outlining how we can not only kill ourselves, but how we can get things set up so that other people can kill us.

There is no hope we will get it right – not because people aren’t well motivated but because when it comes to contrasting philosophical and moral issues, no one knows what they are talking about anymore.

Well, almost no one. Andrew Coyne – who often acts as a corrective influence within mainstream media by raising issues within it that few others have the courage to raise – wrote a thoughtful piece in National Post over a year ago in which he forecast where we are today – on the cusp of establishing a eugenics regime. One hopes he will weigh in again.

Former Montreal Gazette editor Peter Stockland penned a wistfull blog on the matter more recently but that’s about it.

In the meantime, this is a society that – based on the eminently compassionate belief that those of us facing the last moments of an agonizing death should be given access to a self-eject button of some variety – is now heading down a path of no return which goes far beyond that initial concept and can’t seem to even address questions such as:

– What motivation will remain within the health care system to invest in palliative care given the scarcity of financial resources and that a far cheaper alternative is now available?

– If the answer to the above is “not much” do we really want to narrow our options to dying in pain v dying right now and not getting one last grandchild’s birthday or Christmas with family?

– Does this mean Catholic and other hospitals that remain unflinching in their belief in the sanctity of life will be forced to bend to the will of the state’s moral code?

– How do we ensure there are not abuses such as have occurred elsewhere?

– Do we really want to dismiss the reality of other jurisdictions like Belgium for instance where half of nurses admit to participating in what, in a master of euphemism, is referred to as euthanasia without consent?  There used to another word for that, but it eludes me. Anyone? Anyone?

We could go on.

Suffice to say there are many questions – all of which demand free and open debate by principled leaders well-equipped intellectually. There is little reason, at this stage, to believe that will happen.

Instead, public policy makers have finally found a solution to the financial tsunami the aging Baby Boom represents to the health care system. They can just ask us to take a needle for the team or face a tortuous death. Maybe we deserve it.

And a one, and a two and a three more free Canadians

Dear Diary:

A Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian and, hey, if you’re inclined to get involved in mass murder inspired by terrorism what better country can there possibly be in which to ply your trade than right here in Canada, Canada, Canada.

So, with a one, a two and a three, here’s the rundown.

SAAD GAYA
SAAD GAYA

1) Remember Saad Gaya? In case you don’t, he and his Al Qaeda-inspired homeboys in Toronto were planning on killing a whole bunch of people – hopefully hundreds – in Toronto just a few years back by exploding three tonnes of fertilizer in trucks outside CSIS headquarters, the Toronto Stock Exchange and the Canadian Broadcasting Centre while mowing down people with automatic weapons fire in the aftermath. Maybe as a precursor, too. Then, just for fun, they figured they’d storm Parliament, take hostages and behead the prime minister and anyone else who had an appealing nape of the neck. Alas for them, Allah was not willing and they were busted, convicted and jailed. Our pal Saad pleaded guilty and got 18 years. But heck, here in Canada, Canada, Canada, five is the new 18 and he’s been out for a couple of months now – even though he obviously still kinda makes people nervous because he’s not allowed to look at the Internet.

INDERJIT SINGH REYAT
INDERJIT SINGH REYAT

2) Next on the list is our old buddy Inderjit Singh Reyat – the only Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian ever convicted in the Air India bombing that killed 329 men, women and children some 30 years ago when it was a lot less hip to plot mass murder than it is these days. He’s not remorseful, took one for the team on a perjury charge and is still considered a “relatively high risk for future group-based violence.” In most places, he’d never have seen the light of day again but here in Canada, Canada, Canada he’s in a halfway house.

ZAKARIA AMADA
ZAKARIA AMARA

3) Et la premiere etoile of Jihadi Night in Canada – the leader of the Toronto 18 – is about to get Canadian citizenship bestowed upon him. Yes siree, welcome back, Zakaria Amara. It’s just super to have you as a fellow citizen again, lo these many months after that dreadful Mr. Harper and his henchmen came up with the whacky idea that if you hold dual citizenship and are convicted of terrorism, Canada’s going to cut you loose to make sure that once you’re swiftly returned to the street (see above) you’ll be deported.

Well, there’ll be no more of that monkey business, which turns out to be good news for a few other dudes who wanted to attack Canadian military bases and at least one Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian serving time for planning to decapitate employees of a Danish newspaper and toss their heads into the street. (Dear Diary: who doesn’t, really?)

Amara, who was actually baptized as an Orthodox Christian in Jordan before moving to Saudi Arabia (where that whole Christian thing is clearly not cool) and converting to Islam, arrived in Canada when he was 13 in 1997 and quickly adapted to our homegrown Jihadi lifestyle. In less than nine years he’d tried his darnedest to kill hundreds of his fellow citizens in a case the trial judge described as “spine-chilling.” He’s serving a life sentence – until he’s not, anyway – but he’ll get his citizenship back.

Conrad Black, of course, will never see his again.


Gosh and golly, hasn’t everyone’s favorite commie just got herself in a pickle lately? Having been pilloried for banning Rebel Media (first revealed at the end here) from government press conferences after mainstream media shifted off its ample arse, Rachel Notley upped her floundering this week.

First, the irascible Wildrose Party (who remind us ever so much of the Pinkertons in pursuit of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid) demanded to know what the heck she was thinking when it was discovered she’d been flown by comrade Andrea Horvath to Toronto to add a little sex appeal to the latter’s $10,000-a-plate dinner. The Premier of Albertastan assured the proletariat back home, though, that she’d been pre-cleared by that province’s ethics commissioner who’d said there is absolutely nothing wrong with, in effect, help Horvath raise a coupla hundred grand to continue to block the approval of pipelines and further crush Canada’s largest industry, which is on the verge of collapse and everyone is OK with that because the planet is in peril.

Thinking quickly, Notley’s motley strategists tried a “quick, look over there” and, once their candidate was in place but others weren’t, called a snap byelection for March 22 in Calgary-Greenaway (as an aside: this caused some predictably comic mismanagement by the Progressive Conservatives).

Showing all the suave Machiavellian sense of her PCAA predecessors, Madam Premier then made an announcement concerning funding for something green for the city formerly known as Calgary. This is an unseemly practise she pilloried while in opposition and even eschewed as recently as September when she righteously announced she’d have nothing to do with that sort of monkey business.

To be fair, she was probably expecting no one would notice her sneaking into Lucifer’s pawn shop because just the day before she’d trotted out her rather dazed finance minister, Joe Ceci. Qualified through his years of experience as a social activist on Calgary city council, Ceci announced that not only would his once wealthy province be posting something like a $6.4 billion deficit this year, the NDP were going all in for a $10.4 billion deficit next year and, well, they couldn’t really see balancing the budget ever again because, well, it’s hard and being a grownup sucks. The good news appears to be that no one holding a public sector union job need ever fear for their security, which will at least make Mr. Notley, who is a union executive, happy.

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Fear and loathing in the 21st century


Dear Diary:

We go about our lives in this country in fear. Yes, perhaps we are conscious of the threat of terrorism but now that we have run away and proven the Jihadist claim that we in the West simply don’t have the stomach for a fight, we think that’s probably fading. Why, after all, would there be any point in attacking people more than happy to supplicate?

No, we are afraid to even open our mouths and speak. Our little knees knock at the very thought of having a bit of a laugh let alone a serious conversation.

We tremble and huddle in societal corners, cowed by the spectre of some metaphorically hideous old matron berating and humiliating us for our thoughts, should they ever pass our lips, our Facebook posts and our Tweets. All thanks to the scourge of political correctness.

It emerged in the early 1980s and was designed then, or so it seemed, in a reasonably civil fashion to make us more aware of the unintended consequences of our language upon others – primarily in terms of gender, race and ethnic origin, and that, without intending to do so, we might cause offense and, perhaps worse, embarrass ourselves. Fair enough. It was certainly uncivil to be running about telling jokes about “so there was a (insert perjorative) woman who made her livelihood dancing naked, a black gentleman, a young man of south Asian origin and a Ukrainian sitting in a bar . . . “

We all endeavour to be pleasant social company and are willing, if we wish to enjoy the same, to adapt to changing social mores even when it occasionally involves explaining to very elderly parents that no mother we don’t refer to those ladies as Negresses anymore. This social evolution (“honey I really don’t think you should tell any more Catholic jokes when we are over for dinner at the O’Malley’s”) was, however, dangerously perverted by two developments – one legal and one cultural.

Human rights agencies were originally designed to ensure people were not treated in a prejudicial fashion in terms of gaining and retaining employment and accommodation – matters in which tangible harm to a person may occur. That, though, wasn’t enough and in a creeping series of decisions over the years, “harm” was redefined by virtually every such body in the country so that it included intangibles such as damaged “feelings.” Feelings, of course, are by their very nature self-defined and the assumed wisdom became that if Person A’s “feelings” were hurt or they were “offended by” a statement by Person B, it mattered not whether Person B had said a perfectly reasonable thing or not, Person B had no option but to withdraw the statement and apologize and even then might run the risk of being dragged before a veritable Kangaroo Court, fined and publicly shamed. Person A’s “feelings” trumped all the previous notions of social and legal judgment and reasonableness.

There was no longer any need to search for the Reasonable Person because their services were no longer required.

The other is that school systems imbued into what are now two generations of Canadian Eloi the notion that their feelings have social primacy; that individual rights no longer exist in a natural balance with societal group rights. In doing so, they invented (yup, they just made it up) the “right” to live unoffended – intended or otherwise. Any old-fashioned notion of “sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me” went out the door along with “suck it up buttercup: it’s a tough old world out there and – guess what – if you can’t tough it through a little taunting you won’t stand a chance unless you discover a couple of vertebrae.”

As a result, we are now all victims, either because we get upset when people say things which offend us or because we live in constant fear that someone will take offense from something we say and we will be thrown in the stocks of social media. And with the longstanding notion of “reasonableness” tossed aside by our institutions, all feelings are valid simply because we feel them. Oppose or even question a public policy objective and you are at risk – as occurred without apology recently from Kathleen Wynne to Ujjal Donsanjh – of being a racist and a xenophobe. Germaine Greer can be banned from university campuses because her insistence that a vagina is a requirement for definition as a woman. Oxford University can be brought to its knees because the very presence of a statue of Cecil Rhodes makes people feel “unsafe.”

If you’ve got nothing to actually go on that a person said, talk about “dog whistles” and imply that even though they never said something offensive you have decided that they probably meant to and are offended anyway because “we all know what that meant.” And so on and so on until we don’t even talk to each other about anything that actually matters anymore, so afraid have we become.

We talk about the weather but certainly not climate change or the cultural evolution of the country. People who have a moral belief that a fetus is an unborn child may not be a sitting member of the governing party.

This is the age of the Neo-Puritan. In it, we are surrounded by Joe McCarthys. Yet we have not yet found a Joseph Welch to ask the Wynnes and the Nenshis and the others: “have you no sense of decency?

Perhaps it was all well intended. Perhaps it was all to ensure we had our fun more politely. But we are an increasingly earnest and humourless people because, as John Cleese further explains here (and above), comedy depends on our ability to understand our imperfections and have a bit of sport – sometimes at our own expense and sometimes at the expense of others.


The Pravda of political correctness in this country is its mainstream media, as many readers are likely to agree.

They are the ones who, when the irascible if not always likeable Ezra Levant was fighting for something as fundamental to media as the right to free expression, stood mute. They are the ones who, when human rights tribunals were without legislative authority (see above) expanding their own purpose and meaning, stood blind and mute. And they are the ones who while freedoms of conscience were being stomped on by the governing party stood deaf, blind and mute.

Yet they are the ones who today beg for mercy from the public’s judgment as their industries die. The reason? Perhaps, as this piece from the CBC’s Neil MacDonald alludes to, it’s this simple: they are afraid to seek the truth, lest some take offense from it.


Speaking of the guardians of journalistic freedom and democracy, there was not a peep from them following the ejection from the public announcement of Alberta’s resources royalty review of one of their number attempting to report on the same.

We understand that Sheila Gunn Reid (among Twitter’s more, um, direct commentators) doesn’t actually fit in with the crowd, being of a conservative predisposition and all that. But how do media expect the public to stand up for their “rights” when they won’t stand up for those of one of their own?

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“Being There” for all Canadians

Dear Diary:

Whew! What a breathtaking week.

It all began with our glorious leader’s cringe-inspiring response to an under-employed oil worker who should “hang in there” – apparently for eternity while the PM steadfastly refuses to indicate that are any conditions possible under which he would approve a pipeline – Energy East – that would run through Montreal.

Nevermind that there has been a pipeline running through Montreal for close to 75 years – that being the Portland-Montreal pipeline that in a good year has carried close to 100 million barrels of foreign (Saudi, Venezuelan, who knows?) oil under the St. Lawrence river.

Suncor refinery in Montreal
Suncor refinery in Montreal

This probably comes as a surprise to most media such as Le Devoir’s Marie Vastel who regularly wonder – unchallenged by the likes of Rosie Barton – on political talk shows whether enough is known about pipelines, their safety, the threat of spills and whether they can be cleaned up. Hmmmm.

So, we dug around a little and here’s what your journalists – yes, yes, the same folks who have been whining all month about their craft’s demise and how it is vital to democracy, blah, blah, blah – aren’t filling you in on.

The Portland-Montreal pipeline is in trouble because the Energy East project involves carrying Canadian crude from West to East which means no one in Eastern Canada would have to buy oil from people who regularly conduct mass beheadings. A couple of years back, there was a proposal to actually reverse Portland-Montreal, which would have made it possible to not only get Canadian crude to Montreal, it could also then get loaded on tankers in Portland. But in a delightful confluence of the economic interests of the pipeline’s Montreal and Portland owners and the eco-kook lobby, civic leaders in Portland said no to “dirty” oil. This, as we all know, is because it is morally superior to buy oil from medieval kingdoms, west African dictators, South American tyrants, and various other mullahs than it is from fellow Canadians.

And as far as Albertans are concerned, as Ian Robinson – a good Timmins kid – points out: we don’t like them.

Anyway, we don’t think the eco-kook lobby’s biggest concern is that oilsands crude is so “dirty” – what with it being responsible for 0.15% of global emissions and all. No, it’s because there is a lot of it. And so long as there is a lot of oil, its price will remain low and people will still be able to heat their homes, drive their cars, etc at affordable prices – thus delaying the orgasmic day when “green” alternatives are economically affordable and the new Utopia arrives. (the parallels to the Social Gospel movement are unmistakable).

Anyway, the next time one of those journalists/saviours of democracy blathers on like some upper class twit about Quebec not knowing whether oil pipelines are safe, ask them how the, er, blazes they can not know – they’ve had one for 75 years.


#PMJT continues to insist the reason he can’t be sure whether Energy East’s $9 billion infrastructure proposal and its liberating influence on Canada’s largest industry – energy – is because Stephen Harper  “politicized” the National Energy Board process.

If this is true, it is an extremely serious charge. What is pretty much just as serious is that you can read, or watch, or listen to just about any report on this accusation without finding the slightest shred of evidence that even one of those doing the reporting asked the fundamental follow up question – how? Like, “Mr. Prime Minister, you just said that your predecessor of violating the rule of law by interfering with the workings of an independent, quasi-judicial administrative/regulatory agency. Exactly how did he do that?”

Nope. No one asked. Not one. We suppose we are expected to accept as the nation’s journalistic elite does, that just because someone says something, it is true. If it is, someone should call the cops about the former prime minister. If it’s not true, the current prime minister is telling lies. But we, the mere public in whose interest these noble guardians of the truth serve, apparently don’t have the “right to know.”


Staying on energy, we were all moved by the government’s speedy response to the economic crisis in the West, weren’t we? Sure you were. How can you resist those doe-eyed glances of sincerity, flanked as they are by Gallic locks and exposed, manly forearms? Come on.

trudeau_notley_meeting_20160203-1

First, it was announced next to his new pal “Rachel” that $700 million in routine infrastructure funding earmarked by the previous government for Alberta would be “fast-tracked.” We don’t know the details regarding over how many years this money was originally intended to be spent (mostly because, again, no one in our media apparently thought to ask) versus how it will now be spent. So, let’s assume it was intended to be spent over 5 years at $140 million annually and now will be spent instead over two years at $350 million annually. Here’s the problem: after two years, it’s all gone. What happens then?

being-there-peter-seller2We assume this what the PM – who some are saying is  revealing an increasing resemblance to a younger Chauncey Gardiner – means when he talks about Canadians “Being There” for each other.

Then, it was announced with much fanfare that Newfoundland, Saskatchewan and Alberta could apply for some short-term assistance that they already were completely legally  entitled to apply for that in the case of Alberta amounts to $250 million.

Gosh and golly in Alberta that’s almost a whole $1 billion worth of “assistance” that the province was going to get sooner or later but will now get more of sooner and, near as we can tell, less of later. Impressive.

To be fair – and to relieve our incessant berating of the journos – the announcements were greeted with skepticism by most Alberta-based commentators (none of whom, we note, are ever asked to participate in CBC panels filled with people who live and work in Ontario/Quebec but apparently are, like Hollywood actors, experts on everything).

Most notable among this is the quite reliable Rick Bell who pointed out that $1 billion amounts to $60 per Albertan as compared to the $1,130 each and every Quebecois et Quebecoise gets every year in transfer payments, most of which come from Alberta.

In case you were wondering, as we were, the total amount Alberta has contributed to Confederation – the difference between what it sent in and what got sent back – between 1960 and 2002 at least – was $244 billion.

Following the predispositions of the nation’s national media, we are too lazy today to find out how much more was added to that total in the ensuing 13 years, but we did find this government document that shows that in 2011 alone, Alberta’s net contribution to “Confederation” was just under $16 billion.

You do the math. We are searching for amber fluids.

 

Saving the planet one layer of bureaucracy at a time

Dear Diary:

It is remarkable to watch a country wage Jihad on its own economy but – right now – that is what we are witnessing in Canada.

Energy is by far the nation’s largest industry. And the federal government has decided to bleed it to death. What other possible explanation can there be for its refusal to even say that it thinks pipelines to get oil to tidewater are a good idea even – yes, yes, yes – with all the usual environmental caveats.

The Prime Minister, who only weeks ago said he thought the Keystone pipeline was a great idea, now refuses to say the same about Energy East, deciding that even though he just did prime ministers shouldn’t be promoting things they should just be refereeing them.

In doing so, he appears to have confused his role with that of the Governor General or perhaps Her Majesty herself which, giving the PM’s sturdy self-image is not out of the question. Selfie anyone?

People do not elect referees. They elect leaders. So, lead on fighting greenhouse gas emissions or lead on building a stronger economy or – here’s an idea – lead on both. Just don’t stand there, as happened this week, like a deer stuck in the headlights of an oncoming Peterbilt.

This week, the government announced a new layer of regulatory examination for pipelines. It appears to have been sketched out on the back of a cocktail napkin at the moment but says, essentially, that a project’s impact on greenhouse gas emissions must be a factor and that must include “upstream impact” – in other words the emissions that come from creating the product, not just those involved in shipping the product. It does not say what an acceptable or unacceptable level is but that’s probably for another day and another cocktail napkin.

Here’s the deal: Most of that is already known. A comprehensive report done for the Ontario Energy Board indicates that:

The overall global greenhouse gas impact of Energy East will be an increase of one one-hundredth of a percentage point – 0.01%. And that most of the emissions increase comes from consumption of the product in foreign lands. Oh, and that large parts of the ghg impact in Canada comes from the fact the project consumes electricity.

There is really no debate over whether it is more or less environmentally friendly to ship oil by pipeline than it is by rail. Sourcing Environment Canada, the industry association points out that Canada’s vast network of pipelines is responsible for 1% of the nation’s emissions. That is backed up by American regulatory reports on Keystone, this report from the University of Waterloo and emphasized by TransCanada’s CEO who, when speaking of the Keystone project noted that:

“For every mile you move a barrel of oil by rail, you emit three times the [greenhouse gases] that you do by moving it by pipeline.”

Removing all doubt is that when the issue of whether railways or pipelines have a larger environmental impact, David Suzuki responds with a “but that’s the wrong question” because what we really should be doing is making sure the “tarsands” go out of production, thus reducing their 0.15% – that’s right, fifteen (count ‘em) one-hundredths of one per cent – contribution to global emissions and, using math made of fairy dust, rainbows and dancing unicorns – saving the planet.

This, dear diary, is what passes for evidence-based decision-making which only makes sense because, well, it’s 2016.


Because we worry – oh, dear diary, you know how much we worry, tossing and turning at night about anthropogenic global warming – we are mystified, given all of the above, that our leaders are about to give the Bombardier family of Quebec billions of other people’s dollars to help them cover for some bad business decisions and sell more airplanes.

Airplanes, as our revered friend Dr. Suzuki points out, are a major and growing contributor to green gas emissions.

We will not rest – no, we will not – until a full review (downstream and upstream) is done of the impact on climate change of encouraging Bombardier put more airplanes into the air.

Furthermore, primarily in order to aid Bombardier’s risky anti-climate behaviour by letting them sell more airplanes, Canada is restoring relations with Iran – the world’s 8th largest greenhouse gas emitter which will now be able to further gear up its emissions following the decision by the USA to lift its embargo on Iran’s oil exports. Again, where’s the emissions analysis. Come on, the future of the planet is at risk here, right? Right? It is, isn’t it?

Little wonder we toss and turn. Oh, how we do.


Finally, some good news. The really cool thing about living in a post-rational world that has fully embraced relativism is that now we can finally be whatever we want to be just because we say we are and play on whatever sports team we want or go to whatever bathroom we want because we and only we get to define who and what we are.
And so, this.

cat lady

Say no more.

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Temporary truce established in war on Stone Age oil people

Dear Diary:

Sometimes we are wrong and when we are, we are happy to say so.

Following British Columbia’s thumbs down on the Trans Mountain pipeline, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley’s abandonment of Northern Gateway, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s imposition of more conditions on Energy East and, ultimately, Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre’s vigorous thumbs down on the latter and its Stone Age proponents, we despaired that Canada had declared war on Alberta..

But this week, things turned around. First, the Mayor of Quebec City said “I wonder how I would feel if a province or a region in another province prevented Hydro-Quebec from building its transmission lines. I would feel exactly like the people in the West do now. I understand them.”

And then, after the Globe and Mail’s deep thinkers tugged their forelocks and pondered Coderre’s “provincialism,” Rick Mercer used his weekly rant to tear a strip off His Worship.

Those developments made us happy even though, had it not been for Coderre’s inability to resist putting the boot in with his remark about Albertans being “people who think the Flintstones is a documentary” he actually did pretty much the same thing as Wynne, B.C.’s Christy Clark and numerous aboriginal leaders have done when it comes to expanding the nation’s industrial infrastructure: indulge in Canada’s baksheesh complex (in which beggars incessantly demand more and more).

Nevermind, the PM visited Coderre and, ever mindful of the fact he and others have for years worked diligently to convince Quebeckers that oil and its pipelines are putting the very future of the planet in peril, emerged with an ever more muddled view of how no one trusts the environmental review process and he’d have more to say about that at some point and obviously blah, blah, blah.

This was widely praised by Parliamentary media who of course slurped up the spin that the PM can’t take sides and needs just to be a good referee.

Which is not true. The Prime Minister can take sides if he wants and does so all the time. It’s kind of his job, we think. He didn’t have any trouble last summer taking sides against Northern Gateway when he said that when he becomes PM “I will not be approving this pipeline.” And he didn’t have any trouble taking sides in backing the Keystone pipeline. So, we will go out on a limb and say Northern Gateway got a thumbs down because that’s what wins over lefties on the west coast, Keystone got a thumbs up because that’s what wins with righties on the Prairies and Energy East is, um, hard.


For some reason – and this “thought” was expressed with some incoherent vigor the other day by the Prime Minister’s Parliamentary Secretary Adam Vaughan – the government seems to be of the view that if additional environmental scrubbing takes place on industrial investment projects such as Energy East (most of which already exists, we remind you) opponents will be satisfied.

That will never happen. Greenpeace, Tides Canada and others don’t really care about the pipeline. They care that it carries oil and they believe – oh, they believe – with a Come to Jesus passion that every drop of oil brings Environmental Armageddon once step closer. They don’t want to kill the pipeline. They want to kill the oil and gas and coal and forestry and mining industries. Until that glorious day arrives and those four horsemen of the Apocalypse are slain, no amount of bureaucratic tinkering will win them over.


Speaking of oil, our spies in the West indicate most media have accepted the spin spun from Notley chief of staff Brian Topp (Toppspin?) that when people who have paid the country’s bills for decades get angry about petty things like having their livelihoods put at risk via all the above and being called knuckle-draggers, they are “not being helpful.”

As if, had they stayed mute like Chairwoman Notley has, Coderre and the like would not have been reined in. This is more than ably debunked here by Opposition Leader Rona Ambrose.

The bigger issue for Topp, Notley, et al is that they don’t really like oil either but can’t quite kill it yet as they have coal and it’s very hard for them to put their heart into pipeline promotion when, given their druthers, they’d prefer the industry just died and the planet was saved and all true believers were swept up in The Rapture. So, you will never, ever hear them criticize those who oppose pipelines because those people are their friends and they need them to vote for them. As this troubling blog by a fellow actually doing a Ph.D studying (no kidding) on the relationship between political activism and climate change makes clear, whatever Notley does will never be enough for The Saved.

For these folks, the same crowd Adam Vaughan believes can and must be satisfied, the energy industry and the provinces where it is based might very well ask, “what is it you want us to do?”
This would be the response.

A litany of media misdeeds

Dear Diary:

We begin this week with the entirely predictable knee-jerk reactions of those who style themselves as guardians of journalism while simultaneously working to undermine the same.

The first is inspired by Michael Den Tandt’s column distributed through the presses and portals of Postmedia – an apocalyptic institution dedicated to sucking marrow from the bones of Canada’s newspapers.

All should be saddened by Friday’s tragic events in La Loche, Saskatchewan, where four died and seven were wounded following an armed assault on a school. Clearly, at this stage, many will wonder why this took place, just as some still ponder how it came to be that five young people were murdered at a house party of university students a couple of years back.

There is speculation that the shooter was provoked because he was endlessly teased about having big ears, which may be so but doesn’t explain why so many big-eared people have managed to negotiate life without going on a homicidal rampage. But, whatever, the facts is that at this stage the motivations are unknown. Den Tandt insists, however, that this situation “resonates differently” largely due to the fact that the community and, everyone assumes, the shooter are Dene people and in support he lists the well-worn list of poor social conditions that often plague aboriginal communities. The commentary concludes with the thought that “Canada’s original sin remains untouched.” In other words, he’s figured it out:

Most of the victims are Dene. The alleged gunman is Dene (we think). The community is Dene and therefore of course people pick up guns and go on homicidal rampages. And, it’s all the fault of someone else. Most Dene people, the vast majority of whom bear whatever indignities they are faced with in life with physical, moral and emotional courage, should be outraged by such stereotyping.

These appalling generalizations, delivered with a doe-eyed “resonates differently” mentality perpetuate a destructive narrative of victimology that solicits a faux white empathy for the killer when it is his victims we should prioritize in our thinking. Normally, when innocent people are murdered, one expects the sympathy to fall on the side of the victims but, oh no, using a race-based white guilt paternalism, common commentary immediately defaults to Canada’s “original sin.” Oh please. Here’s an idea: start treating Dene people as people – common folks who when it comes to things like this are just like the rest of us – and stop with the latte-laced, self-serving, I’ll-be-popular-at-cocktail-parties “original sin” routine.


Marsha Lederman, provoked by criticism of her craft on Facebook, wrote what we’re sure she thought was a stirring defence of why we all have a stake in the future of mainstream media in which she attempted to list its necessities. In doing so, there were a few giveaways, most in a single paragraph:

“Without good reporting, Rob Ford might still be considered some kind of hero and brother Doug Ford could be Toronto’s mayor; Jian Ghomeshi could still be hosting Q (not q); Bev Oda might at this very moment be sipping overpriced, taxpayer-funded orange juice.”

Thanks goodness we have unbiased, objective reporters dedicated to making sure Doug Ford never became Toronto’s mayor. Whatever will we do with fewer of them? Rob Ford’s misdemeanors were exposed by a website and, ultimately, because the Globe and Mail paid money not to its journalists but to people who make their living in an even more dubious fashion. And the Ghomeshi story first came to light through a pitch from a freelancer. But, sure Marsha, we’ll give you the orange juice scoop. That changed the world alright.


We couldn’t recall the last time a pipeline spill resulted in 47 people being killed, let alone as horribly as people died in Lac Megantic a couple of years ago when a train filled with oil derailed and engulfed the town in flames.
So, as proof that we would never be a good fit within mainstream media, we checked to find out and it turns out that, according to the Transportation Safety Board the last fatality in a Canadian pipeline incident was in 1988.

None of the facts, including that 59% of spills involve 1 cubic metre (or less) of “gas oil or other petroleum product” get in the way of breathless reporting epitomized by this piece by the CBC. Nor of course does it matter to the likes of Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre that the amount spilled annually is basically equivalent to three teaspoons of gas slopped by an individual at their weekly gas station fill up.

And of course it is inconsequential that transporting oil by rail is 4.5 times as dangerous as it is via pipeline or that cleanup technologies have improved to the extent that 99% of liquid spilled is recovered.

No, no, no these are the thoughts, according to Coderre of the same sort of people who “believe that the Flintstones is a documentary” – a slag coined, as Rick Bell points out, by Warren Kinsella many years ago when it was fun to make fun of Stockwell Day for his religion.

Coderre, bless his heart, did not specify whether it was westerners in general to whom he was referring or a specific pro-prosperity breed but it really didn’t matter. None of the usual suspects who are so swift to denounce the slightest level of denigration towards “an identifiable class” and who see “diversity as a strength” denounced Coderre for his smug slanders because Canada has pretty much declared war on oil and Alberta and Saskatchewan, who have been paying the country’s bills – including Quebec’s Cadillac day care system and hydro subsidies, for decades. Nice.


Speaking of dog whistles, what to think of #pmjt’s latest musings in Davos that he doesn’t want Canada to be known for its resources so much as for its resourcefulness – a trite phrase that betrays a common Laurentian/Upper Canada College view that, well, you don’t actually have to be very smart to “dig things out of the ground.” This was more than ably dealt with by Rex Murphy so we will add only this from a correspondent in the West:

“The essence of the difference between Laurentian elites and westerners is that the former are obsessed with the view that “how smart do you have to be to dig things out of the ground.” Westerners think the answer to that is “plenty” but also ask in return “how smart do you have to be to inherit your daddy’s money?