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    FFS STFU About Pipelines: Rick Mercer Gets Told

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    Rick Mercer seems to have forgotten his roots.

    This is the guy who was the spokesman behind the One Tonne Challenge before the oil-loving Conservatives took an axe to the program.

    I LOVE this video by Scott Vrooman, taking a spin on Rick Mercer’s rant on petroleum madness:

    https://www.facebook.com/torontostar/videos/10153926492136151/?fref=nf

    Folks, it’s not about pipelines.  Rick Mercer is VERY wrong to believe that we need a big honking bitumen highway stretching across this great country.

    We need to STFU up about pipelines.  We need to STFU about oil.

    Our economy is a basket case because of oil and building pipelines will only guarantee that it remain a basket case for another hundred years.

    Pipelines will also guarantee that we will fail miserably when it comes to any kind of target with the Paris Accord or other global environmental initiatives designed to mitigate the effects of our 19th century carbon economy.

    It’s time we showed CONSIDERABLE bias against oil.

    The current ‘have not provinces’ used to be the ‘have provinces’ before resources destroyed any sense of economic balance in this country.  We used to have enviable high paying manufacturing and technology jobs throughout the heartland of Canada and this has been crushed by oil.

    In the early days, Alberta’s oil sector was built by subsidies from Ontario and Quebec and we have a right to say no to Alberta’s oil pumping through our backyards.

    So … let’s START spending our mental energy thinking about ways we can minimize our reliance on oil.  There are already hundreds of possibilities out there.

    • Learn how to do more with less or pay for it if you don’t.
    • Encourage a sharing economy.
    • Educational programs that force us to think about ways that we can minimize our carbon footprint when it comes to our daily activities (food, clothes, cars, transportation, working environments, etc).
    • Renewables should immediately get any subsidy or devotion that oil currently receives.  Annually, several billions of dollars in taxpayer funds go towards
    • Legislate and enforce the construction of ‘zero-footprint’ residential developments.  Sprawl must either end or become independent.  New homes shouldn’t be a part of the problem, but the solution:  homes with solar, wind, geo-thermal and other renewable structures should be the only things we build.
    • Mutual funds and other investment vehicles should get special incentives when putting cash into renewable energy programs across Canada, including R&D for storage, delivery and distribution.
    • Teach people how to go back to their roots:  spend time freezing, storing and preserving foods that we import in the winter months.
    • Prohibit the installation of new gas stations.  Incentivize the installation of electrical charging networks.
    • Incentivize any domestic – ie. anywhere in Canada – manufacture of anything to do with renewable energy
    • Fund research and development related to renewables, clean up and removal of cars from our highways
    • Pump cash into massive public transit programs that will exist for decades to come
    • Focus on reduction:  tax carbon, tax gas and tax cars that burn gas.  Incentivize those activities that don’t use gas.

    So there it is.  I’m a renewable simpleton and I’ve come up with a list of about 20 different tools that can be implemented IMMEDIATELY that will ensure we drastically reduce our reliance on oil.

    Let’s move forward people and stop obsessing about pipelines.

    We don’t need them and we don’t want them.

    Category: Uncategorized

    FFS STFU About Pipelines

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    I am sick of hearing Conbots like Ambrose drone on about pipelines, especially now in the context of being ‘national unity’ issues.

    The rest of Canada doesn’t want your junk spewing across our great nation.  That’s why everyone is stalling and working to prevent them from happening.

    It’s been a mere 10 weeks for the Trudeau government to figure out what kind of mess the Conservatives created over 10 YEARS.  The Harper Conservatives – inept as they are – couldn’t get jack shit accomplished over this time, so why is it so urgent now?

    Why are the Cons a ‘one trick’ pony obsessed with oil?

    What’s worse is the CBC chirping in regurgitating this garbage.

    Both of you:  F off.  Drop the pipelines and focus on the reality of Canada’s economic situation.  It’s because our economy became so deeply tied to oil that we’re tanking out completely both with the dollar and our manufacturing sector.

    Did the Harper Conservatives do ANYTHING when Central Canada’s economy lost hundreds of thousands of jobs in manufacturing and technology sectors while the oil sector boomed?

    Maybe we should make it a national unity issue and maybe we should turf Alberta from the country so that we can have a stable economy again that doesn’t rely solely on resources.

    Until then, drop the talk about the pipeline and ‘national unity’ and focus on creating an economy that doesn’t rely on us dumping tar sands junk into the ocean to be processed by someone else.

     

    Category: Uncategorized

    On PostMedia’s Decline

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    Part I: The Long, Slow Demise of PostMedia

    A lot of people are bemoaning the slow, painful death of PostMedia.

    I do not.  I’m glad to see others don’t mind their demise as well.

    For a decade, people with this right-wing chain of second-rate papers made a decision every day that they walked into their offices:  do I help the American owners of PostMedia destroy what Canada was or do I do everything in my power to help spread a message of hope and ambition for this country?

    A few years back, they tried to implement ‘pay walls’ to prevent common folk who didn’t pay for their content from seeing it.

    They started a trend of eliminating feedback and comments on their sites, mainly because a growing number of users were pointing out the fallacies of their empty arguments.

    In the last election and in the run-up to all elections for the last decade, the newspapers that are part of or that became part of the PostMedia chain overwhelmingly endorsed Stephen Harper, despite the emptiness of his economic plan and cynical management of the Canadian political scene.

    There are so many other reasons why PostMedia and its subsidiaries are a blight on the face of Canadian journalism.

    Their failure does not necessarily point to the failure of print media or corporate media in general.

    It’s their failure.

    Now, Stephen Harper has disappeared.  It’s time for PostMedia to disappear too.

    Part II:  Filling The Void

    The idea seems overwhelming:  how do we fill the vacuum in Canadian media?

    Fill it.

    For some reason, we continue to let ourselves believe that the only source for most of our daily habits – news, food, gas, entertainment – have to come from ‘consolidators’.

    All of these corporate entities perpetuate these myths because the main purpose of their effort is to continue to find ways to extract outrageous margins at the expense of what they offer.

    We can do better.

    Canadians have more tools than ever to replace their daily content with news and information that is unbiased and relevant.  More than ever, we should return to properly funding our public media infrastructure, but we can’t do that until we purge the ranks of the CBC and other organizations from Harper cronies who will obfuscate every attempt to make new public again.

    And we also need a better strategy with collecting and organizing news and information.  Individual journalists have become vulnerable to editorial offices.  We need to ‘crowd swarm’ these offices with opinion pieces from the public instead of private organizations like Canadian Press.

    Platforms like Progressive Bloggers are a great start, but they don’t go far enough.  There are opportunities to monetize traffic, reinvest in reliable reporting and reinvest again in technology change that will drive the media machine further away from the clutches of the likes of Paul Godfrey.

    Because know this:  PostMedia’s consolidation of editorial functions mean only one thing:  the message from the corporate right will become more concentrated, more vile and more unpleasant.  Their attacks on Justin Trudeau and Canada will become more frequent and deliberate.

    The time is certainly ripe for this kind of change.

    We must stop them before their thoughts of being in control actually translates to control once again.

    Other Links:

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/postmedia-job-cuts-1.3410497

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/postmedia-cuts-ottawa-sun-follow-1.3411579

     

    Category: Uncategorized

    Zeitgeist: Almost 10 Years Old

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    I have long been a fan and follower of many of the ideas from experts like Joseph Campbell or Mircea Eliade.

    I have come to believe that themes like the ‘Universal Myth’ or ‘Monomyth’ are vital to our understanding of one another.  The passing of ‘Christmas’ is really just humanity being stuck in a creative rut, at least as far as religious advancement goes.

    Or, better, ability to move beyond religion towards a more common good that everyone in the world can buy into.

    Zeitgeist is fascinating reminder of the extent to which we’ve allowed ourselves to be manipulated and deceived into believing that there’s some kind of great benevolent – and seemingly sometimes hangry – god running all of our lives, like a great master puppeteer determining the fate of all who come and go on this great planet.

    I’ll admit that on the very rare occasion, I’m overwhelmed by a sense of loneliness that comes when you realize that we’re unique in the universe.  There are also moments of desperation when I tease myself into believing that the odds of THIS – our planet, our existence, our odds – are so incredibly rare as to be impossible and I almost let myself believe that there’s a greater being, but then I pull back to reality.

    We’re not toys for gods.  We’re human beings.  We have a right to enjoy our past, to savour our present and to anticipate our future.

    The sooner we accept that religions are just distractions, the sooner we’ll move forward.

    And, with a little technology, perseverance and patience, maybe one day we’ll discover that we’re no along in the universe.

    PS For those of you thinking I’m having some kind of weird ‘bah humbug’ moment, forget it!  I’m very happy, thank you, and don’t need to told to have a ‘Merry Christmas’ one day of the year to appreciate that life is good.

    Category: Uncategorized

    Canada’s ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ Moment

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    October 19 in Canada could be seen much the same way as the revelation experienced at the end of Frank Capra’s Christmas classic, ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’.

    Just when the lead protagonist didn’t think things could possibly turn his way, he was shown that he truly does have an incredible life and, more importantly, the things he does on a day-in, day-out basis change the lives of so many others.

    Potter-HarperStephen Harper is clearly Mr. Potter, the mean, heartless curmudgeon that everyone wanted to see get electroshock therapy by the end of the movie.  He did crooked things, like basically steal the $8,000 from George Bailey’s uncle Billy.  Harper did much, much worse as far as the Canadian economy is concerned, stealing from those who cannot afford it (low-wage earners, small businesses with EI hikes) and giving to those who needed it the least.

    Harper/Potter would have loved to have seen the entirety of Canada become a giant ‘Potter’s Field’ of sorts, a poorly built array of inefficient, cheap and cardboard houses destined to be replaced within a couple of years, all at the expense of taxpayers.  His fury against anyone that challenged him was remorseless and merciless, cruel and unforgiving.

    His vision of Canada was not a vision at all.  It was

    And there really is no evidence that he ever existed once we reach the climax of the movie at the end, where George Bailey was the one who was rewarded with enviable love and tenderness from the people in the community.

    As we learned a long, long time ago, nice people sometimes DO come out ahead and they wind up returning the favour.

    In this seasonal comparison, Justin Trudeau is of course, George Bailey.  Loyal to his father’s business (Canadian politics), loyal to his family, kind-hearted and good looking.  He’s the kid who stays behind so that others could move ahead.  Even the tragedy of Michel’s death could be compared to George’s little brother, Harry Bailey (who survived in the movie, but wouldn’t have if George had never been born).

    georgebailey1  trudeau-family-halloween-20151031

    In the early weeks of Trudeau’s government, we’ve seen a more compassionate, sensible Canada return, not just locally, but on the world stage.  Would Paris COP21 have been successfully negotiated if Harper had put his crap ‘Big Oil’ agenda in the way, claiming the entire thing was ‘socialists coming to take over the planet’?  Would we have seen the action that we did on Syrian refugees?  Would we have seen an empathetic and actionable response concerning the Truth and Reconciliation Commission?

    Now, the honeymoon is still on, but it’s becoming clear the Harper never lead Canada, he abused it for his own agenda.

    Let’s hope Justin Trudeau is always mindful of the classic quote ‘power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely’ and doesn’t fall into the same twisted and malevolent character as Canada’s ‘Mr. Potter’.

    Category: Uncategorized

    She Must Be High

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    Kathleen Wynne has indicated that the LCBO selling pot would be a good thing.

    Give me a break.  She must be high (and mighty, but that’s a different topic altogether).

    The LCBO is all about government-endorsed protection of a small handful of VERY LARGE alcohol conglomerates maximizing how much they extract from Ontario consumers.

    Selling pot will result in no different outcome.

    We’ll have low quality, high priced bud, expensive high-gloss magazines promoting Snoop D’s latest brand of Mary Jane and will be flooded with volumes of inane reviews from people that don’t actually want to work but, well, review.

    The standard pile of dog excrement will come from the government offices:  it’s all about social responsibility; it’s about protecting quality; it’s about having qualified people available to sell the product; it’s about protecting revenue for the government.

    No thank you.

    These are lies that they’ll want us to believe.  What about selling cigarettes?  Last I looked, the government was trying to shut down that vice, but they still allow it to be sold anywhere.

    What about controlling new, upstart producers instead of protecting those international conglomerates?  Not a chance.  The government will throw these folks under the bus sooner that you can say ‘Don’t Bogart that joint, dude’.

    The days of the LCBO are coming to an end.  It has effectively been privatized as of today when the government announced that they will allow chains like Loblaws, Wal-Mart and Costco to sell beer and soon wine.

    Will anyone bother with a high-paid LCBO staffer to bug them about terroir and mystery associated with a good bunch of leaf?

    Not a chance.

    The LCBO is dead.  Let’s move on and let the market kick in for a change and let’s make sure we don’t mess up another good thing (legalized pot) with a bad thing (illegal sale and distribution).

    Category: Uncategorized

    ‘Slippery Steve’ is actually ‘Sticky Steve’

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    Post-it-payI have to admit that I haven’t followed the Duffy trial as closely as some others (like Montreal Simon), but yesterday’s news report had one juicy little tidbit in it that I refuse to let go of and I’m hoping more sane Canadians and reporters will let this detail ‘stick’

    You could say I’m ‘stuck’ on the idea of how Stephen Harper got away with all of his crimes against Canada.

    Post-it notes.

    Post-it-timsApparently, he didn’t use email, written communications or even verbal indications of his plans.

    His was a rule based on sticky notes.  Endless piles of sticky notes.

    Here’s one comment from yesterday’s Duffy trial:

    Duffy also took another swipe at Harper, saying the former prime minister would never write in the margins of policy documents, unlike previous prime ministers.

    Instead, Duffy said, Harper would use yellow Post-it notes, which would later come off the documents so “there are no fingerprints.”

    Duffy said much of the communication from Harper went through Harper’s top aide Ray Novak via emails. Harper would never personally ask or tell someone to do something, except in very rare circumstances, Duffy said.

    “That way, he’s got deniability,” Duffy said.

    Post-it-steveStephen Harper used to carry this image that he was untouchable.  Now we know why.  He was a ‘post-it Prime Minister’.

    Deniability.

    Let’s hope that more people catch on to this subtle but important nuance about how Stephen Harper ran the Government of Canada – no longer the Harper Government – and how he knowingly used any means he could in a premeditated manner to deceive all Canadians and not just the Puffster.

    And now that Mike Duffy is throwing Stephen Harper under the bus, when do we get to point the finger at Herr Harper himself and bring him to justice?

    Deniability.

    Perhaps Canadians will deny any memory of Stephen Harper and instead simply reflect that they were dark, dark years for this great country and that we’ll do what we must to ensure it never happens again.

    Category: Uncategorized

    Uber’s Message To Those Who Are Protected

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    Uber’s Message To Those Who Are Protected:  your job is in jeopardy.

    The public’s response to technologies and services like Uber:  we will no longer protect those who are protected.

    Uber’s not the only technology startup (or upstart) that should have people worried about their job security.

    The other day, I got in a cab for the last time.  It will be the last.  I will only take Uber from this point on.

    Why?

    The cab was filthy, the driver distracted, the car smelled and when I tried to roll down the window, the hand crank (another bad sign) broke off, the cost seemed more than it should be, the cabbie got lost for a moment and the door nearly fell off when I got out of the car.

    Unfortunately, cab companies don’t see this rapid decline in quality and feel it’s appropriate to respond to competition by bitching to our governments to increase the level of scrutiny and protection for their business.

    Other industries are in the same boat.

    If you’re a teacher, in the shipping business, hotel worker, work in delivery, operate in the medical field, a university professor, LCBO employee, performer or work for any other trade that benefits from (excessively) regulated infrastructure, you’ve got something to worry about.

    But it’s not too late to respond and make things better for yourself.

    Improve your attitude.  Invest in quality.  Stop ‘working to rule’ and putting kids in the way of a nice, fat pay raise (I’m talking about you, Ontario teachers).  Acknowledge the simple fact that the jewels of protection are also the kernels of your demise.

    Getting back to the cab companies, buy new cars.  Make it mandatory for drivers to keep their vehicles clean and if they do, limit the chemical cleaning treatments for their cars.  Build apps that let me review my ride.  Abide by a strict ‘3 strikes’ rule where 3 bad reviews result in probation and 3 more bad reviews result in prohibition.

    Ultimately, companies like Uber prove to the world that the consumer will choose that which is cheaper, but also that which is best, safest and most accessible.

    Failure to understand and act on this will result in your failure.

    Category: Uncategorized

    Canada: Conservatives Not Wanted

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    In Newfoundland and Labrador, Canadians said goodbye to the last Conservative government in Canada.  It was a crushing defeat for the Newfoundland and Labrador Conservatives.

    This is a first*.

    I believe it’s happened because of universal dislike of the Harper Conservatives and their inability to tell the truth, manage the economy or create conditions of prosperity for any region of Canada.

    Let’s hope it’s not the last and let’s hope our more ‘progressive’ leaders don’t screw it up.  We already see signs (well, many) that the Ontario Wynne Liberals are inviting their own demise by doing ridiculous things like privatizing Ontario Hydro, allowing their debt to balloon and allowing more corruption under their watch.

    * Clarification: Brad Wall and Christy Clark are conservatives, but they won’t label themselves as such.

    The Saskatchewan Party (Brad Wall) is conservative but does not dare admit it since most of the last Conservative government there ended up in jail for corruption. Christy Clark in BC calls her party liberal but they are not. Christy is a graduate of the Manning Institute, a training institute for hard-core Conservatives.

    Is It Time To Replace Teachers With Technology?

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    I’m done.  I’m fed up.  I’ve had enough.

    Yes, there are bigger problems in the world, but if our planet has a future, education has to be a critical cornerstone for its survival.

    We have to declare a war on ignorance.

    Good education is a vital first step.

    In Ontario, elementary teachers have been the on a ‘work to rule’ campaign (using ‘work’ loosely here, as most teachers aren’t working at all) for basically a year.  I’ve witnessed a much lengthier dedication to laziness, but I’ll keep that out for now.

    I used to be on their side.  I cared about teachers.  I’d suggest that they have to take care of our kids while the rest of us are out earning incomes.

    Now, it just seems like we’re toiling away earning their very posh and lush salaries, extended vacation breaks, ‘PD days’, sick leave, pensions and other benefits that are the envy of the vast majority of the world.

    In other words, we work so they don’t have to.

    So, in my view, public school teaching as we know it should come to an end.

    I live in Ontario and I’m a parent of one child.  He’s made it to Grade 6 with us asking a few questions, but now that he’s almost through the elementary program, so am I.

    I am asking the questions now, starting with the most basic:  ‘why can’t I expect a decent education for my child?’

    I am fed up with the attitude of teachers.  Kathleen Wynne is right to hold the line with teachers and not cave to their demands for even more from the Ontario public.

    I think we should go a step further:  let’s start replacing teachers with technology and move Ontario into the future.

    Some good old competition would smarten these people up and finally force them to accept that they can’t keep using our kids as weapons in their war against good financial management.

    Our kids have already grown up with screens.  Why should their classrooms be any different?

    I propose that we use a publicly-owned broadcaster (eg. TVO) and convert part of it to a massive recording studio for class curricula.  All recordings would be available to all parents, available for online discussion and chat, sample tests, feedback and student participation, private or public.

    The recordings would be slick, entertaining and top-dollar.  They could include celebrities, animation and interactive game elements instead of photocopied pages from 1970s manuals on how to bore your students.

    Imagine a mashup of a MOOC and Facebook.

    And then, we kick it up another notch by firing the lot of the teachers and replacing them with younger apprentices or tutorial assistants that are fulfilling part of their university education at a fraction of the cost as part of class supervision.

    Imagine the billions in savings we’d have EVERY SINGLE YEAR.  We’d be the wealthiest jurisdiction in the world and our kids would be all the better for it.

    Category: Uncategorized