Tuesday, October 31, 2006


So Liz and I got an electric fireplace. My grandfather's brother gave us a pre wedding gift and told us we had to spend it on something nice. Since saturday's weather was spawned from the unwashed crotch of hell we decided... FIREPLACE. Its really helping to fill out and set up the front room the way we want it. We're not there yet (about 50% of the way there) but its a big big help!

Also, speaking of wedding gifts, the fireplace is nice BUT. A good friend sent me a gift that will definately keep on giving (no not herpes).... A CAPPPUCINO MACHINE! Huzzah! Its taken a little getting used to but boy howdy does it make a good cuppa! Perfect for those days from the unwashed crotch of hell.

Lastly I leave you with this article by the venerable Andrew Cohen from today's Ottawa Citizen. Its probably the best thing he's written in the last year and a half.


"Deity of multiculturalism

So the government of Canada and the Aga Khan are going to create the Global Centre for Pluralism. So it will give new life to the elegant old war museum on Sussex Drive, the country's ceremonial thoroughfare. So it will celebrate Canada's commitment to diversity and tolerance. So, what's not to like here?

Nothing, superficially. It is only when you look at this enterprise more closely that it looks dubious.

Let us be clear here. The Aga Khan is a wise and an honourable man. As leader of the Ismaili Muslims, he has preached accommodation and moderation for decades. As a leading philanthropist, his projects in the developing world are innovative and progressive.
The Aga Khan admires Canada. As he said here the other day, he is fascinated by "Canada's experience as a successful pluralistic society." It is why he is building a $200-million art gallery and spiritual centre in Toronto.

But this isn't about the Aga Khan. It is about Canada, its priorities and its self-image. In principle, there is nothing wrong with establishing a Global Centre for Pluralism. For Canadians, its raison d'etre is motherhood itself: to act as a forum for education, advice, and the dissemination of our values of compromise and conciliation in the world. Its new home will have classrooms, a research library and a theatre.

It is very nice and all very vague.

What is clear is that the federal government will contribute $30 million and the Aga Khan will contribute $10 million. Is this necessary? Canada is already promoting "good governance, peace and human development," as Stephen Harper puts it, through its foreign aid programs.
If the Aga Khan wants to finance this admirable if ambiguous enterprise, God bless him. But the government of Canada, which has just cut $1 billion in spending, can use its resources more creatively.

Finding $30 million for this would be less offensive had the government not recently cancelled (apparently) the National Portrait Gallery in Ottawa. Or had its predecessor not killed the Canadian History Centre. Here were two badly needed institutions designed to celebrate our history and enhance the capital of a major power.

Indeed, while the government was endorsing this centre, it was cancelling scholarships that send young Canadians on internships to the United Nations or help them to study abroad. Instead of investing in education or emphasizing culture in bricks-and-mortar, the government offers a prime spot to a foundation that is already constructing its national headquarters down the street. Strange. (Nearby, let us note, are the embassies of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. That we have given these two illiberal kingdoms pride of place on Sussex Drive is just another example of a national capital with no sense of identity.)

So why do this? Probably because the Conservatives see political rewards in this kind of largesse in the country's polyglot cities. This is why the government was happy to pretend the centre was its idea, although the Liberals signed the deal in 2005. More important, the Conservatives seem to have fallen in love with Canada as the great dominion of diversity, the last, best hope of humanity. Now, they also seem to see Canada as "citizen of the world," which has become our favourite moniker.

But while we go out to "teach" and "inspire" the world with the ethic of pluralism that the Aga Khan so cherishes, our experiment is unfinished at home. In fact, it is fraying. Novelist Yann Martel aptly calls Canada a hotel. Visitors rent rooms, go out in the day, and come back at night. Many never lose their prejudices. No one here challenges them.
That sense of alienation is playing out in demands for Shariah law, or, even more grievously, in the ethnic gangs of Canada's dim urban corridors.

Our devotion to the deity of multiculturalism is creating a people ignorant of their past, oblivious to the duties of citizenship, and unsure of what Canada represents beyond a passport, a safe haven, an area code and an Internet address. This is why we need scholarships, museums, galleries, and other institutions demonstrating the superiority of civic nationalism over ethnic nationalism.

As historians Norman Hillmer and J.L.Granatstein tell us in their fine new anthology, The Land Newly Found: Eyewitness Accounts of the Canadian Immigrant Experience, Canada is built on immigration. It has created a rich, complex country. This is something to cheer. But as we become increasingly diverse -- no country welcomes as many new citizens per capita as we do -- there is an urgent need to create more common space for us to gather and get to know each other.

There we must explain our past, our principles, and the meaning of Canada. We speak so much of the notion of global citizenship -- Canadians as exemplar of harmony in our big, empty land -- that we have forgotten the essence of Canadian citizenship. Our promise to the world begins at home.

Andrew Cohen is a professor of journalism and international affairs at Carleton University.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

GOD BLESS YOU WOMEN..... Clearly the Conservatives won't

Recently the Tories removed funding for the following (along with many other good programs):$5 million: Administrative reductions to Status of Women Canada

Recently, Peter MacKay (the Minister of Foreign Affairs) apparently referred to his former lady friend, Liberal MP Belinda Stronach, as a dog

Even more recently, this

Well I know I'd feel valued by the current government if I were a woman....

LADIES... VOTE THEM OUT! before they take that away from you too.



Friday, October 20, 2006


The Clean Air Act: BULLPLOP!

Ibbitson put it perfectly:

"For the first time in our history, the Canadian government will repudiate an international treaty."

Lets have a look at the highlights of the Tories new Clean Air Act

• By 2011, develop new regulations for vehicle fuel consumption.
Because clearly the the last 10 years of consultations and data on vehicle fuel isn't enough to do anything now. Not to mention that the Canadian Environmental Protection act gives the Minister of the Environment the power to legislate fuel content and consumption standards.


• By 2025, set national targets for smog and ozone levels.
That's great. The Ontario Medical Association estimates that over a billion dollards a year is currently the 'Air Quality' stressor on the health care system in Ontario and that over 5800 deaths a year are linked to poor air quality. This was a 2005 survey.

Further half of southern ontario's air pollution comes in from air currents from the US rust belt. yes half the problem is ours.. but the other half we have no control over.


• By 2050, reduce greenhouse gas emissions between 45 and 65 per cent from 2003 levels.
The legally binding targets under the Kyoto Protocl are to reduce by -6% below 1990 levels by 2012. A long term target is a great idea but the benchmark should be 1990 the legally agreed to international benchmark.


• Harmonize vehicle emissions standards with those of the United States over the next 12 months.

If by US they meant California this would actually have been a high point of the new Act and something the tories could have rightfully been proud of. Unfortunately it isn't. Its based on US national standards which aren't exactly ambitious.


• Harmonize regulations with those of the U.S. for volatile organic compound emissions in consumer and commercial products over the next year.
Wow... for a made-in-Canada plan I'm hearing a lot of 'harmonize with washinton'. Harper, Washington isn't in Canada.


• Over the next three years, discuss and set “intensity based” targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, rather than total emissions targets, for major emitters.

BULLPLOP!. If you reduce your emissions intensity (emissions per unit of performance) this provides an efficiency gain but also results in a net increase in emissions. Canada's emissions intensity has reduced dramatically from the 50's and even from the early 90's. However OUR EMISSIONS continue to rise at a rather alarming rate. This is not good for clean air or for climate change. BULLPLOP!

• Negotiate with provinces to create harmonized system for mandatory reporting of air emissions, reduction of regulatory overlap.

The liberals did this already and were ready to go. There is no reason we need more of this. Even if the tories had taken the info provided to the liberals and rebranded it as their own (such as the pacific gateway situation) they could have stood on something NOW. As it is.. more BULLPLOP!

• Create environmental damages fund from non-compliance fines to be applied directly to cleanup.

Not a bad idea. However its going to be a pretty useless fund for the next say 20 years or so if funds are based on non compliance to regulations that won't be written for years.


The other consideration that is missed here is that Canada is walking away from a legally binding international treaty of some significance. Never in the history of our country have we done this. While we are not officially withdrawing from the Protocol, officially stating that we won't every try to meet our obligations and based on the Clean Air Act... well if it walks like a duck...

On another note:

Coincidence... I think not

Recently the Tories removed funding for the following (along with many other good programs):

$5 million: Administrative reductions to Status of Women Canada

Yesterday this happened:

Peter MacKay apparently referred to his former lady friend, Liberal MP Belinda Stronach, as a dog

Wow they certainly diserve to continue in government to represent this proud nation...



Tuesday, October 17, 2006


its a day where everyone gets a bag of shit poured on them.

So yesterday the Ministry of 'War of and Spin' (a former employer of mine) royally shafted at least two people over here. Now because of the situation names of individuals and official departments have been changed or not mentioned altogether.

First off a colleague and friend of mine was cut from going to a big meeting in November. The ministry of war and spin told us she coulnd't go to keep the delegation size low. Now the lead on the negotiating item that my colleague works on is also not going. So logically she bacame the lead. The ministry of war and trees essentially told her that although she was the lead she couldn't go and then assigned someone from their own department (who knows nothing about the issue and who is a royal pain in the butt). Its sick.

As of today the Ministry of War and Spin has also just increased their own delegation size. Sicker.

Secondly, apparently a senior figure here who normally plays an equally prominent role to someone at the ministry of war and spin was told he would no longer be playing that role. This coupled with the War and Spin ministry randomly doing things on the international stage the we should either be involved with or at least informed of (and doing neither) has made a bad situation worse and now very senior officials are discussing it.

The big meeting in November is going to have its own intrinsic challenges but sitting in briefing rooms with people who have purposefully and unjustly (and quite atagonistically) harmed colleagues is going to be worse. The interpersonal relationships will no doubt be... diffcult.

On another note, for a few months now I have been trying to get the idea of Environmental Security on the radar screen of one of my bosses. It finally started to register after our sections retreat. I, along with someone else interested in the issue, wanted to discuss it with the boss further. Last we knew, we were waiting to hear more back from our boss. As of yesterday we have now hired a senior environmental security advisor which is NOT, but should be, myself. No warning, no heads up, not even a 'these are good ideas, we'll be bringning someone in and you guys can work as a group...' nothing. Absolute shit.

So as you can see yesterday was a shit bag day. Just about everyone I work with including myself had large bags of shit poured on them and I suspect things will only get worse from here.



Friday, October 13, 2006


Oh its a Clean Air ... ACT all right.

So the only thing to really focus on here is exactly what just about every globe and mail columnist has stated since Tuesday. An air quality and climate change plan that WILL spend years in consultations, provide no new programs or regulations and focus only on reducing Canada's long term greenhouse gas intensity is no plan at all. Its a bloody disgrace.

Reducing the intensity of emissions per unit of GDP will almost certainly lead to a signficant rise in emissions provided the economy continues to do well. What we need is a real plan to meet our Kyoto commitments, and if, because of the bungling of both les rouges et les bleues this isn't possible, at least a strong plan to reduce in absolute terms the amount of greenhouse gasses and air pollutants in this country tied as close as possible to Kyoto (it is afterall a legally binding international treaty like the Geneva conventions and the law of the sea). Further a strong plan that sets short, medium and long term absolute reduction targest with a focus on energy efficiency, technology, and behavioural changes (ie. anti-idling) is what is needed.

On another matter, John Baird was an ass when we was a mike harris butt boy and he's still an ass now. As of a few days ago he killed funding for a light rail program ottawa (the city and federal government) had already approved. Baird is now directly interfering with the will of an elected council and councillors and citizens who originally opposed the mayor's push for light rail are now moving behind him because of their opposition to Baird's petty political interference.

Honestly... I don't want him fired. I hope Harper appoints more guys like Baird because by the time the next election rolls around even bob rae will look good by comparison.

The Conservatives need to go. They should never have been elected, but they really need to go. They are bad for our global image, they are bad for the country and they are bad for individual Canadians.



Tuesday, October 10, 2006


This weekend was absolutely lovely. The weather was perfect (15C-20C sunny slight breeze, coloured leaves falling to the ground). Saturday Liz and I went to Jessica and Joe's wedding. It was nice. The church was beutiful, the reception fun and the food good. It was also nice to spend time with Kirk and Robyn who were also up this weekend for the same wedding.

Sunday, liz and I took in a new (may) local farmer's market. It was magical, home made honey, baked goods, bison and elk meat, blue potatoes (which are delicious) and locally made/homemade hot sauces! Holy crap it was all so good. And again perfect weather.

We stopped at a patio along the way for a few pints and some snackies then went home and made a nice thanksgiving meal (roast pork, stuffing, red pepper soup, mashed [blue] potatoes baked with cheese and fried onions on top!).

Today however was less good. In fact this morning was so awful as to be comical. I woke up early becuase I had to take some clothes to the cleaners and send a card to my mom. I couldn't find the card. Then I couldn't find her address. Then when I had found all that I still needed to get dressed pack my work bag and take my clothes in. So running early turned in to running late.

Because of this I hopped on the back door of the bus. I didn't think there would be a problem as I had bus tickets to pay if the lawman came on board. Apparently this was also not the case. Having a ticket to pay is not the same has having paid. I'm too used to European transit systems where if you are caught without having paid they make you pay. If you can't pay they give you a fine. Here they give you a fine even if you can pay. I'm going to try to make it to court this afternoon to plead guilty with an explanation to get the fine removed to a warning or at least reduced.

Because of all this nonsense I then missed my bus and was late for work.




Monday, October 02, 2006


So after seeing many advertisements over the past 2 seasons, seing 1 or 2 episodes on the odd day and hearing my friends mainly Tom and Schlegel rant and rave about how great the new BSG (Battlestar Galactica) is, Schlegel and I have started renting the DVDs to watch them all, in order, from the 1st season.

IT RAWKS. I enjoyed the 2 disperate episodes I watched but going through the epis in a systematic way... OH_SO_MUCH_BETTER. This is seriously the best sci-fi series since DS9 and Space above and Beyond (cancelled well before its time). And, as much as I love firefly, and I do... BSG has it beat hands down.