Hi there friend! You look tired and weather worn. Need a laugh? A slice of the absurd that makes you realize there are people far worse off than yourself? Well here's a Michael Harris column:
True to his word, Stephen Harper has transformed the country, largely by stealth. Canada is now a nation that spies on its friends, guests and citizens. It accepts foreign intelligence even when there is a likelihood that it was obtained by torture. The government lies to the electorate on policy matters. It accuses veterans of exaggerating their injuries in order to take the taxpayer for a ride. It washes its hands of any stake in the fate of 1,200 missing or murdered Aboriginal women. It does not practise unite-and-lead politics, but divide-and-conquer stratagems. A government, by any democratic measure, in disgrace.
So very unlike the governments of Messrs Martin, Chretien, Mulroney, Trudeau, Pearson, Diefenbaker, St Laurent or King. This Harper dude is really evil because he does stuff that no other democratic government would ever think of doing. Can you imagine Barack Obama doing any of this stuff? Exactly. Harper is Adolf Hitler with a worse haircut. It's true. I read it in the Walrus.
Just so there is no misunderstanding Mr Harris continues:
Although 77 per cent of Canadians questioned in this study did not support abandoning democratic governance or the rule of law at the discretion of the prime minister, there is another worrisome feature about the minority who did. Their ranks are growing.
In 2010, the same study group found that just one in 10 Canadians thought that there could be grounds for the prime minister governing without Parliament or the Supreme Court. Two years later in 2012, 15 per cent held that view.
I'm surprised the numbers aren't higher. Canadian schools do a pathetic job of teaching the young basic civics. Given the MSM's obsession with the office of Prime Minister it's not surprising that many Canadians think that the PM is a kind of temporary dictator. Compound that with our very high levels of immigration, many of whom come from countries with spotty human rights records, and you have a recipe for wide spread civic illiteracy.
The problem isn't Stephen Harper wanting to be Prime Minister for Life, or Michael Harris looking like he staggered out of a bar at 6 AM (seriously see his picture next to the article) it's an ignorance of how our basic institutions work. Striving for an informed and engaged electorate is far more productive than spinning bizarre conspiracy theories.
Wear appropriate clothing. Choose clothes that are appropriate for the weather; dress in layers with a wind-resistant outer layer; choose warm socks, gloves, hat and a scarf; and change into dry clothing as soon as possible if clothes get wet.
Use sunglasses, lip balm and sunscreen on sunny days. Wear a facemask and goggles if you are skiing, snowmobiling or skating to protect from frostbite and windburn and keep moving to keep blood flowing.
Avoid alcohol. If you drink before you go outside, it could increase the risk of hypothermia because of increased blood flowing to your extremities. "You may actually feel warm even though you are losing heat," Health Canada says.
Find shelter. If there aren't any buildings around, look for a small cave, a ditch, a hollow tree or a vehicle to reduce the chance of frostbite or hypothermia.
For those keeping track: The CBC - a Crown corporation - is broadcasting information provided by a federal department. So there is a double uselessness going on here. Health Canada, a government department that shouldn't even exist, is providing silly information to the CBC, a rapidly aging anachronism. Round and round it goes where it stops I doubt even the Auditor General knows.
The working assumption of much of modern government is that most Canadians, from coast to coast to coast, never had mothers, or at the very least terrible mothers. Being sporting chaps they're gracious enough to fill that now apparently vacated role. Not satisfied with providing you with an allowance - i.e. your after tax income - or with taking care of your cuts and bruises - i.e. socialized health care - the state has decided to up the ante and is now telling you to bundle up tight.
This is not nanny statism. The premise of a nanny is of a non-parental figure charged with preparing children for adult responsibilities. There are limits to the authority of a nanny. There is someone who can over rule the nanny, the parent, and at some point the nanny's services are no longer needed. Modern government is closer to a perpetual helicopter parent. We make fun of parents who trail their adult children to job interviews. Yet when government does something even more absurd, telling Canadians how to dress for winter, it doesn't become an internet meme.
When dealing with the Canadian Leviathan the choice is laughter or tears. Given how cold it is outside neither seems entirely wise.
Regrets, they've had a few, but then again too few to mention:
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Monday that his government would express remorse for World War II on the 70th anniversary of its end in August.
Abe is known for his nationalist views, and many analysts have speculated that he may downplay Japan's responsibility for the war. At a year-opening news conference Monday, he sought to reassure the world that he wouldn't veer from past official statements on Japan's wartime responsibility.
Compare this with the German approach of perpetual post-modern self-flagellation. Even after all these years the Japanese remain committed to old style tribalism: To admit the wrong of one generation is to admit wrong of all generations. I don't think either approach is especially health, particularly seven decades after those "remorseful" events. Admit the Sins of the Father and let the House of Son get on with it.
It should be Justin Trudeau but for the Great and Good it's Ezra:
In August, online readers of the Globe and Mail voted for me as the “biggest name in broadcasting," beating out even Peter Mansbridge.
Then in December, an Ottawa newspaper called the Hill Times surveyed parliamentary staff – the assistants to MPs and senators – asking them to name the “talking head you’d most like to silence." I won that poll too, with more than triple the votes of the second-place contender, Rex Murphy.
And just before Christmas, the Globe’s TV critic, John Doyle, chose me as the “most irritating” personality on TV.
Ezra, as he himself has admitted, isn't a journalist. He's a commentator and a personality. What he does isn't journalism, it's noticing the obvious that others carefully ignore. He's not always accurate, he's not always fair and at times he does become genuinely irritating. But he is the necessary man of the hour. If journalists fail to do their jobs then it falls to an outsider to do it for them. When a lawyer cum political activist cum gadfly outwits the Canadian Establishment at every turn perhaps it's time for the country to get a new elite.
England loses something of itself when men like this die:
The 8th Duke of Wellington, who has died aged 99, led a level-headed and responsible life in the shadow of his great ancestor, the victor of Waterloo.
He earned a Military Cross in the Second World War, spoke up for the Army and rural communities in the House of Lords, and served as a Hampshire county councillor and as president, trustee, governor and member of a wide variety of bodies.
Well aware of the social changes that followed the Second World War, Wellington once remarked, tongue in cheek, at a meeting of the Zoological Society, that perhaps dukes should be made a protected species. He remained determined to protect his property, and took steps to secure his family’s interests in Britain, Spain and Belgium against threats posed by politicians and high taxation; he was not afraid to be seen backing causes in which he had a personal stake.
Do read the rest. No one does obituaries like The Telegraph. The Eight Duke had a good war and a very interesting civilian career. He stayed in the army after the war on the personal request of George VI.
Tory ducks the Scarborough subway controversy by saying the decision has been taken by council. And he doesn’t want to put “a stick in the eye” of the Liberal government.
This is political pandering to Scarborough voters and the Wynne Liberals. Tory has neglected to make the case for a three-stop subway link that will cost $3.56 billon — $1.6 billion more than a modern seven-stop light-rail transit line.
This has an expensive yet familiar ring to it. Residents of the Imperial Capital are well aware of the monumentally useless Sheppard Line, a Mel Lastman vanity project that was too short to be of any real use. Four stations in the middle of nowhere in a city where the downtown congestion keeps getting worse. This is what happens when politicians plan. Their concern is with maximizing votes, minimizing opposition and improving chances of re-election. This isn't how infrastructure should be planned.