Two speakers hired by the Senate to help motivate senators and staff in the midst of a raging scandal over the abuse of taxpayers' money have had their event cancelled pending further discussion.
Communications consultant Barry McLoughlin and motivational speaker Marc-Andre Morel had been slated to talk about "the enduring value of the Senate and help bring a little perspective to the current situation," according to an invitation that went out Tuesday morning.
But after a story by The Canadian Press publicized the event, a number of prominent senators blew a gasket.
Because who knows more about protecting privacy than the federal government?
Privacy Commissioner of Canada Jennifer Stoddart and 36 of her provincial and international counterparts have issued a joint letter urging Google Inc. to respond to questions and concerns related to Google Glass, the company’s new Internet-connected glasses.
“Google Glass raises significant privacy issues and it is disappointing that Google has not engaged more meaningfully with data protection authorities about this technology. We are urging Google to take part in a real dialogue with us about Google Glass,” says Commissioner Stoddart.
It has become a commonplace of late to say the Tories have “lost their way.” That’s not about their navigational skills but their state of mind: an acute lack of self-awareness that blinds them to what they have become, a blinkered conviction of their own superior cleverness, a closed loop of defensiveness that interprets every criticism as proof of the rightness of the course they are on.
You see, my plan consisted of breaking out of the traditional banking mindset. Doing things differently, innovatively, and creatively. We were small, and thus nimble, and if we streamlined operations, got rid of our bad clientele that consumed our labor resources, we could (I estimated) undercut our competitors' interest rates by .5% and still pull profit. We'd also poach business from our competitors by aggressively targeting their best clients, and we'd get new business by doing fun and creative things like sponsoring barbeque and hotwings competitions, dance classes, and sports competitions.
But no, oh no, we were going to deploy the brilliant strategy of "chocolate chip cookies."
Let's hope this bad idea stays on the other side of the Pacific:
Australian citizens have been complaining about government surveyors knocking on their doors and asking very intrusive personal questions. One resident in particular was asked what sexual partners his wife had, and also asked when either of them would be home alone. If residents decline these questions, they can face fines or even jail time.
The Australian government has been conducting what they refer to as a “Monthly Population Survey” (MPS) since 1960 in order to provide regular information about the country’s workforce. However, recent complaints have revealed the questions are much more personal than how long you’ve been out of work.
Bob Rae is bidding goodbye to federal politics, quitting his seat as a Liberal MP to focus his energies as a negotiator for northern Ontario chiefs on the potentially massive Ring of Fire development.
An emotional Mr. Rae said he will soon turn 65 and said that he has no plans to return to politics, specifically nixing any foray into municipal politics in the 2014 Toronto election.
How shall we speak of Canada, Bob Rae retired?
Well first let's keep in mind that the Bob ain't going very far. He is negotiating some kind of deal for northern Ontario aboriginals. His sagging mug will appear again on the television screens of the nation. And then again. And then again. If it wasn't for his mushy left-wing credentials you might think he was trying to replace the bunny as Energizer's corporate mascot.
There has, in truth, not been one Bob Rae in Canadian public life. There have been several, each slightly less obnoxious than the last. The ex-interim Liberal leader holds the rare distinction of actually having improved with age. From student radical and Rhodes Scholar, to NDP hell raiser who helped topple Joe Clark's government, to enabler of David Peterson's coup d'grace for the Ontario Tory dynasty in 1985. The Bob is a very well travelled pol. Few vote chaser survive this long in the game, so a measure of respect is due. I'll measure it out by the thimble.
Yet whatever he has done before or since, Bob Rae will always be the first and so far only NDP Premier of Ontario. Rae could win the Nobel Prize tomorrow and his obituary would still mention his epic single term as Premier. While I've never met the man, perhaps a saving grace for us both, he is the first political figure of whom I have a clear image. There is no figure in modern Ontario politics, aside from Mike Harris himself, who was as thoroughly despised as Bob Rae.
Twenty years ago I was something of a connoisseur of Toronto talk radio. I remember Ed Needham, wherever the hell he is now, quite fondly. The Right in Ontario back then was angry. Much angrier than they are today about the misdeeds of Dalton McGuinty. It was an anger that slipped easily into rage. I can still recall going with my father, visiting suppliers for the family business, on March and summer break. Every single one would begin their conversations ranting about Bob Rae. Their walls were festooned with Donato cartoons pillorying the Premier and his hapless Finance Minister Floyd Laughren. The Sun chain swiftly dub the minister Pink Floyd. A better colour might have been red.
North America was undergoing one of the most severe recessions of the post-war era. The Trudeaupian welfare state was entering into financial meltdown. The bond market vigilantes would take down Bill Clinton's spending plans in 1994. The party was over and, in a certain sense, Bob and Floyd were left holding the bag. Despite having inherited an awful mess they then, in their unique way, decided to make things even worse. Four years of epic deficits. Early attempts at affirmative action. Miles of red tape strangling Ontario business. Conrad Black at one point quipped that only North Korea had a worse business environment.
By 1993 it was an open question as to whether Brian Mulroney or Bob Rae was the most hated man in the province. The Brian probably had a slightly edge, though in fairness he had been in power much longer. Then Mulroney retired and Rae Days began. After which there was no contest. The Right had hated Bob Rae before, now the Left, especially the union Left, joined in on the fun.
You may or may not win if you reach for the political centre. You will always lose if betray your base. The only modern exception to that rule is Alison Redford, who cleverly swiped the Liberal Party's base in the most recent Alberta election, while her own base moved over to the Wild Rose. In implementing Rae Days the Bob betrayed his base. No adequate replacement has yet been found. Admittedly his base were economically illiterate clowns and self-entitled fools, but it's the NDP so I'm not sure what he was expecting.
Rae Days were a sincere attempt to be politically Left wing while also fiscally sane. Roy Romanow was doing similar things in Saskatchewan at the time. But Prairie socialists seem to be saner than Ontario socialists. Perhaps it's something in the water. An intelligent labour movement would have recognized that Bob Rae was trying to save their necks. The blockheads running the public sector unions in the early 1990s did not realize this or did not care to acknowledge fiscal reality. These were the sorts of people who refer to their fellow union members as "brothers and sisters." They hadn't gotten the memo about the failure of socialism. Judging by their successors the public sector union movement still hasn't.
It's believed that at some point in 1993 or 1994, looking out of his office at Queen's Park toward a sea of protesting civil servants, that Bob Rae realized he was a Liberal. His brother was a Liberal. Many of his friends were Liberals. From time to time Liberals were known to balance the books and speak in coherent sentences. The Liberals were the party of sane statists. Since he was the NDP Premier of Ontario he decided to ride the whole thing out, delaying the election until the last possible moment. Mike Harris won. Bob Rae went into exile for eleven years and the rest is history.
With the Bob gone Justin is now left without adult supervision. Certainly Gerald Butts & Co are there to direct their ward, but they're not grizzled old veterans. In his short stint as interim Liberal leader Bob Rae showed himself as smooth, graceful and facile. A long haul from the awkward socialist geek who stunned the country by winning power a generation earlier. Politics is a game won by professionals. For all his many sins and occasional virtues, Bob Rae was a professional politician. Justin Trudeau is not. There is some hope in that.
But the days of such communication are numbered: BSNL will send its last telegram message somewhere in India on July 14.
That missive will come 144 years after Samuel Morse sent the first telegram in Washington, and seven years after Western Union shuttered its services in the United States. In India, telegraph services were introduced by William O'Shaughnessy, a British doctor and inventor who used a different code for the first time in 1850 to send a message.