Senator Don Meredith, on behalf of the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, today announced Canadian support for a new project to help increase job opportunities and promote entrepreneurship among young people in Nigeria.
Senator Meredith made the announcement in an address to the inaugural national convention of the Akwa Cross Association of Canada. Akwa Cross is non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the preservation of the cultures in the Nigerian states of Akwa Ibom and Cross River.
Love these people. They're bribing voters who can't even vote in Canadian elections! At least I think they can't vote in Canadian elections.
Deep within Auntie Katie's government there is a minister with nothing to do:
At least, that’s what the assignment seems to be about. The bigger cause for concern about Mr. Chan’s appointment is that nobody – not the Premier who gave it to him, not the bureaucrats who might answer to him, and presumably not the minister himself – has much apparent idea beyond the notional of what it will entail.
And this is a good thing. A government with a clear agenda is a government making a straight line for your wallet. If we are to have a Big Government, and thanks to an increasingly illiterate electorate that seems like a certainty for years to come, then it should be as befuddled as possible. The ideal statist set-up is where politicians and bureaucrats spend their days fighting pointless turf wars. The energy expended in these squabbles is energy that is not being directed at the liberty and livelihoods of the productive classes. Like the fella said, let the contradictions inherent in the system do their thing.
The appointment of Michael Chan as minister of immigrants, trade and stuff is a hallmark of the Wynne Way of Management. The decision makes not a lick of public policy sense, but it makes a considerable amount of political sense. Mr Chan is a Chinese immigrant with contacts in the Chinese community and often does business in China. Those who have taken even a casual stroll through the imperial capital and its environs will note that east Asians are pretty thick on the ground.
While the Chinese make excellent immigrants they have the unfortunate tendency of voting Liberal. Why you might ask? Because the Liberal Party is the party of immigrants. While this silly notion has been largely beaten out of federal politics, thank you Jason Kenney, it still exists at the provincial level, no thank you Tim Hudak. Coming from a culture where freedom is something that happens somewhere else, the nuances of democracy occasionally escape them.
This isn't a Chinese thing, it's an immigrant thing. The Portuguese and Italians were and still remain much the same way. They're not voting for a party, they're looking for a protector. In most traditional societies power is wielded through a patronage structure. Concepts like ideology or party are essentially alien. The local Big Man looks after you and you in turn provide undying loyalty. This understanding of power is strange to the Anglo-Saxon mind. Its residuals can be seen in monarchical traditions such as oaths of loyalty to the sovereign.
The children of immigrants seem to be moving slowly away from this model, a reflection of their growing confidence and understanding of Canada. But politics is a game of inertia. Much of the West still votes Tory because of regional memory. The words tariff, NEP and Trudeau can still illicit reactions, albeit not as strong as they once were. The same dynamic applies with immigrants. Someone in the Tories white bread caucus needs to break through. Otherwise Wynne will indeed keep winning.
Already down to a four-member rump in the House, the Bloc Québécois is facing new divisions since the arrival of a separatist hardliner at the helm of the party whose fortunes will help determine the winner of the next federal election.
Mario Beaulieu, best known for his constant fights to protect the French language in Quebec, became the third leader of the Bloc in three years last month. His arrival has been anything but smooth, with long-time members still reeling at his description of Bloc history as 20 years of “wait-and-see and defeatism.”
To think of all those defeated Bloc MPs wandering the countryside, destitute of everything but their fabulous pensions and incredible political connections. Makes you wonder about the kind of country we're living in.
States have official birds, rocks and trees. Increasingly, they also have official poets. According to a list maintained by the Library of Congress, 44 states and the District of Columbia have poet laureate or writer in residence positions, with a number dating only from the last two decades or so.
The craze isn’t just happening at the state level. Boston and Los Angeles,among other cities, have established posts in recent years, while a Google search for “county poet laureate” yields thousands of hits.
“I’ve been to places where there is a poet laureate for every ZIP code,” Billy Collins, a former United States and New York State laureate, said. “The country is crawling with them. I think it’s out of control.”
When even the poets are complaining that there are too many jobs for poets, you know there's a problem. Most of this stuff is, to put it delicately, utterly terrible. Here is an example from the article:
Makes you want to pick up a jack hammer doesn't it?
If poetry is dead in the modern world it's because the poets have killed it. The modern stuff, as a rule, doesn't scan or rhythm but is instead a pretentious string of words striving for effect. The harder it strives the sillier the poem and poet become.
The craft of poetry is the hardest of all trades among writers. Any reasonably competent hack can make fun of Justin Trudeau's vapid comments, trust me I know, but poetry that stings and elevates is the rarest of things. You need to know language at a level that can't really be taught. When it works it's brilliant, when it fails it's pathetic. There is very little mediocre poetry in the way there is mediocre journalism, or novel writing or painting. The in-between just isn't there. That makes it hard, even in the best of circumstances, for a merely competent amateur to attract an audience. When its practitioners eschew the beauty and truth stuff you wind up with government subsidized doggerel.
Poetry, when done well, does have the power to move even in the most unlikely of places. Tennyson's Ulysses was quoted to brilliant effect in the last James Bond film. In between the usual naked lovelies and massive explosions was, with modest musical accompaniment, a middle aged woman reading a 170 year old poem by a dead white Englishman. It's one of the best scenes in the film. The director, Judy Dench and the editor all deserve credit for pulling it off so well. What makes it special, brings it that much higher, is Tennyson.
There is probably more poetry being written today than at anytime in human history. So very little of it is being read now. We can be reasonable certain that virtual none of it will be read a century from now.
A highly popular conservative radio talk show in the United States has heaped praise on Canada's Harper government, while simultaneously blasting U.S. President Barack Obama and his administration.
Its host delivered a gushing review of Canada's foreign policy to millions of listeners this week during a segment with Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, where they discussed the Harper government's position on the Gaza conflict.
The Canadian minister received that hero's welcome on the Mark Levin show, whose audience size has been reported at somewhere between just under seven million and just over eight million people.
After all, the rise of Netflix and the popularity of YouTube demonstrate that anyone can make successful original programming in the freewheeling digital era. And even as television producers have consolidated, critics have hailed a new “golden age” of television.
But this ignores the fact that in 1983, 50 companies owned 90 percent of the media consumed by Americans. By 2012, just six companies — including Fox (then part of News Corporation) and Time Warner — controlled that 90 percent, according to testimony before the House Judiciary Committee examining Comcast’s acquisition of NBCUniversal.
Consolidations, it should be noted, are often the hallmark of declining industries. A rapidly growing sector attracts new entrants. A shrinking sector sees capital leaving for greener pastures. This isn't really a story about the triumph of a media oligarchy, it's the last chapter in the history of the MSM. This is the moment when they stop being media companies and start becoming mere distribution networks. They're selling pipping. A pipe so large they'll cease to have much capacity for control.
Yet strangely as the MSM has become more concentrated it has also become more Leftist. The often mooted fear about media concentration is that the news agenda will become increasingly corporate. This is code for right-wing. Thing is that corporations don't really have ideological inclinations. They're profit seeking entities. Whether those profits are derived from selling goods and services openly and freely, or through rent seeking behaviour, what matters is the bottom line. If Susan Sarandon reciting passage from Das Kapital would bring in a 20 share it would get green lighted.
It matters little who owns the means of production when virtually the entire workforce has a certain ideological bent. The executives may or may not have an agenda but the workers do. The trick is to be clever about selling it. Tell an interesting story but throw in an anti-business angle. Have a brilliant sitcom with the occasional joke about oil companies. The effect isn't to persuade, it's to subtlety influence. The terms of debate are set long before anyone cracks open an economics textbook, assuming they get that far.
What lies beneath politics is a thousand half-digested ideas absorbed by millions of inattentive people. Politicians have to care what people think. The thing is that most people don't think. They regurgitate, adjust and compromise but very little thinking is involved. Try it yourself: Ask someone why they believe what they believe. It isn't that you'll often get a silly answer, or an ignorant answer, it's that you'll get no answer at all. People don't know why they believe what they believe. The most common answer you get is: "It's the way I was raised." The most disruptive question you can ever ask is why.
The failure of the Right to message properly is because they put politics first. Those on the Right get interested in politics and public policy first, then they realize that the most brilliantly drafted position paper is read by twelve people, eight of whom already agreed with you. For the cultural elite politics isn't an end, it's a fashion statement. These people are addicted to the smell of the grease paint and roar of the crowds. Once they get good at pleasing the crowd they can move onto indulging their personal preferences.
The best type of propaganda is something that doesn't look, smell or sound like propaganda. Who's manning the ticket booth is neither here nor there.
Showing that the Tories will go anywhere, including the High Arctic, to pander to potential voters:
The Government of Canada is providing financial support to the Inuit Heritage Trust for its Cultural Heritage Interpretation Training project.
The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment, Minister for the Arctic Council, and Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, today announced $131,662 in funding on behalf of the Honourable Shelly Glover, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages.
Through this project, the Inuit Heritage Trust will:
undertake community-based research to determine existing resources in the cultural heritage sector and identify opportunities for professionalization or expansion;
The word "professionalization" should be be interpreted as "featherbedding."