The maligned former premier, having returned from exile at Harvard, is pleased to discover, post-Liberal majority, that he is back in the political fold and no longer radioactive to Bay St. He’s also working on his political memoirs, to be published next year.
And when Wynne embraced him on the floor of the legislature, a crescendo of news photographers’ cameras clicking in unison heralded the revivification of Dalton James Patrick McGuinty, Jr.I thought I smelled something in the old town tonight.
I thought I smelled something in the old town tonight. Apparently it wasn't just the traditional July stench emanating from the TTC. Now some of you might be wondering why this, ahem, individual has decided to slither his way back into the public life of the nation. If Harvard was so keen on having him they could have kept him indefinitely. Consider it revenge for all those terrible pop music acts the Americans have been inflicting on the free world for decades.
One of the less commented upon consequences of Wynne's Win last month was the complete vindication of Dalton McGuinty. The Triumph of the Grits was confirmation by the electorate, in its infinite wisdom, that all was truly forgive. A decade of dishonesty, incompetence and corruption was all well and good. Certainly the Liberals had gotten a slap on the wrist in 2011, but that was just one of those things. The voters just can't stay mad at Dalton McGuinty, Kathleen Wynne or any other of the crazy cast of adorable characters that rule this province. True love is a beautiful thing. Even if it is between a decadent political elite and their electoral enablers.
Richard Nixon, whose grasp of legality and economics were far superior to Dalton McGuinty, was in time partially rehabilitated. In the last decade of his life he served as a kind of ill shaven elder statesmen. Expect the same to happen to the Dalt. The warm embrace by the Wynnester is the holy blessing he has sought for over a year. A brief exile in Cambridge, Mass and life returns to normal for a Lefty ex-premier: Comfy board of directors positions, lecture circuit, occasional meetings with Kathleen and the Gang. Maybe he and Allison Redford can get together for dinner on a taxpayer expense account. Just for old time's sake.
Within a year Dalton McGuinty will be the new Bill Davis. With the exception that Davis had the common decency to evade questions and problems. The Dalt has instead achieved the status of a statesman by lying through his teeth. He's not the only one. Your parents lied to you many years ago. Cheaters do prosper. At least in modern Ontario.
Chief Engine Room Artificer Vernon "Ginger" Coles, who has died aged 94, took part in the Second World War in several daring raids using four-man midget submarines, known as X-craft.
X-craft were 51ft long, 5ft 9in in diameter with internal headroom of 4ft 8in and powered by a reliable 42-horse power Gardner diesel engine giving a range of 1800 nautical miles. Each carried two 2-ton explosive charges to be placed under the bow and stern of the target and detonated by a time fuse, set from inside the submarine.
Liberals have pushed back against the charge of ideological discrimination in hiring with an entirely valid point: You guys don’t show up! There simply aren’t many conservative graduate students in the humanities and social sciences. If the top 200 universities set out to hire a conservative for each of their humanities departments, they’d run out after about 75; in some departments, they might run out of qualified conservative job candidates after about two. And if you can’t find newly minted Ph.D.’s for tenure track jobs, you have to poach the thin ranks of conservatives already in academia somewhere, leading to no net increase in conservative presence in universities.
Let me suggest something a tad different: Conservative aren't dumb enough to take Ph.D's.
One of the hallmarks of a conservative mind is practicality. They believe in freedom, rule of law and all that jazz because, on the main, it works well. Individuals who approach life in such a fashion are less likely to waste their time in academia. Consider the sales pitch: Spend nearly a decade studying an arcane subject with little applicability outside of university, face job prospects upon graduation that would drive most sane men toward drink and then look like a smart ass poseur toward friends and family. Oh and did we mention the routine abuse from tenure faculty?
There are some who pursue advanced designations out of a sincere love of learning. The vast majority, however, go to graduate school, especially in the humanities, because they're afraid of the real world. They're graduate zombies. Just as real zombies inhabit a place between the living and the dead, MA and Ph.D candidates exists in a similar netherworld. They are not exactly unemployed layabouts, but nor are they in any real sense productive members of society. They typically do not live at home with their parents, but they're not really independent either. Neither fish nor fowl they float delicately through life on grants, loans and part-time jobs.
Now gentle readers does that sound like an appealing existence? Didn't think so. Then again most people who read this blog are conservatives or libertarians. The job descriptions I've come across in the e-mails and comments run from IT and finance drones to engineers to lawyers to the self employed. What's do all these people have in common? Hard headed practicality. They don't pretend that wishes are horses or that pigs have wings. They refuse to worship the Gods of the Academic Marketplace who promise us these beautiful things.
When I come across the occasional anti-liberal arts screed on the web I resist the temptation to comment. The problem, I keep wanting to say, is not the degree but the people who take the degree. There are plenty of liberal arts graduates with good jobs, but their personalities are very different from most BA holders. They tend to have excellent people skills, a basic sense of professionalism and a keen attention to detail. They studied a particular subject out of personal interest, not because it was easy. While they'd like a career in a related field, they're willing to be flexible when necessary.
That type of mentality is simply not going to waste their youth in the futile cesspool of academia. And why should they? The traditional university model is on the verge of being blown up. If they want to study a chosen field they can do so on their own time, as I do, or pursue online courses. As for influencing people here's an idea; start a website. More people read this blog in a typical week than showed up for any first year class I attended.
On July 1, 2014, Canada's anti-spam legislation will come into force. The new rules will protect Canadian consumers from the most damaging and deceptive forms of spam and online threats, such as identity theft, phishing and spyware, and will help drive out spammers.
Canada's anti-spam legislation is the result of extensive consultations with Canadian businesses and consumers. Many steps have been taken to limit the impact on Canadian businesses, while ensuring strong protections for consumers online. Organizations will have three years to obtain express consent from their existing clients to continue to send them emails. Registered charities, which operate on the generosity of Canadians, will be able to continue to request donations.
Now we just have to make sure all those shady Viagra salesmen remember to obey the law.
That being understood, Stephen Harper would be very foolish not to examine the results of Monday’s four contests and be concerned about the amount of protest being sent his way. The two results from Toronto, in particular, and especially the Liberal victory in the downtown riding of Trinity-Spadina, should be extremely worrying to any Tory official tasked with getting the party re-elected in 2015.
Really? Are we doing this? For those who know nothing of Toronto except the CN Tower and the Maple Leafs this might come as a surprise. As some who has worked and lived in Trinity-Spadina the by-election result is about as shocking as finding out that TTC vehicles smell in the summer. This isn't news. This is trying to fill copy on a holiday morning.
Trinity-Spadina is arguably the most Left-wing riding in the country. No Tory candidate has ever won the riding since its creation in 1988. You have to go all the way back to 1972 when a Progressive Conservative last won in the old riding of Trinity. That PC candidate's name? Paul Hellyer. Yes that Paul Hellyer. For those who may have forgotten he jumped from the Liberals to the Progressive Conservatives in the early 1970s.
This is a riding so Left-wing that Tim Buck, leader of the Canadian Communist Party, ran on four separate occasions in the 1940s and 1950s. This isn't just a Lefty riding, it's an old Lefty riding. As a kid during election time I could count the blue PC election signs on one hand. And yes I was that kind of a kid. Or do you think bloggers just become this way after they graduate university?
Tory loses in Trinity-Spadina isn't a headline, it's a statement of fact. The "surprise" victory for the Liberal candidate, Adam Vaughan, is about as surprising as the Tory loss. Again for those who know nothing of Toronto this comes as a shock. The riding was held by Olivia Chow, wife of Jack, and so it was assumed that the NDP would hold onto this seat by divine socialist right. Except that name recognition matters in local elections.
The Dipper candidate was Joe Cressy. He has the brand power of a Chinese battery manufacturer. Adam Vaughan has been a councillor and local TV reporter since the Dawn of Time. His father was a well known TV reporter and municipal politician. Adam Vaughan literally inherited his father's old job at CityTV as "political specialist." His reporting consisted of whining about how the municipal government wasn't spending enough on his pet causes. The man's irritating voice is known to all and sundry in the Imperial Capital. In terms of raw votes he garnered 3158 more than the Liberal candidate who ran in 2011.
This isn't news. This is nothingness being exaggerated into news. The Harper Tories might lose next year, but it won't be because of anything that happened in Trinity-Spadina this week.
The year 2015 will be a Rubicon election for Canada. That is the year that Canadians will have to choose between a national security state run by an autocratic cheerleader of the oil industry, and any semblance of a healthy, inclusive democracy — provided, of course, the opposition parties present that option.
It’s a matter of serious debate whether the Harper government’s work can be undone, or whether he has created a new normal in the country’s public life.
Some applause for Michael Harris, no apparent relation to Mike of Blessed Memory. The rest of the Press Gallery kind of got bored with the Harper Derangement Syndrome angle and just sank back into petty vindictiveness. But no he just keeps plugging along. The headline reads: Stephen Harper's Canada: The legacy of tyrants. Seriously. I've been known to go over the top with a rhetorical flourish or two but this guy is actually being completely straight. The author photo is also a nice touch. It makes him look like he just crashed out of a lakeside bar at about 5 a.m. This is Stephen Harper's Canada! Wake up people!
A decade ago I was bemoaning how the MSM would never give the Harper Tories a fair chance. Never would I have guessed the near total nervous breakdown of the hacking class. They've stopped slandering the man or his government. They rarely ever bothered providing constructive criticism of any sort. Nope it's just a long petulant whine. The MSM isn't a threat to the Tories, except as semi-obnoxious static that the party has found ways to target around. Few people read newspaper, the typical television viewer is texting at the same time and blogs are a political niche. The MSM ain't what it used to be. That's why those Tory attack ads work so well.
The screaming about Harper the Tyrant or Harper the Dictator is the sound of defeat. They're beaten and they know it. That doesn't mean conservativism has won, oh hardly that, but that the electorate has become too apathetic to succumb to the old media charms. The death knell of old media is not only a mixed blessing. What replaces the party line is nothing in particular. The vapid nothingness of modern culture.
We elitist snob types have been complaining about cultural decline since, oh well, forever. It's kind of what we do. Yet with the passage of time it does seem to get worse. It's no longer an up and down. The terribleness of the Seventies leading to the upward tilt of the Eighties and Nineties. It isn't simply vulgarity, that can be overcome, it's stupidity. You can argue against bad manners, teach against ignorance and demand higher standards. What you can't do is fight an idiot. Idiocy is invincible in its own peculiar way.
Take the preposterous figure of Justin Trudeau. The most famous middle aged twentysomething in the Dominion is a remarkable figure. Canadians traditionally don't do family dynasties, at least not at the federal level and rarely at the provincial. It's kind of a British or American thing. The whole notion of genuflecting to some guy because his father ran the country just seems weird. Twenty years ago he would have been laughed out of politics.
Traditionally the greatest internal threat to liberal democracy was an uneducated electorate. Now we pack 'em in for twenty years in government schools and they come out as ignorant as swans. The number of university educated people who have only the slightest inkling of how our political systems works is astonishing. The political science majors in particular seem to know less than the average voter, despite having spent more time in school. Or is it because?
This is the greatest threat to Canada. Not a moderate conservative like Stephen Harper whose control mania is no worse than average for a modern PM. It's an electorate too ignorant and lazy to bother participating in the civic life of the nation. An electorate that will keep voting in thieves, crooks and crude liars because they don't know what an honest man looks like. When you drench young minds in moral relativism, tell them that there is no truth or beauty, you create not cynics but decadent primitives. A cynic is aware of virtue but believes it rare or impossible. A decadent primitive has never heard of virtue. After a certain point the teaching of virtue becomes, as a practical matter, impossible.
We have breed three generations of Canadians who know little of their country, its history or its possibilities. Having been handed more prosperity and freedom than most of mankind could ever have dreamed possible, they squander it in the most thoughtless manner possible. This is the way Canada ends, not with the bang of Pierre Trudeau but with the pathetic whimper of his son and the family's rapidly aging acolytes. A nothing addressing himself to the silence.