Monday, February 27, 2012

New Restaurant with Red Guard Throwback Theme


A growing scandal in Canada is the emerging magnitude of dirty tricks alleged to have taken place in the 2011 federal election. The Conservative Party won a majority of seats in the first-past-the-post, winner-takes-all parliamentary system but with not much more than 40% of the vote. All these many months later the opposition parties are comparing notes and now say that more than 40 ridings have been targeted by so called robocalls (new expression for the ages) which means cold calls to potential voters with the intent to mislead. Clearly this would have been a blatant attempt to undermine the fair election process. Political operatives or companies for hire are said to have phoned voters on the voting lists of the opposition NDP, Liberals and maybe even the Greens, telling voters for example that their polling booth location had been changed when in fact this was pure invention. Bring in the Robo Cops! If the Conservatives are proven to be behind these un-Canadian tactics, the Big Blue Machine might have to face new by-elections in several ridings where they won by a slim margin. I've just learned that robocalls is all one word so better bring that up-to-date, who knew? And the term vote suppression. Add that to the lexicon. Next it will be voter suppression. Yikes.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Beijing Panda

Panda Politics

So PM Harper’s trip to mainland China has not been fruitless. Besides three billion dollars worth of contracts, small compared to the fruits of trade delegations from most of our trading rivals which are in the tens of billions, the announcement of the PRC loaning us two Giant Pandas is well, not insignificant! It is a loan mind you, not a gift, but it does infer a major diplomatic compliment being paid Canada. The cuddlies get to brave the cold of zoos in Toronto and Calgary for ten years. Lucky them. The Toronto loan is being announced for the second time, a favourite ploy of the Conservatives who milk good news stories for all their worth, counting on some supposed interminable amnesia of the electorate. As the relationship with Beijing thaws, further opening of the Pacific Gateway (a political construct which implies Canada will funnel increasing commodity volumes and ideas westward to Asia in preference to southward to the USA), a de facto Northern Gateway seems a looming reality. The latter is a specific pipeline project which would allow Alberta Oil Sands product to flow west through sensitive terrain to British Columbia and henceforward to Asia, China in particular. The political context in Canada that allows dubious projects like the latter to trump sustainable development is one being painted by the 2011 Census results. The land of the petro dollar, The West, is now where it is at politically, economically and demographically. As climate change becomes entrenched, Canada might soon become a zone where bamboo shoots will grow, allowing for us to feed the pandas with a homegrown diet instead of spending $200,000 annually to import their food. Meanwhile our oil companies eat, shit and will eventually leave when the oil runs out. Excuse the improper language.