BBC report here
The shocking yet not surprising news of Bhutto's demise has evaporated much of the hope that I had for the people of Pakistan. It comes at a time when Musharraf's commitment to peace and democracy is becoming increasingly questionable. Bhutto represented a realistic opportunity to return Pakistan to being a stabilizing force in the region. Though I am sure Musharraf will condemn the attack and offer his condolences to her family and supporters, you have to believe that at some level he is relieved that this threat to his leadership is gone.
If you don't think this has anything to do with you, remember that Canadians are fighting right next door to Pakistan, and many of the people their fighting are crossing over from Pakistan.
Thursday, 27 December 2007
BBC report here
Sunday, 23 December 2007
Was at the gym the other day and caught a bit of WWE rasslin' on the tube in the dressing room. I have only one thing to say: How old and filled with chemicals does Ric Flair have to get before they stop calling him "Nature Boy"?
It's a busy time of year for everybody. For me, this December has been ultra-busy because of a number of personal issues that have been occupying my evenings and weekends. However, I do look forward to getting back to some hard-hitting political punditry and insightful commentary and non-sensical ranting in the new year.
Just so you know. I'm not in a coma.
Labels: just sayin'...
Tuesday, 18 December 2007
This has absolutely nothing to do with current events, but I came across this Facebook group today: Bring IKEA To Winnipeg!
Let's hope IKEA doesn't see that. With a whopping 121 members and a most recent wall post of Sept. 24, I think that would put the nail in the coffin. Granted, there haven't been any rumors going around since January, but with it being shopping season and all, I figured it might be a little more active than that!
Saturday, 15 December 2007
I don't do a lot to help the less fortunate. I am not one of those people who think that poor people do not exist in Canada (Kathy ..) or that they all deserve to be where they are. Some do for sure, but not all. And so I don't mind giving a little money to local food banks or doing other little things here and there to help them out. Well, today I did one of those little things, and in the process I got to see an intimate performance from some fabulous local musicians.
The event was a sort of Christmas kick-off for the spiffy new Siloam Mission on Princess Ave.. (yes, that's right -- I called a homeless shelter spiffy. Watcha gonna do 'bout it?) Performing were Keith and Renée (formerly Easily Amused) and Jodi King. Keith and Renée always put on a great show. I highly recommend going to see them if you have not yet. Jodi is not quite the entertainer that Canadian Idol finalist Keith and his partner are, but she has an outstanding voice and is an easy listen. The audio mixing seemed a little off unfortunately, but hey ... I'll make the sacrifice to help the poor!
With all of the big label crap on the radio these days, an evening like this is a reminder that you are missing out on 99.9% of the talent in the universe if the only artists you listen to can be heard on Bob FM.
Keith and Renée:
Monday, 10 December 2007
Oh great ...
Newfoundland has a record surplus, most of which is going towards paying down the debt. I am happy for them, don't get me wrong, but Newfoundland being hopelessly in debt was one thing that Manitobans could always count on to make themselves feel better about themselves. Maybe not for much longer. Give us about 5 more years of NDP management, and them about 5 more years of Conservative government and high oil prices, and the tables will be turned.
Tuesday, 4 December 2007
I just about pissed myself when I read this:
most CBC climate science coverage remains error-riddled and among the most biased in the English-speaking world.I don't know why I think that is so funny. It's actually kind of sad. I have always been a little critical of news coverage from some of our mainstream media outlets, but I didn't think the problem was this bad! The English-speaking world? Heh.
For the record, I consider myself an environmentalist. But if we are going to make wise decisions and have an intelligent debate about the issue of climate change, we need to start with good information.
I'm already getting tired of the Mulroney-Schreiber circus. But .. I feel compelled to finally comment. First I'll get up to speed on the latest developments by seeing what the great CBC has to say about it: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2007/12/04/schreiber-arrival.html
Karlheinz Schreiber told a federal committee Tuesday he didn't discuss money with former prime minister Brian Mulroney during a private 1993 meeting when he was still in office, but that the two made an oral agreement to work together when Mulroney returned to private life.Well that's interesting. It seems there were no business transactions while Mulroney was in office, nor is this related to Airbus. What else is there? Surely there must be some indication of impropriety somewhere? Ah ... here we go:
When asked by Conservative MP David Tilson if any of the monies he was planning to give Mulroney were compensation for anything Mulroney did for Schreiber while he was prime minister, Schreiber said "No."
One of the key questions of the whole affair that has never been answered is what services Mulroney provided in exchange for the money.I have an answer for that "key" question: IT DOESN'T FUCKING MATTER! If Mulroney didn't live up to his obligations under a contract as a private citizen, that is a civil matter between him and Schreiber. It is of no concern of the public.
This whole thing is rat trap designed by Karlheinz to keep his ass out of jail in Germany. Even Pat Martin and the Liberals acknowledge that, but they play along because "we need him". Need him for what? The guy has no credibility, and he has been delaying deportation to Germany for eight years, tying up our court system and costing tax payers millions of dollars. However, we can't let him go because there is a chance that he might say something that could sway a few gullible Ontario voters to switch over to the Liberals and NDP, if they spin it the right way. In other words, political points are more important than justice or tax dollars.
Let's just deport the fucker already, and get back to the business of running the country.
Tuesday, 27 November 2007
Yes, I am sure there is something more important going on in Iran or somewhere, but this caught my eye: a bikini ban in the Dominican Republic! Whaaa??
Actually, it's just a ban on bikinis on TV. Why, you ask? Well it's obvious: it's turning the Dominican's kids into retarded porn stars:
Opposition congressman Nestor Julio Cruz Pichardo said Monday that images of women in revealing swimsuits "are limiting the intellect and deforming the vocational interests" of children in the Dominican Republic.Of course it is ....
Gratuitous bikini shot here:
Sunday, 25 November 2007
Well, what can you do?
The Sask Roughriders brought home the cup. I really wanted to believe that we could win it with our back-up QB ... that Glenn was overrated and that we would be just about as good with NCAA star Dinwiddie running the offence. Sadly, that proved not to be the case. He didn't have a terrible game, but he didn't have the poise and play reading abilities that we needed. Case in point, the game ending play was a 2nd and 1 where Dinwiddie broke out of the pass rush and could have easily ran for the first down, but instead threw into a tight coverage situation, giving up his 3rd interception of the game. Johnson and Chick (who the hell is this Chick guy anyhow?) both had outstanding games for the Sask D, making life miserable for our would-be hero, and all Bomber fans.
After all that, I only have one thing to say: One more year, Milt!
Saturday, 24 November 2007
Tomorrow I will likely be writing about the Bombers amazing win over the Saskatewan Banjo-Pickers in the Grey Cup. Today, I am writing about the Schooners. As a CFL fan, I truly believe that we need a team in the Altantic provinces, and I am equally sure that they have the support to make it successful. All they need is a stadium!
I am reminded of this because this time last year, I was having a blast at the Down East Kitchen Party here in Winnipeg .. possibly the best of the Grey Cup parties. There is no question that East Coasters know how to have a good time. They are passionate people who are starved for a professional sports team to rally behind. Consider that Halifax/Dartmouth has a population of about half a million, in a province of 900,000 -- roughly equivalent to Manitoba or Saskatewan, and I think it's obvious that it will be a success. New rivalries will be borne and many kegs of Keiths will be drank. All good stuff.
Now, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, if they want it so bad, why doesn't somebody step forward to build a stadium? And then we get into that whole argument of public money funding stadiums and all that. Look, the reality in the sports world is that stadiums are rarely built with only private money. Look at all these stadiums that are on the drawing boards. Do you think that these are all being built with private bucks only? I mean, there's a freakin' 80,000 seat stadium in Baghdad fer chryssakes! Who the hell is paying for that?? Professional sports is a quality of life factor and an economic generator that the government should have an interest in promoting. Build the damn ball park! Steal the plans for Waterfront Stadium in Vancouver and save the cost of design if you have to.
Thursday, 22 November 2007
Well, it seems that our buddy Pervez Musharraf's shenanigans have made him unwelcome in the cozy Commonwealth club. I happened to wander over to the BBC website and found this late breaking news.
"The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group agreed that notwithstanding some progress by the Pakistan government since its last meeting, the situation in Pakistan continued to represent a serious violation of the Commonwealth's fundamental values."
It is the second time that Pakistan has been expelled from the Commonwealth. The country was suspended in 1999, after Gen Musharraf seized power in a coup.
What does this mean? Well, it means that Pakistan isn't allowed to attend the Commonwealth meetings and play in the Commonwealth games. That must be crushing. Him and Rudolf have so much in common.
Oh well, what can you do? I guess it's a statement. But I think Pervez has bigger problems than trying to get reinstated into an archaic club of countries with a second rate track meet. Like: trying to convince people that fair elections can be held under a state of emergency, or trying to save his political future after jailing lawyers, judges, political rivals and anybody else who gives a damn about the future of the country.
Pakistan will get reinstated, but with Benazir Bhutto at the helm..
Sunday, 18 November 2007
Online poll results from the Free Press website:
The death of Robert Dziekanski was regrettable, and the police may have been a little trigger-happy with their 50,000 volt toys, but it is undebatable that the use of a Taser is still a far better option than the use of a gun in subduing an unruly person in close quarters. May is either very short-sighted or a political opportunist who doesn't mind seeing people die if it means more votes for her. I hope it's the former. But you would think Free Press readers would know better after reading this.
Friday, 16 November 2007
Every once in a while I like to wander over to Last Of Iraqis to get another perspective on what's going on over in Baghdad, and keep me grounded when I consider the relatively minor controversies back here in Canada.
Many of his posts contain depressing and sometimes gruesome stories and pictures, but the past couple of stories give a glimmer of hope for at least one part of Baghdad. As Mohammed, the author, tells it, an organization composed of former members of various insurgent factions, called Awakening has come together for a common cause -- to route Al Qaeda out of the area and restore order ... ultimately for money and personal gain most likely, but nevertheless there has been a temporary reprieve from the violence that plagued the area, which is a good thing.
Now, I can't vouch for the accuracy of this guy. I don't know if he is who he says he is, but he does seem credible. Anyhow, it's worth a look. Make a point of checking out the "Art of death in the mesopotamian" post if you're in the mood.
I sent an email to the mayors office recently. Here is part of it:
I am sure the mayor's office is familiar with basic economic concepts such as elasticity of demand. Let me suggest that we may be at the point where increasing fares could result in less revenue and an increased burden on the city. There are a two main reasons for this:
a) parking in downtown Winnipeg is relatively cheap. Saving money is the primary motivator for most people to take public transit, so as the cost of riding the bus approaches the cost of parking downtown, the incentive is reduced.
b) the increase breaks a psychological and convenience barrier. It is a simple matter to pay for transit using a toonie, but I suspect that increasing the price above two dollars will discourage many people from taking transit if they have other alternatives.
I believe the city should encourage use of public transit and is misguided in this latest increase. While attempting to increase revenues for future improvements, you may actually find that revenues decrease, or increase only marginally, while taking more money out of the pockets of those who have no choice but to use transit ... and I am sure you know that most of those people are part of a low income demographic.
To summarize, I recommend that you reconsider the transit fare increase. It will reduce ridership and add to the burden of low income users while failing in it's purpose of generating additional revenues for the City.
The response: "Please be assured that your comments are valued and will be brought to the Mayor's attention."
Tuesday, 13 November 2007
What do we make of this whole Schreiber / Mulroney / Harper thing that's been going on? Is this the big break that the Liberals have been waiting for? A new poll has come out showing that support for the Conservatives has dropped and Liberal support has spiked several points, especially in Ontario. Wow, with results like that the Liberals might be tempted to actually vote on a confidence motion in the House. Can they parlay this into lasting support? A minority government? A majority government? An airport named after Stephane Dion?
Of course, just a few days earlier, this poll came out:
"Prime Minister Stephen Harper is soaring as Canadians' top pick to lead the country, while Liberal Leader Stephane Dion has plunged to third spot behind the NDP's Jack Layton."Contoversy in the Conservative camp does not make Stephane a good leader. The impact of this depends on how Harper responds. What's happening here is that a shady business man is fighting tooth and nail to keep his ass out of a German jail, and if he's going down he wants to take everybody else with him. The only thing connecting Harper to this mess (so far) is a 7-month old letter that NDP MP Pat Martin considered important enough to throw dierctly into the trash can. Harper has shown that he can navigate tricky situations and end up more popular then before. From his first day appointing unelected individuals to cabinet, to the same sex marriage debate, to his backtrack on Income Trusts. If I were Stephane, I would not get too excited. Unless the Liberals can form a cohesive party with a compelling platform, they're still going nowhere.
Tuesday, 6 November 2007
In all likelihood, this Sunday will Winnipegger's last chance to see Milt Stegall catch a football. It's the end of an era, boys and girls. The Stegall era. Throughout all of those crumby years of losing records and playoff disappointments Milt suck with us and gave us hope. He was a beacon of light in a dark and cloudy time. He sacrificed himself for our sins. Okay, maybe not that, but he certainly did catch touchdown passes .. more than anybody in CFL history.
And now we approach his last game in Winnipeg. Possibly (but hopefully not!) his last game as a Bomber. I for one am grateful that he committed so much to this team and this city, and it would be a crime against humanity if he retires without holding up the Grey Cup. So DAMMIT win this bloody game! And the one after that and the one after that!
I have noticed that there have been uncharacteristic dropped passes these past few games, Milt included. I think the knowledge that this is the end of an era is putting extra pressure on everybody. I hope that they regain their focus and crush their opposition in all three playoff games so we can put a big happy stamp on the end of Milt's career.
Saturday, 3 November 2007
*Whew* I hadn't heard anything about it and I was worried that it had dissappeared. But thankfully the prickly hidden agenda blanket that comforts Liberal and NDP supporters across the country has reappeared in the form of capital punishment:
The Harper government scrambled Friday to clarify its position on capital punishment amid opposition accusations that the Tories are harbouring a hidden agenda to bring back the death penalty in Canada. The accusations followed Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day's surprise announcement Thursday that Canada will no longer seek clemency for Canadian murderers sentenced to death in other democratic countries after a fair trial.It's good to see that the Liberals now have something to clutch on to while they abstain their way through parliament. It's been a rough year for them, what with the Conservatives giving tax breaks to everybody and all, and not a same-sex marriage debate to be found. Finally there's a social conservative bogeyman the Liberals can use to scare the public, while they try to figure out how to make Dion look like a leader of some kind.
Wednesday, 31 October 2007
Watching the federal Liberals tumble down hill from one day to the next like an armless legless Lucien Bouchard chasing a "yes" vote is becoming quite amusing. The newest amunition for Conservatives comes with the announcement that Stephane Dion would consider rescinding the Tories cuts to the tax that the Liberals once vowed to eliminate. (CP) I believe he said something like this:
We do not respect the Canadians who voted for your cuts to the GST, nor do we oppose the tax like we used to, so we will increase it back up to the levels that Mulrooney originally set, although we still think Mulrooney is evil, except that when we say we will rescind the tax cuts what we really mean is that we will actually do nothing because we are impotent.Yes, that's right. It is all posturing and hot air, as Dion also announced that the Liberals will once again sit on their hands and not vote on the mini-budget. I am so happy that my MP is representing me by not voting in parliament. He deserves a raise.
Saturday, 27 October 2007
As everyone in Canada is clamouring for minimum sentences for violent crimes, I came across this gem. A guy got sentenced to TEN YEARS in prison for getting a blow job! Why ten years? That was the MINIMUM! Holy crap, what do you get for killing someone in Georgia? Probably nothing if they're standing in your front yard. I can only guess that anal sex would net you life in the slammer, where, ironically, you'll be forced to get much more of the same.
Good news though: the court, in a split 4-3 decision, overturned the minimum sentence law. I take that to mean it is still illegal to get a blow job or go muff diving if you're under the age of 18, but hey .. it's a step in the right direction. Not that I condone such activities! Of course not! But fact is it's a normal part of growing up for most teens, and growing up shouldn't be illegal.
Wednesday, 24 October 2007
In other news ... the MB Auditor General came out today with a new report on the Spirited Energy campaign which gave the Government a passing grade in the spending of $3.1m. Of course, this is the same Auditor General who sat on the Crocus board in 2005 when the fund collapsed, and later said that an incriminating document that proves the government was aware of all fund's problems was fully taken into account in the 2005 auditor general's report which, surprise, makes no mention of the report.* Excuse me if I don't believe a damn thing Ms. Bellringer says.
Of course, even if the spending on the Spirited Energy campaign was above board, it is still a waste of money, and the government still lied to us about where the money came from. Convenient that the report specifically excludes any analysis of in-kind contributions and private sector spending.
Labels: government ineptness
Monday, 22 October 2007
The Black Rod has posted a piece with some advice for Ron Evans and the rest of the First Nations leadership. There are some blunt observations as well as thoughtful suggestions. Unfortunately, some people who have opposing points of view can only offer insults. That is not the way dialog works.
It's worth reading the piece and making your own judgments. If you have disagreements, I encourage you to counter the specific points made, either here, on your own blog, or elsewhere. And remember, name calling isn't very persuasive.
Saturday, 20 October 2007
We read today that Bob Silver, owner of Western Glove Works, co-chair of the Premier's Economic Advisory Council and co-mastermind behind the Spirited Energy Campaign, is moving the last of his Winnipeg garment production to some unspecified country in Asia. The Free Press, also co-owned by Bob Silver by the way, paints Bob as an inevitable victim of the the rise of the Cdn $ and the elimination of import quotas, saying that most everybody "knew the writing was on the wall."
Over the last three to five years I have tried everything I could think of to justify continuation of production... But it is just no longer possible.
Never mind that three to five years ago, the exchange rate was between $0.63 and $0.77 US.
I understand the implications of exchange rate changes, and I'm not saying that Western Glove Works should forgo profitability because it's owner is on a high profile government economic advisory committee, but I can't help but notice the irony that Mr. Spirited Energy is giving up on trying to compete in our province.
Thursday, 18 October 2007
Jim Balkonie, 52, died this week after being subdued by police with a Taser. Witnesses say that, as best as they can recall, Jim was being belligerent -- yelling and swinging either a baseball bat or a shopping bag full of ice cream. One man thought he remembered Jim stapling bar coasters to his forehead, although that has not been confirmed. What we do know is that once police arrived on the scene, they shot the morbidly obese diabetic with the supposedly "non-lethal" Taser gun, which blasts a 50,000 volt shock through the body, immediately rendering the victim incapacitated.
His family is distraught that his life could be taken at such a young age. Although police deny that the Taser was responsible, and in fact had difficulty remembering the man at all, the family has no doubt about the cause of death and is launching a $4,200,003 law suit against the Idaho police and Taser International. Jim's closest friends, including his heart surgeon and his oncologist, are said to be in mourning.
Labels: just sayin'...
Thursday, 11 October 2007
I stumbled across this today:
Shirley Katz, a schoolteacher in
Medford, Oregonand a licensed handgun permit holder, wishes to carry her Glock with her in school, which she can legally do under law. Her reasons? She apparently has a violent ex-husband, and she worries about a school shooting situation in which she would be unable to defend herself and her students from harm. Oregon
She wants to bring a freakin’ gun to WORK! At a SCHOOL! Why? Because she is coming off a bad relationship. This is so retarded I don’t even know where to start.No surprise, the Super Intendant “insists employees and students are safer without guns on campus”. So, of course, Mrs Katz is suing the school.
Is she going to wear this gun on her belt whenever she is teaching, or will she keep it in her purse, sitting on some chair or desk where it will be completely useless if this mad man bursts in and starts shooting? This cannot be justified by referring to those other horrible school shootings because the circumstances here are different: it is a personal issue with one person. That means, if this dude walks into the school, he is not going to start shooting until he sees Mrs Katz, at which time she will be fucked, Glock or no Glock. Meanwhile, there will be plenty of opportunities for angry, hormone-infested teenagers to try to steal her piece when she’s not looking.
“I can see nothing but a positive outcome should some nutcase student try to take over and shoot up her class”. LOL. Oh ya, that sounds positive to me.
You better back the fuck up
Before you get smacked the fuck up
Ya, this is how we do it in our school
Any of you exs that want to bring it,
But we ain't teaching,
We bringing drama
fuck you and your mother fucking mama.
(apologies to the late Tupac)
I watched -- okay, kind of payed attention to -- with mild interest, the provincial election at our big nieghbour, Ontrario. I felt a little bit of déjà vu washing over me. A party that broke it’s promises and ran on little else than false fears of their opposition, sweeping into another majority government. Hmmm .. where have we seen that before?
Sunday, 7 October 2007
I've been a fan of Formula One racing since I was a kid. The fastest cars in the world racing at exotic locations all over the planet. Very cool, thought I. Especially the Monaco Grand Prix, with the giant yaughts, the topless blondes watching from the balconies, the long curving tunnel, and all. In recent years though, I have been losing interest in F1. My eye has been wandering over to other open wheel alternatives. Can Bernie Ecclestone ever forgive me?
So with the Chinese Grand Prix live on TV behind me, I think I'll review the pros and cons of F1 versus the other top-level open wheel road course alternative.
The fastest cars
Formula One is still the fastest race ciruit in the world. The fastest cars, the best drivers, and the biggest money. It is still the Elite racing series. On Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, the F1 cars ran about 6 seconds faster than the Champ Cars in qualifying. That's actually quite a bit in racing terms.
The 25 fastest cars in the world drag racing from a dead stop is one of the craziest and most exciting things to watch in the racing world. I have never been a fan of the running start used in American racing. Advantage: F1
Formula One wins here too. Champ has been getting more international each year, both with the racers and the race locations, but F1 still has the most ecclectic field and race courses.
Ever since Jacques Villeneuve left Williams in 1999, there has been no real Canadian threat in F1. Now there is no Canadian in F1 at all. With Alex Tagliani and Paul Tracy both threats to win (and get into fist fights) any given race, Champ Car definitely gets the nod here. And that's a big nod also ... I need somebody to cheer for to really get interested in something. (2 points)
One thing that has always bugged me about any American racing series is that the pussies pull out the pace car and stop the race any time there is a spot of oil on the track. As a result, you end up watching 1000 HP cars circling a track at speeds my grandmother might drive. With F1 however, they won't pull out the pace car unless something is seriously wrong. They will have a local yellow in the area of a crash (meaning no passing in that area) but the race goes on.
F1 has the fastest pit stops by far. It is pretty exciting to watch a car get a tank of gas and new tires in 6 seconds.
A few years ago Shumacher and Ferrari were winning every race, and most teams couldn't get a sniff of the podium. It is a little better now, but Champ car still has way more parity. One reason for this is the use of the full course yellow, which smushes the field together on a regular basis so the fast guys can't build up a lead. Another reason is the massive amounts of money that certain teams in F1 are able to spend to work around the silly restrictions that Ecclestone and the F1 governing body dream up each year.
Jack Brabham, Jackie Stewart, Alain Prost, Aryton Senna ... need I say more?
Formula One: 6 points
Champ Car: 3 points
F1 still kicks ass.
Friday, 5 October 2007
I can't help but draw that conclusion after reading this article in today's Freep. According to the column, Phil thinks it is racist to question how Native recipients of the residential school lump sum payment will spend their money. However, very recently, the Aboriginal Healing Foundation does just that. Therefore, the members of the Aboriginal Healing Foundation, who are primarily (if not entirely) First Nations People, must be racist. Simple logic really.
Of course Phil was only referring to non-natives. It's not racism if you talk about your own race (I don't think). However, his point of view is troubling and hypocritical nonetheless.
The AHF report documents many of the troubles that result from the sudden influx of cash:
Increased drug and alcohol abuse was among the more commonly cited consequences of LSPs by recipients. This impact on people’s lives seemed to be felt almost immediately: “When I got the payment, I was sober for 12 years overall. After I got the money, I drank for four days in a row.”So we know we have a problem. Is it racist of us to acknowledge it? How do we deal with it if we aren't allowed to talk about it? The report also suggests that "government money" is particularly damaging because "money is often viewed with suspicion as an instrument which government will use to manipulate and undermine Aboriginal people."
Overall, while not every participating recipient worried that LSPs would inevitably usher in widespread alcohol and drug abuse (“some will drink it up, but not all”), others could scarcely recall more than a handful of Survivors who did not indulge in such abuse when the payments came.
So do you want the damn money or not? Yeah ... that's what I thought. To put words in Phil Fontaine's mouth: "Give us the money you racist pigs, and look at all the damage you're doing to our people."
I suppose at some point in the future we'll have to give compensation payments for all of the hardship caused by our compensation payments.
Heh, good thing nobody reads this blog.
-- update --
Darcey has a good a good post on this over at the Broom. I should have known ...
I also should have know that the Free Press is two days behind in it's reporting.
Tuesday, 2 October 2007
I have to get something off my chest. Even though I have commented on this issue elsewhere, I feel a need to rant about it here on my own humble blog.
That something is the government interference in the operations of Manitoba Hydro. You could dedicate an entire blog to that, but my focus today is on the decision to run the new DC Hydro lines down the west side of Lake Winnipeg, rather than the more obvious east-side choice.
A winnipegFIRST article has a few useful quotes:
The management of Manitoba Hydro believes that the east side is a better, more efficient route.-- Bob Brennan, president and CEO of MB Hydro, confirming that government interference (my words) is the reason for the decision.
There’s already roads and infrastructure on the west side, so it’s more fitting than going through an untouched boreal forest on the east side that has the chance of being an UNESCO site-- Colin Lemoine, press secretary for the provincial government, providing the flawed line of logic behind the decision.
Let's examine this:
First, is the government really concerned about the "untouched boreal forest" in that particular corner of the province? What about the San Gold and Rice Lake Gold mines east of the lake? What about the logging along the eastern edge of the province? What about the native communities, like Bloodvein First Nations? Does keeping the area "untouched" mean that we can never build roads to their communities?
Second, what the hell is this deal with the UNESCO heritage site anyhow? I grew up in the Boreal Forest in western Manitoba, and I could not explain to you how or why this area should be a UNESCO world heritage site. I even looked at their criteria. What is the "outstanding universal value" that can be found in this particular area, and not, say North Western Ontario? Sure, it's a beautiful area of the province, but it's not unique and endangered in the way that the Great Barrier Reef is.
Third, let's suppose we get our heritage status. Then what? What does that do for us? There will be some administrative costs associated with it, and very little economic benefit. That area will get the same hunters and fishers visiting that you see now. In fact, if we want the area to remain "untouched" (which it is not) then tourism would have to be limited or stopped completely. Maybe they're not interested in economic return ... maybe they're trying to protect the endangered white tailed deer.
Fourth, if government is at all concerned about the environment, then it should be concerned about the additional electricity transmission losses that will occur from using the western route -- 500 kms longer, resulting in tens of millions of dollars of lost electricity by some estimates. That is a lot of power that could be put to better use displacing dirty coal-fired power in other jurisdictions.
Fifth, we are waisting an opportunity to build summer roads to communities that are cut-off from the rest of us most of the year. All the more important with increasing unreliability of winter roads. Potential job creation for individuals in remote native communities has also been successfully avoided.
Sixth, we are losing an opportunity to build redundancy into our power supply from the north. With both DC corridors on the west side, we are much more vulnerable to natural (and unnatural) disasters.
Finally ... what about our valuable tax dollars????? $500m more to build, and who knows how much more in lost revenues from lost power (see point #4).
Now go back and read the quote from the provincial Press Secretary, and you can see just how lame their logic is.
Friday, 28 September 2007
I am not a keen observer of Ontario Politics, but I have noticed a couple of recent parallels between what has been happening over there in the Center Of The Universe and over here in the Geographical Center Of Canada.
For example: Doer's "hand's off" approach to the illegal roadblock by the Hollow Water First Nation has the appearance of a mini-Caledonia. It may be a little early to draw that comparison, but the Doer administration is certainly heading in that direction with their "ain't my job" attitude.
Also, I now see that Dalton McGuinty is taking a page from the Doer election playbook by accusing his opponent of being an evil incarnate of the previous Tory leader. It worked so well here, why not try it over there?
Anyhow, I know it's not conclusive evidence that Doer's and McGuinty's mothers cheated on their husbands with the same man, but I think I'll keep an eye on this one.
Wednesday, 26 September 2007
I live in one of those ‘burbs with the man-made “lakes” amongst the houses. The ones that, this time of year, are like truck stops for geese, only the geese are noisier than trucks and shit all over the place. Anyhow, I was walking by one of these lakes yesterday when I noticed an older couple, most likely retired, strolling along the lake in a public space carrying plastic bags and picking up garbage.
Now I suppose it is possible that Mr. and Mrs. Whoever were actually performing community service for a B&E or auto theft, but I didn’t notice anybody supervising them. Plus, I don’t think the courts assign community service for those types of crimes anymore. I think you need to stab somebody to get community service, and these folks didn’t look like the blade-carrying types.
So, I am pretty sure they were doing it out of a sense of pride and responsibility to the community. Weird, huh? Well, it was good to see, and I am happy to have this couple living in my neighbourhood, so I just wanted to acknowledge their contribution to keeping our community clean and pleasant. Not like those bloody geese.
Monday, 24 September 2007
... or down for good?
I don't know if they're rebuilding the site, fixing a bug, or inventing a new programming language with which to write groovy new scripts, but dang ... is that thing ever going to come back up?