Passing of Rex Murphy

Rex Murphy was a wordsmith, he possessed common sense, and he wasn’t beholden to other’s opinions and this is why I stood up and took notice whenever he spoke or penned an editorial. I also admire people who actually reach for the best words in order to express a point. His expression was the antipathy of those now so compelled to use the word “fcuk” in every grammatical form because they have been too lazy delve into the depths of the English language. Rex Murphy put context and pragmatism toward thought. He had capacity to empathise in every direction while articulating the best route forward cognizant that we can’t be everything to all people all of the time. Rex had instinct in knowing how not to go too far in presenting a position so that the audience had room to conceive for themselves. Rex coaxed you toward the dictionary because your English teacher may not have been as illustrious.

There was also a mystical kind of delivery because he operated with an intention to provoke. Satire was to be expected and the monotony of tone was purposeful so that he could catch you when the hyperbole went over your head. His thoughtfulness was etched throughout his piece in such a way that even the ardent with entrenched beliefs couldn’t help but be jostled.  

Without the likes of Rex Murphy…we can and will descend to gutter like politics showcased south of our border.   

Canadian Productivity In The News

A Scotiabank economist today reflected on comments from a Bank of Canada official (Carolyn Rogers) that Canadian productivity has reached an “emergency level”. I am not surprised by what see on the street and within my accounting practice. The radical characterization is placed in the context of large age gains with thirty per cent of Canada’s work force tied to labour unions compared to ten per cent in the U.S.

Poor productivity combined with higher wages is a formula for disaster because businesses lose sustainability and without a private sector there goes the public sector jobs as well. The pulse I see around Calgary seems to be one of entitlement. The Oil and Gas crowd is back to strutting their stuff in the plus fifteens downtown because the oil price has taken a good run and geopolitical factors are creating a baseline of support for the commodity.

West downtown Calgary lacks vitality because behemoth pension funds and REITs in ownership of downtown office buildings are showing little wiggle room for the Tier 2 and Tier 3 leaseholder. Canadian employers are still way too lenient with the work from home model generated by the pandemic. Productivity is absolutely lost through poor supervision and communication yet tepid management teams across the country cower.  

Our education system has been poor at turning prospective students to the trades and the construction industry has been poor at making work environments friendly. This has got to change and change is in the making but the change is way behind when it needed to happen. This particular problem is a material contributor to the productivity challenge. 

The investment required to better the Canadian way of life unfortunately lacks “velocity”. In other words capital lurks in registered accounts and home equity with a conservative temperament at play due to rising interest rates and credit card debt at levels never seen before. 

It’s about time some economist in Canada stepped up and made an unequivocal statement having harboured the implications of  poor economic data. 

Gondek Booed At Flames Game

She seemed to have handled it well. It would be best though if cultural ceremonies were kept clear of the sporting arena. There are other venues and opportunities to honor the those deserving of society’s recognition. Those folks after all are paying stupid ticket prices to watch hockey.

I’ll say this about Gondek and City Hall. This woman did work some overtime back in the fall during an occasion to hear from the public on the housing crisis. You could have went to see what was up. I was there. She listened attentively. She has also dealt with some hate directed toward her residence. The police had to step in. She has also dealt with increases in demands by constituents lobbying for the Green Line and its construction. Then of course there is the replacement to the Saddledome which has had much contention due to the expectation of taxpayer participation. Many of those same advocates for a new arena are those complaining about a property tax increase. There has been administrative oversight in updating venues and the never ending oversight of new public works and community development. She will be busy managing conflicting interests while staying true to her ideal of what lead her to public office in the first place. In lieu of some pressure…..apparently she got involved with some sipping straws. If this is why you were booing at the game ignorant of her tasks in aggregate…shame on you. Most of the larger decisions at City Hall are made in context of a council made of people from diverse backgrounds. They hold votes and she casts hers singularly.    

Fighting In Hockey And Chris Simon

The business model was to hire an “enforcer” to protect the talented sharp shooter. A side show would arise where crowds would rise to their feet cheering for the home town brute in a fight sometimes planned and oftentimes instigated by the mildest of infractions. There was this theory promulgated by the Don Cherrys of the hockey world that since the referees weren’t calling all infractions…then the brutes would just have to settle it on their terms.

Chris Simon committed suicide at the age of 52 yesterday and he was an enforcer for the Quebec Nordiques, Calgary Flames, and Colorado Avalanche. He also played abroad right up until 2013 when he would have been 41. At 41, you know he wasn’t likely on the first line because of adept stick handling skills and agility. Nope…he would have been there to settle scores with his fists.

Wikipedia reports that Simon was afflicted by Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. You know…that disorder arising from having your head punched in over and over. In our civil society, this is called “assault” but in a professional hockey arena it’s called entertainment.

When I attended my first NHL game in decades this past Saturday, I turned to my host when a scuffle broke out and said, “I was just thinking about how delightful it’s been not to have to witness a fight”. It would appear that things are getting better on the ice and the barbarianism is now perhaps less condoned than ever especially in lieu of the player law suits particularly over at the NFL. However; this doesn’t diminish the toll that a culture of violence has had on the suffering and longevity of Chris Simon.

Sport should be a place where healthy competition excels and skills and feats particular to human performance are broadcast for all of us to enjoy. There should be no joy in watching another human being be beaten.      

Republican Running Mate Speculation

Having watched the F.O video of Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene when interviewed by Emily Maitlis, it’s become apparent that Taylor Greene will become the Democratic favourite for Trump’s running mate. One look at her Wiki page and it’s clear to see that her penchant for “conspiracy theories” and radical ignorant statements will prove perfect fodder for those seeking to discredit the” dystopian” (CNN’s characterization) ticket.

A challenge for the Democratic campaign will be that of making proposals and arguments to a large contingent of Americans that are so disenfranchised with their plight that the Trump ticket represents the only change radical enough to provide any kind of a boost to their plight. The other day, a youtube vlogger took a rural trip along New Mexico’s forgotten highways where townships recede in population and buildings are left dilapidated exemplary of industrial America in decline. Similar stories blight the maps of sorry old manufacturing towns across the U.S.

When you stop and think about it – political argument doesn’t much matter if one feels abandoned by the “American Dream”. Obviously, given the results of Super Tuesday, no amount of scandal, negligence, civil or criminal legal infractions by Trump are going to sway a populous who are simply fed up with the status quo. In fact, his troubles are likely relatable to his followers. The incredulity of a conspiracy theory means nothing to someone who is busted spiritually and financially. Representations of the “Deep State” irrespective of the term’s ambiguity can be interpreted to apply broadly to those feeling victimized with powerlessness in the face of economic change.

There is blame to be shared for the shattering of souls across America and the political dogma reaches for propaganda like terms of convenience when confronted by an electorate unmotivated to exercise objective thought in context of despair. This in essence is the biggest risk for a democracy.

The State of The Union goes off tonight and pundits suggest that a weary looking Biden needs to express  much fight and intention.