Category Archives: Politics

Catholics, Residential Schools, Continued Indifference

Although I ‘m not a fan of Justin Trudeau,  I absolutely endorse his request that the Catholic Church step right to the plate and acknowledge the Residential School  horror in Kamloops, B.C. There should be full disclosure, humility, accountability and explicit detailing of records. This should happen now.

If we are absolute in ensuring that this never happens again – then controls need to be put in place along with mechanism(s) of accountability and whistleblower protection. 

As I craft my blog posts along with correspondence to political figures and the Canada Revenue Agency, I often think that I’m a rare breed as someone who actually lifts a finger when things are awry. In fact, of my 105 facebook friends, I’ll be surprised to see more than five who shout out in the comments in profound approval of this message.    

Within the past week we’ve seen all this reaction to the horror. Facebook profiles get symbols of victim family support but that which we need more is letters and petitions and personal outrage directed directly at political figures. We need you to be operative with injustices today speaking with power and conviction instead of deferring because you may sense that your voice is too small in and of itself.  We need you to do more than tweet about it or comment in an editorial. You need to draft arguments and deploy official means to forward feedback ensuring that you follow up and follow through.

The next debacle of society is waiting to happen. I’ll give you a few clues of challenges you can address.

  1. Monopolistic tech companies not reciprocating fairly in their relationship with you.
  2. Unsatisfactory service levels and Service Canada and the CRA.
  3. Illegal money flow from foreign countries (money laundering).
  4. Indifferent police forces and poor enforcement
  5. Cyber Crime
  6. Cronyism in political circles
  7. The subsidization of the wealthy
  8. Complicity around homelessness
  9.  Exorbitant government debt and fragile monetary system
  10. Drug overdoses

There is a list of ten things off the top of my head….one of which you could put your attention on now. You cannot do it all yourself but you can be one voice on one topic so that in twenty years we’re all not scratching out head wondering how did this all come to pass like the Residential School Horror. 

Kenney on COVID

I listen to Jason Kenny from time to time on the COVID updates. Most of the time I find him balanced, reasonable, and thoughtful. The one noticeable verbal slip was couple of weeks ago when he suggested that Alberta was going to have the best summer in its history. I just don’t have the problem with Kenney that  so many others do. He’s a good orator and his convictions are supported by his policy. He has not infused (yet anyway) any of his social policy biases into legislative proposals which was frankly my biggest concern when he became the Premier of Alberta. I ‘m insufficiently versed on alleged shenanigans during his rise to the leadership of the UCP.   

He handles media questions quite well in the context of COVID. Every province has been at the mercy of poor federal handling of COVID from the outset. It’s become apparent from his comments today that dozens of municipalities in Alberta have flagrantly disavowed restrictive measures and it is in this context that Alberta faces infractions by its citizenry. It’s become obvious that our legal system with all its intricacies and high power prosecutors have much to account for right now with the lack of enforcement and conviction around laws which have been ignored by hordes of people across the province. In lieu of the Bowden rodeo on the weekend, I had expected more on the topic of justice and COVID from the premier today. He has referenced another announcement upcoming tomorrow.    

I have witnessed indifference from law enforcement in Alberta pre-pandemic. I’m sensing that fellow Albertans are now also asking the question as to why people can flagrantly break the law with no consequences. I predict that there was no police officer nor Alberta Health Services marshal recording license plate numbers at the Bowden Rodeo over the weekend.  

Canada In trouble “UBI”

If you value work for pay instead of a government handout….you may now be a minority in Canada. This is how things seem today as federal liberals gather online to debate a “Universal Basic Income”.

When I left my home to go to work today, I took a look at the full parking lot at my residence and speculated what percentage of my complex is receiving some form of social assistance. Given the demographic of my neighbors –they are not the kind of folk to fire up computers and logon to Zoom. They are more of the marginalized class of Canadian. 

Why shouldn’t the marginalized want “Universal Basic Income” if they’ve failed to meet the test of capitalism? They’ve come to believe that they deserve a free lunch so of course they’ll be looking to you to keep them mummified in their thumb sucking ways.

Yes…that’s the term I’ll use – the “marginalized class” because it’s less likely to get me in trouble with the politically correct. You see in Canada….it’s become fashionable to get a government cheque because with a government job…governments still have this old “defined benefit pension plan”.  Parents in a practical sense may not fathom entrepreneurial pursuit given the risk reward profile matched against the comfort of government bureaucracy. 

Somehow within the equation of this “UBI” debate someone from the nosebleed section may just rise to the occasion and ask where governments think they are going to get the money. Someone may be astute enough to ponder whether those in business who can execute are going to be willing to continue to subsidize a lazy Canadian populous. Virtually every natural resource project in Canada is gobsmacked with regulatory hurdles in getting approved with debt financings contingent upon layers of red tape much of which is unreasonable. Factor in the mountains of government debt already needing servicing and we see a nation in trouble.        

Canada is already a country fully entrenched in socialism. My confident characterization of our culture took place during the first term of the Trudeau era when the federal government began fully subsidizing the rearing of children through the lucrative “Canada Child Benefit” program. This direct subsidization of parents has apparently become the envy of any special interest groups and such program has likely had much to do with the onset of a Universal Basic Income proposal.   

Government Incompetence Galore – Keystone XL

Why would the Alberta provincial government spend $ 1.1 billion of money that it doesn’t have to fund a pipeline that had a strong probability of not being finished due to the political position of the U.S. Democratic Party? Well of course there was this small matter that your federal government would have been endorsers of such a plan given that it had bailed out a private corporation to pick up an equity stake in the pipeline industry due to their mismanagement of policy in context of a private corporation’s investment.  It’s bungling. It’s a fiasco and as tax payers you should be outraged.

Governments have forgotten their role of being stewards of monies appropriate for disbursements applicable to specific services only they can be provide due to variables not deemed of interest to private for profit business. The construction and maintenance of roads, bridges, water treatment facilities, air traffic control towers, weather stations serve as examples whereby business would have no interest but society as a whole would be benefactors thereby warranting government support. 

When oil runs through a pipeline, capital interests are poised to profit. However; interested for profit parties in the pipeline industry require good faith from land owners and governments to ensure that contracts will be honoured. This of course is where things get sticky and it is precisely why no government should ever invest in pipelines given their power to expropriate and nullify contracts through statutory law. They are their own worst enemy when investing in pipelines but apparently once again needed to learn the lesson the hard way with Keystone XL. Federally, a deal was struck to appease shareholders certain that otherwise government officials would be embarrassed in court. 

Five years ago, it wasn’t fathomable to me that the U.S. electorate would have nominated a deceitful, tawdry, classless boor to lead the Republican Party. Not only did this man receive the nomination but he became the U.S President. This man’s party represented the position reflecting support of Keystone XL and it stands to reason that someone of Trump’s character should lose the office at the first opportunity. Under this guise, the $1.1 billion investment in Alberta by you the taxpayer was deployed. It’s a real head shaker.           

Medical Associations and COVID

It’s evident that there is a problem in supporting health care workers during this pandemic as reflected in the slow vaccination rate and stress reported by doctors and nurses. Quebec doctor Karine Dion has committed suicide. It’s hard to fathom that the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians is reporting that five to eight per cent of doctors have contemplated suicide in the last year alone.

I’ve always contended that professional associations have been protectionist in the way they administer their power. In Canada, it’s very challenging to obtain credentials as a doctor. When living in residence at University, I recall two pre-med students on my floor studying excessively in order to score the grades they needed in order to fulfill entry requirements. I recall a story by one of these two students lobbying a professor strenuously for the most infinitesimal amount fearful that one missed mark could break the threshold required.

Naturally, having a limited supply of doctors and refusing to acknowledge credentials from new Canadians arriving from abroad, the profession on behalf of their members casts increased negotiating power with governments. The calamity of a pandemic exposes associations to a particular shortcoming of their inward posture of protectionism.

One might reasonably ask…”how difficult can it be to administer a vaccine shot”? What kind of credentials do you think are necessary? In the very rare event of something going wrong with a vaccination, would it not be reasonable to assign a back up resource who is a professional association member?

You have a tremendous number of Canadian who have studied in the health sciences but are at home cocooning when they could be contributing toward the resolution of this big problem. I suggest that the lack of mobility of deploying more manpower quickly rests with a lack of resolve by governments and potential push back from associations.     

Impeachment Again

Here we go again. At the outset….let’s be clear. Trump should have been removed from office in 2020 due to Trump’s solicitation of an investigation into political opponent Biden’s son by a foreign power in exchange for releasing the withholding of financial aid to Ukraine. It was an abuse of power and there was clear evidence to prove the abuse. Furthermore, when subpoenas were issued and requests for documents, the White House obfuscated. The obfuscation obviously corroborated wrong doing. 

The only Republican senator voting in favour of the articles of impeachment was Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney is a man of vast financial means. When you think about 51 Republican Senators all having heard testimony of overwhelming evidence with only one Republican Senator voting in favour…..you know there was more than the cerebral evaluation of evidence at play when these men and women cast their vote.

Here we are on January 9, 2021 and five people lost their lives in an assault of the Capitol building incited by Donald Trump, one must ask the question – do these Republican Senators other than Mitt Romney have blood on their hands as a result of the event played out in Washington on January 6, 2021? Would Trump have continued his infantile “tweets” inciting violence had he been removed from office? Would Twitter have come to its senses earlier by banning Trump permanently had he been convicted during the impeachment proceedings thereby preventing the January 6th incident? They are all reasonable questions. I suggest that Trump was as successful at intimidating people in the halls of the Capitol just as he was at extorting money from contractors in business or bribing women of whom he had salacious sexual liaisons. I was not unique in assessing this man of being very weak in character and my regard for the citizenry of our neighbour to the south has been lessened for bestowing upon him a role to administer public policy never mind the Presidency. 

Now what will these Republican Senators do should this second impeachment vote come to pass prior to his scheduled exit? I’ll be watching with interest.       

Capitol Hill Incursion

In the fall of 2013, yours truly was in Washington D.C. and was surprised to get in for a tour of the Capitol building in lieu of a government shut-down at the time. I was standing across the fountain and thought….why not just ask around to see if the tours are still on. I was in luck. I strolled around the back (photo) and entered. There was no line up because everyone else may have been also presuming that tours were off because of the shut down.

I was certainly impressed by the architecture. We were seated in a min-theatre to watch a movie of the construction. There was the “rotunda” which is a picturesque dome of immaculate design and within the circular landing the perimeter is decorated in statues of historic political figures. Although, the House of Representatives was not sitting, the guide still offered us an opportunity to sit in the gallery to stare at the emptiness. I took her up on the offer unlike most of who declined. This required an extra security measure. I had thoughts of my mother (school teacher) who put much attention on things of civility and justice. You’ve all seen the exterior in pictures. Much work has been put into restoring the exterior in recent years. I came away thinking that much care had been placed in developing this material beacon of democracy unlike the care recently displayed by protagonists within its halls to serve its purpose.   

So….as I watched the course of events on ABC news yesterday when Trump loyalist stormed the Capitol building, I was obviously dismayed. I wasn’t outraged because I admit to having grown somewhat impervious to incidents tied to Trump. Even my shock regarding friends / acquaintances support of Trump over the years is wearing off. Is there a final chapter of irony to the Trump debacle to be played out via impeachment at the last hour when Republicans couldn’t bring themselves to vote their conscience on impeachment during the first go ‘round. It will be interesting to see. 

Trump should be everything that America should not stand for and he became their President. It’s embarrassing to have watched this fiasco unfold. Those idiots who stormed the capitol will still be snivelling about how in their minds life has cheated them and potentially how to execute their next pathetic display of victimhood.         

Leadership Values Gone Rotten

When I headed for an institution of higher learning (University of Alberta) in 1982, I did so with strong values bread from mom and dad along with some confidence derived from scholastic and athletic successes. It was a time of great anticipation having never lived in a big city such as Edmonton which would become the home of my Alma Mater. There was uncertainty in my discipline of choice but I knew that school was the best place for me during a difficult economic era. There were no jobs in Kamloops. I was lucky to acquire door to door sales work between 10th and 11th grade along with a carpenter’s helper post in the summer of 1981 to fill my summers. I knew the economic landscape even at that age.

We were taught the hard work and merit synonymous with success. We believed that everyone had an equal shot. We believed that that law looked upon everyone equally and fairly.  However; we hadn’t been taught free enterprise because the capitalist system wasn’t laid out in an educational system biased with educators whom had for the most part not participated in commerce. Yet still there was a lurking sense that we’d come to know what teachers didn’t know. 

With youth comes a naivety that evil mustn’t lurk readily. It shouldn’t hide right out in the open. Youth brings a healthy sense of hope that what’s right can be actualized. There is a sense that the newness of perspective can impactfully infiltrate evil and excoriate its effect. Never in my wildest nightmare would I have imagined while sitting in Anthropology class in 1985 that the likes of a Donald Trump would become President of the United States of America. I would have believed that the good people of the U.S. would be able to see through his self centred deviousness. I would expect that void from the kinds of “values” which were taught to me by my mother (school teacher) and father (metallurgist) would be vetted. I would have thought that my first world neighbour would have been savvy enough through a well rounded education system to be able to comprehend through its people the importance of “values” when appointing a political leader.

It’s been four years of witnessing unsurprisingly abysmal leadership in the context of this values void. There was the intransigence of congress, the withholding of aid to Ukraine for a political favour, there was the governing by tweet, the criminal indictments of insider associates, the denial of COVID-19 and the delay in implementing protocols and grounding of planes. There was the revolving door of political appointees, and the outright lying. There was insincerity in challenging problems vigorously. Despite claims by women of sexual assault and contractors representing unpaid work, business bankruptcies, and apparent tax fraud….Americans put it all aside in the nomination of Trump. It’s simply mind blowing. 

We’re now nearing the final hours and there is this last item of business for Donald Trump. This is his “pardon list”. You see….you have this system of justice where lawyers go to school for seven years post secondary in order to sharpen their minds for “judgment day” in order to be positioned to deliver justice. Their $500 / hr fee in their minds justifies such esteemed training. Then comes along a deceitful boor with a sordid track record in advance of departing the “White House” (it’s still not certain if he won’t be dragged out kicking and screaming) signing his name to “pardoning” criminal records from those deemed law breakers with past associations to he himself thereby undoing a crafty justice system and whatever credibility it purports. 

What is a generation of high school graduates in 2021 to think? Can they in good conscience believe that the values of hard work and merit will serve them well in the context of witnessing such deviousness? When a government can’t balance its budget, what should a student care about paying his / her student loan? If a countries currency is at the breaking point of collapse through irresponsible spending, why should a student save? If a people can’t elect competence, why should a student aspire toward serving his neighbour? If the year 2020 hasn’t spawned a conversation around “value” – what’s it going to take?        

Macklem’s Word On Over-Leveraged Canadians

Canadians really do face some challenges with their debt. I see it in my practice. There’s plenty of blame to go around and I find the headline today over at BNN quite interesting – “Macklem Puts Dangerously Over-Leveraged Canadians on Notice”.

During the “pandemic” (let’s not be reticent in using the term despite your interpretation of COVID-19) governments have intervened to restrict commerce. There have been consequences and responses. Bankers have been forced to the table with an accommodating disposition. However; they have not been burdened by any new government regulation to restrict interest charged on debt through usury legislation. The federal liberal government has been slap happy at burdening industry with regulation but when it comes to the banking industry they’ve been absent. I should not be processing credit card transactions for my clients right now which have listed interest rates of 19.90 per cent when the Bank of Canada rate is 0.25 per cent irrespective of the credit rating of such taxpayer. Your federal liberal government has been burdening your grandchildren with excessive poorly managed public debt through this pandemic. Canadians want to pay their debt and expect banking sector shareholders to share in the financial pain elicited through economic contraction.   

The Wake Up Call

Bob Woodward exclaimed to MSNBC on Thursday before revelations from the NY Times regarding Trump’s tax returns, “I don’t know Where (when) the wake-up call comes to the country” in response to Trump’s notion of not committing to a peaceful transfer of power.

It’s quite astonishing but as Woodward insinuates through his words, this pitiful man, Donald Trump, could still in fact be awarded the White House via the electorate despite his contemptuous, deceitful, patronizing, and immoral behaviour. I’m aghast and have refrained from writing on the Trump indiscretions as they regularly occur just because it’s become so banal and disheartening.

Among the latest news, we have the New York Times representing “years of tax avoidance” when characterizing Trump’s tax returns. It’s hard to imagine a man who flaunts such wealth as one who wouldn’t be left with some net income to pay tax but this is what’s been revealed by the Times.

At this point, the only nugget of conscionable defence one could muster in casting a vote for Trump would be the “either/ or” argument that the opposing political ideology is so unpalatable that Trump’s behaviour as characterized is tolerable in context.

If the United States of America returns this man to power in spite of everything they’ve learned about him through his words, his manner, his questionable relationships with Russians, his treatment of decorated military officers, his revolving door of staffers, his midnight tweets, his mocking of the disabled, his withholding of aid to Ukraine in exchange for political dirt, his payoffs of women, his bungling of COVID-19 while lying about it, his disrespectful reference to war captured veterans (McCain), his associations with the criminally indicted….all within the backdrop of a national debt advancing, race relations abysmal, and a quality of life in decline then the plight of man in the first world is deserving of whatever fate comes hither.