30 December 2009

Post Revival: We are Separatists

Encouraged by Boris' Option 3, I think it a good time to revive this post, written by Daphne and I in January 2009. The situation has not improved since then.


For a long time, I've pondered the benefit of my community, now Vancouver Island, being part of the political entity that is the Dominion of Canada. Not because of any dislike for Canada's land, waters or people - that aspect of being Canadian makes me go all mushy inside - but because I can't see how a nation so large, structured as Canada is politically, can fairly represent and administer and distribute justice to all of its people.

As long as Canada maintains the power structure that it has now, then I would prefer that British Columbia be a nation unto itself - i.e., separate from Canada. Even better, that Vancouver Island go it alone.

Our top-tier government has only grown more powerful over the decades, not less. It has been steadily sucking political power from the nation's provinces, territories, regions and municipalities. Thus the federal government, together with its puppet masters, has steadily been eroding the ability of citizens in their communities to directly influence change.

More and more, citizens are taken as irrelevant by our politicians. The support of the federal government by large corporations powers the agenda of Canada's politicos. Their concern for the people functions only as an electoral device to "win" a mandate to govern, one that is rigged by our outdated voting system. And then the winning party governs for the CEOs. For "ordinary" Canadians (to which our political parties so fondly refer), to think otherwise is to be delusional.

Recently, I emailed these reflections to Daphne, and asked: Have you ever thought about things like this?

We don't always agree and I wasn't expecting agreement here.

"Yes," replied Daphne, "have pondered this and have talked to others over the years... At one time, I printed T-shirts which depicted Vancouver Island as forming the Vancouver Island Liberation Organization, hence breaking away from the rest of Canada."

Vancouver Island Liberation Organization t-shirt

Vancouver Island Liberation Organization T-shirts, anyone?

We are not alone in wanting to detach ourselves from the rest of Canada, friend Daphne explained. An emerging notion is that of Cascadia. The boundaries of Cascadia vary but in most proposals, all or part of British Columbia, Oregon and Washington state are included.

While some notion of Cascadia might be workable in the future, Daphne and I prefer thinking only in terms of BC or Vancouver Island separating from Canada.

Seriously, we're fed up with successive governments which are supposed to be OF, FOR and BY the people being instead OF, FOR, and BY Canada's CEOs. And a heckuva job those CEOs have been doing lately!

Consider one example which exemplifies the joined-at-the-hip relation between Canada's government and big business.

Successive governments have been selling off our1 resources under the guise of the Security and Prosperity Partnership "agreement" endorsed by the leaders of Canada, Mexico and the USA. (Don't be fooled. The name keeps changing, but the agenda remains the same.)2

Instrumental to the SPP is our very own Grand Ayatollah, one Tom d'Aquino, president and CEO of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives. Mr. d'Aquino is one busy guy! Read the article. You'll understand why we two, having trashed our rose-coloured glasses long ago, prefer to divorce ourselves from Canada Inc.

1 A sizeable chunk of "our" natural resources are on and in traditional native land and water.
2 Excellent Canadian sites for information on the SPP include Global Research and the Council of Canadians.

[This post was co-written by Daphne Moldowin and Chrystal Ocean.]

Recommend this post

How to Game Canadian Parliamentary System

... in five easy steps.

1. Promise 'em anything. While the Official Opposition, complain about the unfair voting system, lax election laws, rules discouraging people from voting, lack of government transparency, Senate appointments...

2. Win by a plurality under said unfair voting system, lax election laws, rules discouraging people from voting, lack of government transparency, Senate appointments... Do not legislate improvements.

3. Write a 200+ page book on how to disrupt House of Commons (and Senate) committees. Make sure all MPs follow it religiously.

4. Control the message: all leaks/messages must be authorized by PMO, whisper Ottawa news in ears of media buddies first, zip your loose-tongued MPs - have them pose as potted plants.

5. If, despite following the first four steps, you find things getting a little too hot for you, prorogue Parliament.

Remember, the Canadian Parliament is no longer for the purpose of governing - designing and getting key legislation passed, studying vital issues in committees, or MPs representing their constituents. No, it's about which white ageing male can grab and wield power the longest and the men who will trade whatever integrity they've left in order to share in a tiny portion of it.

Recommend this post

Get Rid of Parliament

... and we get rid of MPs. Canadians would save a whole bunch of money.

Let the federal service do the work of government. Our MPs certainly aren't.

Oh, and about taking the knives to the pension plan for federal civil servants, you might start instead with the lucrative 'early retirement' package for MPs. Six years of 'service' and our elected 'representatives' are set for life.

Recommend this post

29 December 2009

Culture of Disability

I am disturbed by the focus on DISability in our culture, both physical and intellectual, as starkly evident in the 2009 Federal Disability Report.

By definition, few people are going to sit at the top of the bell curve of abled-ness and intellect. Which makes all the rest of us either prone to athleticism and/or genius, or falling-apart dullards.

In civilizations past there would have been a place for every last one of us, with no disability industry standing by, chomping at the bit, ready to label us and rake in the big bucks.

As I suggested in my "Needy Renters" post, in this society the emphasis is always on what's lacking, not on people's untapped talents and capacities. This needs/incapacities approach celebrates victimization. It raises victimhood to an elevated status.

Alternatively, the capacities approach highlights what people can do, not what they can't. It treats all people with respect and dignity. Rather than looking at people in terms of their potential drain on society, it recognizes them for their potential benefit to society.

Too bad the social service sector is more focused on needs than capacities. It doesn't help that the industry is encouraged to do so by our own governments.

Recommend this post

28 December 2009

Logic Challenge

If Canadians don't want an election but instead, as expressed by Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff, they "want an alternative to the Harper government,"...

And if Parliament is dysfunctional, as suggested by Liberal MP Keith Martin,...

And if the NDP (and presumably, the Liberal Party of Canada) wants to make Parliament work,...

And if the same parties want to solve this conundrum,...

Then doesn't this mean, in the current minority situation, that said parties must...

Capitulate to all of the government's demands whilst assuring Canadians said demands are good for them OR,...

Form a coalition government?

Of course, non-partisan Canadians might consider another solution. As one tweeter put it: Revolution!

Recommend this post

For 2050 Olympics

... training in gymnastics begins now.

I canna stop laughing.

Recommend this post

It Just Warms My Heart

... to read such drivel.

Where DOES the Times-Colonist find these people? First it was this privileged whine. Now Lawrie McFarlane blusters forth with his inflated two cents:
Two B.C. courts have now ruled that the City of Victoria was wrong to prevent homeless people setting up tents in downtown parks.

Let's bypass the fact that a good portion of the campers were propagandists who use "homelessness" as a bludgeon. Our courts seem bent on redrawing civic rights in a way that has no foundation in law.

Their first step is to suppose that if a serious issue exists, it must be the duty of government to fix it.

Careful, Mr. McFarlane. Your stereotypes are showing.

Agreed: It is not the business of government to provide housing.

That's where our agreement ends.

It IS the business of government to regulate market conditions such that affordable housing is available to anyone who wants it. This includes half the people living in poverty who work one or more full-time and/or part-time jobs on low wages without benefits, and a considerable number more people living in poverty who worked in similar employment much of their lives and now face the end of their days in meagre retirement.

Among these people are those who serve you at your favourite retail haunts, wait your tables, serve you at theatres, monitor your home security, take your parking fees, wash your cars, book your travel arrangements, and provide your catering, home cleaning and home repair needs.

Recommend this post

26 December 2009

Sloppy Journalism

The National Post this morning reports on a poll conducted for Canwest News Service and Global National that shows Canadians to be as disenchanted with our politicos as ever.

No surprise there.

What caught my eye was this bit:
When asked if they agree with the statement, "I've tuned out of participating in any kind of political activity, including voting," better than two out of three, or 67%, said they disagreed with that statement.

Still, the last time there was a general election, in the fall of 2008, just 59% of eligible voters bothered to cast a ballot.

The second paragraph isn't relevant to the preceding one.

There is so much more to political involvement than just voting. The people who responded to that Ipsos Reid question know that; among them will be those who no longer vote but are otherwise politically involved.

Apparently, the pollster and the National Post have trouble sorting out certain distinctions, even when their own polling questions suggest them.

Recommend this post

25 December 2009

Targets Can Target Back

Most readers of this blog know that I am an atheist and have a low tolerance for blind faith. I've even less tolerance for the religion industry.

But not all religious organizations, or organizations founded by 'people of faith', are created equal. Among the stellar ones is KAIROS. Its entire raison d'être is the advancement of social justice.

Now, Jason Kenney & Company have set their sights on that organization, accusing it of antisemitism, an accusation that is so far off the mark as to be laughable; if it were not also so hurtful.

This time, Harper Conservatives have gone too far.

The target of their abuse is not without connections.

I hope KAIROS continues to fight back, emboldened by other progressives, with the light of its own special truth.

Recommend this post

On "Needy Renters"

One would think from reading the Cowichan NewsLeader that people who are struggling to find affordable rental housing are "needy renters."

Why do media types insist on using the word 'needy' when describing people without housing? People looking to be housed are not simply a bundle of needs. In fact, that's the least of who they/we are.

We have skills to offer, and insight and wisdom born from our struggles, which we wish others would recognize as useful and worthy of respect. We have solutions for our communities to what others deem intractable problems; and our solutions require considerably less outlay than those typically proposed by politicians, non-profits and business.

A serious shift in thinking is required. It can begin with simple acts, like journos and others no longer using words like 'needy' to describe people without housing.

Language matters. It's about R E S P E C T.

Recommend this post

24 December 2009

On Becoming Newsworthy

How to become Canadian Press Newsmaker of the Year: Screw your country and country(wo)men.

Recommend this post

One Reason I Don't Support NDP

I can't think of a NDP MP I haven't admired at one time or another. However, there are too many times when good-hearted intentions go over the top. Libby Davies' recent tweet is one example:
Canadian government should be helping Canadians travel to Gaza, not opposing them http://twurl.nl/j56ss3

I disagree. The Canadian government should be neither helping nor thwarting these activists' efforts.

I've also a bone to pick with certain leftists' interpretation of an email sent from the Embassy of Canada in Egypt. The link included in Davies' tweet contains the full text of that email:

From: <cairo-cs@international.gc.ca>
Date: December 24, 2009 1:50:44 AM PST
To: [edited out]
Subject: Gaza Freedom March, Dec 27-30th 2009

Le Français suivra

Gaza Freedom March

The Gaza Freedom March, which includes various activities in Egypt and the Gaza Strip, will take place from December 27 to 31, 2009. In response to this event, Egyptian authorities have confirmed that they will not permit entry to the Gaza Strip through the Rafah border crossing. They have also indicated that this March will be prohibited in Egypt.

The Canadian Embassy in Cairo would like to advise any Canadians considering taking part in this event that they could be found in violation of their tourist visa and be subject to arrest, detention and/or deportation.

Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada advises against all travel to the region surrounding the Gaza Strip due to the risk of rocket and mortar launches, gunfire and of ongoing military activity. The border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt has been officially closed since June 2007; however, it may open or close upon short notice. Canadians should exercise extreme caution when travelling to this area due to ongoing violence in the Gaza Strip.

Consular Section
Embassy of Canada in Egypt

Marche de la liberté pour Gaza

La marche de la liberté pour Gaza, qui comprend différentes activités en Égypte et dans la bande de Gaza, se tiendra du 27 au 31 décembre 2009. En prévision de cet événement, les autorités égyptiennes ont confirmé qu'elles ne laisseront pas entrer les gens dans la bande de Gaza par le point de passage de Rafah. Elles ont aussi fait savoir que cette marche sera interdite en Égypte.

L'Ambassade du Canada au Caire aimerait aviser tous les Canadiens qui considèrent prendre part à cet événement qu'ils pourraient être accusés de ne pas respecter les conditions de leur visa de touriste et arrêtés, détenus ou même expulsés du pays.

Section Consulaire
Ambassade du Canada en Égypt

That email reads to me like the standard travel advisory to people planning or thinking about travelling to a foreign land where unrest is known to be occurring.

I am loathe to defend anything that happens under the Harper government's watch. But leftists are their own worst enemies when they read 'agenda' of the Republican variety into virtually everything that passes their desks or computer screens.

As for my respect and fondness for many members of the NDP, it's one thing to like and admire them, it's quite another to want that party leading the Government of Canada. After all, I like and admire certain Liberal MPs too, which is not to say I'd vote for a Liberal government that would be headed by Michael Ignatieff. There are even - gasp! - one or two conservatives I like and respect ... er, that's certain former Progressive Conservatives who are serving in the Senate.

Recommend this post

New Year's Resolution.

Yes, in this news, vegetarians fare better.

Anyone thinking that vegetarian diets were risky was told otherwise when the Dietitians of Canada and the American Dietetic Association issued a joint statement in June.

After reviewing the most current science, the report concluded that a well-planned vegetarian diet is healthy for people of all ages, including infants, children, teenagers and pregnant women.

What's more, vegetarian diets were linked with better health, including leaner bodies, lower cholesterol levels, reduced risk of heart disease, and lower cancer rates.

Roughly 4 per cent of Canadian adults follow a vegetarian diet, a number that's expected to increase over the next decade.

Not so those who seem to eat more than enough.

Obesity rates climbed for both men and women – today, 18 per cent of men and 16 per cent of women are obese. The highest rate of obesity (22 per cent) was among 55- to 64-year-olds: 24 per cent of men and 21 per cent of women.

New Year's resolution: Eat more vegetables!

Recommend this post

21 December 2009

'Tis the Season

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Most of us celebrate the holiday surrounding the birth of Christ on the 25th of December, yes? Some of us celebrate the winter Solstice, which is an undeniable return of longer days to come and the celebration of new life in the spring.

Some very thorough research has been done in regard to the birth of Christ, which is nicely summed up on the video Zeitgiest - Part 1, Religion.

I include it here for your viewing pleasure and edification this joyous season. (You'll have to endure a short ad before Zeitgiest - Part 1, Religion comes on.)

As I am no expert on this subject, I suggest you take up any debate with a theologian, your minister, pastor or the like. I suggest that it will be put down to the devil's work.

End of story.

Recommend this post

16 December 2009

All Canadians Should Read This

More explosive material (PDF) from Richard Colvin on the Afghan detainee affair. It refutes or contradicts testimony given by others, including generals, to the parliamentary special committee.

Richard Colvin is my new hero.

New meme: Colvin for PM! Colvin for PM!

ETA: If you simply can't read the whole thing - you're lazy, can't make the time (?!), whatever - then here's Kady O'Malley's excellent summary.

Recommend this post

A Privileged Whine

... about the privileged homeless.

While it's true that the homeless have rights, the rest of us have rights as well. Do the rights of the homeless matter more than ours do? If so, why?

How do you balance the right to survival with the right to parks protected from overuse?

The full article, which appears in today's Victoria Times Colonist, smacks of old-fashioned prejudice and the arrogance of the propertied.

Recommend this post

15 December 2009

Connies Have Oily Knickers in a Twist

Retweeted by Conservative MP Jason Kenney:
RT @Spydyman: These are the nuts Cdn activists/Libs support? Radical environmental protesters cut down Cdn flag in London & douse it with oil.

To which I respond:
Sounds about right to me! Especially the douse with oil bit. Fits with our slimey Con politicians.

No source link was provided in the original tweet or Kenney's retweet.

Recommend this post

Have a Gift Card You Can't Use?

Just came across this site. The idea seems like a great one, a way for people to pass on gift cards they can't or won't use to people who would use them - and to make a few bucks in the exchange.

The Toronto-based company has been featured recently in a number of media, including CBC's The National.

As for me, cash or a gift card from a store I frequent is the best type of gift and probably for others in similar circumstances.

Speaking of which... a friend recently sent me a Thrifty Foods Smile card.

As I wrote in thanks, there's a reason Thrifty's calls its gift card 'the smile card': it puts smiles on the faces of its recipients. The moment I opened that envelope, my face grew a grin from ear to ear.

Recommend this post

Senior Couples Split to Afford Nursing Home Care

In BC, we're already well on the road to recovery from that 'worst recession since the Depression'. People again are parking themselves overnight to line up for 'affordable' housing... So much for that housing correction, eh?

It's a sorry economic boom indeed when senior couples are separating or divorcing so that they may afford hursing home care, but that's what's happening in increasing numbers, according to one seniors advocate.
As more people enter nursing homes, Veronica Ratchford, a representative from the Coalition for Seniors and Nursing Home Residents' Rights, said an increasing number of couples are legally splitting up so they can get government help with the cost of that care.

"It is happening, I would say, on a regular basis and I think the reason why we do not hear about it is I feel that people are afraid," Ratchford said.

"They're afraid to speak up against government policies and also they are embarrassed for the public to know their income and what financial situation that they're left with."

When public services fail and your very survival is in question, you develop strategies to work around a program's stringent criteria. These criteria, of course, are designed less to help people than to prevent 'abuse' of the system.

When the system itself is abusive, no recourse is left; it brings back onto itself that which it so generously inflicts upon others.

Recommend this post

14 December 2009

Did you vote for this?

I started a post on the latest social funding slash by Gordo's BC Liberals, when I came across this page.
“The cuts are coming fast and furious in all directions, “ wrote Times Colonist columnist Jody Paterson on October 2, 2009, “with neither a plan nor an understanding at any level of what it’s all going to mean when the dust settles. Without a word of public discussion, vital social programs and supports that British Columbians have counted on for years are vanishing.

Yep, and we're lambasted with propaganda that BC is the best place to live...
Paterson alleges that vulnerable people are being “cast to the wolves.” In October she listed just some of the programs she had noticed were cut. These included:

* School lunch programs
* Community mental health and addiction services
* School sports
* Intensive behavioral therapy for young autistic children
* Support for programs preventing fetal-alcohol damage in children
* Help for people raising their grandchildren
* Reading centres
* Treatment for children who witness abuse
* Outreach for victims of domestic violence (later reinstated after a public
* Help for problem gamblers
* Elimination of B.C.'s only prosecutor specializing in domestic violence
* Support for sports for people with mental handicaps.

There is more, read the whole article.

Did YOU vote for this?

Recommend this post

Let's Pathologize our Children: for Profit

Big Pharma is onto a good thing when doctors, teachers, health care professionals, physiologists, psychiatrists and parents recommend, subscribe or outright order prescribed drugs for childrens' 'dis-orders'.
The path to child drugging in the US started with providing adolescents with stimulants for ADHD in the early 80s. That was followed by Prozac in the late 80s, and in the mid-90s drug companies started claiming that ADHD kids really had bipolar disorder, coinciding with the marketing of epilepsy drugs as "mood stablizers" and the arrival of the new atypical antipsychotics.

Robert Whitaker, author of "Mad in America," describs the dangers of psychiatric drugs:
"When you look at the research literature, you find a clear pattern of outcomes with all these drugs," he said, "you see it with the antipsychotics, the antidepressants, the anti-anxiety drugs and the stimulants like Ritalin used to treat ADHD."

"All these drugs may curb a target symptom slightly more effectively than a placebo does for a short period of time, say six weeks," Whitaker said. However, what "you find with every class of these psychiatric drugs is a worsening of the target symptom of depression or psychosis or anxiety, over the long term, compared to placebo-treated patients."

"So even on the target symptoms, there's greater chronicity and greater severity of symptoms," he reports, "And you see a fairly significant percentage of patients where new and more severe psychiatric symptoms are triggered by the drug itself."

So who benefits the most? BIG PHARMA, of course.
In 2008, psychiatric drug makers had overall sales in the US of $14.6 billion from antipsychotics, $9.6 billion off antidepressants, $11.3 billion from antiseizure drugs and $4.8 billion in sales of ADHD drugs, for a grand total of $40.3 billion.

What about teaching your child to choose alternatives when seeking attention? Hey! Maybe even give the child your undivided attention, prepare a home cooked meal then sit down to eat and let them tell you about their day.

Recommend this post

10 December 2009

BC Housing Plans Campaign to Combat ...

... homelessness?


Headline reads: BC Housing Plans Campaign to Combat Negative Press on Homelessness.

h/t David Eby, formerly of Pivot Housing and now executive director of the BCCLA.

Recommend this post

City of Victoria vs. the City's Homeless

Victoria's homeless win.

"The City of Victoria is on the hook to pay Appeal Court costs, as well as the October 2008 court costs. How high that bill will be is not known."

Tee hee.

Recommend this post

Those Poor, Poor Diner-Outers!

Ian Tostenson, president of the BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association pleas that the BC government "allow the consumer time to adjust" to the HST.

The intent to bring in a harmonized sales tax was announced early this summer. Consumers will start getting charged HST July 1, 2010.

Time to adjust?!

And oh, those poor diner-outers! How terrible that the customers who can afford to eat higher-priced meals at restaurants will have to pay an extra seven percent!

My heart bleeds.

As for "the HST [costing] the industry in B.C. hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of jobs," where's the evidence? Did the same industry face such dire consequences when a HST was implemented in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador - and in over 130 countries?


Recommend this post

02 December 2009

Google to Limit Access to News Content

This will only increase the importance of social media and bloggers in enabling democratic access to information.

A not insignificant number of people can't afford to pay for the news of what's happening in their world. Ergo, the Internet community, fostered by social media, will become all the more crucial to properly functioning democracies.

Recommend this post

Mass Firing of Newly Unionized Staff

[Reposted, from last night]

From my own community comes this news.
Employees at Duncan’s Sunridge seniors complex were told this afternoon about 200 will be let go as of March 31, a Health Employees Union official told the News Leader Pictorial.

“It’s a mass firing,” Margi Blamey said.

Her report comes on the heels of Saturday’s HEU certification vote when some 70 per cent of the facility’s employees voted to join the union.


The two-year-old facility receives about $10 million annually from the province.

A 70 percent vote in favour of unionization. That's a large majority and a clear democratic result.

If this privately-run facility wants to fire its staff, fine, if it's for just cause. But getting public funding to reap profits unfairly off the backs of its employees? Not on my dime!

Recommend this post

01 December 2009

Mass Firing of Newly Unionized Staff

From my own community comes this news.
Employees at Duncan’s Sunridge seniors complex were told this afternoon about 200 will be let go as of March 31, a Health Employees Union official told the News Leader Pictorial.

“It’s a mass firing,” Margi Blamey said.

Her report comes on the heels of Saturday’s HEU certification vote when some 70 per cent of the facility’s employees voted to join the union.


The two-year-old facility receives about $10 million annually from the province.

A 70 percent vote in favour of unionization. That's a large majority and a clear democratically-determined conclusion.

If this privately-run facility wants to fire its staff, fine, if it's for just cause. But getting public funding to reap profits unfairly off the backs of its employees? Not on my dime!

Recommend this post

What is going on?!

Over the past ten weeks - actually, beginning in early Spring -, virtual strangers have been helping me. Even government bureaucrats, who are notorious for thwarting one's ambitions, have speedily done their job.

I've no idea how to handle it.

First, in the spring someone whose blog I read diligently contacted me about a subsidized seniors development that might accept my application. No guarantees, of course, and there'd be a waiting list even if my application was accepted. I'd not applied to this particular project because it wasn't listed as accepting pets. Well, it takes someone who knows someone who knows someone else...

Next, there were those terrible two days in September, when Brodie was going to have to go to the SPCA. For the third time in two and a half years, Kiltie had acquired a urinary tract infection. I couldn't do it anymore, couldn't care properly for both cats, let alone care for myself; not on $67/month total for 'discretionary' budget needs - groceries, toiletries, laundry money - which was all that was left after paying for shelter costs.

Two wonderful women came forward, one who sent me enough money to pay for Brodie's food for a year. The other, to provide Kiltie with the special food she needs to get her back to health and to keep her there.

A fourth woman contacted me a few days later about another matter, after reading a comment I'd left at another blog. I'd mentioned Challenging the Commonplace proudly sporting the logo of that "Left-wing fringe group: Women" but said I wouldn't be able to order a t-shirt and wear my support in that upfront and personal way.

A few days ago, I received a t-shirt.

Then there was this personal request I posted many moons ago. The woman who sent me enough money to cover Kiltie's food for a year added a bonus: enough money also to buy an exercise bike. (She'd wanted to help in additional ways, but we ran into problems.)

I've had a Healthrider N40 upright exercise bike, bought for half price, for two months now and been using it regularly. Am already feeling stronger. My back gives me less trouble, causes less pain when I take the long walks I can't (and don't want to) avoid. The more mobile one can be, the more freedom one has and the better the quality of life. This woman's gift has improved my quality of life, for which I am deeply grateful.

About those bureaucrats...

Had been fretting for over a year that when it came time to applying for my CPP pension, I'd come up against a stone wall of administrative indifference and intransigence. As experienced with bureaucracy in the past, I imagined being required to go above and beyond what most citizens must in order to prove identity. The process has always caused me distress - delving into my the past ain't fun. Childhood upheavals of myriad number have resulted in a paper trail, of who I belonged to and what my name was, not following a straight line. BUT and this is what my hopes were pinned on, the one thing that was constant, once I began working at age 15, was my social insurance number. I was taxpayer number xxx xxx xxx and through that number all my CPP contributions were made.

So... filled with apprehension, I completed my CPP application and mailed it August 25th. Within three weeks - not the months I'd been envisioning -, I received a reply. In large bolded letters, in consideration of aging eyes, the letter began:

Your Canada Pension Plan (CPP) Retirement Pension has been Approved.

In slightly smaller font, but still larger than average, further information was provided. It included the statement, in all caps: THE CHILD REARING PROVISION HAS BEEN TAKEN INTO CONSIDERATION - not that that will result in much; still, anything extra is welcome.

The CPP payments will begin August 2010.

My cynicism has undergone an adjustment.

Recommend this post

Finally, a correct, unequivocal decision.

From Michael Ignatieff, no less.

The man, and the Liberal Party, is on record for supporting a harmonized sales tax; but as demonstrated with other issues in the recent past, support for policy x has been no guarantee that Ignatieff wouldn't change his mind about policy x and thus signal a change in the party's support for it.

This time, finally, Ignatieff has made the correct decision.
Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff said on Tuesday that his party will support a Conservative bill that would allow provinces to harmonize the provincial sales tax and federal GST on products and services.

"Our party for 15 years has supported sales tax harmonization...." Ignatieff told reporters. "We will support this legislation in Parliament."

Ignatieff added that it would not be a free vote.

...Ignatieff had previously said that if the Liberals formed a government, they would not cancel HST agreements signed with the provinces. But it had been unclear whether they would support this proposed federal bill.

It's the right decision in terms of policy, but for the Liberals the more important point is that it's the right decision in terms of ending (I hope) the waffling and fence-sitting.

Of course, the more time that passes between an Ignatieff decision and the consequences of that decision - in this case, the actual Parliamentary vote -, the less confidence one might have that Ignatieff won't, again, change his mind.

As for the National Citizens Coalition estimate that "the HST will cost the average taxpayer an additional $800 to $1,000 annually," average in this case is meaningless.

First, as the wealth of the few(er) increases to bloating proportions, the mean average makes it appear that we're all doing better. Second, over the past decade and more, the income of the average median household has either remained static or fallen. Ergo: there are fewer taxpayers.

ETA: In case you missed it, I support the HST, qualifiedly.

Recommend this post

In favour of Climate Change?

People the world over are shouting about Climate Change. People are demanding that their governments work together to stop the downward spiral spin. And what can an individual do, you might ask. One giant step would be to stop eating meat. Yep. Get rid of the meat in your diet.

Half, yes half of all greenhouse gas emissions are caused by growing, slaughtering, rendering, transporting and distributing of live animals for us to eat, according to a report by Robert Goodland and Jef Anhang, environmental advisors (past and present) of the World Bank.
Their call to move to meat substitutes accords with the views of the chairman of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Dr Rajendra Pachauri, who has described eating less meat as "the most attractive opportunity" for making immediate changes to climate change.
In a paper published by a respected US thinktank, the Worldwatch Institute, two World Bank environmental advisers claim that instead of 18 per cent of global emissions being caused by meat, the true figure is 51 per cent.

Methane from the meat and dairy industry creates more CO2 than all the world's transportation emissions.
While looking into the paper's findings, Friends of the Earth said the report strengthened calls for the Government to act on emissions from meat production. "We already know that the meat and dairy industry causes more climate-changing emissions than all the world's transport," said Clare Oxborrow, senior food campaigner.

So, if you really want to make a difference, minus the meat from you meals.

Recommend this post