Sunday, November 20, 2016

Tending the home fires

Like all other sentient beings, I have been aghast at the inconceivable political tragedy playing out to the south.  It has also been heart wrenching observing the stress the election of Trump has caused in my girlfriend's family back in her New England home.  As a Canadian, I have to be careful not to resort to smug claims that it couldn't happen here.

As a matter of fact, it most definitely could as we saw with the Snitch Line horror from the 2015 election and the ludicrous attempt to use the hijab as a campaign lever.  And the cynical use of this execrable tactic by Dr. Voldemart (She shall not be named).  But, whether through good luck or good virtue, we avoided the embarrassment of re-electing the Harper Horror.  As a result, we are feted as the last bulwark of openness.

It is a duty of all citizens of conscience to do what we can to confound the forces of hate whenever and wherever they raise their head from the muck.  As a Canadian, I rededicate this blog to excoriating the hate wherever it arises in my Home and Native Land so as to preserve what good we have and encourage us to improve.  If we are the last bastion of openness, we have a parallel to follow (with a few edits to reflect the current menace):
Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous the United States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo Breitbart and all the odious apparatus of Nazi Trump rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France Quebec, we shall fight ion the Maritimes seas and oceans Prairies, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the airwaves, we shall defend our chunk of the continent island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches Blogger, we shall fight on the editorial pages landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender...
And, after a tough fight, it turned out right in the end.  So can ours if we stand up and fight against hate.Recommend this Post

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

He is "entitled to his entitlements"

If you were as generally loathed as Harper is, I wouldn't let him fly commercial either.  But the Conservatives led by Harper made great hay out of Don Dingwall's unfortunate English usage.  The Cons were successfully able to paint him as nickel and diming the taxpayers through expense claims.

The same accusation can't be leveled at Harper.  He isn't a hypocrite in the sense that he made expense claims for small personal amounts.  It is hypocritical to have railed against Liberal expenditures and then connived to underpay for personal flights on government jets.Recommend this Post

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

A Benefit of a "False Majority"

Lots of pearl clutching regarding how the Liberal majority isn't based on a majority of the popular vote.  While that may be the case and relevant for a discussion of electoral reform, I find this story to be an indication of how probable a constitutional crisis would have been if there were a Liberal or NDP minority victory.
If he’s set on swearing in his new cabinet as planned next Wednesday, Justin Trudeau may have to do something he likely thought had dropped off his to-do list forever: namely, call on Stephen Harper to resign — not publicly, necessarily, and with the greatest possible respect for the outgoing leader, but definitively.
Or, if he has indeed done so, make a public announcement to that effect.
Because at the moment, it doesn’t appear that Harper has formally served notice to Governor General David Johnston — or anyone else — that he will voluntarily cede power to the incoming Liberal government next week. No official notice has been released to the media, or posted to the Rideau Hall website, nor has Harper’s office issued a statement confirming that he will resign.
Yes, yes, after the non-resignation story was published, there was a less than definitive commitment to resign:
Shortly after this story went out, the governor general’s senior communications advisor Marie-Eve Letourneau got in touch to say that, “in keeping with Canadian practice,” Harper “signified his intention to resign when he visited the Governor General at Rideau Hall immediately following the election,” although he won’t formally do so until Nov. 4, “just prior to the swearing-in of the new ministry.”
She also said that the governor-general met with Trudeau following the election as well.
What we still don’t know, however, is why the process has been conducted in such a clandestine fashion, without even an after-the-fact advisory that these meetings had taken place. There is also some uncertainty around whether that secrecy is, as Letourneau put it, “in keeping with Canadian practice.”
It would be a hypothetical bet, but if Harper lost to a minority, who would put money on him actually resigning without a messy fight (or at least a hissy fit).  The quirkiness of our system might have saved us from a big problem.Recommend this Post

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Scouring of The Shire

Tolkien protested when it was suggested that The Lord of the Rings was an allegory for the Second World War
I cordially dislike allegory in all its manifestations, and always have done so since I grew old and wary enough to detect its presence. I much prefer history – true or feigned– with its varied applicability to the thought and experience of readers. I think that many confuse applicability with allegory, but the one resides in the freedom of the reader, and the other in the purposed domination of the author.
And while there may not have been an intentional allegorical reference to WWII, in his stories about Hobbits, there may be an unintentional one.  His description of The Shire has a lot of parallels with Canada.  From the Cliff Notes on the Return of the King:
From the novel's outset, the Shire stands as an ideal country, characterized by green hills, sparkling rivers, and pleasant woodlands. The inhabitants of that community are farmers, tradesmen, and country gentry, all of whom indulge in the innocent pleasures of rustic life: good food, strong beer, and idle gossip, all amply represented at Bilbo's birthday party.
The Shire and its inhabitants were generally ignored by their allies to the south in Gondor, although the Hobbits have proved themselves as fierce warriors when then had no other choice.  They are not oftne included in the councils of the "wise" but they are instrumental at the key times.  If that isn't Canada, what is, eh?

And life went on like this for the Hobbits of The Shire.  Until there came a time when the Hobbits let their guard down and individuals driven by greed.
When they return home, however, the Shire hobbits discover their cherished ideal corrupted. A totalitarian state has replaced the carefree rural life, dominated by "the Rules" and suffering from "no beer and very little food." Journeying deeper into the Shire reveals a devastated countryside. Homes have been replaced by ugly row houses and barracks, trees have been wantonly felled, and the old mill has been replaced by "a great brick building straddling the stream, which it fouled with a steaming and stinking outflow.
Is this due to external forces?
At first glance, Frodo and the others blame outside forces for the destruction. Evil men, brigands, and thieves have moved in while the protecting Rangers have gone to war. Sharkey, their leader, has urged them to "hack, burn and ruin" since his arrival. The hobbits soon learn that Sharkey is their old enemy Saruman, who has ravaged the Shire in revenge for his own losses.
(Yes, Harper is not the ultimate evil.  He is the banal equivalent of the lesser evil to Sauron.)

But the Hobbits are inspired to fight back and reclaim the home and native land they knew was still there somewhere.
With determination and cooperation, the hobbits expel the invaders, destroy Saruman and his henchman Wormtongue, and eradicate the last vestige of Sauron's evil in Middle-earth. Then they apply the same energy to the restoration of their beloved homeland. "Now there were thousands of willing hands of all ages, from the small and nimble ones of the hobbit lads and lasses to the well-worn and horny ones of the gaffers and gammers." The result is not just an ideal restored, but surpassed: "a gleam of beauty beyond that of mortal summers that flicker and pass on this Middle-earth." As with the novel as a whole, the ending of evil means little without the assurance of continuation, that the life and land, once saved, will be preserved and remembered.

Not a bad allegory at all in my opinion.  Well done and very prescient Mr. Tolkien.

Recommend this Post

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Encouraging Things About High Turnout

The was a great turnout to the advance polls.  It could be people looking to rebel against robocalls or for other reasons.  It is great to see regardless of the reasons.

But I would like to draw attention to one added reason I like to see high turnouts by highlighting a pot from long ago...The Downside for Harper

 am hoping the turnout is massive.  And let the chips fall where they may.Recommend this Post