Archive for November, 2012

November 30, 2012

Rob Ford, the Right and the failure of our education system

Yep, your heard me. They are all involved.

Rob Ford has been found guilty on conflict of interest charges. The prescribed penalty is banishment from office. You may think the penalty a bit harsh but that’s what it is. So now many members of the  body politic are up in arms. They say it’s undemocratic that a judge over ride the democratic choice of an electorate to remove Ford from office. I’m not going into this in a substantial way because in the past few days many others, more articulate than me, have done so. I just want to say that if you think an elected official found guilty of conflict of interest should not be punished then you have no clue as to what democracy is all about.

Why do we have laws to keep politicians in check if we aren’t going to use them? I find it disingenuous that the Right screams that it’s a left wing conspiracy that one of their own is found with their hand in the cookie jar and then claim it unjust when he is punished. And to make matters even more absurd, the proponents of mandatory sentencing rail at the harshness of the punishment meted out. They claim it is out of proportion to the circumstances that this should be taken into account.

Well, I say, welcome to the world of your own creation. How do you like it so far?

Nope, we’ve made a huge mistake in our school system. By putting so much emphasis on testing and acheivement we’ve forgotten about civic knowledge. It’s not that we need more ‘cooperative play’ in the schools. we have a lot of that and it doesn’t seem to have done much for us. What we need is a deeper pedagogy of teaching the roots and practice of democracy and our political system. Young adults have to graduate with critical faculties and the skill to understand and work with subtle nuances. Our educational system has proven itself not up to the task of teaching civics and critical thought.

If I were a teacher, I’d be ashamed of myself and my workplace right about now.

Otherwise, look what happens.

November 27, 2012

Better get used to Stephen Harper

Because, as last night proved, the Conservatives can hang on to power for as long as the left in Canada says they can.

In Calgary Centre the Conservative candidate won with 37% of the vote to the Liberals 32%. The Greens did well with 25% and I don’t blame them for hanging in there. However, if I were the NDP candidate I would have made a speech on election eve saying something like ‘I would like to thank all my supporters for the work they’ve done so far but it is apparent that I cannot win this riding. I think it is important to send the Conservatives a message and to signal to all Canadians that we have an alternative to allowing Stephen Harper t0 bully all of us. In a spirit of cooperation I urge my supporters to vote Liberal in order to defeat this particularly obnoxious Conservative candidate’.

Until such a speech can be made I don’t want to hear any more complaining about Harper.


November 27, 2012

I smell a rat!

So Ford may be finished as Mayor.

There is a quote on the front page of today’s Globe and Mail: “The ship is sinking and the rats are jumping.”

During the first year of Mayor Ford’s reign, Councillor Josh Matlow voted frequently with the Mayor to support the right wing at Council. In the second year, as Ford began to lose support, Matlow, with his moistened finger firmly in the air, began to vote more often with the progressive faction at Council.

Who do you think the above quote is from? Yes, from the Councillor looking in his rear view mirror to see who has now jumped into the water with him.

Hello Josh Matlow!

November 25, 2012

Calgary Centre By-election: Nov 26

Well it looks like the left is about to do it again. I’m talking about handing the trophy to the Right without a fight.

The biggest disservice to Canada by a political party in recent memory has to have been the NDP handing the reigns of government to Stephen Harper in the first place. Until then he was a scary figure to most Canadians. He was unlikely to have won an election for Prime Minister outright.

By defeating the Liberals and handing power to the Conservatives, Jack Layton broke the cardinal rule. He handed power to the enemy thereby giving them the tools of government and all the perks one has to influence the outcome of future elections. What the NDP did was allow Stephen Harper to look Prime Ministerial and not so scary. They allowed him to position himself for the subsequent drive for a majority.

Of course, the NDP has always considered the Liberals the enemy and not the Conservatives in their naive drive to move Canada toward a two party system where they feel they would have a better opportunity to achieve power (a la Britain). In doing so they handed the reigns of power over to a brilliant tactician.

Tomorrow is a bi-election in Calgary Centre. The Conservative candidate is polling at 37% with the liberals in second place at 32%. The Greens are at 17% and the NDP at 12%. The riding has been Conservative since it’s inception in 2004 and prior to that the same area has been Conservative since dinosaurs roamed Alberta (which, in fact, they still do).

In the last election the Conservatives got 56% of the vote with the NDP in second spot at 16%. So the bi-election polls are showing a major realignment of voters’ sympathies. And as we know from Stephen Harper’s election, it’s easier to fight from an incumbent’s position than a challenger. What a sea change this would be for the political landscape.

The polls show that no one but the Liberals have a chance to knock off the Conservatives. Everyone else is way back. Nathan Cullen, when he ran for the NDP leadership spoke of cooperation among the progressive parties to unseat the Conservative. Elizabeth May expressed  similar thoughts.

Why then has it come to this? There is a chance to take a seat in the centre of the Conservative holy land. There is a chance her for a model of cooperation to unseat Stephen Harper in the next federal election. No one is asking the opposition parties to stand aside and not contest every close riding. But there are ridings where only one opposition party is close enough to unseat a Conservative and where the difference in polling suggests it would be an easy take. Calgary Centre is one such riding at a crucial time.

To think that the parties of progress might not be able to do the right thing is unbelievable. What we are witnessing is the handing of political power to Harper and the Conservative Party of Canada for the next federal election. If this is the future of politics in Canada then it will result in a real and significant cultural change as the Conservatives continue to stamp their misdirected interpretation of our history on this county.

November 19, 2012

Shopping Advice re: stores that price match

I just thought I would add this observation as we enter the frenetic shopping time of the year. For several years now I’ve noticed that stores that price match are over priced.

For example, I went to Best Buy last week to buy a smart cover for my iPad Mini. I went to Best Buy because it was more convenient than going to Apple. Anyway, the cover is $45 at the Apple Store and they were charging $49.95 at Best Buy. Best Buy has a price guarantee so I was able to get them to confirm the price difference and sell the cover to me for $45.

However, the point is that they were over charging by 11% on the item.

I find this a typical scenario at such stores. They bring in customers with a promise to beat any other retailer, thus setting up an expectation that they are cheaper than other retailers. I presume they figure that most customers won’t price check and will just pay the higher prices. But it’s interesting that I have noticed that stores that offer price matching are usually more expensive.

A word of warning: if you’re shopping at these stores, do you homework first.

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