Wednesday, May 31, 2006


Fiscal Imbalance - The Real Deal

The city of Montreal, strapped for cash, will slash civic programs and services later this year to make up for an estimated $400-million shortfall. Mayor Gérald Tremblay has stated the obvious, property taxes aren't generating enough revenue to cover costs and the city is struggling to control expenses.

Any visitor or resident of Montreal can tell you that the city has major infrastructure problems -especially with sewer, roads and bridges. The city has deferred major capital investments- needed to fix roads and improve public transit - for decades.

An example of potential program cut - The School Crossing Guard. It costs the city $6 million a year to put crossing guards on street corners across the island. Plus, taxpayers are paying for that service in their right pockets and they're also paying in their left pockets for crossing guards that are financed by the Ministry of Education outside the territory of Montreal.

The real fiscal imbalance in this country exists between municipalities and the two levels of government - provincial and federal. Former Prime Minister Paul Martin's New Deal for Cities is just the start of some real changes that are needed. The majority of Canadians rely on civic services for everyday functions, this is more than pothole politics.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006


The Legend of The Playoff Beard

There are all kinds of sightings and sayings to indicate that spring has arrived. For me, the true sign is when playoff beards start sprouting.

The playoff beard, a superstitious practice, largely restricted to National Hockey League (NHL) players where a player does not shave during a run for the ultimate prize - the Stanley Cup - is now a right of passage in the NHL. Almost all players stop shaving when their team enters the playoffs and does not shave until said team is eliminated or wins the Stanley Cup. It is believed that the tradition was started in the 80's by the New York Islanders with Butch Goring, Billy Smith and the boys.

The Stanley Cup Finals are set to begin on Monday and it is time to examine the best beards of 2006.

Total Hair Award

The team award goes to the Edmonton Oilers, hands down. Pisani, Torres, Smith, Smyth, etc look like they are ready to head to a Toby Keith concert with a couple of Jack and Cokes.

Final Four

Western Conference Glory

Anaheim Ducks and the best Salt and Pepper.

Oilers Shaggy Duo - A beard and a musty

Eastern Conference Scruff

Carolina Hurricanes and the Best Greg DeVries Impersonation

Buffalo Sabre or Woolly Mammoth


In The Old Days...

...this was an Oiler Stanley Cup Celebration.

Love the "Mall Hair" and the sleevless Metalica shirt. Both never get old!!

Cross-posted at Puck This.


FNUC's Business is Your Business - UPDATED

Now that I have my facts straight, let's hope that Morley can do the same.
It appears that the First Nations University of Canada (FNUC) is opting to take the easy way out of its current governance mess. FNUC Administrators are "claiming" that the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) has been paternalistic and colonial in asking for changes - with no proof given. It discusses what would happen if FNUC left AUCC and suggests there are other accrediting bodies it could join. They proudly list on their - almost useless (you would think an institute of higher learning would have a half-decent website. This one is embarassing) - website, that they have been AUCC members since 1994.

There is something so wrong about that statement. If the AUCC is such a bad organization why does it have over 90 members plus the Ontario College of Art and Design and the most recent university in Ontario - University of Ontario Institute of Technology knocking at the door to become members. There are no national Canadian accrediting bodies that Morley Watson can turn to. This is simply smoke and mirrors.

The University of Regina would be wise to monitor this situation. Currently, FNUC students are receiving U of R degrees and the institution will want to maintain the integrity, quality and value of their papers, if and when, FNCC decides to adopt their own standards. The students are the true loser in this game. The whole Board should be forced to resign. They are a provincial and national embarrassment.

I have said it before and I will say it again, FNUC is over governed.

The FNUC Board has budgeted more than $600,000 for itself this year, an amount four times higher than Saskatchewan's other two university boards combined. Documents obtained by the Saskatchewan News Network show that the 32-member FNUC board spent $407,116 last year and has approved a budget of $612,957 for itself this year.

FNUC has a total student population of about 1,200. The U of S, with more than 19,000 students, spent $87,800 on its board last year and The University of Regina, with 13,000 students, has a board budget of just over $70,000.

Why does an institution with only 1,200 students need a 32 member Board? My first thought was that that number is outrageous, however, a closer look and one can see how that number is achieved - not justifiably. The SIFC Act specifies the composition and responsibilities of the board of governors. Two members of the board are appointed directly by the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN). Other members (partners) are appointed by the senate, Agency/Tribal Councils of Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan universities, Department of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, Saskatchewan Learning, First Nations University of Canada faculty and the First Nations University of Canada Students' Association.

There is no doubt that FNUC is a complex venture and there is a need for many partners to be around the decision making table, however, nothing rationale can get decided with a 32 member board for such a small institution. It isn't like the institution is experiencing tremendous enrolment growth (flat), embarking on massive capital projects, leading cutting edge scientific research and development. Nope, they are offering students mainly a liberal arts education - spare the National School of Dental Therapy. Plus, FNUC has a Senate to presumably over govern some more.

A closer look at some of their counterparts provides some valuable insight into other governance models. Mc Gill University, with close to 33,000 students, has a Board comprised of 28 members. However, unlike FNUC, at least one-third of their representatives are elected officials from campus - students, faculty, senators, etc.

The University of Toronto, the countries most populous higher learning institution, only has a Governing Council of 50. They also do not have a Senate and have close to 70,000 undergraduate and graduate students.

The FNUC's board expenses are probably the most troubling aspect of this entire story. The board's expense budget, per capita, is far and away the largest in the country. There is a total of $96,000 for travel and honoraria. Any Board of Governors need to provide stipend and travel for its members, but one has to wonder why a board made of almost exclusively Saskatchewan residents meeting ONLY in Saskatchewan require that much money.

It is, however, not just the travel costs, but rather the improper coding of administrative spending that requires explanation. Some FNUC board expenses are items most other institutions wouldn't include in the board budget, but rather in central administration. For example, an ordered forensic audit is budgeted for $320,000 and also $32,000 is budgeted for their presidential search.

There is, however, one large unjustifiable expense. There is an annual $125,000 "management fee" paid to the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations for political lobbying and connecting with other institutions. This is an utter shame. What is the FISN lobbying for? Doesn't the board connect with the University of Saskatchewan and Regina representatives when they attend board meetings? Plus, shouldn't the FISN lobby on behalf of the countries only Aboriginal institution because they believe in the model not to pay the bills? That is a disgrace and only emblematic of larger problems within First Nations governance models.

Serving as a member of a board - as I once did - at an institute of higher learning, you do not do this to embark on a money making venture. Individuals do it out of commitment to the institution, not greed. This story is shameful and requires more than a forensic audit.

I am all for self-government, BUT it comes with responsibilities. FNUC owes their students a quality education and one that is accredited. Right now, the bloated Board seems more interested in playing games than actually delivering a quality post-secondary education. FNUC receives a significant portion of its funds from either the provincial or federal government. As a taxpayer, Morley Watson is accountable for that money to everyone, not just his merry group of friends and relatives.


A Lobby Group's Secret Weapon

Lobby Groups should take note. American politicians are vulnerable to a guy in a cardigan sweater who is everyone’s neighbour.

In 1969 the US Senate had a hearing on funding the newly developed Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The proposed endowment was $20 million, but President Nixon wanted it cut in half because of the spending going on in the Vietnam War. Senator Pastore starts out very abrasive and by the time the late Mr. Rogers is done talking, Senator Pastore’s inner child has heard Mr. Rogers and agreed with him.

Watch Mister Rogers appear before the United States Senate Committee to plead for money for public broadcasters. He is really convincing and the Chair is ready to write a $20 million cheque. In 1969, that was some serious money for PBS. It is almost $107 million in inflation adjusted dollars.

FYI - Ground has been broken on the Fred Rogers Center.

Monday, May 29, 2006


Bizarre Inventions

When you can't find enough pockets to store your goods, why not try the tie? It is Hermes meets glovebox.
More crazy inventions here.


R.I.P - Everybody's Favourite Movie Principal

Paul Gleason from The Breakfast Club passed away at the age of 67. Gleason died at a local hospital Saturday of mesothelioma, a rare form of lung cancer linked to asbestos.

Gleason will be forever remembered as the man who gave detention to the brats and from two other teen classics - Not Another Team Movie and Van Wilder.

Sunday, May 28, 2006


Something to think about this Memorial Day

In honour of Stephen Harper's recent flip-flop on journalists being "allowed" to photography fallen soliders. A great story combined with two amazing photos.

The story can be found on Tenor John Mcdermott's blog. He posts about a touching moment on a recent flight.

I was traveling to Chicago on business, I noticed a Marine sergeant traveling with a folded flag, but did not put two and two together. After we'd boarded our flight, I turned to the sergeant, who'd been invited to sit in First Class (and was seated across from me), and inquired if he was heading home.
"No," he responded.

"Heading out?" I asked.

"No. I'm escorting a soldier home."

"Going to pick him up?"

"No. He is with me right now. He was killed in Iraq. I'm taking him home to his family."

The realization of what he had been asked to do hit me like a punch to the gut. It was an honor for him. He told me that, although he didn't know the soldier, he had delivered the news of his passing to the soldier's family and felt as if he did know them after so many conversations in so fewdays. I turned back to him, extended my hand, and said, "Thank you. Thank you for doing what you do so my family and I can do what we do."

Upon landing in Chicago the pilot stopped short of the gate and made the following announcement over the intercom.

"Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to note that we have had the honor of having Sergeant Steeley of the United States Marine Corps join us on this flight. He is escorting a fallen comrade back home to his family. I ask that you please remain in your seats when we open the forward door [so as to] allow Sergeant Steeley to deplane and receive his fellow soldier. We will then turn off the seat belt sign."

Without a sound, all went as requested. I noticed the sergeant saluting the casket as it was brought off the plane, and his action made me realize that I am proud to be an American. So here's a public thank-you to our military for doing what you do so we can live the way we do.

Stuart Margel,Washington D.C.

These are separate, but related pictures...................................................

Here are two pictures that were awarded first and second place at the picture of the year international this year. Very very touching photos.

First Place

Todd Heisler, The Rocky Mountain News

When 2nd Lt. James Cathey's body arrived at the Reno Airport, Marines climbed into the cargo hold of the plane and draped the flag over his casket as passengers watched the family gather on the tarmac. During the arrival of another Marine's casket last year at Denver International Airport, Major Steve Beck described the scene as one of the most powerful in the process: "See the people in the windows? They'll sit right there in the plane, watching those Marines. You gotta wonder what's going through their minds, knowing that they're on the plane that brought him home," he said. "They're going to remember being on that plane for the rest of their lives. They're going to remember bringing that Marine home. And they should!"

Todd Heisler, The Rocky Mountain News

The night before the burial of her husband's body, Katherine Cathey refused to leave the casket, asking to sleep next to his body for the last time. The Marines made a bed for her, tucking in the sheets below the flag. Before she fell asleep, she opened her laptop computer and played songs that reminded her of 'Cat,' and one of the Marines asked if she wanted them to continue standing watch as she slept. "I think it would be kind of nice if you kept doing it," she said. "I think that's what he would have wanted."

Hat tip to Julie for leading me to this story. I share many of her views on the war.


Nova Scotia Hot Air

Manitoba, Quebec and Alberta are getting serious about climate change and pollution reduction. The federal government is sending mixed signals. One day, they are out of Kyoto and the next day they are letting paper work proceed.

The Conservatives need to adopt some national strategy and also need to convene a federal-provincial meeting on the matter. The current Nova Scotia election - E-Day June 13 - has thrown the environmental issue back on the table.

Rodney MacDonald- a.k.a Little Stephen Harper - has now indicated that Nova Scotia won't try to meet Kyoto targets if the federal Conservatives withdraw from the air-pollution treaty. MacDonald says Nova Scotia is willing to meet "reasonable" and "achievable" targets. He wants the feds to decide what's appropriate.

The words reasonable and achievable targets are such a cough out. It is like placing the high jump bar at 6 inches and telling a fat kid to jump over it. The goal is reasonable and achievable - no more, no less. God forbid that we actually strive to make a marked difference.

Saturday, May 27, 2006


Who Wears Short Shorts?

Just when you thought the situation in Iraq was improving. Think again. Three members of the Iraq tennis team were shot dead on Thursday for the crime of wearing shorts. Witnesses said the three were dressed in shorts. Earlier this week militants issued a warning forbidding the wearing of shorts.

"The gunman took the body out of the car and threw it on top of the other two bodies before stealing the car," said the witness, who requested anonymity.

He said leaflets had been recently distributed in the area warning residents not to wear shorts.

Worse still, now comes word that US Marines, finally documented evidence is emerging, have recklessly killed innocent Iraqi civilians. The Globe reports today that there is stark evidence emerging of deliberate reprisal killings of about two dozen civilians, including women and children, by a handful of U.S. Marines.

Good to see both Bush and Blair admit mistakes. Now it time to get serious about reconstruction and a future for the country.

Friday, May 26, 2006


10 Things I Hate About Commandments

Moses, Moses. The parodies just keep coming. Good to see Mr. Movie - a.k.a Samuel L. Jackson is in this one too.


Beggars Can be Choosers

The fiscal imbalance sure has been hard on the province of Québec. That likely explains why the Québec government is increasing its presence abroad - opening new offices in India and Brazil, beefing up delegations in China, Europe and the United States, and planning a bigger role in international organizations.

This desire for growth is just a small part of a new document released this week by the Government of Québec. Québec’s new international policy identifies the broad objectives that will guide the government’s efforts and sets ten priorities for action. The province is seeking to flex its muscle and the Harper government seems perfectly content on rolling over to La Belle province.

Now, just to be clear. Québec is great place to visit. Nice place to raise small children. The tax system is punishing, however, most people there seem indifferent to it. It is likely a result of the nice handout from the Rest of Canada. The checklist of programs partially or fully funded by other Canadian provinces continues to grow and now includes:
There might be a fiscal issue between provinces and the federal government, but the problem does not hurt Québec. The province makes off like a bandit under the current system or likely will in the future system.


Hull no Oates

At least we still have Bert and Ernie. Brett Hull is finally emerging from Adam Oates' shadow and tying the knot.

The wedding is slated for July in Cabo San Lucas. Funny, my reservation must have got misplaced during the move.

Sunday, May 21, 2006


Give me a home where CBC roams

As a typical Canadian I am allowed to complain about services in Canada without appreciation of how good "we" have it. Anyone who frequently travels will know that Air Canada is actually a good airline and wins international awards. This might be a function of the poor competition, however, even the bad have to beat someone.

The NHL playoffs are no exception to this rule. The hockey coverage in the United States is AWFUL. We do not know how good CBC coverage is. You need to pay a guide to find hockey games on a cable package.

I have been in two major US centers in the past two weeks and have managed to catch exactly 1 game on television - to be fair NBC apparently had a game on a Saturday morning sandwiched between re-runs of Pee Wee's Playhouse and a Bowflex infomercial.

Now, back to my rant. The Ottawa and Buffalo series finale was the only game that I could track down. The coverage was from the Outdoor Life Network (OLN), and it was, to be kind to backpackers, fly fisherman and Babe Winkelman, terrible. The camera work was junk. This network has no business trying to carry hockey. The professionals stopped playing hockey outdoors the same year the "puck" was invented, many of the the OLN cameras - and most of their technology - were purchased. There were so many times when I was craving CBC coverage - even with Neale, Whitman and Millen. Desperate times call for drastic measures. What is even worse, is that very few cable providers have that channel on their package. There hasn't been a hotel that I visited that carries it.

The league has an exciting and improved product. It now needs a major league television deal. Please get back on ESPN. Beg the network to take you back and sandwich your game between 5 pin bowling and a spelling bee. Ask to be shown at half-time on the WNBA. Negotiate for a slot next to Stump the Schwab. I don't care. Get on a network with a sporting background.

Happy to see the Oil win again and hoping to catch game 3 at the ESPN Sports Zone in Vegas and maybe lay a few "dead presidents" on the lads for Redmonton.

Saturday, May 20, 2006


Sask Party Ebonics

Best political line of the week:

"Mr. Speaker, if you can't spell government and can't spell Saskatchewan, but you want to be the government of Saskatchewan you'd think you'd at least get one of them right," Calvert said as his caucus roared.

Calvert may not be much of a Premier, but that is one hell of a line.


....And a Baby Makes No Vacancy

The true definition of the *Nanny State* is starting to emerge in Black Jack, Missouri - just outside St.Louis. The city does not allow all residents to purchase or rent property without submitting the number of occupants in the dwelling and each persons relation to each other. Why is this important? Civic officials can deny individuals shelter if there are more than three people in one dwelling who are not all related. This means that a common law family with children can not live together in their own house.

Black Jack is back in the news. In 1999, an unmarried couple with 3-year-old triplets, Duane Carpenter and Doris McKinney, were denied an occupancy permit in the town. Now, the American Civil Liberties Union is taking up another fight for unmarried couple (Olivia Shelltrack and her partner of 13 years) with children and their quest to find housing.

Black Jack Mayor McCourt summed up his communities feelings in a letter to the ACLU in 1999.

"The easiest resolution to cure the situation would be for them to get married. Our community believes this is the appropriate way to raise a family."

Now, the Mayor has changed his tune and states that it isn't about playing God by telling citizens to marry, but rather it is a safety issue. They want to ensure that houses are safe with the proper number of citizens inside.

It is good to see that religious hypocrisy continues cloaked in the *security* veil.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


In Defense of Private Medicare

Canadian Conservatives, the majority of them, have long pined for the United States health care system. A user pay system with market forces at work and for-profit hospitals and HMO raking in large profits. A system where you get billed for Kleenex and band-aids. Many claim, especially the young breed, that they are perfectly healthy and there is no reason for high taxes to support someone else common cold.

The vast majority, not all, of these Conservatives have well paying jobs with extended health and dental plans so really the employer will pay, so privatize away. Of course, this doesn't take into account the huge pressure this places on the employer. The best example of this scenario is General Motors (GM). GM is literally dying from their mounting health costs and is staring at large, unfunded retirement health benefits. Now, in the United States this issue is not a private sector problem.

US Taxpayers will soon get a surprise bill that could exceed $1 trillion for the cost of paying future medical benefits for state and local workers who retire. Retiree medical costs are the biggest long-term challenge that state and local governments face. By comparison, state and local pensions have an unfunded liability of about $500 billion. State and local governments have set aside $2.5 trillion to help pay pension benefits for 19 million civil servants and 7 million retirees. But they have set aside almost nothing to pay for retiree medical benefits.

Minnesota State Auditor Pat Anderson sums it up best. She says that taxpayers will revolt when they realize the enormous cost of this:

The financial burdens on local governments will be so great they will put pressure on the federal government to nationalize health care.

Anderson, to be clear, opposes such an idea. She is simply trying to sound the alarm bell. Fix the leaky *health care system* or it will have to be nationalized to save money. This would be a catastrophe. Providing the 45 million Americans with basic converge. How dare they suggest such a thing?


Fact From Fiction - The Sequel

A message from your friendly neighbourhood National Rifle Association:

In an overreaching reaction to Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans and other government officials (there is something highly debatable about this statement. If officials were able to go to door to door, why were they not able to assist stranded citizens? I am sure that they didn't knock on the door SIMPLY for someone’s gun AND then leave them stranded) went door to door confiscating firearms from law-abiding citizens at gunpoint. There were no police, no lights, no phones, no 9-1-1. Gangs of armed thugs ruled the streets. Local officials could not protect their citizens. But they made a dangerous situation worse by denying their citizens firearms to protect themselves—just when they needed them most. A lawful person’s right to keep a gun for self-defense shouldn’t be revoked due to storm tracks, disease epidemics, tornado paths, flood levels, wildfires, Richter scales, street riots, terrorist events or the impulse of local bureaucrats.

Today, Thursday, May 18, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierrre and NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox announced a two-part initiative so this will never happen again.

The NRA is asking every mayor and police chief in America to sign a pledge that says they will never forcibly disarm the law-abiding citizens of their town or city.

The NRA will support the introduction of state and federal legislation that makes it a crime to forcibly disarm law-abiding citizens.

See their ad here.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


Fact From Fiction

It has been interesting to follow the critics (and there are plenty of them) of the current gun registry. The vast majority of complaints center on the notion that it is a right to own a firearm. Wrong. Check either the Charter or the Constitution. This isn't the United States and the King of England is not interested in your Colt 45. It isn't your right to own a gun anymore than it is your right to own a car or a home.

There are two separate issues to deal with during the gun registry discussion. One, the concept of registering a gun. Two, the cost (overruns) of the current program. There are only a few well-healed consultants that can defend the second. The previous Liberal government made some serious tactical errors on the administration of that file. They were punished and rightfully so. There is no reason that that program cost that much. There are no reasons for hiding money. All of that is an insult to Canadians.

The hysteria flowing from the concept of registering a gun is completely different than the cost overruns. One could suggest reforming the program? Establishing new software?

Why should we have to register our beloved guns? The fact that every Canadian legally driving a car has to register their car is a fairly good comparison. Or, the fact that you must register your cattle. We can pull that off for a reasonable low cost with very little noise.

The government, Big Brother, the Nanny State, The King, Jack Clayton, who ever you want to single out doesn't want to take your gun. They simply want them registered and licensed. I have no problem with registering guns. I am sure there are others, who to put it mildly, don't share my opinion. Great. Convince me that I am wrong.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Careful What You Wish For

The Federal New Democrats, never to be confused with organized, coherent or relevant, are bobbing in the wind. They want a vote to extend the Afghan mission BUT they just don't want it to happen this fast. There are few people that can have their cake and eat it too. Jack's Crew - not one of them.

Seriously, Rambo. Is that the Brad Levine and co. can come up? Their childish stunts and references get old so fast.

Sunday, May 14, 2006


Loonie Left

Cindy Sheehan as your anti-war poster child? Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez as your anti-big oil champion? Many politically left leaning individuals have hitched their wagons (hopes) to some real dim *stars* lately.

Sheehan, who lost a son in active combat in Iraq, has the right to be emotional crushed and can speak out against the war. She, however, can't claim to have any better idea to how get out of the Iraq mess nor does she ever state what would have been her alternative to removing Saddam?

President Chavez is *seen* by the Latin poor as having stood up to George Bush and big oil. How is that? Well, he nationalized the Venezuelan oil fields, following the lead of Castro and influencing Bolivia. This however may not have been the best move in the long run. Public ownership of natural resources - this is not always the case as there are some good CDN examples bucking this trend (SaskTel in Saskatchewan and Hydro Quebec to name a couple) - often leads to two things: poor infrastructure, technology and innovation. The government simply doesn't have the incentive to maintain cutting edge technology and is often too busy extracting the revenue from the agency to invest in enhancements.

The second reason Chavez is making a mistake with the oil decision is that now is the exact time when one would want to open up the fields for competition. The oil market has never been hotter and the investment opportunities would be flowing - all things being equally - to the country. Instead, Chavez has gambled that nationalization will not mean a mass exodus of foreign skilled workers since he believes the state run company can hire many back on contract.

The Venezuelan people for their efforts will soon get to vote on the merits of Chavez's actions. He will be asking for a term extension of 25 years. Yep, that is correct he is looking at democratically asking to having his dictatorship extended.


Second Verse, Same as the First

Stop me if you have heard this election phrase:

This campaign will be about who has the best plan for families.

Nova Scotia Conservative leader Rodney MacDonald muttered those words to reporters after visiting Lt.-Gov. Myra Freeman at her official residence, Government House, in Halifax and asking her to dissolve the legislature.

MacDonald is trying to secure his own mandate from Nova Scotia residents and break a minority government situation that has gripped the province for the past three years. Does that sound familiar?

MacDonald's most recent budget had a series of tax cuts, business subsidies and spending. An effort to sway every middle-class voter using Alberta's money. In fact, a close investigation of the past few Nova Scotia budgets and one can see where the federal Tories got some of their tax credit ideas from - e.g. small child hockey bucks.

The two opposition parties - the NDP and Liberals - don't appear as good reasons to turf the current government nor do either appear as "government in waiting." Darrell Dexter, he is no Robert Chisholm, and the NDP are likely to see their support stay at about the same level. If it increases, however, it will come at the expense of the Liberal party. The Liberals appear, to be polite, clueless. Their leader is untested and unknown. They don't stand for anything - that sounds familiar - and they are ripe for pounding.

Young MacDonald will be test driving a "hard working, tax paying family" message that will be form the nexus of discussion in the next federal election. As a result, the outcome on June 15 will be worth paying attention to. It is his to lose and it is hard to see how he will.

Saturday, May 13, 2006


A Sober Second Thought

Maybe a $100 rebate to each taxpayer would help ease the pain?

It is good to see that no matter how bad our rebate and tax credit ideas get north of the border, the United States has our back.

Thursday, May 11, 2006


What not to wear

The 4th game of the Ottawa - Buffalo series really got me thinking - Are NHL coaches mandated to purchase bad blazers and ridiculous ties?

Lindy Ruff was sporting a sweat vintage baby blue blazer with a blue and gold tie behind the bench. A tribute the 70s Sabres? A holdover from the 80s, when his goatee was in style?

It all became clear for me, however, when I saw this photo. I love Bob Gainey. Masterful hockey player. Great hockey mind. Fantastic motivator. Horrible dresser. Seriously. He is trying to pull off a bucket hat. Does he not know that those are reserved for fishing trips and the Yang.

Just for kicks, check out the Habs Halloween party. I love Saku in the video. Classic.

Cross posted on Puck this.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


Blue Man Group

Is Tom Cochrane an oiler fan?

Calgary started the trend with the Red Mile and subsequent mayhem. It wasn't too long after that it turned into a mini-Girls Gone Wild series. A breast here, an ass there and finally full nudity ensued. Now, following in that wonderful Alberta tradition the Blue Mile - read Whyte Ave - has emerged in Edmonton.

The website is a pretty good indication of two things:

It is colder in Edmonton so the *streakers* have more layers. I think I saw a toque in there.

Calgary has alot to be proud of.

Cross posted at Puck this.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


A Collective Nerd Cheer

World of Warcraft to the big screen. Warner Bros.-based Legendary Pictures has picked up film rights to adapt the popular fantasy video game franchise World of Warcraft and will develop the project with game publisher Blizzard Entertainment.

I know one blogger that is smiling!


Back Alley Academic

Ralph Klein is set to join the Fraser Institute after he leaves his thrown in Alberta. Klein is slated to join the Institute as a Senior Fellow. One would have thought he is a little to *liberal* for that gang, but to each their own.

Here is hoping that the Institute lets Ralph do the speaking and someone else do the writing. Ralph is well situated to write on Canada's social housing problem, interprovincial migration and maybe even social disorders.

We all eagerly await his first publication, ghost written of course!


Light hearted humor

US and Canada military conversation. Old, but still funny.

Monday, May 08, 2006


Political Corrected

The US government has attempted to put an end the ongoing debate on US college campuses about the all important issue of.... mascots.

A bi-partisan motion, introduced in the House, would limit the power that the NCAA has in punishing schools for choosing political incorrect mascots, logos or symbols. Recently, the NCAA has attempted to force some colleges to abandon their logos due to offensive images – e.g. The Fighting Sioux of North Dakota.

All the mascot tips you ever wanted can be found here - including why a good introduction is so key to your success.

FYI - The image is from an intramural team of Native Americans and non-Native Americans who are fighting for political correct images.


Dodged a bullet

It is a damn good thing the Conservative Party won a minority and not a majority. Why? Look no further than Maurice Vellacott and the recent federal budget.

Vellacott, the *esteemed* MP from Saskatoon is never short for words and always shy of intelligence and he has done it again. Big Mo has decided that we need to know his opinion on almost everything from Aboriginal affairs, abortion and the Supreme Court. He will play a role on the Aboriginal Committee - handpicked by Harper - and sadly will get air time.

The problem that Harper and the Cons have is that there are a lot more MPs like Maurice who are waiting to speak their minds. Canada's problem is that in a majority situation it would be hard to muzzle these idiots. The minority situation is hiding many Conservative MPs true policy intentions, especially on the social agenda.

The recent federal budget, while popular with Canadians especially Quebecers, is more Liberal than Conservative and certainly doesn’t reflect the true beliefs of the party. More tax credits to make the tax code harder to navigate? Larger government? More government spending? Tax increases?

The budget is bullet proof. Who can be against money for the troops? Kids? Farmers? Transit riders? Students? Families? Me. The majority of these measures will do nothing to alter an already set course.

Will a single motorist not drive to work due to the new tax credit? Nope. In fact, those western Canadian cities who shun public transit see this as a fine measure for folks in Toronto. The problem is that it will not address the real issue. Capacity and equipment. Public transit needs more cars, buses and routes.

Will a single student suddenly decide to attend post-secondary education because their a portion of their textbook costs will be a tax credit? Nope. The government simply made it marginally easier for those in the system to pay for education and even that is debatable. Why? The benefit comes after the expense has been taken on and those who need immediate assistance don't get it. You need to spend to save.

Should we be surprised that Quebeckers like the budget? Nope. They get to have their cake and eat it too. The province has universal daycare and now gets a baby bonus. I would love to see their opinions, and other Canadians, to the question of choice - $ 7 daycare OR $1200 magical dollars. My sense is that opinions would change substantially.

It is true that the previous government(s) had many years to implement a universal early learning strategy and they blew it. The majority of Canadians were just starting to see the benefits of a national daycare plan and so the impact of losing it will be largely unknown.

Conservatives often rail on Liberals and *Socialists* for treating public money (tax dollars) as their own and bribing Canadians with it. The Conservatives are just as guilty. They, however, are using the soft paternal approach - can we entice you to put your heavy kid in sport? - as opposed to a hard nanny state.

Saturday, May 06, 2006


Big Brother and Big Coporations: Two Dirty Peas in a Pod

American citizens take charge and tell your government to keep their grubby hands off the internet. Stop the push to gut Net Neutrality.

Sign the petition here.

MoveOn lists two good examples, one American and one Canadian, as to why this must be defeated. AOL blocked any email mentioning a coalition that MoveOn is a part of, which opposes AOL's proposed "email tax.

And last year, Canada's version of AT&T--Telus--blocked their Internet customers from visiting a website sympathetic to workers with whom Telus was negotiating.

So much for Free Speech. It likely went the way of Free Trade.


Ralph Klein's Retirement Party

One of the best sites ever is featuring snappy writing and classy photos. I can't help but laugh evertime I visit. It really is one of my new favourites.

Check out Hot Chicks with Douche Bags and see if your friends or enemies are famous.

Friday, May 05, 2006


Border security, American insecurity and Islamic militant insanity

The ugly face of anti-immigration has made a return visit to the United States. The past month has given witness to hundreds of demonstrations, mainly from Latinos, protesting the growing political appetite in the US to deport illegal immigrants at all costs. The President and some moderate Republicans have tried to convince many on the hard right that there are more than just social implications here and that there are some serious economic implications.

Border Patrol, one of the most offensive displays to hit the internet, is now the subject of many media stories. The game encourages players to shot at all costs three main types of Mexicans: The Nationalist, the Drug Smuggler and the Breeder - a.k.a. pregnant woman.

Play the game, if you want to, here.

Islamic militants are using*mods* on popular video games to exhort Muslim youths to take up arms against the United States. The games appear on militant Web sites, where youths as young as 7 can play at being troop-killing urban guerillas after registering with the site's sponsors.

And Hillary and other US lawmakers were concerned about Grand Theft Auto. These two make that look like Dig Dug.

Thursday, May 04, 2006


Hometown Heros

The Western Hockey League's Annual Bantom Draft, held today, showed just how strong minor hockey is in Saskatoon. The city produced 4 of the top 9 picks in the draft. Not bad, for a *small* town.

I can attest first hand to the talent in Saskatoon having coached Pee Wee kids a few years back. There is a very good developmental league and two good Midget teams. The major junior team is alot like the CFL Riders, always in next year country.

Saskatoon is just a small part of a hockey mad province- see Prince Albert's win of the Midget national tournament. Maybe it is the cold winters and the short summers, but the province is a hockey factory. If you don't believe me, stop by the statue of Gordie "Mr. Hockey" Howe and say Hi. Or, drop by the statue of Ghandi, it is your choice.

FYI - Ray Ferraro's son was selected 2nd overall.
Cross posted at Puck this!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Budget 2006

The skinny on Budget 2006


A balanced budget.

Increased assistance to farmers. An additional $1 billion for those who work the land. This money is more, but not enough. No money will ever be enough. The BILLION will make up for last years shortfall. There are gripping that it should not be all farmers, but restricted to just grain and oil seed sector. Canada is trapped in any international subsidy war AND it one we shouldn't wage.

More money for the military. New equipment for the troops. New monies to recruit soldiers.

New monies for the RCMP. More police and the illusion of increased security to follow.

$3 billion for debt reduction. The payments, expanding economy and strong dollar mean that the debt to GDP ratio is dropping faster than expected.

Money for the Cancer Control Strategy.

New immigration measures and landing fee reductions. Maybe, just maybe Solberg can clean that mess up.

Full tax exemption for scholarships and bursaries.

Lower corporate taxes

New infrastructure dollars for post-secondary education, housing and other C-48 measures.

BC and Newfoundland get protection from the new equalization rate and receive a smoothing amount.

Border security. If this is what it takes to make nice(er) with the United States.


The GST reduction. A bad political idea just became a terrible policy choice.

The more you spend the more you save. The federal government, regardless of party, continues to throw tax credits after tax credit to anything and everything. Kids in sports - check. Textbooks for students - check. Tools for the trades - check. Ride the bus - check. Work in Canada - check. The tax code just gets more difficult to understand.

A Harry T Stone slight of hand on personal income tax - up on the one hand and down on the other.

The Trade and Apprenticeship dollars. When will governments realize that it is demand issue and not a supply or financial barrier that stops most Canadians from enrolling in these programs. The grant and tax credits will make it easier for those already in the system.

The *Child Care Plan* - Why beat a dead horse? The plan is not sound policy and how many Canadians will actually see the $100 a month? Very few.

The environment is a big loser. The bus pass credit is hailed as the lone measure. A few more Tory MPs from smoggy Toronto and maybe the government will see the pressing matter at hand.

Quebec gets another $200 million from the new equalization program. It pays to be a social and economic basket case.

Not enough money for research and development. The $100 million is peanuts for a nation awash in cash and will do nothing to give Canada a productivity edge.

The Kelowna Accord is DEAD.


I love this game

The 2nd round matchup of Carolina v New Jersey. Is there anyone who actually wants to watch this series? Jersey should win with little difficulty.

Ottawa will be in tough against Buffalo. Buffalo is fast, fast, fast. The key rests with the Sabres round performances where, as the old adage, rings true: Lindy on the road and Ruff at home.

Watch out for San Jose in the west. Not sure what to make about Colorado stepping through to next round. They drew Dallas and were untested. If they draw San Jose, it will be a short series. If they draw Anaheim, maybe they have a chance.

Calgary is a dog fight with Anaheim and if they make it out, they will be in tough. The Oilers will battle whomever they play. Who wouldn't want to see a playoff version of the Battle of Alberta?

Actual predictions to follow when the matchups are set.
Cross posted to Puck This!


The Liberal Party of Canada - Fighting for the wealthy since 2006

I will need a few hours to examine the budget, but so far my favourite quote from Federal Budget 2006 is from interim Liberal Leader Bill Graham. Mssrs. Graham said he would feel "ashamed" if he did not vote against the budget. Why?

"I don't think that the people who have voted for the Liberal Party and asked us to be the custodians of their principles and their ideals, in this House of Parliament, would want us to vote in favour of this budget."

Graham said the budget offers little financial help for upper-income Canadians.

"In terms of taxes, there's little benefit for upper-income Canadians in it," he said. But ultimately, there's going to be tax increases in spite of what the minister is saying for those least able to afford them."

Monday, May 01, 2006


Somewhere a cross smolders

Hedy Fry is *considering* a bid for Liberal leader. Please, make it stop.