Monthly Archives: July 2009

When Her Majesty asks, the experts answer

Dear Queen Person,

OK, OK, technically I’m meant to call you Your Majesty or Your Highness or something else decorous, humble and traditional possibly including Queen of Canada. But this being the age of self-esteem I just wouldn’t feel validated doing that. Despite which I did sort of want to congratulate you for getting a bunch of arrogant pundits to apologize in writing because they didn’t see the recession coming. How ever did you do it? Continue reading

Nothing to see here, folks

‘Make next stop Mars, Apollo astronauts say” was Tuesday’s headline. Gad, I thought. How time flies. Can it really be 10 years since the 30th anniversary of the discovery that the moon is a dull place not worth visiting?

Mind you, I was a bit dismayed to learn last week that NASA had erased its video footage of the original mission. I mean, of all the people you wouldn’t expect to say “Moon schmoon” NASA is right up there with the League of Poetasters. (Since you ask, a poetaster is a mediocre poet, the sort whom moon-June-spoon causes to swoon and who writes country tunes rhyming “night” with “hold me tight” as if it had not been tried and found wanting. Like space exploration.)

Where was I? Ah, yes. The moon landing is one of those hallmarks, the first public event people of a certain generation remember and I am in that generation. Continue reading

Judges should answer the rest of us

It seems the wise Latina woman is getting canny as well. Barack Obama’s U.S. Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor just assured the Senate Judiciary Committee that “The task of a judge is not to make the law — it is to apply the law.” Can we run that by Canadian judges?

Uh, no. We don’t do that messy vulgar confirmation thing here. It’s all arranged behind closed doors, where elite lawyers quietly discuss with other elite lawyers which elite lawyers should be given untrammelled authority to overrule the public, periodically emerging to assure us that the result is commodious and fine. Like our Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin warning us in 2003 not to inject “partisan politics” into the appointment process because we want “individuals who embody the most valuable qualities of impartiality, empathy and wisdom. From where I sit, the current judiciary in Canada meets the highest standards in this respect.” Mirror, mirror on the wall…

Sotomayor committed a similar gaffe in a 2001 lecture, saying “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.” Other such remarks, plus her appeals court record in favour of affirmative action, created worries that she rules on race and gender instead of just the law. But under the American system, public scrutiny has forced her to backpedal. Continue reading

See if they care

With the Ontario government hurling public money hither and yon “picking winners”, the Ottawa Citizen reports complaints that the program is… not sufficiently geographcially balanced. The money is going to southwest Ontario including the dreaded Toronto and not to Ottawa. How can we be spending our time on such issues?

I may have to give up reading Premier Dalton McGuinty’s words to avoid grinding my teeth to nubbins. He responded to this criticism with an absolutely predictable burst of oleaginous blather, at once ingratiating, insubstantial and utterly useless: “I have great faith in our ability in Ottawa — as you know, it’s my hometown — for us to recover from a very difficult period which is affecting every Ontario community. The Nortel loss, in particular, was a heavy blow. I don’t think anybody would argue with that. But I’m convinced given our talent base there — you know, we’ve got two universities, colleges — that we have the foundation for new growth.”

Apart from its other disagreeable qualities, this response takes no account whatsoever of a new poll also reported in Saturday’s Citizen showing that Canadians do not trust the federal government to meet its budget projections and that 88 per cent of respondents want governments to cut spending rather than raise taxes to meet such targets. Maybe he knows there’s no longer any effective way for us to make our wishes felt in official circles. But in that case couldn’t he just limit himself to smirking and spare us this ghastly rhetoric?