Monthly Archives: August 2010

Talking different languages

Isn’t it reassuring that the Obama administration has invited Israeli and Palestinian leaders to Washington to resume what the Citizen delicately called “long-stalled direct peace talks”? Mind you, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton cautioned that “there will be difficulties ahead.” Darn it all. Difficulties in the Middle East? How did that happen?

You could start with George Will’s column in Wednesday’s National Post asking bluntly: “Negotiations about what?” Israel, he rightly said, is determined not to allow a third Islamic republic in the West Bank to go with those in Iran and now Gaza. And that is the Palestinians’ minimum condition in negotiations. Continue reading

The smartest dunces you ever met

The latest inept and expensive flip-flop from the Ontario government, on overpriced rural solar power, has me scratching my head till my scalp hurts on a key question of political economy: Is it in fact possible to be a cunning dunce?

In case you missed it, the McGuinty Liberals just proposed a massive bounty for rural solar power and apparently (I am not making this up) didn’t realize people would come for it … in which case why offer it? Their “microFIT” program offered nearly 20 times the market price for solar-generated electricity, 80.2 cents per kilowatt hour (kW·h) rather than 4.02, to try to get people to put a few panels on their roof. To the government’s astonishment, a gold rush ensued instead. Continue reading

Today’s politics: boring, yet horrible

One thing I cannot stop myself doing is noting all the press releases the federal government puts out touting the myriad ways it has spent public money trying to buy support. What a lack of monument to democracy. No reasoning, no eloquence, just cash changing hands.

It’s one thing to be obsessed with insider stuff. But as these releases pour into my inbox I wonder in horrified incredulity who on Earth the senders think wants to read them, even among political junkies. Can they even interest their authors? Continue reading

Clichés are bad for our health

With Canada’s health-care system in chronic crisis this is no time for stale clichés. We need fresh ones. Vibrant, patient-centred, 21st-century clichés. We need rhetorical transformation and we need it now.

So I turn to the Canadian Medical Association’s new report “Health Care Transformation in Canada.” I savour one of those taglines that hollers vacuity: “Change that works. Care that lasts.” And I plunge into a clarion call for transformative inaction. Continue reading