Monthly Archives: September 2010

The lower side of politics

One of the oddest stories of the week, which takes some doing, was Michael Ignatieff apparently trying to undermine Canada’s bid for a UN Security Council seat. I know politics here doesn’t stop at the water’s edge but tries to shove the other fellow in. Still, this seems weird.

For the record, I’m not objecting because I want us to get a Security Council seat. As I subtly hinted in endorsing the suggestion back in 1999 that the UN be dismantled and hurled brick by brick into the river, I consider it a dangerous organization, less for the generally feeble things it does than for the illusions it fosters among well-meaning Westerners that there is some sort of world government committed to fair play and decency. Wednesday’s Citizen said our annual push to censure Iran’s human rights record might cost us crucial votes for that Security Council seat which gives you a pretty good idea what really goes on at the UN. Continue reading

Stay away from my seasoning

Can you believe our governments intend to make us eat less salt? Have they nothing better to do?

OK, less sodium. There really is a public-sector initiative to reduce my MSG intake, as insulting as it is useless. (For the record, I also don’t eat pure sodium; I hate the way it bursts into flames in water.)

Such a story certainly makes me shake my head at periodic fulminations about a hard-right conservative counterrevolution in Canada. This initiative came from a meeting of health ministers in Newfoundland that included federal Tory Leona Aglukkaq and four right-of-centre provincial representatives. So I ask you: What sort of conservative thinks the state should be telling people what to eat? For that matter, what kind of liberal thinks the state should be evicted from the bedrooms of the nation only to move into the kitchen and mess with the condiments? Continue reading

Just send your wallet to Queen’s Park

So I see from the papers that the Ontario government’s decision to buy overpriced politically correct power is going to cost us all money. As will its need to catch up on neglected mainstream generating capacity and, gosh, lots of other stuff that will force them to tighten our belts something fierce.

From among many ominous harbingers of taxes yet to come let me draw your horrified attention to Wednesday’s Citizen report on a study for Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters by Aegent Energy Advisors that “tallies up anticipated hydro cost increases from a dozen different sources between now and early 2015” and says Ottawans could get hit with a 41.8-per-cent rate hike by 2015 on top of the 17.7 per cent we were already whacked with this year alone.

Read it again. No, not the 41.8. The bit about “a dozen different sources.” It seems a whole lot of chickens are coming home to roost… in your wallet. Continue reading

The sickly sweet taste of subsidies

By the time you read this I hope to be sitting on my subsidized dock drinking subsidized beer and waiting to pour subsidized maple syrup on my subsidized pancakes. Not because Labour Day lets me pick my employer’s pocket by posing as a worker or I was somehow granted preferential access to the trough. What prompts this shimmering vision of subsidies dancing across the wavetops on a sunny afternoon is those dang press releases that keep pouring in about how everything in Canada is subsidized.

You think I got into the beer early and exaggerate? Banish that unsubsidized thought. I’ve been collecting these communiqu├ęs all summer and know whereof I speak. Yes, at some point I have to give them up. It’s an unhealthy, obsessive habit that’s interfering with what passes for my social relationships. But meanwhile let me grab your sleeve in the sickly but tenacious grip of the failing zealot and force you back into a subsidized Muskoka chair to hear my latest thoughts on the subject. Continue reading