Sunday, September 28, 2008

Moving to Vancouver

"So many fail because they don't get started - they don't go. They don't overcome inertia. They don't begin." - W. Clement Stone

Sadly, today marks my last day as a permanent resident of Ontario. Tomorrow morning I will complete the most momentous change in my short life as I board a plane to Vancouver to start my career with Kiewit. Although this stems directly from another momentous change (making the switch from Chem. Eng to Civil), this definitely dwarfs all other decisions that I have made.

I don't want to dwell too much on my reasoning, as they are too many; most are personal and a few are professional. What I do want to highlight is the gratitude that I have for the many people, most of whom I call friends, that have influenced me, hung out with me, and guided me along the way. Having spent the weekend in Kingston for Queen's Homecoming, I got to see many of my Civil'08, Queen's and SMC friends. There are so many people that I know I will be staying in contact with. I used to think that I had very few close friends, but the bonds that we have cultivated and the resulting outpouring of emotion this weekend has proven otherwise.

I will truly miss Mississauga, Kingston, and the Greater Toronto area. They will always be home. And I expect to be back permanently, be it sooner or later.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Wasting Political Efforts

First Jack Layton said he wanted to be Prime Minister of a coalition government.
Now Lizzy May wants voters to vote strategically.

WHAT IS THE POINT OF RUNNING A CAMPAIGN?

This really perplexes me. These leaders are really taking the wind out of their own sails! I anticipated the Green Party receiving around 10% of the popular vote. But what her recent statement does is cheapen the efforts of her supporters on the ground. As a campaign volunteer for my local Conservative candidate, Bob Dechert, I know how much the leader's visits and messages have an impact on my own efforts. Her grassroots volunteers probably woke up today, looked at that headline, and asked themselves: Why am I doing this then? What is the point of all of that door-knocking, phone-calling, sign-posting? This goes against what was said last year, claiming that a Green vote isn't a wasted vote.

Even the former president of the Liberal Party of Canada says that the Liberals are going to "take a drubbing." This can't be a good feeling for the Liberal volunteers on the ground. They are wearing out their shoes and told their efforts will be for nought.

As for the prospects of a left-wing coalition government.... wow. Canada would be in serious trouble. It would be a spend-first tax-next government. I can't afford that right now. Neither can our economy, which they all claim to be worried about.

UPDATE: Even Warren Kinsella can see the upcoming troubles for the Liberals.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Mark Zomberg does not exist

Zuckerberg.... Zomberg... I guess it sounds kinda the same.

At last count 1,035,789 people were stupid enough to join a group claiming that if 10 million joined, this fictional character would reverse the recent changes made to Facebook.

Kinda sounds like the old "FWD this email so hotmail stays free!" chain mail of years past. Every single day this stupid group pops up into my news feed, telling me that 4 or 5 friends have joined this group. Jeez people... there's a reason that this group does not have any content.

Polls CAN tell the truth: Breaking stereotypes

Yesterday I had a conversation with a few other Conservative supporters in my riding. We got to talking about the image problem that the Conservative Party has historically had, and how we all broke the stereotypical mould.

A black conservative? Shock and awe!
An immigrant conservative? Bewilderment!
A professional woman conservative? Unheardof!
A gay conservative? Unfathomable!
A lower-income conservative? Unbelievable!

From today's Daily Tracking numbers from EKOS:
1. [The] front-running Conservatives ... appeal now cuts across economic classes.

Contrary to the conventional picture of the Conservatives as the party of the better-off, they are almost completely uniform across income groups in terms of their support. In other words, whether you are making less than $40,000 a year or more than $80,000, your likelihood of voting Conservative is almost exactly the same.

2. In contrast, the Liberals ... now skew clearly towards wealthier voters.

3. The Conservatives are winning every age category, from youngest to oldest.
I am glad to finally see people accepting the message from the Conservative Party at face value, instead of believing what the mainstream media would have you believe about their ideals.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Green Shift no more?

Dion: The Green Shift is not a major part of the Liberals election platform.

WHHHAAAATTTTTT?!?
TO Star

I've always found the joke about Liberals flip-flopping to be funny, but this.... beyond the pale.
Mr. Dion has been touring the country since WINTER! trying to convince people that the Green Shift is a good idea. Now you are campaigning with nothing, nada, bupkis. The plan was unpopular at best, yes, but at least stick to your mores, and go down with the sinking ship. I think it is he, Dion, with the not-so-hidden hidden agenda.

So I guess that it is now upto Elizabeth May of the Green Party to continue stumping for the Green Shift. She claims that it's her idea anyways.

Update: Oh! That was the sound of the flop-back. The Shift is back on... but not as an important part of their campaign.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

wtf Political Correctness

Many disturbing stories from this past weekend. I really hate this culture of political correctness that is being imposed. It is destroying free speech. It is also now destroying careers, thanks to the Human Rights Tribunal. Staying abreast of current political correctness is now a full time occupation.

Couple of interesting headlines to start

Doctor deemed racist for 'liking visible minorities', $4000 fine


UN Calls Canada Racist for 'visible minorities' tag.


I really hate labels to begin with. But seriously... Can you please tell me: What is the politically correct way to describe me these days?


I've also come to hate blogs... am I a hypocrite for keeping one, even though no one reads it? I'll hopefully have some time to pen my reactions to Chris Reid's resignation as Conservative candidate, simply for believing in personal liberty.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Politics and the General Public: Policy, Promises and the Unintelligible

Wow, am I about to make a non-partisan post? We'll see...

After watching CBCs "Your Turn 2008" campaign programme today, I think I understand the problem with government (Note: I said government, NOT politics) in North America, and especially in Canada. This may be an oversimplification of the sources of the problem, but bear with me.

It all starts with Voter Apathy.

Voters stop caring because they see all of the politics. That's all of the posturing, the partisan hackery and mockery. They see all of the broken promises made.
New voters dont start caring because they see the above. But more importantly, they do not understand the underlying principals behind the promises made (then broken).

Why are the promises made in the first place?
Because the political parties do not have policy that is easily interpreted by the general public. The possible reasons are many: the policy is too difficult to understand, the policy is deliberately convoluted, it might even be that the general public is too stupid to understand the policy. But the bottom line is this, that the political parties cannot let their policy documents stand on their own as living, breathing documents.

So the political parties make "policy decisions" which are expressed as (mostly) spending promises and tax cuts (or increases). The details of these expressions are based on the current realities, or the anticipated reality of the (hopefully) foreseeable future. But it's all fiction and conjecture really. And once you get into power (or opposition), the reality is usually different. So your policy gets expressed in terms of a different revenue stream or expenditure.

Ok... all that to just say this: Party policy is just too friggin complicated to understand. That's it.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Trading Votes

Would you really trade your vote to someone across the country to keep a certain party from getting a majority? This has popped up in the last day or so here in Canada. And I find it very troubling, but I will need to spend a couple of days doing some more research and thinking to really put my finger on it.

Yes, it shows dissatisfaction with the current system. I'll be the first to say that our system sucks. But please do note that the Conservatives are the only party that has supported electoral reform.

I'll be reading the Canada Elections Act, along with decisions made by the courts in the UK and US on similar practises.

A quick quote from the US decision:
"they amounted to efforts by politically engaged people to support their preferred candidates and to avoid election results that they feared would contravene the preferences of a majority of voters in closely contested states" [emphasis added]

This does not apply to the Canadian political arena because you are no longer voting for your preferred candidate, but for the party. Which, theoretically, you aren't voting for. As for the majority of voters part, that too does not apply, because there has never been an instance in Canada where the party with the most votes hasn't formed government. Yet.

Green Party Leader Liz May: Canadians Are Stupid

Why the Green Party will not elect a single member to the Parliament this election

Reason:
Question: "Why are Canadians scared of a Carbon Tax?"
Liz May: "I think Canadians are stupid."

Sorry Lizzy, you just lost everything that you had built up over the last 2 years.

The Changing Face of the Ontario Economy

In Response to Toronto Star Article: Harper won't guarantee Ontario jobs

This simply goes beyond politics. No amount of political posturing is going to change our economy's present troubles.

Face the facts. Our economy is changing. We can no longer rely on the manufacturing industry, for one simply reason: the cost of labour. We can no longer use the cheap dollar as a crutch in helping our exporters; we had an opportunity to improve efficiencies in the late 90s, slept on that, and now we are paying the consequences.

The bottom line: You aren't going to keep your jobs CAWs. Because you get paid $70/hr in an unskilled position.

The Future: Ontario must start to reshape itself as a place for skilled workers, especially in the areas of innovation. I may be on the other side of the political spectrum as McGuinty, but I will give him due in this area. Premier McGuinty has himself realized the importance of innovation in securing Ontario's place in the emerging global markets. Check out the work that he has done as Minister of Innovation, and the work being done by the newly reorganized Ontario Centres of Excellence. (www.oce-ontario.org/) This group is working to build connections between industry, research and academia, to find the next RIM or Imax.

You simply cannot guarantee jobs, as the NDP or the private unions would have you believe. You cannot bully private companies into keeping jobs in Canada. What you have to do is reshape your industries, keep your workforce current, up to the times, and WELL EDUCATED! As such, the decision to reopen a Windsor plant over the one in Oshawa was simple: The Ford facility is an engine plant, and the money is earmarked for investment in fuel-efficient technologies. That's the future.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Days of our Lives

So in the past 24 or so hours (ok, the past 29 hours), I've been all over place. Mostly around downtown Toronto. But thanks to my role at TIFF, I've had quite the day.
Yesterday I went to the Terence Blanchard concert at Yonge & Dundas Square. For any of you jazz heads out there, you know the man. Quite the cool cat, and he put on an amazing show, even in the rain. But before then, I ran into several old friends, including Geoff D. from SMC '03, Jamie M. from Queen's '07, and Danny R from SMC '03 and Queens.
Tonight I had the opportunity to stand on the stage behind the Prime Minister at a campaign stop in Mississauga. He even shook my hand on camera! This was at his announcement on Veterens Affairs, which will provide Allied soldiers with the same tax benefits as Canadian soldiers. Very big step.
I just, JUST, got back from a private concert by Metric. OMG, Emily Haines and those legs. It was quite the intimate affair, and we got some sweet photos from our spot right at the side of the stage. Awesome double set by this Canadian band. I'll try to get the photos posted on Facebook within the next couple of days.

Monday, September 8, 2008

I'm moving to a land of Carbon Taxes

It's official, I am moving to British Columbia.
First things first... I'm going to try to get rid of that silly carbon tax.

To make a long story short, I accepted a job in Vancouver which starts in October. More later.

Toronto Star continues to suck b@!!s

An update on the Toronto Star calling the past government productive. TODAY they decided that the Conservatives record is somehow flawed.

Harper is running on flawed record

"...Canadians have seen what kind of government he runs over the past 32 months. Of course, it was a minority government, held in check by the opposition parties."

Held in check? All that Mr. Dion did was run and hide every time the Conservatives wanted to pass a bill.
Every time something came up, all the Liberals decided that they needed to take a piss.
Every time something came up, they needed to run home and check their toasters.
Every time something came up, they needed to take their dog for a walk, instead of actually voting, as they were elected to do. At least Jack Layton and the NDP had the balls to stay in the House.

The Liberal Press Machine: The Toronto Star

This from the Toronto Star editorial, entitled: War of Words on Green Shift.

"The Conservatives are seeing red over the Green Shift.

Last week, Liberal Leader St├ęphane Dion announced shifts to his Green Shift, some $900 million in concessions for sectors hit hard by the carbon tax plan.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper promptly lashed out at the changes as 11th hour improvisations that suggest Dion is rewriting his plan "on the back of envelopes."

...

it is hard to see his announcement last week as anything other than a legitimate political response from a responsive leader to public feedback – precisely what Dion said he was setting out to do when he road-tested the proposals over the summer."


My Opinion:

The bottom line is this: The Toronto Star's editors and "analysts" are simply a privately funded corporation acting as part of the broke Liberal election machine.

How do the announced changes (read: flip-flops) constitute a "legitimate political response"? This is simply the Liberal party pandering to whomever can shout the loudest.

What it also does is make an ill-conceived plan even more complicated. OUR TAXATION SYSTEM IS COMPLICATED ENOUGH AS IT IS! If you are going to do something, make it easier for me to hand over my hard earned dollars for you to spend in ways that do not benefit me, or the country.

Every new tax system, every new tax credit or taxation exemption makes it harder and harder for an individual to do their own taxes. Why should I have to SPEND money having someone do my tax reporting? This reduces the collective disposable income, which hurts the economy. Imagine the effect on corporations. They won't have the time or money to invest in new innovations; they'll be hiring more tax lawyers to figure out what the hell they owe to whom.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Politics and the Media

I really do hate the Toronto Star. For the entire time that the Tories have governed, they have criticized every single move that they have made. Now that it serves their purposes, they are claiming that this past parliament was "productive". This now allows them to say that the Conservatives are now calling the election for political gain. Why not "report" that this, and I quote, "has been one of the more productive and long-lasting minority governments in Canadian history"? The simple reason is thus: The Toronto Star is not interested in providing and reporting facts for the general public, they would rather force feed the masses their political spin.

Another great example is today's front page article. Click Here. I have never before seen such a blatantly partisan front page article from a major newspaper. What the Toronto Star did, in effect, was make an endorsement BEFORE the election had even been called.

My next complaint is of the CBC. Take a look at what they had to offer on the Palin baby story, a full two days after this story was debunked on the internet: Click Here. I'm not saying that they are biased (they are). I'm just saying that they're stupid. (And a slight waste of tax-payers dollars, although I love CBCSports.)

I'll definitely be posting some more thoughts as the campaigns start to ramp up, but do yourselves a favour: Read the National Post.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008