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October 10, 2007

The Lesson Not Learned

One simple lesson. But they never do learn, do they?

When Andrew Coyne is not writing about MMP, he's Canada's best columnist. In today's piece he smacks around those politicians that think their targeted industrial strategies, supply management programs, and regional development initiatives do any good at all. Actually, 'those politicians' are pretty much 'all politicians'. It's pretty hard to find one that doesn't believe that taking money from some and giving it to others (accompanied by a photo-op, of course) is not a good idea. Read the whole thing, but I especially enjoyed this paragraph:

All of economics is devoted to the proposition that there is no such thing as a free lunch. All of politics is devoted to the opposite conviction. All economics teaches that you can’t get something for nothing. All politics supposes that you can -- or that you can at least persuade other people that you can. Economics is about scarcity, universal and inescapable. Politics is about limitless plenty.

Too much John Tory

I paid scant attention to this Ontario election. I read some headlines, I heard a few sound-bites on the radio, and saw a couple of ads. In fact, I probably paid as much attention to it as the average Ontario voter. So I think I'm qualified to make a brief comment on why John Tory's Tories have crashed and burned. There's probably been a bit of analysis on the subject already, but tomorrow is when everyone will pull out their theories and wave them around. I'll be busy tomorrow, so I'll do mine today.

Too much John Tory. The more I saw of him, the more I heard from him, the more tired I was of him. He exhausted me.

I met him this year at the big Conservative boot camp in Toronto, and heard him give a pretty good speech. He seemed like he couldn't lose the next Ontario election.

But during the election he became too visible and accessible. He talked too much. And when he talked, he worked too hard to say whatever it was he thought people wanted him to say. All that talking started to irritate people. When he was on the radio, the answer to the simplest question would be turned into an endless run-on sentence, stuffed to overflowing with pompous political phrases and jargon that were used to connect the multitude of tiresome talking points he wanted to hammer you with. I can imagine that if the interviewers weren't able to interrupt him, he would eventually get back to where he started from -- sort of like a comet's orbit. And then he would continue.

Most of what he was saying was blather. After listening to him speaking one time on the school-funding issue, he managed to convince me that his position was right. But surrounding his reasonable argument were clouds of fuzzy nothingisms that camouflaged his little nugget of sense. I actually had a more negative opinion of him after listening to him make a point I agreed with.

McGuinty, on the other hand, kept a low profile. He knows -- or at least his campaign knows -- that he is just the same kind of mush-spilling, say-anything politician that Tory turned out to be. So they put him in a box and only let him out for special occasions.

This is the future of politics, I believe. The leader will be an empty slate that the voters can colour in with their own individual hopes. Candidates are always the most popular before anything is known about them. People really want to believe in someone, and before a politician opens his mouth it's easier to have that faith in him. Campaigns are now trying to prolong this period. Of course, this makes me wonder why the US presidential candidates are subjecting themselves to these endless televised debates. Maybe it's because they know that no one will be stupid enough to watch them. And that when the real debates come around, they will seem much less important and not deserving of the voters' careful scrutiny.

October 02, 2007

Ontario's Health Care System

My exciting new priority didn't get much attention yesterday as my children were home from school sick, and I experienced an unnatural and almost forgotten urge to feed my blog. And now, here I am again: blogging. But at least this does have a little something to do with my new priority. More information later.

This video is almost cruelly manipulative, but it makes an important point about the strange priorities of our political class. It's called 'Two Women'. I won't say any more about it; but watch it -- especially if you will be voting in the upcoming Ontario election. And tell your friends.

I want to make it clear that I have nothing against Susan, the second of the two women. From her point of view, she needed something, lobbied to get it, and was successful. But the politicians -- if they are going to manage all our health care needs -- have to be effective in making in choices in how to use the limited resources available to meet those needs. And this short film makes it clear that they are not effective.

The resources will always be limited for health care. There will always be some form of rationing. But can it ever be done in a fair way?

June 19, 2006

Canadian Blogfest '06

Well, Darcey, Ian, Les, the Zerb, and Right Girl have already offered their accounts of what happened that night, but I think they all may have been drinking heavily and got a few things wrong. So it's up to me to offer the definitive account, so that when the Post Office gets around to making a Heritage Minute spot on the event, it'll be accurate.

We met at Fiddler's Green, a Irish-ish Pub in the center of Boystown, Toronto's answer to Castro Street in San Francisco. For some reason, I had the address wrong and wound up wandering Church street looking confused for some time. Now I'm generally a flashy dresser (see the photo below to find out just how radiantly cool I was that evening) so I caught quite a few deep searching glances being directed my way. As a man, I wasn't used to it. Now I can understand the uncomfortable feeling of vulnerability that women in wet T-shirt competitions must bear.

I arrived fashionably late, and was introduced to about twelve people, only remembering the name of Right Girl because she was introduced to me last. Her -- husband? boyfriend? -- who goes by the name of Must-Control-Fist-of-Death and some of their groupies were also there. Others present were Mike, Lisa, and Mapmaster from the London Fog, some guy with a mustache that I unfortunately forgot the name of (it may have been this guy), Kate from the Last Amazon, Darcey of course, and Publius from Gods of the Copybook Headings.

Arriving even later than I were Ian Scott, Bob Tarantino of the defunct Let It Bleed, Les from Spiderman's Web, Chris Taylor and his girlfriend (whose name I also forgot), Fenris Badwulf and the Mayor from Mitchieville, a few frequent commenters that I didn't know, a deranged electrician, and the Zerb!

For those of you unfamiliar with my blog, I must mention that Antonia Zerbisias won my prestigious Most Annoying Canadian competition for 2004, beating out the highly annoying Canadian Tire Guy and even Sheila Copps. Had I known she was coming I would have had a trophy made to present to her. But at least I got this photo of us together:

Photo by Right Girl, who will never be another Annie Leibovitz.

Conversation never stopped, though I have few strong recollections of topics. Fenris and the electrician told some stories of what goes on in Big Box stores that are definitely not Wal-Mart in the middle of the night. A secret society was formed. (Whoops! No it wasn't.) Sweeping generalizations were made. Autobiographies were told.

Alcohol was consumed. This I'm pretty sure of. I myself drank plenty of beer, a couple of Rusty Nails, several single-malt scotches, a Johnny Walker Red (this after Chris Taylor spoke of his contempt for it), more beer, and later some red wine. All this over the course of ten hours. I may have been a little tipsy at moments in the evening, but I couldn't catch Darcey:

With Darcey is Kelly, our tireless server. I have similar photos of Darcey groping many other women that evening, but I'll keep them private if I'm well compensated.

We left sometime around midnight. I must respond to this comment by Ian:

It was finally time to end the gathering - and after another whisker rub from Darcey, we all walked off to wherever we were going - not sure where Bruce ended up… not sure I should even ask.. but - isn’t it ironic that it was the libertarians who were helping the "law and order" conservatives be personally responsible for their actions??
I think he's referring to Darcey's and my plan to walk the streets... with open bottles of beer in our hands!! Mapmaster and Lisa were the libertarians who tried to dissuade us. I couldn't believe that Toronto was that much of a police state. I figured that if we walked down Church Street amongst all the colourful folk there, no cop would dare stop us -- especially with me wearing such a fabulous shirt. But they were very adamant and we relented. (And who is Ian calling a "law and order" conservative?)

I also have to respond to this from him:

And Bruce is a funny and interesting guy! But, his wife might want to give me a call so we can discuss some weird fascinations he seems to have with certain parts of Toronto.
I really don't think being interested in going to a gay karaoke bar for drinks at midnight on a Saturday is a 'weird fascination'. It's perfectly normal curiousity.

Lisa, Mapmaster, Darcey and I joined Kate at her home, where we continued to converse on many different topics. Until 3:00 that is, when I realized I was the last one talking and everyone else was nodding off. I excused myself and made my way to my hotel, which was thankfully right around the corner.

Thanks to everyone for a great evening, and I will definitely try to make it again should another one get planned. Give me a little time to recover, though.

June 16, 2006

Heading for the front line

Today, I'm heading for the violent center of the terrible insurgency that threatens our nation: Toronto, also known as the center of the universe. It will be a little risky, but I want to see for myself what is happening rather than listen to the words of the lying media. Is our cause there hopeless? Or is there chance that someone from a party other than the NDP or Liberals will win a seat there one day?

I'll also be attending the 'Blogfest' happening there Saturday night. Guest of honour is Darcy of Dust my Broom, who will be joined by the best bloggers in the Canadian blogosphere -- plus me and Ian Scott. There is the possibility of it being a hoot.