Saturday, 30 April 2011

My Dad's opinion of the upcoming election

I don't read the newspaper. I very rarely read the news. My whole world view comes from work and the computer. Other than that, I happily exist in a bubble. Watching the news scares my children, so we don't. Which is why I don't really follow politics. I know that I'm not voting for the government of the day on Monday, but I also know that my voting track record isn't that good. Every party (well, the only party) I have ever voted for since I turned 18, has never been elected. I live, firmly entrenched, according to polls, in a "Conservative Stronghold". Drat!

But at least there are people out there that do follow politics and do speak up when the government is tromping on its citizens' rights. My Dad, for example. One of his many passions is to write letters to the editor of their local newspaper. And now that he has email, he sends them my way --- since he knows how sadly I neglect my current events education.

And, since my Dad wouldn't know how to facebook or blog to save his life (there certainly are worse skills to lack), he has asked me to share this. So here's one of his many political diatribes.


The Conservative "government", (I use the term loosely), is out of control as a democratic institution.

Reasons: Innocent Canadian citizens Abdul Razik and Mayer Arar brought home years later, their Canadian rights repeatedly ignored, and only after the government was forced by law and then, the government flys them into their hometowns at midnight to avoid publicity. Remind you of the Basi-Virk case as it was handled by Harper's close cohort Gordon Campbell? 7 years later Basi-Virk, out of money plead guilty and have the Campbell government pay their 6 million dollar legal costs, a bribe which prevented Campbell Cabinet ministers from having to testify and severely lessening their sentences and preventing their likely bankruptcy. Campbell could spend 20 million in legal fees delaying the case but ensuring justice and providing legal aid is out of the question.

Harper's proposed 1 flat payment to war disabled veterans in lieu of pensions amounts to a crippled, perhaps double amputee, war veteran getting at say age 22 as much money as an MP receives in one year. And this one term payment has to suffice that veteran all his life. Seem fair to you?

A 15 year old Canadian boy, Omar Khadr, remains in a US military prison uncharged for years when every other democratic government brings their citizens home to ensure a fair trial. He pleads guilty after 8 years, in despair.

Former Canfor CEO David Emerson is offered a Cabinet post a week after he was elected a Liberal, (and with no pretense of integrity, surprisingly accepts), and the Prime Minister sees nothing wrong with his offering a Cabinet inducement to change all his votes and the PM also does nothing to nullify Emerson's election or to ensure his BC constituency has the Liberal representative they elected. Emerson doesn't dare run again and is rewarded by a very Conservative style Gordon Campbell with a BC Hydro post.

The Prime Minister allegedly offers an inducement to MP Chuck Cadman to vote against the ruling Liberals, then when Donna Cadman, Chuck's wife verifies the account, she is offered a Conservative nomination which she accepts ensuring her silence on the issue. She's still silent, even in this recent campaign, and hiding.

Minister Blackburn's department circulates confidential medical and psychological records of a disgruntled veteran apparently to discredit him. Local Councillor Skakun, (Prince George), is charged for similar actions though his motives were to ensure just treatment for workers and accountability. The uncharged Blackburn was motivated by much more sinister party ideals. No charges there. Seem fair?

Minister Oda admits to lying to Parliament about changing an already approved grant. The Prime Minister who clearly knows Mr. Page's fighter-jet estimates does exactly the same thing as Minister Oda, (lying to Parliament), when he quotes 16.9 billion rather than 30 billion. Oda's chastised, the PM's protected. 1 billion dollars for a G8 meeting would have supplied most of the food banks across Canada but Minister Clements re-election was more important.

HST implementation inducements, (billions of dollars), are offered to like-minded provincial governments but not Quebec. Jack Layton makes the democratic suggestion that efforts should eventually be made to get Quebec's signature on the Constitution. Apparently election campaign's are not the time for both major parties to discuss tough issues so they clearly reject any action there. No wonder support for Ignatieff and Harper is low in Quebec. That such a discussion would bring Aboriginal rights and claims into the campaign is also a disincentive to the PM and leader of the official opposition. Seems Canadian citizens in Quebec with sovereigntist leanings are not entitled to be heard. And why didn't Harper stand up to the media corporation that blocked Elizabeth May from the debate? Collusion with the corporate world who don't want environmental issues aired? Not very prime ministerial action in my opinion. Axing CBC may well be next in Harper's agenda of censorship.

Minister Kinney's department sends a request, mistakenly to an NDP member, to use public funds for partisan Conservative advertising in violation of Parliamentary rules. I wonder who paid for 1 1/2 years of Michael Ignatieff attack ads?

138 fraudulent Conservative memberships issued in Dick Harris' riding. Nothing is done by the PM and there is no concern that there may be illegal tax deductions, $1380 worth, relating to those memberships. I was sent one! Mr. Harris upon seeing my copy in front of his own eyes, and in front of his own clique, in typical Conservative fashion, ripped it up much like a discarded Helena Guergis minister. He even denied he even heard of the documents even though I'd had my picture on the front page of the Prince George Citizen holding it back in 2004 when Harris was trying to secure the party nomination. (I used the fraudulent document to get into the pre-arranged sympathetic crowd). PS- Had to exit quickly so the cover-up could start. Now I've made everyone in that room accessories to a cover-up if they don't speak up and throw out the Prince George-Cariboo MP who's campaign committee seems to approve of forged documents.

A bill is legally passed in the elected Commons and the Prime Minister allows the unelected Senate to reject it ignoring his duty to the Canadian people to ensure the integrity of Parliament.

Four senior Conservatives allegedly, deliberately violate electoral spending guidelines and are charged. Harper dismisses this serious breach of democracy as administrative differences and a distraction.

Conservative Minister Helena Guergis is dismissed by Harper for serious breaches but he won't explain why while alleged influence-peddling actions of her husband, former Conservative MP Rahim Jaffer go uninvestigated.

The Sponsorship Scandal, in the immediate care of Prime Minister Chretien and his appointed minister, after a public inquiry charge successfully, businessmen well hitched to the Liberal party, but these two elected officials are not. Clearly Harper is not interested in justice applying to elected officials, as it may affect his own party apparatus in time.

The account for immigrant application grants grows rapidly from 100 million to 400 million as the Harper government makes no attempt to process them while simultaneously taking their money and running a TV ad on how best to apply for Canadian immigration. This is just a fleecing of unfortunate foreigners. The money is paid but cases are shelved sometimes for decades. God what next, a Berlasconi, (Italian Prime Minister), maneuver to bar prosecution of elected officials? Further happenings:

Conservative and all other party MP's make it clear the Auditor-General should not be allowed to regularly audit their books especially personal expenses. Stephen Harper's claims that if given a majority he will eliminate party subsidies because taxpayers don't need to pay for Party expenses. If this was true he should also eliminate the "Federal Political Party Tax Contribution" that we all see on our Income Tax forms every year as a legitimate deduction. The richer you are the bigger deduction you can claim and this is a much bigger drain of taxes.

351 million for an election, (even every year), will be much cheaper than giving Stephen Harper a 4 year majority mandate. Re-introducing his anti-opposition funding measure, which caused the last election, means Stephen Harper is planning in the future to bring down quickly, even a minority government. This election was forced on us by the Conservatives since an Auditor-General's report on the G8 boondoggle, torture in Afghanistan allegations, and US F-35 jet costs were due to be released next month and Harper couldn't muster a win after those exposee's. Remind you of him calling the last election just before Canada slipped into recession, a recession he assured Canadians they would not experience. Perhaps Harper needs all those new prisons for future lodging for his party members and supporters.

Alan Martin

Friday, 22 April 2011

It's a mystery!

My job, that is. To my children. Not to me, I think I've got it pretty much figured out, but apparently they don't have a clue.

Tonight we were playing role reversal. All I wanted to do was just lay on the couch and veg. So Kirstin happily obliged. She decided she'd be the Mommy and I could be the child. She found a blanket and tucked me in. Then she sang me a song, kissed me good-night, and turned off the lights. Just like I do for her every night.


Then she said, "I'm going to work now!"

Just like I do?

"Oh," I said, "where do you work?"

She looked puzzled for a minute. Then she replied, brightly, "Africa!"

"Oh! And what do you do in Africa?"

"I feed the animals!" She then proceeded to tell me that the lions eat alligators and pasketti; bears eat snakes; and zebras eat apples.

That sounds like a brilliant job, way more exciting than what I really do for a living!


Sunday, 17 April 2011

Some "glass is half full' logic

Exaggeration, or downright lying, is lost on my perpetually positive daughter

Me: Time to turn off the television.

Kirstin: But I want to watch MORE t.v!

Me: No, you've watched enough t.v.; Time to do something else.

Kirstin: I only want to watch t.v!

Me: Do you know what happens when you watch to much t.v?

Kirstin: What?

Me: Your brain turns to jelly!

Kirstin: Yay, then I could eat it while I watch t.v!

Monday, 4 April 2011

Sophie's Choice

Sophie's Choice is a brilliantly sad book about a mother forced to choose between her two children. I found myself in that position this evening, although to a far lesser extent than sending one of my children to a concentration camp. Here's my version of the age-old dilemma, "Which child do you like better?" . Picture, if you will, Me, a 6-year old on a stroller, a 4-year old on a bike, and an almost 3-year old pushing her doll happily in a little plastic stroller out for an after supper stroll around the neighbourhood. The picturesque family scene. Until my 4-year old decided, "I want to go that way!" We never go that way. And the reason we never go "that way", is because it's uphill. I don't like uphills. But, he really wanted to, so I said, "alright, what the heck." Now, it wasn't a really steep hill and we made it to the top without either of the boys having to dismount and push their respective vehicles. At the top, I stopped to give the boys instructions about our descent. I told Alex to go very slowly, and told Connor to let me hang on to him as we walked/rode back down. Remember, this is NOT a steep hill, just steeper that my new biker and scooter-er are accustomed to. As I am facing Connor, helping him get turned in the right direction, Alex took off down the hill as fast as he could. Crap! And then he was down. Lying on his back on the cement. So, what do I do, I take off down the hill telling Connor and Kirstin to "wait here". As I am comforting Alex and checking for blood --- yup, you guessed it, Connor is flying past us on his bike, Kirstin running behind with the stroller, both giggling madly. "Pedal backwards!!!" I shriek. "Connor, pedal backwards!" "PEDAL BACKWARDS!!!" Sophie's Choice. In an instant, I decide to abandon my role as comforter, and leave my sobbing 6-year old lying on his back in the dirt and I take off running down the hill. I almost caught him, too. Almost. What a sight we must have been to the neighbours on that cul-de-sac. One kid lying on his back halfway up the hill. One on his face, near the bottom. A mom shrieking loudly as she runs less than gracefully downhill. And a little girl still happily pushing her stroller down the middle of the road. So, I guess my choice is to pick the one that looks like he's going to hit the ground harder. The one that lands facedown instead of face up. I guess that must be the one I love more? My kids are going to be so screwed up as adults! :) Anyway, I can blog this because it's actually pretty funny in hindsight. Sort of an "I told you so" moment for me! I've nursed their wounds. Superficial scrapes and a potentially good bump on the forehead. That's all. Next time, we'll stick to flat ground, thank you very much. Or I'll take the kids out one at a time. Or we'll stay home and watch t.v. Happy Spring, here's to years of scraped knees and road rash!

Sunday, 3 April 2011

My Quick Learner...

First off, I need to say, "If you can't trust the weather network, then who can you trust?" Seriously. Yesterday was a beautiful, sunny, spring day. But, the weather network said that it was only +3 with a potential high, later on, of ... +3. So I dressed the kids accordingly. Boots and jackets. After being outside for a short time it became apparent that the weather network was slightly off in its calculation. So we drove past the sign that flashes the temperature every 30 seconds. PLUS 15!!! I am happy to say that the snow is on its way out! But I digress. Yesterday we decided to teach Connor how to ride a bike. We loaded the kids into the car and went in search of an abandoned parking lot to practice in. We found one at the High School, it being the last weekend of Spring Break. Connor was a quick learner! He picked up the skill almost immediately. Lots of frustration, though, because he kept pedalling backwards and hitting the brakes. But, once we adjusted the tire pressure and tried again at home, he had the hang of it! Here's some photos for your viewing pleasure. I didn't get as many as I'd like because with two children needing pushes (now only 1), my hands weren't very free.

And, after about half an hour of practicing, here's the end result! Way to go, Connor!!!