Monday, March 31, 2014

The Train Wreck That Is The Parti Québécois Election Campaign

The personification of the PQ's ills 
That singular statement "...faire du Québec un pays!" (make Quebec a country!) and half-hearted choreographed fist-pump defines the morass of the PQ right now. With Quebec's stalling economy and aging population, the ace up the sleeve of Pauline Marois was none other than media tycoon Pierre Karl Péladeau, or PKP, as the economic powerhouse that will reassure voters and investors alike that the Parti Québécois is on firm footing.

Unfortunately, his media empire is sagging as Videotron, his broadband company, is essentially subsidizing all his media ventures with the exception of TVA. The Sun newspaper chains have made large cuts in their budgets and remarkably, Sun News remains available for masochists.

This is a man whose locked out journalists for years and is consistently suing his media counterparts. He defends in a court of law the right of journalists to defame others under the guise of "freedom of expression".

His media crusade against the supposed islamification of Quebec society is a concoction that has now fermented into the Secular Charter. Instead of forming a consensus with the other parties, which was obtainable had they implemented the recommendations of the Bouchard-Taylor report, they riled people up with fears of hijabs, niqabs, and burkas. So scoring political points was more important than good governance. Shocking, I know.

In the midst of its collapse in the polls due to PKP's less than inspiring entry into political life, the PQ began throwing accusations voting irregularities in the form of Ontario students that were sprouting out of the ground and stealing our precious election. The Quebec Election Chief explained that no such thing is happening despite wall to wall coverage by Quebecor Media

If that wasn't bad enough, the PQ's Secular Charter architect, one Bernard Drainville, trots out 89 year old Janette Bertrand, a one time talk show host, to secure votes from, well, it isn't the youth that's for sure. Out she comes with warnings of islamic McGill rich kids that could potentially reserve her apartment complex's pool. Quite possibly the most shameless display of political opportunism since the arrival of Joe the Plumber on the American political scene.

And so Pauline Marois is going into the election's stretch run with condemnation of Liberal leader Philippe Couillard's lack of condemnation of the Saudi Arabian regime. Because why not? It's a strange political landscape when the second debate was deemed a win for the CAQ's François Legault as the quinquagenarian spent a a chunk of the evening railing against imagined veiled female police officers.

Now, remember when higher education was the election topic of choice in Quebec? So how much is education a priority now for the PQ long after Pauline stuck a "carré rouge" on her blouse and clanked her pots and pans on the streets in solidarity with the students? It's number 22 with guarantees of quality lip service and empty promises.

There is one promise on the subject of education she plans on following through on, and that's making sure that anglophones in CEGEPs "master the French language" by reopening Bill 101


Thursday, January 30, 2014

Justin Trudeau's Bold Masterstroke On Senate Issue Makes Him A Super Genius

"Well a lot of them are going to die soon, anyway." 
If Justin Trudeau is able to piss further, it is by standing on the shoulders of such giants as Pericles and George Washington.

In what is considered by just about every single Canadian media's analysis a "bold move", Justin Trudeau just removed senators from the Liberal caucus.  No other adjective can describe this action as the CBC, the Canadian Press, the Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail,  Vancouver Sun, The Province, the Regina Leader-Post, the Chronicle Herald, the National Post, the Ottawa Citizen and more are unanimous in characterizing this political maneuver.

Why is it "bold"? We know it's "bold" because Justin Trudeau said it was "bold"

Press Gallery's job: eat, sleep, rave [about Trudeau], repeat.

The consequence of this "bold move" is this: Liberal Senators will cease to exist and will henceforth be called the Senate Liberals. But nothing will change in practical matters. I think they're even keeping a Whip in their Senate caucus. But Justin Trudeau won't be sitting with them once a week...

What boldness! Remember, when running for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada, Justin Trudeau suggested that an elected Senate was a "terrible idea" and that 12 year appointments were the way to go.

So his recipe for the Senate reform remains to name unethical, unelected and unaccountable party hacks and bagmen to the Red Chamber but not have them sit in the Liberal caucus. Bold!

You know what wouldn't have been bold? Follow through on his Liberal Party leader election commitment to "develop the party's platform from the bottom up, based on consultations from Liberals in particular and Canadians in general." After all, The Party's annual convention which deals with policy initiatives is happening next month. It would be a great way to issue your proposal and see democracy in action as it's debated by the party faithful. But that wasn't bold enough for you, was it? You devised the whole thing with your most trusted and closest advisers only.

I guess you weren't really kidding when you said you admire the "basic dictatorship" of China. Say what you will about China but they are bold!

A not-so-bold report in the Hill Times does have another intriguing possibility about the motivations behind this bold move. It could be that as the Auditor General report will come out and lay out how Senate Liberals are sharing resources with their much-diminished brothers and sisters in the Lower House. The result being that the Liberals in the House of Commons have been using funds from the Senate and not adhering to their own resources.

Well, in the case of Senate Liberals, when Justin Trudeau tried to have them abstain from the vote that would suspend Senators Brazeau, Duffy and Wallin, they ignored him altogether.

And his "bold move" looks a lot like a the NDP motion to end Senate partisanship that he voted against late last year.

So in ignoring the grassroots, going forward with a move that is inconsequential, praise be to Trudeau and his boldness.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

For $250 A Head, Justin Trudeau Will Spend One Night Insulting Women's Intelligence

Justin Will Seduce You With Buzzwords
Andy Warhol's Marilyn Diptych is, inadvertently, the perfect template to create an advertisement to manufacture the appeal of Justin Trudeau to women for a fundraising event. 

The theme of trivialization is apparent in both.

The irony drips off this ad as the words "Justin Unplugged" symbolize the commercialization of "MTV Unplugged", the folk reinterpretation of the songs of such luminaries as Eric Clapton and Alice In Chains. While it originally reimagined successful songs that engrained themselves into our culture, it turned entirely into conventional marketing of the music industry as everyone from Adam Lambert to Lil Wayne went "unplugged". A soulless commercial venture disguised as soulful celebration.

"What's the biggest issue facing women?" Justin won't complicate things for you, ladies. It's a singular issue, not plural. If you were to raise the point that economic, social, environmental and health issues all concern you, Justin might get confused. So let's stick to "the" biggest issue. Whatever the fuck that is considering how diverse women are.

"What's your favourite virtue?" I had no idea Justin is seeking to introduce philosophy into politics. Debating Aristotle's concept of virtue versus that of Kant, this discussion could lead to breakthroughs in negotiating Kantian civic responsibility with the Aristotelian vision of "the good life". Wait. No. The answer is chastity. Again ladies, you're allowed only one virtue. Let's not make this confusing for Justin.

"Who are your real life heroes?" Every single winner of "The Bachelorette"? This ranks up there in some of the most shameless questions a retail politician can ask. Let me put on my cynical cap and see if I can't pander more proficiently than Justin: "How has motherhood changed your life?". "What are some of the secrets to making a marriage work?". I'm sure that these questions are the most important ones you want to discuss with a politician.

"Cocktails, candid conversation, curiosity inducing-ideas. Ladies, you're invited to (really) get to know the future Prime Minister". It's nice to know that Justin Trudeau sees women not as equals that share similar hopes, dreams and concerns about the future but as a target demographic that, with he can consolidate as a voting block for the next upcoming election.

Here's your biggest issue, Justin: the commodifying of women by politicians.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Michelle Rempel Cannot Be Bothered To Pay Attention To Stephen Harper's Answers During Question Period

It struck me as rather odd in the last week when Mike Duffy was unleashing his bombshells regarding the PMO's involvement into his improper housing expenses that everyone, yes everyone, was extremely curious to find out what the Prime Minister would answer during Question Period when asked about it by NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair.

The tension was palpable. During the At Issue segment on CBC's The National, Chantal Hebert remarked that even Stephen Harper's cabinet and caucus members seemed eager to have answers in Question Period.

That's right: Question Period! The same democratic institution that brought us this gem.

I did notice, that as the drama unfolded, much of the Conservative backbenchers clapped like trained seals: Michelle Rempel did not.

I found it interesting that while Conservatives were clapping enthusiastically the same contradictions, deflections, evasions and omissions: Michelle Rempel did not.

While Denis Lebel was smiling from ear to ear and clapped hardily when Stephen Harper displayed all the fake outrage he could muster towards Mike Duffy: Michelle Rempel did not.

It was evident if you were looking for reactions to the Prime Minister that Michelle Rempel stood in contrast to the rest of her Conservative colleagues.

One individual decided to poke fun at Rempel with this tumblr site entitled Michelle Rempel is not having fun. And much like her Conservative colleague Rob Anders nodding off or NDP MP Jonathan Genest-Jourdain stylin' and relaxin', contrasts in reactions from other MPs make for a good story.

The day after Rempel is made aware of the tumblr site, she takes to twitter to lash out against her critics. The following tweet links to the video posted above.
It should be noted that she posts this in the very beginning of Question Period... while the Prime Minister is answering questions. She continues:

 Rempel then gets up on her soapbox and laments the state of gender relations in Canadian politics.
To be fair, I'm sure Michelle Rempel has gotten, is getting and will get lots of sexist comments on social media. None of this behaviour is in good taste and she's right to call them out for it.

What makes this tumblr great, however, is not that Rempel has "bitchy resting face" more than she cannot force herself to produce a automated nod like Rona Ambrose, a continuous blinking motion like Pierre Poilievre

What makes her reaction to the tumblr disappointing though is that she lashed out during a Question Period while the Prime Minister is speaking.

Much like that viral honey badger: Michelle Rempel don't care. Michelle Rempel don't give a shit.

While Rempel is taking time to tweet about a blog that's poking fun at her, the NDP is still trying to understand Stephen Harper's rationale behind his bullish sanctimony of high profile profligates Duffy, Brazeau and Wallin compared to his dovish sanctioning of Stewart Olsen and Gerstein. Answers that no Canadians have gotten. Answers that no Conservative has gotten either.

It seems evident, however, that Stephen Harper is prepared to rehash the same meaningless statements to deflect the questions and never address the issue.

In a way, the Prime Minister's statements in Question Period are so pointless and meaningless that we might as well be talking about henna face tattoos, Guy Fawkes masks and Minnie Mouse ears.

Michelle Rempel reflects the mood of Canadians after all as the tumblr demonstrates so admirably.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Bribery, Threats, Extortion: The Mike Duffy Story

Above is the full audio recording, with contextualizing images, of Mike Duffy's address to the Senate in which he accuses Stephen Harper of orchestrating the alleged illegal payment he received in order to have his improperly claimed expenses disappear.

What a deliciously salacious scandal to rock Stephen Harper!

And Pamela Wallin has yet to speak!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Environment Canada To Adopt The "What Does Leona Aglukkaq's Brother Think?" Based Approach To Climate Change

Polar Bear Cubs or Radical Environmental Activists?
Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq does not know how Environment Canada scientist work.

This is the only conclusion you can reach when you read her following statement on polar bear research:
A lot of time, scientists latch on to the wildlife in the North, to state their case that climate change is happening and the polar bears will disappear and whatnot. But people on the ground will say the polar bear population is quite healthy. You know, in these regions, the population has increased, in fact. Why are you [saying it’s] decreasing? So the debate on that … My brother is a full-time hunter who will tell you polar bear populations have increased and scientists are wrong.
So what findings have scientists discovered regarding polar bear populations?

  • Today, polar bears are among the few large carnivores that are still found in roughly their original habitat and range--and in some places, in roughly their natural numbers.
  • Although most populations have returned to healthy numbers, there are differences between the populations. Some are stable, some seem to be increasing, and some are decreasing due to various pressures. A 2011 study found that 7 of 19 populations were declining.
  • Some populations are still harvested quite heavily, and their status is uncertain.
In the future
But shit, if Leona Aglukkaq's brother says the polar bear population is increasing, it certainly must be increasing.

You might be curious how the polar bear population are counted in the first place by those scientists. Canadian Geographic gives us the information.
So scientists end up counting bears in many different ways, including incorporating observations by knowledgeable local residents. But population estimates are just that: estimates. Some subpopulations of bears haven’t been counted in decades, if ever. And some are counted more frequently but with slightly different survey areas or methodologies from year to year. The Polar Bear Specialist Group, an international consortium of experts, classifies 10 of the 19 subpopulations as being “data-deficient,” which isn’t exactly conducive to a coherent discussion about how polar bears are faring worldwide.
So local residents are consulted? That would be consistent with Environment Canada's statement:
Environment Canada is combining science, experience and Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge to form the basis for our research. The inclusion of Traditional Knowledge helps to provide information on polar bear abundances, movements and behaviours, and provides valuable long-term perspective on changes in the population. This approach is unique, as Canada is the only country that considers Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge in the management and conservation of polar bears.
So if her complaint about scientists is off-base and irrelevant, what is it about the polar bear studies that she doesn't want to address? Here's a clue:
Even more troublesome is the fact that the number of cubs observed in the western Hudson Bay population is dramatically lower than in the past. While adult bears may be fat and savvy enough to survive a few lean years, juvenile bears reach a tipping point quickly. Despite the triumphal notes sounded by the Nunavut government, the study’s authors point out that the scarcity of cubs undercuts the entire hypothesis that “increasing numbers of bears … are the result of overall subpopulation growth."
What Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq wants to address is the same thing that Natural Resources Minister Oil Minister Joe Oliver wants to address. The same thing that Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird wants to address: oil. Petrostate indeed.

At the end of the day, what have polar bears done to promote jobs, growth and prosperity?

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Hack Pundit of the Week: Jeffrey Simpson

Jeffrey Simpson is so knowledgeable, he doesn't need to think
Leave it to the senior senile sages of Globe and Mail to cough up columns that exist only in the fantasies of the author's feeble faculties. When Margaret Wente isn't blaming women for their own kidnappings and rapes, it is to you, Jeffrey Simpson, that from failing hands we throw the torch of uninformed journalism. Be yours to incinerate whatever reputation we had remaining.

In Saturday's column, economic columnist and Ottawa Senators irate superfan Jeffrey Simpson decried the NDP's "knee-jerk opposition to free trade". He takes the NDP to task in no uncertain terms:
But because the NDP fundamentally doesn’t like free trade, and because it unexpectedly won a bunch of seats in rural Quebec in the most recent election, the party will die on the free-trade hill to fight for continued and unaltered protection for dairy farmers. No thought will apparently be given to the food-processing industry (some of which is unionized), which dislikes supply management because it drives up important input costs for its products. 
Nor will the NDP think of consumers, especially low-income ones, who spend more of their income on food and are hit with unnecessarily higher prices for basic commodities, including dairy products. Nor will the NDP applaud greater market access for Canadian beef and pork to the EU market, because it has no seats in rural Western Canada. 
This automatic opposition to free trade goes way back in the NDP and runs very deep. It bespeaks a philosophical distrust of free-market economics and globalized trade, and a desire to see trade “managed” by governments. It also reflects a strong dislike of anything fettering government’s ability to interfere in markets.
That's quite the condemnation! The NDP is a slave to Quebec rural interests; it cares little for low-income Canadians' high cost for food; it's indifferent to the well-being of Western Canadian beef producers. It all stems from an ingrained desire to pull the strings of the economy for the nefarious motives outlined above.

The only problem with this column is that none of this is true. Not a word. Not a jot.

This screed against the NDP is based on Jeffrey Simpson's gut rather than facts. The opposition parties have not spoken for or against Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) because no one knows its details. The official statement by the NDP, released the day before Simpson's column, makes it clear that every single assertion by the hack columnist is false.

In fact, they welcome a closer economic relation with Europe but until the details are known, they reserve their judgement until the facts are laid out in public.

So Jeffrey Simpson simply makes up the content of his column based on the fancy of his feelings. After all, going to the official NDP website and looking up "statements" is really hard work, you guys!

So congratulations Jeffrey Simpson for not letting the facts get in the way of your column. You uphold the Globe and Mail's sterling reputation which includes: plagiarism, racism and lack of research, with such aplomb that scores of Canadians will surely be throwing away $20 a month now for a digital subscription to the newspaper.

The Globe and Mail commentary section: where irresponsible journalists go to die. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

You Ask What Are The Sexting Pseudonyms Of Stephen Harper's Cabinet? We Answer!

A picture lasts forever on the internet
Earlier today, politician Anthony Weiner, infamous for sexting pictures of his junk to women while married, held a press conference dealing with the fallout of the allegation that he continued with sexting junk-shots after the media tempest rocked his political career. The New York mayoral candidate allegedly took the pseudonym "Carlos Danger" to keep his now inexistent anonymity.

Now flashback to the 2011 Ontario provincial election and Progressive Conservative candidate George Lepp sharing a mysterious shot picture of his junk on social media. His resignation went relatively unnoticed but it raised a larger and growing concern: with the swelling popularity of smartphones, is Canada's Access to Information Act keeping up with the times? If sensitive information the public deserves to know is being dealt with exclusively through text messages, is the government pushing its transparency public relations campaign down our throats while wilfully keeping information from its citizens, leaving us to choke on our ignorance? These are valid questions. I won't address them, but they're valid questions. 

Instead, I'm going to just give you the Slate's "Carlos Danger" sexting pseudonym generator's names for Stephen Harper and his cabinet.
  • Stephen Harper is Bernardo Catastrophe
  • Jim Flaherty is Gustavo Furtive
  • Rob Nicholson is Federico Dynamite
  • Peter MacKay is Paco Stealth
  • John Baird is Rolando Trouble
  • Peter Van Loan is Julio Cesar Kill (strangely, it seems perfectly appropriate)
  • Joe Oliver is Javier Hazard
There are more cabinet members of course so fill free to go to the link above and enter them.

And it wouldn't be complete without the pseudonym of the Minister of Babysitter Seducing, Vic Toews whose pseudonym would be Juan Jeopardy.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Edmonton Sun Successfully Trolls National Post

Edmonton mayor Stephen Mandel is too busy to know what he's talking about 
The Edmonton Sun, a bottom feeding tabloid, majestically trolled National Post columnists Chris Selley and Jonathan Kay.

Earlier this week in his "Full Pundit" column that comments on commentary from the commentariat, Chris Selley poked fun at the Calgary Herald's editorial board hyperbolic praise of Calgarians for not rioting and noting that this love of peace and order is only found within the city limits. Selley remarked sarcastically that had the flood taken place in Edmonton, the city "would be a smoking hole in the ground at this point, infested with twitchy-eyed, machete-wielding savages."

Whatever you think of the joke, you couldn't possibly take the statement literally, could you?

Apparently, you totally can. The mayor of Edmonton, one Stephen Mandel (no relation to Howie), freaked the fuck out:
"I don't read the National Post. I can see why I don't read the National Post," explains a livid Mayor Stephen Mandel. "I can understand why no one in Edmonton would want to read the National Post."
"I don't think I can express how mad I am in language that I can have over any kind of media," explains Mandel. "The only thing they can do is a front page recanting that they're ignorant and they should not even be allowed to produce newspapers anymore."
Mandel says he's so angry, he'd like to see the city pull its advertising from "POST MEDIA" which includes the Edmonton Journal.
"It was unbelievably demeaning of the city of Edmonton and if that's what they think of the city of Edmonton we shouldn't be advertising in it, we shouldn't be doing anything with them."
That amounts to a substantial amount of money.
'I've got to tell you, I've never been so insulted in my life by something so rude and so despicable," Mandel adds. 
That's right, Chris Selley, Stephen Mandel has never been more insulted in his life!

Now, bear in mind, the vitriolic mayor didn't quite explain what infuriated him so much that he's foaming at the mouth but do not doubt he's one step away from being "2Pac Hit 'em up" angry!

Everyone else with some measure of sanity was waiting for the mayor to calm down a little after they informed him of the context of the comment.

Fuck that noise, son! Here comes Matt Dykstra of the Edmonton Sun stepping up to the mayor for the story with his iPhone in tow. Despite the shakiest hand ever to hold a phone without being held at gunpoint, he managed to fan the flames of manufactured anger that the mayor was already bloviating about.

Hilariously, the mayor says "Someone said it was supposed to be satirical. I don't find that satirical at all."

And Mike Dykstra sure wasn't going to explain the context. Got to sell copies and make bank!

The result was this glorious cover:

It should be noted that the Edmonton Sun's gravitas is only enhanced by the scantily clad woman with knee-high boots and read lingerie just atop the mayor's photo.

A little bit later, the mayor tweeted

So the Edmonton Sun is clearly trolling like any good tabloid should considering it's fueled by rage and funded by ignorance. However, the response by the National Post is typical of an excellently trolled victim.

Jonathan Kay also wrote an entire column explaining the one-line joke. Chris Selley, for his part, is retweeting the angry tweets that are going his way in what must be rather frustrating. None of his satirical or earnest columns have received this much attention. It's only through this misunderstood throwaway jibe that his words garnered so much attention thanks to Edmonton's numerous twitchy-eyed, machete-wielding savages... figuratively speaking of course.

Figuratively as they have no attention span.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Escorts, Cross-Dressing and Extortion: The Story of Laval Mayor Alexandre Duplessis

Pictured: Alexandre Duplessis in a more demure outfit.
Who knew Canadian municipal politics could be this much fun? Meet Alexandre Duplessis, the mayor of Laval who was sworn in last November to take over for the previous mayor, Gilles Vaillancourt, who resigned from his job when charged by police with gangsterism. It's alleged that the former mayor demanded a 2.5% cut of all construction contracts in the city.

The new mayor's attempt to rebuild the confidence of public officials was dealt a setback at the beginning of the month when the Quebec government placed the third largest city in the province under third party management. This came about when the political inquiry into corruption heard testimony from the former agent of Duplessis's political party (PRO des Lavallois Party), Jean Bertrand, testifying that Duplessis participated in illegal financing.

With all these accusations swirling in Laval, Duplessis would have been lucky to get off without incident. Unfortunately for him, the mayor couldn't do that without it leading to a police investigation.

Yesterday, reports of the Laval mayor Alexandre Duplessis surfaced revealing that he had filed charges against two escorts for extortion. The details into the matter haven't been forthcoming from the mayor but TVA's intrepid crime beat reporter Claude Poirier has been on the case.

In his telephone interview with the cousin of the escort's female friend that was driving to the destination, things got a little weird.

The woman alleges that the escort received a text that the politician was dressed as a woman and wanted the escort to apply his makeup during their amorous encounter. Through supposed misunderstandings, the man would have been spooked by that cousin's phone call when she wanted to go meet with him again to pick-up her mistakingly discarded cell phone. He would have then dropped off the escort at a convenience store without making it rain for services rendered.  The escort agency defended the escort's right to a fair wage as they felt that the man had done her dirty and insisted on the payment. Agreement on said payment was reached by phone and the exchange in funds would take place through an envelope left out on his balcony available for pickup. When collection of the money was attempted, no envelope was present. Further haggling took place until payment was delivered to the escort's  residence along with charges of extortion and prostitution. Her friend was charged as well. 

The mayor has not commented publicly on these allegations that include his use of escorts, his cross-dressing or that he gets sexually aroused when a woman applies makeup on him.

Edit: On Friday, after denying receiving any favours of a sexual nature, the mayor of Laval has refused to step down. Furthermore, the head of the escort agency stated that the prostitute's time with the mayor was spent trying women's underwear on one another and drinking white wine. 

Edit #2: A few hours later, the mayor of Laval decided to step down. It might have something to do with sending text messages to prostitutes he supposedly never met.