piranha: red origami crane (Default)
2006-08-09 12:14 pm
Entry tags:

harping on harper

just before the last election, in a speech addressing the nation, now-prime minister harper said:  The Conservative Party wants to give this country direction. We want, and we believe you want, to end corruption and restore honest financial management

yeah, we sure want that.

but less than a year after the "accountability election", does harper?  uh-hn.

he is overriding spending controls in order to order more military hardware.  and potentially shovel some vote-getting pork.

let's compare:  the liberal sponsorship scandal, in which a few liberal party members secretly redirect C$150 million.  the head of the liberal party called a public inquiry.  and what have we here?  the head of the conservative party grants himself the right to personally dispense C$15 billion to whomever he wants, and declares it a national security issue so that nobody will be able to look at the books to see how those contracts will be awarded.  no, we don't know for certain whether there will be wrongdoing, but even without wrongdoing, how do we know we get a fair price?  and hey, we can't find out; harper has made sure of that.

ah yes, that's honest financial management and accountability from the conservatives.  spending controls?  we don't need no steenkin' spendin' controls.  trade agreements to control the weight given to regional political considerations?  rubbish -- we're bypassing controls to go beyond prior governments in allocating quality benefits.  WAR IS PEACE.  "open and transparent" government? how dare you question our accountability!  NATIONAL SECURITY IS AT STAKE!
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
2006-04-25 08:33 pm
Entry tags:

lower the flag, prime minister.

oh yeah, i was gonna bitch about this yesterday, but got sidetracked.

and i couldn't do it as well as rick mercer anyway.

i have a good idea why the conservatives don't want to fly the flag on half-mast for dead soldiers. they're worried that the changed scope of the mission in afghanistan will result in more deaths and that the citizenry will turn against that policy more quickly since flags flying at half-mast have extra impact. and they are worried it would remind us of how many hundreds more would be dieing if the conservatives had been in power when bush started the iraq war. this is all in tune with barring the media from covering the arrival ceremonies for fallen soldiers here in canada. if this were solely done for privacy reasons, it would be easy enough to devise restrictions forbidding the media from approaching relatives at the ceremony -- of which i would be completely supportive; i just don't buy it.

fuckers. i knew it wouldn't be long before i want to spit in harper's face.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
2006-01-24 01:10 am
Entry tags:

don't even talk to me

i know, not like i've made it easy anyway.

but with 36% of canadians having their heads up their butts so far that the light of day can't reach them right now, it's probably just fine that i stick to my cave and continue to hermit. though at least our riding behaved itself and stayed NDP, and overall BC sent the NDP message louder and clearer than i had expected.

i hear the paramour type away, undoubtedly composing incisive political commentary. me, i am just too disgusted right now to write anything further.

other than politics, life is pretty good. still super busy, and unfortunately sleeping too much. what's the opposite of insomnia? i hate that, and this is somewhat better, but i have too much to do to sleep! dammit. still. good life, most excellent partners, good friends, continuing to be grateful for all that -- even if those 36% want to piss it all away.

and now on to installing my wacom tablet on draupnir (my little mac with which i finally have time to play at length). hope everyone is well. i promise to check up on that sometime this week.
piranha: toothy open mouth of piranha (pissed)
2005-11-13 07:57 pm
Entry tags:

dear mr layton

fuck you with a rubber hose.

They plan to blame Martin for ruining Christmas, sabotaging the aboriginal conference and killing any popular legislative initiatives.

right. the ones responsible here are you and your sudden pals the conservatives. *spit*. i hope this bites you so hard that you get political bruises for years. and to think i liked you. that'll teach me.

i want elections after the final gomery report, when people have had a chance to read it and think about it.

do you bastards ever actually work, or do you spend all your time scheming these days?
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
2005-11-01 02:39 pm
Entry tags:

today we have homegrown scandal

for those to whom the words "sponsorship scandal" mean nothing, quick intro:

after the 1995 referendum on quebec sovereignty a fund had been set up to help promote federalism. the money was supposed to be used to improve canada’s profile in quebec by helping pay for social and cultural events and programs. after a while rumours started surfacing that the fund was nothing more than a vehicle to reward liberal party supporters in quebec, and investigative reporters began to nose around and unearthed information that raised more and more questions. finally, in early 2002, chrétien had little choice but to ask the auditor general to investigate.

in early 2004 that audit was released, and it was absolutely scathing: $100 million was paid to a variety of communications agencies in the form of fees and commissions -- without producing any benefit for canada. various crown corporations were involved in questionable transfers of money.

the audit cost the liberals dearly; they lost their majority in the last election and have been reduced to a minority government that's holding on by the skin of its teeth only because of a deal struck with the NDP.

newly elected prime minister martin fired a bunch of people in positions of responsibility, and initiated a full-scale investigation, the first official results of which we are seeing today. the inquiry is led by justice john gomery.

the gomery report blames chrétien, but clears martin. the major findings can be found here, and the full report here. but there seems no evidence actually showing that chrétien got his fingers dirty himself. and gomery is not seen as impartial in some circles -- there are people who think he's unduly biased against chrétien. he's, in short, no fitzgerald.

i'm not fond of martin, but i don't buy the hatemongering against him either, that he "must have known" because he was finance minister. he didn't write the checques. i also don't buy the idea that he had to know because he was chrétien's second in command. he wasn't chrétien's confidant nor his ally, and i would actually think that any chrétien crony would keep such sensitive information from him.

we'll see how this shakes out -- martin has been trying all along to distance himself from chrétien and his people, which is believable because of the nasty power games that were played before martin took over from chrétien. but it might not be good enough if people get too disgusted with the liberals overall. martin has promised new elections after the final gomery results in february of next year. the conservatives are salivating to bring the government down, but they have been steadily sinking in the polls again since they salivated just a little bit too much during the budget vote.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
2005-11-01 04:21 am
Entry tags:

new immigration targets

canada's immigration minister volpe is aiming to both improve dealing with the huge backlog, and to increase immigration per year to 300,000.

"We have to start thinking about the Immigration Department as a recruiting vehicle for Canada's demographic and labour market needs . . . we are the lungs of the country," said Mr. Volpe in an interview with The Globe and Mail. "We are producing more jobs than the labour market has workers for. . . . We're desperate for immigration."

we'll see what happens. he promised new measures for dealing with the backlog back in april, but i've yet to see any specifics as to how he plans to do it.

in any case, this is bound to be good news for skilled workers who'd like to come to canada. from what i understand, the trades are desperate for those, and temporary work permits are likely to get a big boost (and then immigration will be eased for people who have worked in canada as temporary workers for a period, allowing application from within the country).
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
2005-09-12 07:20 pm
Entry tags:

today i give a hearty "fuck you"

1. to the orangemen who've been rioting in ulster. were you dispossessed, homeless, or starving? were you marched into refugee camps, denied freedom of speech, freedom of worship, and oppressed by the world? naw. you just went nuts because your march got rerouted around a catholic area, so you couldn't rub their faces in your presence the way you like.

i think your atavistic order should be dismantled. there is no room for you damn bigots in this modern world. i am tired of phony christians like you. grow up, or kill yourselves -- i'm sure your god can't wait to do some judging. enough of the killing of other people already.

2. to those moslems who want to push ontario (and other parts of canada) into allowing us to let them use sharia as legally binding law on other moslems, especially woman, of course. guess what? NO. sharia is not compatible with canada. tt is not appropriate for the state to validate, encourage, or finance faith-based law. this is a country with equal justice for all, in which the rights of the individual are supreme. go and live in a moslem country if you can't stand that. the equivalent goes for jews and christians, and anyone else who thinks their religion should get special decision powers. NO. i am all for scrapping the arbitration act -- i like the separation of church and state, and if anything, i want to see more of it.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
2005-08-18 03:53 pm
Entry tags:

*urk*

having a GI bug of sorts. nothing terribly bad, just that it seems advisable not to remove myself from the vicinity of the porcelain god's shrine.

am logging a couple of things here that i commented on elsewhere, and want to loosely keep track of.
pope asks bush for diplomatic immunity )
cross-border travel )


books in progress:

dorothy dunnett spring of the ram -- 2nd in her "house of niccolò" series. extremely complex historical fiction. reread. *love*.

mandy aftel, essence and alchemy: a natural history of perfume -- i am reading a page here and there; it doesn't really suck me in.

rita gilbert, living with art -- art appreciation. this is just excellent so far; the text is clear and uncluttered, and most of the accompanying art is actually right there on the same page so one doesn't need to page back and forth constantly. amusing bit: there's a picture of jan van eyck's Arnolfini Marriage, and i came across that on the same day i encountered giovanni arnolfini in dorothy dunnett's niccolò rising.

finished:

ralph mcinerny, the book of kills -- this is an academic mystery, which is a sub-genre i usually like, but this instance of it mostly bored me, and it seemed contrived to boot.

mary stewart, thunder on the right -- uninspired gothic, with too much of its plot having the "heroine" rely on male help in the form of -- *gasp*, who would have guessed -- the man she loves without actually realising it. the best part, as so often with stewart's gothics, is her sense of place; in this case the novel takes place in a remote area of the pyrenées, and i could really feel myself there (and i don't think that's so because i've actually been there; i've had similar feelings about others of her books that take place in locations í've not been to).

dorothy dunnett niccolò rising -- i can't do a review of this right now; it rocks too hard. :)
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
2005-08-14 12:33 pm

softwood lumber

copied and slightly modified from comment in another journal where the main complaint was about the US not adhering to international treaties. me, i think we have problems even without the US Department of Protectionism's ongoing treaty violations.

<rant>

ever since i moved out here and looked at the situation closely, i've been with those who want to see a complete ban (without the existing loopholes) on selling raw logs to the US. we shouldn't waste our natural resources like that, we should be making value-added products from said lumber and sell those; the more value added the better. why the fuck are we supporting US value-added jobs over our own? yes, stumpage fees ought to be assessed in a more transparent manner; i'm not actually in disagreement with that. and of course (the paramour can now snort), i would like to see corporate control over canadian timber lessened, and wouldn't mind seeing the large timber empires broken up; i think we need tenure reform very badly. i want to see us establish regional timber markets. what good do other reforms do for small businesses if they have to keep selling to a limited number of large, privileged distributors anyway? free market, my hairy white ass. none of this even addresses the environmental issues (BC in specific does not have sufficient regulations to protect small fish-bearing streams and happily ignores federal legislation, and the feds don't seem to be willing to crack down). and i myself am woefully ignorant of aboriginal rights. ghod, there is so much wrong with this industry; the dispute with the US is only the tip of the iceberg.

</rant>
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
2005-07-27 03:13 pm
Entry tags:

excise act

my head hurts. though i think that's more due to the heat than the legalese of the excise act which i've been reading. the legalese isn't as bad as it could be. and, if i am reading this correctly, i think me building a still is actually legal, and i don't need a license, as long as i register the still (bolding mine):

134. (1) Subject to subsection (2), a person to whom a licence to import, manufacture, possess and use a chemical still is granted shall pay to the collector of the district or excise division in which the still is situated a licence fee prescribed by the regulations.

Exception

(2) Any person importing, manufacturing, possessing and using a chemical still, the measured content of which does not exceed twenty-three litres (23 L), or any bona fide public hospital duly certified as such by the Department of Health importing, manufacturing, possessing and using a chemical still of any capacity, may, on registering the still at the office of the collector of the district or excise division in which it is situated, be permitted to import, manufacture, possess and use the still without payment of a licence fee or the giving of a bond, but the importation, manufacture, possession or use of the still without registration shall be deemed an importing, manufacturing, possessing or using of a still contrary to this Act.

R.S., 1985, c. E-14, s. 134; 1999, c. 31, s. 83.


now on to see whether small fry get an exemption from book keeping and tax paying as well, though i doubt it.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
2005-07-20 08:08 pm

it's DONE!

canada's senate has passed same-sex marriage bill, and royal assent has been given, so it's now the law of the land.

i am doing the happydance with nancy ruth.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
2005-07-14 12:42 pm
Entry tags:

dies with laughter

there are undoubtedly many of you who don't read rick mercer's blog. which is ok, since you're not canadians. but what's going on there right now transcends national borders.

background:

ralph klein is the premier of alberta, and alberta has been a little, shall we say, reticent to jump on the same-sex marriage bandwagon as it's travelled across canada. at first he vowed to fight it with everything he's got, then he mumbled and grumbled about how his lawyers told him he couldn't actually do anything, and now he's said that he'll accept the idea of same-sex marriage licenses with chagrin, and work on some legislation to allow marriage commissioners to refuse if they have moral objections (why yes, he is a bigotted fuckwit, why do you ask?). he's also known for imbibing rather too much alcohol than he can hold without making a fool of himself in public (and yes, too many albertans continue to reelect him).

take note of the picture next to that article. it's a lovely catch all on its own.

then go here:

rick mercer has an unerring eye, and knows how to excite us.

a nation with too much free time on its hands.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
2005-07-10 12:43 pm
Entry tags:

oh look, new tapes!

the grewal saga continues. he quietly returned from "stress leave", but the quiet didn't last long. guess what, contrary to what the conservatives claimed a few weeks ago about him having turned over all the evidence to the RCMP, he had more tapes to turn over. there must be much gnashing of party leaders' teeth over the support rendered to grewal. wasn't prudent.

paul martin's communications director has a sense of humour: "If true, it certainly serves to highlight the cautious, careful wisdom of Mr. Harper that the tapes were pristine, complete and unaltered," Scott Reid wrote in an e-mail. "We look forward to the release of the director's cut."

buckets of grewal remains a great deal of fun to read. so much fun that i've syndicated it at [livejournal.com profile] bucketsofgrewal.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
2005-06-29 12:03 pm

trust alberta to wiggle

in response to yesterday's passage the same-sex marriage bill in the house, alberta premier ralph klein appears to consider getting out of the marriage business altogether, and only perform civil unions.

i am all for it! little does he realize that this would open the door to polyfolk. let's hope it stays that way long enough to get a foot in the door.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
2005-06-28 08:28 pm

landmark legislation

same-sex marriage bill passes the house 158 to 133. the senate will rubberstamp it, and i doubt the royal assent will be withheld, so it's pretty much a done deal now.

*happydance*. yay, canada! paul martin said: "We are a nation of minorities. And in a nation of minorities, it is important that you don't cherry-pick rights." damn straight.

though i can't say that my joy is unmitigated, because there is too much resistance to it overall. at least the NDP, the bloc, and most of the liberals have gotten their act together to support the charter of rights instead of letting religious zeal undermine human rights, but it took too damn many legal challenges.

and here's something to remember come the next elections: stephen harper said he will bring back the same-sex marriage law for another vote if he wins the next election. i do so hope this costs him and his backers dearly.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
2005-06-28 12:01 pm
Entry tags:

*sputter*

stephen harper has now branded bill C-38 as the product of an illegitimate union. "I think because this bill is only being passed with the support of the BQ, I think it will lack legitimacy with most Canadians. The truth is most federalist MPs will oppose this legislation."

i can hardly breathe i am laughing so hard. this from the man who, less than a month ago, was working with the bloc to bring down the government.

apparently if one's in favour of quebecois sovereignty, one is presumed to also wish the downfall of traditional marriage. *blink*. that'll come as a surprise to a lot of separatists.

so much for seeking more tory support in quebec in the near future. when will the CPC start looking for a new leader, i wonder? they don't need one who plays well only to alberta rednecks.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
2005-06-23 06:28 pm

new brunswick joins

the other sane provinces and will soon perform same-sex marriages.

that leaves only PEI, alberta, and the northwest territories. get with it, guys.

in the meantime, parliament has been extended to handle C-38 (the same-sex marriage bill), and C-48 (the NDP-deal budget bill).

says peter mackay: "Let's be clear, the Liberal party is now cutting deals with the separatists, to appease the socialists, to prop up their corrupt government,". look who's talking about deals with the separatists! sheesh. sometimes i wonder whether you CPC people ever listen to yourselves talk. does the hypocrisy not hurt while oozing out the side of your mouth?
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
2005-06-21 01:30 pm
Entry tags:

go go go, C-38

government gives notice that sitting may be extended. ballsy move, mr. martin. i don't think i'd ever want to play poker against you.

i'd be all for discussing the bill more in the fall, if there were actually anything gained, if there were MPs who didn't know where they stand on the issue. but that's simply not so.

"It's not time to take a holiday when we're still working on generating equality that people have waited for so long to achieve," Mr. Layton said.

hear, hear. and while conservatives are warning us that somehow same-sex marriage will affect everyone's life negatively (an idea at which i scoff -- heterosexuals are solely to blame for the devaluation of marriage to the point where it stands right now), there is one way in which this bill affects everybody's life: it is all about equal treatment under the charter of rights.