September 7th, 2012 — Canada
Rumour has it that Justin Trudeau will lead the Liberal Party of Canada. If this comes to pass, it is almost certain to be disastrous for Canada, and that is what has motivated me to write after months of silence.
Bear with me; I’ll be brief as I can.
1. If the NDP win a majority in 2015, Canada stands a good chance of becoming Mr. Harper’s worst nightmare: European.
Or more accurately, more social democratic, like Germany or Norway. Once Canadians experience that quality of life, that level of security, we will not want to go back and he knows it. 6 weeks of vacation, tax-paid post-secondary education, worker representatives on the Boards of highly successful companies, a rapidly greening economy – it would be like going from our current legal minimum of two weeks’ paid vacation to none. An NDP government has the potential to focus Canadians on places like Germany rather than following the U.S.A. It would actually be a coming of age for Canada, a maturing of our relationship with the United States.
For those who doubt me, remember that it was a Liberal/NDP minority that “managed to bring in many of Canada’s major social programs, including universal health care, the Canada Pension Plan and Canada Student Loans, and established a new national flag, the Maple Leaf. He also instituted the 40-hour work week, two weeks vacation time and a new minimum wage.” Thank you Wikipedia.
2. Based on recent polling, the NDP stand a decent chance of winning at least a minority next election.
3. There are a lot of people who don’t trust the NDP and/or would really love to see the Liberals riding high again.
4. Justin Trudeau is the only leader I can think of that will swing a lot of voters to the Liberals from the NDP.
5. The progressive vote is split once again, and Harper will win a second majority. Instead of becoming more European, we’ll become more American, including their declining pollution regulations, corporate accountability, government accountability, and middle class.
Trudeau seems a nice enough fellow, and no doubt very intelligent, etc, etc. But the party he would lead is a mess and they are not particularly progressive. We’re not going to see any significant change in direction. This is the party that signed Kyoto…and then did nothing about it. This is the party that stabbed Stephane Dion, their leader, in the back over his “Green Shift.” The Liberals are not going to green the economy.
And is the rot gone from the Liberal Party? I very much doubt it. There are still plenty of old guard and their views will not be ‘shifted’ by a young leader. Not overnight, anyway, and certainly not enough before the next election.
All that said, there are enough Canadians who get dreamy-eyed at the thought of the Liberals rising from the ashes – led by a Trudeau! – that if he becomes the leader of the Liberal Party, he will split the vote and Harper will get a second majority.
So close, we were.
April 9th, 2012 — Canada
There has been furious debate recently over the whole F-35 fighter jet program – it’s beginning to look like a millstone around Stephen Harper’s neck – but the real issue is this: Why are we buying it in the first place?
We should rethink what we expect of our military before spending more billions on military hardware. The subs were an expensive joke the UK played on us, and the F-35s have the potential to transfer many billions of Canadian taxpayer dollars to foreign military contractors, especially American.
- Is the *primary* duty of the Canadian Armed Forces to defend the country against invasion? Of course.
- Does the Canadian Armed Forces currently have the capability to carry out its primary duty? I think not.
- How much does the F-35 (or any other fighter jet) enhance the Forces’ primary duty to defend the nation? Approximately 0%.
- If a large nation invades, our 65 jets would be overwhelmed and annihilated very rapidly.
- If a small nation invades, we could drop grenades from Twin Otters; there are no small nations close and none with aircraft carriers, so they would be invading by ship with no air cover.*
Is there any way for the CAF to fulfil its primary duty of defending Canada against invasion, without relying upon the goodwill and military might of the United States of America? Missiles, surely:
- Cruise missiles cost ~600K each; other missiles cost considerably less, but let’s say 500K/missile on average
- The F-35 program was to cost 25 billion dollars, though certainly would have been much higher
- 25,000,000,000/500,000 = 50,000 missiles
That’s a lot of missiles; that would repel most boarders, I would think.
What’s more, unlike jets or aircraft carriers, we can certainly build missiles in this country, especially if we’re building 50,000 of them. That means the entire $25 billion would stay in Canada and provide the Canadian Armed Forces the ability to defend the country.
* It should be clear I’m being facetious here; obviously the Otters would have be armoured.
For those who still don’t understand, I don’t take the threat of invasion by a small nation seriously. A small nation would have a long way to travel and with how many troops at once? In the low tens of thousands in ships with no air cover…it’s not a winning proposition. A few well-placed missiles or torpedoes and their entire invasion force goes down.
March 19th, 2012 — Canada, Climate Change
I’m on the West Coast of Canada, where temperatures have been unusually cool: 4-5 C below ‘normal’ for weeks now. I used to live in Ontario, where temperature records are currently being blown away: 8, 9, even 12 degrees Celsius higher than the previous record.
Sitting in 6 C and rain sure makes the situation in central Canada look pretty good right now. Rather than 16 C, imagine 24 C – what a great March! However, think about this:
What if records are shattered in the summer by the same amount? For example, rather than a very uncomfortable (Toronto gets very humid) 37 C, what if the temperature hits 47 C? When I grew up in Ontario, very few people had air conditioning because it just wasn’t worth it for three hot and humid weeks in the summer. But 47 C is in another realm entirely.
The extreme temperatures have other consequences, too: thunderstorms – in Spring! – move from unheard of to likely. And how about farmers? There’s a lot of great crop land in Ontario, but a heat wave of 47 C will kill almost everything currently commercially grown. One week of weather like that could cost the entire Ontario crop.
We’re in for it now; the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere mean that weather extremes are the new normal. Let’s see how we ‘adapt.’
February 22nd, 2012 — Canada
Adam Goldenburg makes the very convincing argument that the real target of bill C-30, the bill that would give the government sweeping new powers to monitor Canadians’ internet activity, are judges. And then Reddit user itsthebishhop made this comment:
Contempt for Parliament, the Constitution, the Charter, and the judiciary; yet always talking about ‘law’ and ‘order’. It’s their ‘law’ and their ‘order’.
And that got me thinking to all the groups this government has targeted to shut down or silence, and it became clear he goes after those who could potentially check his power. And that is truly scary.
- Judges, as described in the linked article
- Scientists and even science, as in the muzzling of Canada’s scientists and completely ignoring climate change
- Parliament, through prorogation, deliberate attempts to sabotage the committee system, etc
- Media, through limiting access and questions that may be asked, closing the CBC, backing Sun TV, etc
- Other parties, through cutting the per-vote funding, etc
- And, of course, the internet, through laws like this, and therefore ultimately the citizens who use the internet to communicate…and organize