Monday, September 20, 2010

Bad Focus, A Leading Question and Wedge Politics

Whooee! Well, friends an' foes, today's the day our gummint goes back to work after another 13 week vacation. While the MPs were away from the House, "a total of $14 billion (has) been added to our national debt." Every poll in the past year or more has indicated that the biggest concern for Canadians is the economy. Yet, our spendthrift Conservative government is in full drunken sailor mode. $16 billion for new, unneeded F-35 stealth fighter jets. $6 billion for new prison cells to house unconvicted criminals who have committed unreported crimes. More than a billion on security for a few hours of face time with fellow promise breakers at the G8/G20. $35 billion for new ships.

Not only is our government preaching austerity while spending money at an unprecedented rate, it is spending most of its time and energy dealing with an issue that's barely a blip on the radar of public concern. The long gun registry is a pet issue for a few NRA types who make loud noises (like their guns) and have hijacked -- with the help of Harper's MPs -- the public agenda. While all hands need to be on the economy deck, the fight being waged is one of wedge politics where the ruling party is attempting to divide Canadians along rural-urban boundaries.

Here's the way my own MP, Diane Finley, is wasting her time and money. Remember, we the people are Diane's employers. When she wastes her time and money, she's actually wasting our time and money. Here's what Diane sent out to her constituents last week.

Notice how Diane says she has her mind made up and she will vote to repeal the registry. Then, she says she needs my support and help and I should get in touch. What help can I give? I can't vote in the Commons. She's the only one from Haldimand-Norfolk who can vote and she's already decided how.

She wants people to answer her question and send back their Yes or No response to her question: "Do you support getting rid of the wasteful and ineffective gun registry?" No need to worry about postage, registry opponents. Diane, or rather the taxpayer, has that covered.

Nothing leading about that question, is there? Who would answer "No, I don't support getting rid of something that's wasteful and ineffective"?

When a handful registry opponents take the time to respond with their meaningless Yes answers, Diane can then tell the media or anyone who asks that the bulk of the mail she's received supports killing the registry.

The big problem with trying to create a rural-urban rift is that so-called rural ridings are not entirely rural. Haldimand-Norfolk is comprised a several small towns, ranging in population from about 15,000 to a couple thousand. The residents of those towns are hardly all farmers or hunters. The farmers in the rural riding are, in reality, a small minority. Most voters in my rural riding live in town. I suspect there may be proportionally a few more hunters in small towns than in Toronto but most small town residents are neither hunters nor gun owners.

The tactic of dividing Canadians into Toronto and Montreal versus rural Canada will fail simply because politicians like Diane Finley do not really know what their constituents want. They will never know as long as they ask leading questions for which there is only one acceptable answer.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Intimidation, Stifling Dissent and Police State Tactics

Whooee! Well, friends an' foes, the past day or so I seen a few news items that really got my goat. Seems like our home and native land is slidin' down the slippery slope to totalitarianism. The G20 thing gave the slip-slide a bigass shove an' the situation's deterioratin', no two ways.

One thing I seen that made my blood start simmerin' was when the cops arrested a guy for the crime of discussing politics in a university forum. The chickenshits waited until after the event and arrested him at his dad's house. According to the event organizer, Judy Rebick, who had invited the young man to participate in the Ryerson panel discussion,
"It was a meeting, a calm, peaceful discussion of issues on people’s minds.”
“It’s an outrage that he was arrested for discussing issues, an outrage.”
Dang right!

Then, I seen an article where a guy out Calgary way got arrested for posting criticism of the RCMP on a website. Libel is generally a civil matter but I guess when the cops is the ones who think they're bein' libeled, they can slap the cuffs on and drag the accused libeler off to jail.

RCMP Supt. Randy McGinnis said the charges are very rare.

"In my 29 years, I've never heard of an individual being charged under the criminal code for libel charges, defamation of character," McGinnis said during the news conference.

Not rare enough, sez I. BTW, the guy's website is still up and (allegedly) libelin'. Rabble's got a good piece on this.

The third thing I seen and this one really hits home is where the OPP is payin' visits to people who are opposed to Bruce Power's plans to ship radioactive waste through the Great Lakes and up the St. Lawrence Seaway and over to Sweden... and back again.

Ontario Provincial Police officers are making the rounds in Grey Bruce, speaking to opponents of Bruce Power's plans to ship 16 decommissioned steam generators from Owen Sound Harbour through the Great Lakes to Sweden.

Two officers — Calum Rankin and Ian George — from the force's western regional headquarters called Sharen Skelly, a spokeswoman for the group Citizens Against Radioactive Generators in Owen Sound (CARGOS), on Tuesday afternoon and met with her that evening, Skelly said Friday.

"I wasn't expecting it," Skelly said of the call.

Rankin called her again on Friday to say he was willing to speak with anyone about the issue, she said. "He said they wanted to be open and transparent about it."

However, George would not answer questions from The Sun Times about who the officers where visiting or how they were chosen.

Does the OPP work for Bruce Power or for the citizens of Ontario? This looks like intimidation, pure and simple. A group of mayors of municipalities bordering the Great lakes has also voiced opposition to the shipments. Is the OPP calling on them, too?

Maybe the OPP will be calling on me next. I signed Sharen Skelly's petition and I've been outspoken about stopping the Great Lakes from being used as a transportation route for nuclear waste. I bumped heads with Bruce Power last year when they were trying to build a new nuke plant here in Nanticoke. I'm pretty sure they got a dossier on me. Will they send their OPP minions to knock on my door. If so, I'll be all the more inspired to protest those shipments. Count on it.


Friday, September 17, 2010

"Stay Calm, Be Brave, and Watch for the Signs"

Whooee! Well, friends an' foes, I gave my ol' blog a facelift yesterday so I'm all inspired an' I figgered I'd enlighten my thousands an' thousands o' readers with some rural culture. Something I seen yesterday was ol' Pitbull Baird runnin' his stoopidass mouth off about "Toronto elites" an' tryin' his damnedest to drive a wedge between us hicks an' the good folks in the big city.

There ain't much I want more than peace an' harmony between Canada's rural folks an' the urbane urbanites. I reckon if I share some rural culture with the city fellers an' gals, it'll help in the bridge-buildin' department.

Today, I had an errand to run an' I had a chugmobile out on the country roads fer a coupla hours. On the way down to Port Colborne, I seen a few signs alongside the road. On my way back to Mayberry, I stopped a couplafew times an' took some pitchers. Some of 'em probbly need interpretin' for Toronto folks but I reckon these signs is gonna help the snooty-toots understand us bumpkins.

Hog Assembly Yard

Here's a close-up of the sign on the barn:

It's sorta faded out but it reads "Hog Assembly Yard" an' there's a pitcher of a flyin' pig. What most Toronto elites probbly didn't know is pigs get put together on assembly lines at places like this 5 hours a week, 52 weeks a year. Us hicks is always hearin' how city folks don't know where the food in the grocery store comes from. Well, now you know about pigmeat. They make it the same way they make Fords up in Oakville.

Now, city folks probbly figger us hicks ain't very computer literate an' we don't know much about doing acrobatics in our adobe huts. Wrong, again. We can Photoshop just as good as any highrise dweller. We even know that Photoshop is a verb. Out here in the boonies, they even got special Photoshop deals at the farm supply outfits.

In case some o' you latte-sippers ain't so 'puter savvy an' don't know what crop inputs are, here's where they live in Photoshop.

Now, some city slickers is probbly confused about farmers. That ain't too surprisin'. The dang farmers need the sun but they're always prayin' fer rain. Some farm folks is downright hostile when it comes to the sun. Here's a van I saw today down around Cayuga.

I get the part about solar farms destroyin' farmland an' wildlife but I gotta admit I'm sorta confuddled about how solar farms destroy communities. I'm all fer rooftop solar, though, an' so is this here van-paintin' sun-hater, by the looks of it. I figger he needs a website so's he can explain about the communities bit, at least.

I saved the best sign fer last. City folks probbly think dirt is dirty. Wrong, again, Starbuck! There's dirty dirt, alright, but that ain't the only kinda dirt we got out here in Sticksville. Look an' learn:

Well, I hope them there pitchers help a few Toronto elites understand us rural folks better. We ain't always shootin' off unregistered guns, spittin' tobacca juice an' drivin' tractor blockades down the 401. We got a deep-rooted culture that ain't always easy to comprehend. I'm just happy I can do my little part for national unity.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Were NDP MPs Listening to Ol' JimBobby?

Whooee! Well, friends an' foes, a coupla days ago, I posted up a blog story on how I'd written to a buncha NDP MPs an' to Jack Layton, too, tellin' 'em they need to vote to keep the gun registry if they want a hope in hell of fixin' it. The comments section on the blog got pretty heated with the Dipper Leftdog sayin' my position showed I'd been hoodwinked by the GrittyBoys. Well, I was watchin' Mansbridge last night and I seen the NDP leader come out and say the selfsame thing I said:
Layton said. "I am very confident that the votes that are needed to continue the registry so that it can be fixed will indeed be there, and I'm feeling very optimistic about what lies ahead as a result."
It ain't really that complicated. If you scrap it, you can't fix it. When I asked Leftdog several times how you could fix something if it was scrapped, he refused to answer. Jack Layton answered, though. What I'm really wonderin' about now is: does Leftdog think that Jack Layton was hoodwinked by the Liberals? After all, Jack's sayin' the exact same thing I said in my letter to the NDP MPs.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Dear NDP Member of Parliament,

Whooee! Well, friend an' foes, I just sent an email to a few NDP MPs via an online thingamajig that lets you send it automagically. The online tool has a pre-written letter that you can sign but you can change it or write yer own letter in the space provided. Here's what I sent.
Dear NDP Member of Parliament,

Once the gun registry is scrapped, it cannot be fixed. The Harper government will never resurrect the registry. If it is killed, it will not rise, zombie-like, to be tweaked by well-meaning MPs. The only way it can be fixed is if it still exists.

First, you must prevent it from being eliminated forever. Then and only then, can it be improved upon.

When you send an old car to the junkyard and they squash it into a 1 metre x 1 metre x 1 metre cube, it's a little too late to start talking about doing a tune-up.

If you want the registry dead and gone forever, then go ahead and vote to kill it. If, however, you want to improve it -- as Jack Layton says -- then you must allow it to survive long enough to be improved.

By the way, I am a rural dweller. Some rural Canadians are quite outspoken in favour of killing the gun registry. They speak loudly but I do not think they speak for the majority of rural people. We register our cars, our boats and even our dogs. Why would we not agree to registering our deadly weapons?
I signed it with my real name and postal code. I got a CPC MP so maybe them Dippers'll just toss my email in the scrap pile along with the gun registry but I figgered it was at least worth a try.

If I coulda sent a picture, this'd be the one:

Hey, Mr. Goodwrench, how about a tune-up?