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Cameron's House of Fun

Fatherhood, politics, education, random thoughts (heavy on the random thoughts) and stuff (always stuff).

Friday, May 26, 2006

Vaction all I ever wanted... vacation all I ever needed...

So, we're in Toronto, where Lucas has discovered that streetcars are much better than buses, but that the fact that the subway goes outside is 10X better than both. We're running around, looking at things, going to stores that don't exist at home, poking around neighborhoods etc etc.

It's great. This is the first time I've used a computer for more than looking at e-mail since Tuesday. I have feeling in my shoulders again. I'm not sure that I like it.

Anyway, Toronto is fun. It's totally familiar (I lived here a couple of summers) and Canadian, and yet different enough from home that it feels mildly exotic.

Oh, random overheard conversation at the Bloor Younge subway station:
Bimbo 1: "Like, OMG, I'm reading a book!"
Bimbo 2: "Get out!, you!?!"

The book was Confessions of a Shopaholic... no one in earshot made eye contact, or we would have all started laughing.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Free at last

If anyone ever deserved the release, the rest, or whatever you believe happens after someone dies, it is Heather Crowe.

As someone who's seen what the fight with cancer does to a person's strength, stamina and general quality of life, I was always struck by the incredible dignity and resolve she showed.

And may you be in heaven half an hour before the devil knows you're dead.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

It's raining. 


For a change. 

Yesterday afternoon, it stopped for a few hours. The city was so clean and pretty. A million people were out on the streets.

It's back now though. 

It's been raining for what seems like weeks. 

I would like to shoot myself in the head. 

Thursday, May 18, 2006


So we've decided to stay in Afghanistan for at least 2 more years.

This makes me ... well happy is the wrong word. 

But it is, for good or ill, the right thing to do. 

Different people voted different ways on this in the House. I respect all the decisions...

That said, JACK! needs to learn what peacekeeping is about. Because he sounds like a gibbering fucking idiot. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Gun Registry

Look, there is no doubt that the Gun Registry has been badly managed. 

There is no doubt that part of it's goals were not met, in so much as many people, realizing that they were about to lose a weapon, just didn't register it. There is also no doubt that a lot of it makes no logical sense (a .32 revolver is some how automatically more dangerous than a .22 long rifle pistol? eh? what?).

There is also no doubt that the registration fees should have been lower , either less per gun or a one time bigger fee for the lot. 

Probably everyone should have gotten an amnesty, everything legal you had you registered, everything illegal you got rid of without getting charged (I'm sorry, but people who have assault rifles and want to cry about how they need them can kiss my big, pasty urban ass). 

But, given all of that, the registry itself makes perfect sense. 

Look, firearms are weapons. Our society as a whole has decided that this class of weapons are more dangerous than other classes of weapons (this is to head off the "knives kill to you know" folks). Certainly, in urban areas, where more Candians live this is completly true. Thus, our society would like very much to keep track of them.

In the end, my thoughts go like this, register every gun, provide an amnesty/grandfather clause for all guns, have random checks to see if the guns are with who they are supposed to be with, and move on from there. 

People need to get over this idea that we, as Canadians, have some inherent right to own firearms. Because we don't. We never have had this right. 

Hell, Americans don't either, not in the way that they think they do, it's just that no one ever reads past the semi-colon at the end of "That right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; 

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The difference between what I want and what I think will happen

What I want is that Jean Charest quits politics, takes his Sustainable Development monkey with him, and starts some logging industry consulting firm. This leaves Thomas Mulcaire and Philippe Couillard to decide which one runs. In a surprise move they decide to run as a slate, co-Premier candidates if you will.

At the same time the ADQ takes their hodge podge mess of a circus, folds up it's tent and buggers off.

The renewed, actually representative LPQ (that actually remember what "liberal" means) sweeps the elections, Boisclair retreats to the private sector and we all live happily ever after.

What is going to happen is that sometime in the next year and a half we're going to have an election. Charest is going to go nuts to give bonbons to everyone who stands still. Mario Dumont will look incredulous and patriarical, Boisclair will grin.

Then, the conservative voters will split between the LPQ and the ADQ (probably along both class and linguistic lines) the left of both those parties will either stay or split to the PQ and then we're left with Premier Chucklehead. Grinning like an idiot, thinking he has a mandate to seperate.

And then, we're off to the races again.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Boisclair gets one right (a first mb)

Look, Andre Bloisclair is gay. He likes men. He likes to have sex with men. He probably would like to have a long term, loving relationship with another man. GAY GAY GAY!

As a gay man he probably doesn't like it when people say not nice things about gay people. He probably really doesn't like it when people say not nice things about him based simply on the fact that he is gay. An example of something he probably really doesn't like is probably the crap that was spewed by the ADQ president Yvon Picotte.

In his infinate wisdom M. Picotte said that another politician (boy, this post is like a Russian novel) "knows what he is talking about when he speaks of the future because he has two young children.

"Andre Boisclair can't say the same thing," Picotte said."

This probably annoyed him quite a bit.

So he got Picotte to appologize. I mean I suppoose he could have beat him up. I suppose he coudl have sued him. I suppose there are many avenues of retribution he could have followed. But Boisclair decided against all of these avenues and took the high ground. Politically quite smart.

This was not enough for some people, the head of one of the gay advocacy groups here in Quebec is angry that he wasn't more forceful. That he didn't attack harder.

Boisclair, in a fit of clarity (that would be his clairity and reasoned responce quota used up for this year) pointed out that he knows who he is, doesn't have anything to prove and, if elected, woudl be the leader for all Quebecers, not just gay ones.

I almost fell down when I read this article. Clairity. A point I agreed on (besides the obvious one that Charest must go)... now if he could just turn his smile down by 90% I could mb stomach the idea of voting for him.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Blunder (from the latin for "screw up big time") <===that is a lie

Ok, so Abdou Diouf, the Secretary-General of la Francophonie and former President of Senegal arrives in Canada, on his way to Manitoba where the organization is having it's annual meeting.

He's traveling under a diplomatic passport. None of the news stories tell me which kind, but I guess it could be a Senegalese one, or it could be one issued via the Francophonie, or it could be the Big Mac Daddy of diplomatic passports and could be documentation issued by the UN (the Francophonie is a sister/cousin organization).

In any case, the deal is that poeple with legitimate diplomatic passports are not subjected to the "rubber glove, bend over and give me two good coughs" treatment. Not if they're from bad bad countries and certainly not when they are from friendly, benign countries like Senegal and really not when they are from nice organizations like la Francophonie.

So M. Diouf arrives at Lester B Airport and some helpful people from the Canadian Boarder Security whatsit decide that this set of niceties doesn't really hold true today.

The Globe had a little piece on how Peter McKay was going to appologize and how some Liberals
figured that someone was meant to meet M. Diouf at the airport (CPC folks say no, but it seems to me that everyone gets met at the airport, even if it's by some deputy minster).

Anyway the kicker line in the Globe article was this :

"And nobody in government was prepared to say exactly what was done to Mr. Diouf. The Canada Border Security Agency, which is responsible for screening people coming into the country, referred calls to the Foreign Affairs Department. The Foreign Affairs Department would not discuss the matter. The Prime Minister's Office did not return phone calls."

So, not only do we have a diplomat being manhandled for sport, we have another instance of the new government being so intent on staying on their political message that no one can comment.

About anything.

Except Peter, who will probably be told off for admitting there was something to apologize for.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Stupid stupid stupid stupid bigots

This is an outstanding way to prove what an ass you are.

Beyond the obvious bigotry and outright racism/cultural insensitivity. Beyond the fact that most people don't eat "properly" and that "properly" differs greatly from cultures as closely linked as, say, European cultures (the way my wife was taught to eat "properly" is different from how I was taught). Beyond all of this, here my friends is an object lesson in how to fuck up PR and optics in a spectacular fashion.

The teacher should have been taught, you know, how to talk to people who aren't pure laine, the teacher should have just been asked to appologize, the school administrator should have, at a bare minimum said "we'll look into this". Sure, backing up your teachers is always a good idea, WHEN THEY ARE RIGHT. This teacher is manifestly not right. Instead the administrator compounded the problem.

And in the middle is a little kid who just liked going to school, who liked hanging out with his buddies (all of whom who probably eat all fucked up as well) who now doesn't want to go to school, who feels like a freak (because 7 year old boys need help with that) and who now realizes that, in the eyes of many, he will never truely be "Canadian" (whatever that means this week).

So to Ecole Lalande Elementary School, and the idiots at the school board that describe this as an "educational intervention", please unass your head, get your knuckles on up from the ground and shamble over here into the 21st Century.

If you've got so much time to wory about a 7 year old with a spoon and a fork each and everyone of your kids must be getting perfect grades and not one of them must be obese, opositional or behavioral.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Harper's First Budget (with update)

Ok, look, politically, and from a strategic point of view the thing was brilliant.

The only thing anyone who isn't a wonk is going to remember is that there were tax cuts. All the details etc are lost behind the spin.

But my problem is this, I keep hearing how there are going to be choices and there is going to be help for people.

And then I see the $1200 childcare/child bonus/buy off for the middle class numbers and I laugh. Bitterly.

Look, if you're a single parent, or even two parents making minimum wage, the extra $1200 per kid (before taxes) does not represent a choice. After taxes it represents a joke. Depending on your family configuration and your income levels, you'll see (and this is off the top of my head from memory from all the articles I've read) somewhere around high $600 to mb, if you're lucky, $900ish of this money.

If the CPC wants to recognize the work of parents who stay at home to raise their kids, then great. Let's do that. Let's call it the "Stay at home parents equalization payment". But pretending that $1200 equals choice for daycare etc is a lie.

How about the $80 text book tax credit for students? Well that would cover mb one book for most students. Maybe. But beyond that, it's back to the whole "how does this represent help?" thing. I'm just not sure that $80 is the difference between going or not going to school for most people. I know that there are a lot of other things aimed at students, but it's the ones that are being trumpeted that I'm most interested in.

Oh, speaking of trumpeted, how about the GST cut?

Well let's see, it ammounts to (depending on who you listen to and the mess that is my memory) about $100 or so a year for the average person.

Now I'd have loved to have had it when we bought this house, or for a trip, or any of those big ticket items that a middle classish guy like me buys, but the reality is that the bottom end of the socio-economic scale doesn't buy big ticket items. Ever.

So, for those living at or below the poverty line, there will be little change in their lives due to a 1% change in the GST, simply because they probably only buy things that are already GST free. Like, you know, food. Oh, and as an added bonus, the bottom tax bracket was clawwed back to 15.5% from 15%, to pay for the GST cut that won't serve the people in this tax bracket.

Another thought, one of my big concerns for years with the whole soverignty movement here in Quebec is the whole "never you mind, we'll figure that out later" attitude. In this budget, the environment gets the same treatment from the CPC. Sure there are issues with Kyoto, but what you got over there in that bag of your's that you can replace it with? Oh, promices, with no programs, to reach targets that you have yet to specifiy? Oh, that sounds great. Yay! A majority for you!

Anyway, like I said, what 90% of the people will remember is that there were TAX CUTS! and that the GST WAS CUT! and the rest will fade into memory.

The Quebec government just confirmed that the $1200 will be subject on provincial taxation... hahahahahahah... choices eh?