My avatar across the web: a photo of my feet in grey-white socks and brown sandals.

Ben Babcock

I read, write, code, and knit.

32 Articles Tagged with “Canada”

  1. Maybe we should start that fire

    Canadian politics is desperately lacking in anyone with as much fire as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and that's a problem.

    Confession: I follow a lot of Americans, many of whom have an interest in politics, on Twitter. So I've been hearing a lot about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the rookie new Democratic member of the U.S. House of Congress. She has been getting a lot of pushback from the elements of American society who can't handle the fact that a young, opinionated, competent, dedicated, socialist woman of colour has actually been elected to Congress, let alone is now following through on her lofty promises not to immediately succumb to the system of corrupted checks-without-balances that is emblematic of that institution. As a Canadian, it has been interesting to watch this happen against the backdrop of the U.S. federal government shutdown (in a horrified, "what the hell are you doing to your own federal employees" kind of way).

    But I'm not American, and so this got me thinking more about politics back here in Canada, especially because we are actually in a federal election year now. And watching the furor over AOC south of the border, I just can't help but … yearn for something like that here.

    I'm 29 years old, and this will be my fourth time voting in a federal…

    Read more…

  2. I wish it were #NotMyCanada, but it is, so let's talk

    So it’s Canada Day. Whoo! PARTY TIME! Crack open those drinks, lay out the snacks, enjoy the sun—sigh.

    I can’t do it, guys.

    Look, if all you want to do with your day off is party, this blog post is not for you.

    I can’t just join in this year, for two reasons. Firstly, this year is important, because later this year we are having a federal election. Secondly, I can’t, in good conscience, blindly talk about how great Canada is when there’s a lot of problems we need to get sorted.

    What, Exactly, Are We Celebrating?

    When it comes to Canada Day, what do we celebrate, exactly? I’m confused. Prime Minister Stephen Harper makes a big deal out of nationalism. He wants us to take pride in our nation, Canada, and talk about how great we are. He insists that it is important we celebrate our heritage. But which parts of our heritage?

    The wonderful and diverse cultures of the First Peoples, who lived here long before Europeans stumbled across this continent? I think not, given the Harper government’s ongoing disdain for aboriginal affairs and colonial attitude towards indigenous peoples.

    Surely, then, Harper wants us to celebrate Canada’s status…

    Read more…

  3. An open letter to the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade

    Recently I talked about the threat to Canada’s public domain. The following is a letter I have sent in response to the government consultation on the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). As with all my blog posts, it is published under a Creative Commons Attribution license. I encourage you to speak up by February 14 and write your own letter declaiming the desecration of the public domain! Email [email protected]


    Hello,

    I am writing as a concerned Canadian citizen, as well as a student and future educator, with regards to the effects of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on Canadian copyright law and the public domain. I am aware of the potential benefits of the TPP for Canada’s trade and economy. However, analysis of the proposed agreement reveals that accepting the TPP would commit Canada to extending its copyright term from life of the author plus 50 years to life of the author plus 70 years. This would effectively leave the public domain in Canada stagnant for 20 years. Beyond that, the increase in copyright terms will mean an additional delay—in some cases, more than a century—between the publication of a work and its entry into the public domain. Many Canadians,…

    Read more…

  4. Please, protect the public domain!

    My New Year’s Eve was pretty good. As I am not much of a party-goer I did not plan on doing anything special. My two friends Cassie and Carly had extended a casual invitation to perhaps do something. Eventually they decided to watch the hockey game, and having no interest in hockey, I did not go over to their house. But I asked them to “alert me in the event of an impromptu snowball fight”. Sure enough, around quarter after eleven, I received a pushy text message explaining that they were coming over to my house! This was followed by one that advised me to have my coat on—at that point, I knew the game was afoot, and I prepared to ambush their ambush. A snowball fight ensued, followed by the more constructive act of creating a snowman. Later we went inside and played a card game, Dominion, that their other friend had brought. It was intense and interesting, and it was a good evening.

    New Year’s Day is always better than New Year’s Eve. Always. Because New Year’s Day is Public Domain Day. Every year, children and adults alike gather round to give thanks and feast, to…

    Read more…

  5. Game Over: Would you like to play again? How Conservatives and copyright broke my spirit

    Last summer, the government of Canada held an open consultation on the issue of copyright reform. The result: over 8,300 submissions, over 6,000 of which expressed opposition to another copyright reform bill similar to Bill C-61. You can read my submission here.

    It turns out that I and anyone else who submitted to the consultation, wrote a letter to his or her MP, showed up for a meeting or rally, or participated in the Facebook groups or online discourse, have done this all for nothing. We've been wasting our time. Because we're about to do this all over again.

    What's sad is that it didn't have to be this way. Tony Clement is the Industry Minister now, and his attitude toward copyright reform is more sensible than Jim Prentice's. Apparently he was open to a different approach than the one Bill C-61 took--and considering how unacceptable Bill C-61 was, I'll take that. Alas, it looks like Mr. Clement and his fellow cabinet minister, James Moore have differing opinions. So Grandfather Harper intervened.

    The result will apparently be a "Canadian DMCA" that is, as Cory Doctorow puts it, a "goddamned disaster." While…

    Read more…

  6. Why the Vinyl Cafe is very Canadian

    A week ago Thursday, I went to see The Vinyl Cafe live at our auditorium. But because I've been busy doing other things--i.e., homework--I haven't bothered blogging about it until now.

    I love The Vinyl Cafe, and nothing beats going to see it live. I went the last time the show was in Thunder Bay, two years ago, and I'll go when it comes back in two years. Until then, I'll continue listening to the show in podcast form and nurse my lovely swag, which this year consists of Secrets from the Vinyl Cafe and the Planet Boy CD, both of which I got signed by Stuart!

    The musical guests accompanying The Vinyl Cafe were The Good Lovelies. I love how The Vinyl Cafe gives play to Canadian artists, especially new or relatively unknown artists--I've some songs I really like from listening to the show.

    Why do I so love The Vinyl Cafe? We often define Canadian identity by negation (for example, Canadians are "not American"). Yet if I had to name something quintessentially Canadian, I would choose The Vinyl Cafe. Say what you will about what sort of programming the CBC is producing these days:…

    Read more…

  7. We Screwed Up

    The war drums are sounding once again, and another election looms. The Liberals, led by the accomplished but detached Michael Ignatieff, are channelling Twisted Sister and are calling Prime Minister Harper out. But Harper says that Canadians don't want an election.

    So what?

    I don't want to take yucky-tasting medicine, but I do it anyway so I get better. I don't want to pay more than $1 per litre of gas, but I do it anyway so my car will run. I don't want an election, but we should have one anyway so Parliament will actually do something. The whining electorate complaining about our frequent elections miss one important fact: we're part of the problem. We may not want another election, but at this point, we need one.

    Do Not Pass Go; Do Not Collect $200

    Much of the resistance to another election is purely about timing: there's a sentiment that we just had an election, and it's "too soon" for another. At first glance, this reasoning seems sound: the parties have not changed much in a year, and aside from one new leader--who, let's face it, really isn't that different from the old leader so far--it's the same…

    Read more…

  8. Think This, Say That, Wear Your Flag

    I woke up this morning to the following headline in my RSS feeds, courtesy of CBC News: N.B. school silences O Canada. It already had 249 comments then; it's up to 658 comments as I'm writing this. CBC News has since updated the article to expand its content and provide a more detailed story; the original article was less informative, which didn't stop people from commenting on it.

    In case I haven't been clear in the past, let me first establish that I don't believe in being "politically correct". What's the point in living in a free country if you have to walk on eggshells just to avoid offending anyone? To that end, it's Merry Christmas and not Happy Holidays. You can say BCE or BC; I don't care--it's still inherently based on Christianity, so it isn't "politically correct"--just annoying.

    But I digress.

    My initial reaction to the article was, "Well, this is stupid." This was just another example of the politically correct movement going too far! There's nothing wrong with singing the national anthem! Back in my day (I can't believe it's been two years already), I sang the national anthem aloud every morning at school--and I

    Read more…

  9. State of the nation

    Now that everyone in Ottawa has some breathing room, what exactly is the state of Canada as a democracy and as a nation?

    With the decision to prorogue government, constitutional expert Errol Mendes believes that Governor General Michaëlle Jean has set a dangerous precedent. In the future, prime ministers who face confidence motions in the House of Commons may also request prorogation of Parliament. Mendes does suggest that Parliament itself could "pass legislation to prevent abuse of the prorogation in the future," so that's good news--except that our Parliament doesn't seem too eager to pass any legislation so far.

    Democracy Isn't Dead, Just Violated

    The good news is that democracy isn't dead: long live democracy. In fact, contrary to the spin being spun by both sides, the past few days have had nothing to do with democracy. Yes, it was a political crisis and an economic crisis; it was not a crisis of democracy. It's not business as usual, but everything that has happened has happened within the bounds of a parliamentary democracy.

    But that doesn't mean everything is fine.

    As mentioned above, the Governor General's decision does set precedent that will affect the operation of our democracy in…

    Read more…

  10. Parliament takes a Kit-Kat break

    I will be the first to say that the Governor General's decision to prorogue Parliament is the worst of the possible outcomes we could have seen today. It is not a solution to the crisis. Rather, it is a stall tactic that delays a confidence vote--a vote Harper's Conservatives will likely lose. Moreover, how is this helping our economic situation, which is supposedly so dire that it needs immediate action? If Harper really thought the economy mattered more than his ego and desire for power, he'd seek a better solution--not necessarily yielding to a coalition, sure, but definitely not suspending our legislative assembly!

    That said, I'm glad that we now have a concrete decision, even if it's an ambiguous concrete decision!

    I respect that in our parliamentary democracy, the Governor General's role is to make a decision like this, and I do not envy her this responsibility. No matter what she decided today, she would have upset some Canadians and set a precedent for future governments. I disagree with her decision, but respect it as a democratic one.

    This is why I prefer parliamentary democracy to any other system, such as the American one. We have this check on…

    Read more…

  11. A Copenhagen interpretation of Canadian politics

    At this point in the game, I feel sorry for small C conservatives. Part of the problem for liberal voters in the last election was that we had a choice for whom we could vote. Aside from abstaining, voting for a conservative independent, or voting for someone who is probably more left of centre than one's ideology would like, conservative Canadians are stuck with Harper. And that sucks.

    Stephen Harper has wrought considerable damage to the Conservative Party of Canada. He has tarnished its reputation and diminished its influence. The Conservatives had a real opportunity in the past years after the fall of the Liberals and the adscam; Stephen Harper squandered that opportunity. The result? There may be another election in a couple of months!

    In Question Period today, rather than try to address tangible disadvantages to a Liberal-NDP coalition--and there are such disadvantages, for sure--Harper led the Conservatives on a spurious, ad hominem attack round against the opposition parties. He accused the leaders of being un-Canadian because they refused to sign their coalition agreement in front of a Canadian flag--this accusation is also false, incidently. Of course, accusing one's opponent of being unpatriotic is the last defence of a…

    Read more…

  12. A Coalition Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All

    I love this country, and I love our politics.

    Canadian politics are often not as exciting as American politics. And that's true--due to the two-party system in America, the political landscape is a vast minefield of polarized partisanship. In Canada, while we do have two major parties, we have two other parties who exert a strong influence in Parliament.

    But this is why I love Canadian politics: it may not be as exciting as American politics in general, but it can get exciting at any time. Due to our parliamentary system, the government can be defeated on any motion considered a "confidence motion". So in America while the President is elected independently of the legislature every four years, and is generally stuck in office for four years, our leader changes as the government does, and our leader can potentially change at any time.

    Last Friday, Canadian politics got exciting again. The three opposition parties announced that they were in talks to form a coalition government. That means that rather than any one party forming the government, two or more parties would work together to form the government and pass legislation. In order for this to happen, the opposition parties…

    Read more…

  13. How I'll get through this government

    I have discovered how I will get through the next six months. Or year. Or two years. However long it is until Stephen Harper tries to get a majority again. I will watch CBC comedy news shows.

    What would I ever do without The Rick Mercer Report or This Hour Has 22 Minutes?!

    For my American friends, The Rick Mercer Report is similar to The Colbert Report. Mercer does a lot less in-studio, however, and has more clips where he goes out and meets people, politicians((Yes, I am implying what you think I'm implying)), goes to schools, and gets naked.((Really. But I won't tell you any more than this, because now you'll waste half an hour searching the Internet to find out. Muwahahahaha!)) He has a regular photo challenge on his site where anyone can edit a photo he posts, and he'll put them up in his gallery.

    I don't know what the American equivalent of This Hour Has 22 Minutes is. You've got a cast of news anchors who know no boundaries in "reporting" current events. When I was younger, I grew up on Royal Canadian Air Farce; I didn't watch This Hour Has 22 Minutes much. However,…

    Read more…

  14. The afterglow of my first election

    The polls are closed, and the votes are mostly tallied. Last month, Stephen Harper called an election; this month, he was re-elected with yet anohter minority government--a stronger minority, but still a minority. In the ensuing chaotic coverage, some interesting trends have emerged. The new hot issues are Liberal leadership, government functionality, voting reform, and voter turnout.

    The Liberals lost eighteen seats (at the time of this writing), which is a blow for them. Still the official opposition, yet weakened. Additionally, Dion declared in his concession speech that he would be willing to work with the Conservatives on the economic "crisis" that we're facing. While I commend Dion for extending the olive branch, two questions come to mind: does this mean the Conservatives will have a de facto majority? And will this matter at all in a week or two when the Liberals get a new leader? For indeed, if there was anything the majority of pundits agreed that Dion is done. My opinion of Dion improved during this campaign; however, that still doesn't mean he's a strong leader.

    The next question is: will this government be functional? Harper's cited reason for calling the last election was that government no…

    Read more…

  15. This New Fangled Voting Thing

    OpenOffice.org 3.0 is out today, so while I was downloading the torrent, I remembered I had yet to watch Michael Moore's free film Slacker Uprising chronicling his campaign to get slackers to vote in the 2004 American presidential election.

    The film was interesting. Whatever you think of Michael Moore's position or techniques, he's certainly passionate about what he's doing. And democracy may not be the most perfect system of government, but it seems to be the best one we've tried so far. Democracy is all about getting the people to vote, and Michael Moore was encouraging people to vote. As Martha Stewart might say, "That's a good thing."

    Tomorrow is Election Day here in Canada. If you are a Canadian citizen and 18 years of age or older, you can vote. If you aren't sure how to do this, go to the Elections Canada website. If you can vote, you should vote. Even if you're going to vote Conservative (I'm not), I want you to go and vote. We live in a democracy; it is your duty as a citizen to participate in the democratic process by voting for your representative in the next government.

    You don't need…

    Read more…

  16. My experience at a local debate

    This morning I went to a debate for the candidates of Thunder Bay-Superior North (my riding). The debate was hosted by LUSU, so naturally most of it was focused on how the candidates can help students. There were plenty of questions about student loans and debts, jobs after graduation, taxes, etc. I used the debate as an opportunity to actually familiarize myself with the candidates, one of whom will represent me in Ottawa by the end of this election.

    The four candidates were Brendan Hughes (Green), Bruce Hyer (NDP), Don McArthur (Liberals), and Bev Sarafin (Conservatives). Naturally I'm biased toward the left, and this presents me with the question: if I think the Green Party or the NDP would do a better job than the Liberals, should I vote for one of those candidates instead of voting for the Liberal candidate, thus splitting the Liberal votes and enabling the Conservative to get elected?

    Watching the candidates speak, I was able to get a sense of how they'd do in the House of Commons, as well as their stance on the issues. All were articulate; all tried to emphasize their personal connection to the region and their commitment…

    Read more…

  17. My Digital Wish List

    CBC radio show Spark wants to know what Canada needs to do today to become a major innovator tomorrow. This is an important issue with the election looming. In addition to interviewing technology experts, the Spark blog has asked listeners to submit their own "Digital Wish Lists". Here's mine:

    • Establishment of a Minister of Technology. I agree with Mitch Kapoor. We have a Minister of Health, a Minister of Industry--why not someone in charge of the country's technological infrastructure?
    • Better copyright reform. Bill C-61 has demonstrated that many Canadians care about copyright reform. Even if one is in favour of the copyright protection measures outlined in Bill C-61 (I am not), critics have pointed out numerous flaws that make Bill C-61 a poor piece of legislation. I want our government to have open consultation with the public to craft viable, enforceable copyright legislation that balances intellectual property ownership with the need for access to information.
    • More competition in the telecommunications sector. I am not a capitalist, but a lack of competition does mean that consumers have less choice. Here in Thunder Bay, we have one choice for cable TV service: Shaw. Until recently, only local TBayTel provided home phone

    Read more…

  18. Election-bound

    It's official. Prime Minister Harper met with Governor General Michaëlle Jean today, and she dissolved Parliament, triggering an election. Canadians will vote on October 14.

    The American election machine has been rumbling away for the better part of a year now, and we have called and will be finished our federal election before the Americans even get to vote. :D I love Canada's electoral system.

    What I don't love is the lack of any charismatic leaders and the lack of any compelling candidates in my riding. The Conservatives have already begun airing these obnoxious ads that consist of Harper sitting in a chair, wearing a vest--very "casual" indeed--and talking about how he enjoys being a father, how he is proud of Canada as a country, and how he wants Canada to have a greater role on the world stage. The tagline of the commercials is: "We're better off with Harper." I, for one, find this tagline hilarious.

    The CBC has spent most of the day focusing on voters' response to the election call: are we ready for the election? The response has been mixed. Many people have expressed disapproval, since Harper was a proponent of the fixed election date law…

    Read more…

  19. What a crazy world

    Humans are an insane and suicidal species. This is not a new revelation to most of us, I'm sure. Nor is it news that the world is crazy. But let's stop and reflect for a moment on some recent events that underline such insanity, shall we?

    First on the block is the situation in Georgia. When this originally happened, I could understand (but did not approve of) Russia's actions. The area is ethnically diverse and highly conflicted. While South Ossetia may be a part of Georgia, it seems to be more sympathetic to Russia. Unfortunately for them, they're still part of Georgia, and that doesn't give Russia much business sending troops in there. Russia claims that their troops are peacekeeping forces, a response to Georgian troops sent into South Ossetia to quell militants. Then, however, Russia sent troops past the border of South Ossetia into other regions of Georgia!

    After France finally brokered a ceasefire, Russia agreed to withdraw its troops. So far such withdrawals have been minimal. The Russians are playing the old game of "the truth is what we say it is, not what you see." The Russian officials insist that they are withdrawing; soldiers continue to…

    Read more…

  20. Canadian Copyright: A Call to Arms

    Fair Copyright for Canada

    You often hear someone invoke the phrase, "As a __," in which he or she then goes on to name some sort of position or title that gives him or her the ability to voice an opinion on the subject at hand. "As a world leader...," "As a scientist...," "As a schoolteacher...," "As an evil overlord...." Here's something on which we should all have an opinion.

    As a person, I value access to information. Many people, especially those my age, do not realize how saturated we are with information (or if you do, you may not understand what that means in a historical context). Go back in time about 550 years. There was a new invention on the scene in Europe: the printing press. The printing press allowed people to do something that, until then, was a very laborious task: it enabled the mass transmission of information in a written form. Prior to then, books were copied out by hand--usually by monks--and few people knew how to read. Most knowledge was passed on orally. And most people had access to very little information compared to what an individual knows today.

    Fast forward 550 years back to present day. We…

    Read more…

  21. Home sweet home

    I'm back in Thunder Bay. :D And although I had an unqualified awesome time with Lauren in Ohio, I am very glad to be back home. In fact, here's a couple of reasons why:

    Driving and driving with my music. Until today, I hadn't driven in two weeks. It was nice to be chauffeured around everywhere, even as the Americans obsessed over gas prices that are fully a dollar less than they are up here (thank you, Toronto :dry: ). I actually got my G licence a couple of days before I went away, so this worked out well, because my new licence arrived in the mail. There is a new design now, one which I dislike compared to the old one. But what can you do?

    Yet I digress. I miss driving with my music. Lauren has good taste in music; I'm just used to plugging my iPod into the tape deck adapter thingy I have (yes, that's a technical term) and listening to all my different types of music on shuffle. We listened mostly to a local radio station with '80s and '90s music, along with a couple of her CDs--some Fallout Boy, to whom I don't…

    Read more…

  22. Have passport, will travel

    Canadians flying to the United States now require a passport. We don't need one to cross the border by land yet, but that is in the works. So earlier this month, after over a year of procrastination, I finally applied for a passport.

    The application process wasn't that hard as far as government applications go. Passport Canada offers an online form that you can fill out and save, so you don't have to complete it all in one go. Then you have to print off the form and send it in to them--the benefit of using the form, as opposed to simply getting an application and doing it by hand, is that the online form checks to make sure you have properly filled out all the required information.

    You must identify yourself, of course, and provide proof of Canadian citizenship--in my case, my birth certificate, driver's licence, and provincial health card sufficed. Then you need two references--someone who's known you for at least two years--and a guarantor. A guarantor is basically someone who will co-sign your passport to verify that yes, you are the person you've claimed to be. In my case I got one of my dad's colleagues to…

    Read more…

  23. Our Canadian identity

    Often the question arises: what is Canadian? How do Canadians identify themselves as Canadians? How do non-Canadians identify Canadians? What represents Canadian culture?

    The answer usually boils down to the commonly held view that we are "not American". And it's true. We Canadians love to distinguish ourselves from their counterparts south of the border. But that can't be all we are--call me crazy, but I suspect there are other countries who also see themselves as "not American". Pretty much the only countries that wouldn't would be the United States (because they are America) and Tony Blair (because he wants to be). So there has to be more to our identity than that.

    The trouble comes from the fact that Canada encourages multiculturalism (or at least, we say we do). This leads to strong cultural diversity across the country--a country which is rather big. Even so, there's bound to be things in common from coast to coast. The CBC, for one.

    Yesterday I went to see Stuart McLean and The Vinyl Cafe at our local auditorium. For those of you not familiar with it, The Vinyl Cafe is what Wikipedia calls a "variety show" on CBC radio. It has musical talent…

    Read more…

  24. The debate over 'nations'

    Ah, Canada. The wonderful thing about Canadian politics is that it's been the same thing for the past 139 years. Quebec is still whining about becoming a nation.

    The problem comes down, as it usually does, to semantics. That's probably one of the ugliest words in the English language. Semantics. People debating over the definition of words. I don't think it's coincidence that it rhymes with pedantic. ;)

    For those asleep, let me wake you up. Our Great and Mighty Prime Minister Stephen Harper suggested that Quebec be recognised as a nation within Canada. As you might expect, this did not go over well with the Bloc. It definitely threw the Liberals through a loop, however--they apparently did not see this one coming.

    Now I will admit that my first reaction was this: That's stupid! Quebec isn't a nation! Look, either you're nation or you're not, and Quebec isn't a nation.

    But some part of me knew I was wrong, or at least suspected it. So I trundled over to Wikipedia and looked up what a nation actually was, because believe it or not, but I didn't know--and I doubt many people do know the difference between…

    Read more…

  25. Canada is apparently America's prison now

    It's true. A U.S. teacher convicted of sexual abuse has been exiled to Canada as his punishment (post your view here). He lives here already with his wife and kids, but now he just can't come back to the U.S. for three years. Oh my. Such a terrible punishment. We all know how harsh it is to live in Canada. :ermm:

    Since when did Canada become the America's prison? "Let's not waste the taxpayer's money on storing our criminals in little buildings in America. Let's just send them to Canada instead." Ouch. Firstly, what does that say about the U.S. courts' view of Canada? Apparently living here is equivocable to living in jail in America? Secondly, and I may be going out on a limb here, what with my radical Canadian liberal views on morality, but shouldn't a sex offender be, oh, I don't know, behind bars? What sort of message does this send to other sex offenders, or other criminals in general, in America? Be good and we might let you go to Canada?

    It's astounding at the audacity of politicians sometimes. Just when I think it can't get any more entertaining, it does.

  26. We are dangerous

    Friendly fire that killed Canadians was 'freak accident'.

    Is it just me, or does it seem like more Canadians in Afghanistan get killed by "friendly fire" than by the Taliban insurgents? Is anyone sent there even remotely competent?

    Stephen Harper has made it no secret that he intends to increase our defence budget, which is all well and good in a way, since our military sucks. I think that there should definitely be a new training program included with this budget; in the program, Canadian soldiers will learn how to put on disguises to make them look like famous historical figures, and thus avoid being shot.

    The crew of the aircraft responsible for the friendly fire, of course, claimed that Han shot first.

  27. Happy Canada Day!

    Yes, Canada Day was yesterday, and I fully intended to post yesterday, but wouldn't you know...

    I spent Canada Day doing one of the best things possible: going to a baseball game with my dad. It was raining, unfortunately, so the 1:05 start turned into a 2:05 start, and for a reason which I have yet to discern, the auctioned Border Cats jerseys were yellow, not red. Way to go with tradition. :rolleyes: But the game did not disappoint. We won 8-3 with some awesome plays that I don't remember anymore. :D It was great.

    Afterward we rented Fantastic Four, which was okay but not great, and ordered in Chinese food which I shall warm up in about ten minutes for breakfast. Then it's time for work, and then more food, and then relaxation before I sleep.

    That's what this week is about. I'm officially off school, and I have this amazing urge still to be productive in other ventures. Maybe I should. But I also think that a lot of my stress comes from the fact that I am too stubborn to ever relax or completely take a break--even when I am "relaxing", I have to…

    Read more…

  28. Our leaders speak . . . in French!

    I watched the French-language Federal election debates tonight and abruptly lost two hours of my life that I'll never, ever, ever get back. It was unbearable. The translators did a good job making it look like they weren't reading from a script, however.

    t: Jack Layton d: I must say that he didn't do as well as he could have. He didn't speak very much, and I don't really remember much of what he said. Thus, he did not make an impression, and I don't think that anybody watching (aka the old lady and her cat) were swayed by his speeches. t: Stephen Harper d: This guy can't speak French or English. If there's anything funnier than watching Harper make a fool of himself in English, it's watching Harper make a fool of himself in French! He repeated "c'est necessaire" far too many times and evaded nearly every question. In other words, same ol', same ol' Harper. t: Paul Martin d: Martin too remained true to his character. I call his way of talking "Martinical rhetoric," because he says nearly nothing useful. The only difference between Martin and Chrétien is that we (unfortunately) can understand what Martin is saying. He…

    Read more…

  29. I think our provincial government is run by pigeons

    No, really. Gerard Kennedy wants to stop any high school dropout below the age of 18 from getting driver's licenses. See this shiny CBC News article on the subject.

    As much as I value school, the government is once again showing their lack of problem-solving skills. (Maybe they should go back to school. :D ) Getting kids to stay in school until they are 18 is not to be accomplished via negative incentive. Instead, perhaps the government should offer more positive incentives, such as . . . oh, I don't know, expanding school to include different methods of teaching. Not everyone learns the same way, and this can be difficult, especially if one's aspirations are not to go to post-secondary education.

    But of course, that would cost "money." Darn government. . . . -_-

  30. And another one bites dust

    So the Liberal minority government has fallen (and not even mightily), thus the polls shall open soon and the election bells will toll alongside the yuletide ones.

    It's not very unexpected, eh. I mean, we've known for the past few weeks that a non-confidence motion was going to happen. We've known that the Bloc, NDP, and Conservatives would team up to defeat the Liberals. There was very little doubt.

    Then it actually happens.

    It was kind of cool to watch it; I've never actually "watched" a non-confidence motion before. :D All the MPs stood up and their names were called out, it is all very ritualistic and fascinating. Just not surprising. :no:

    Being too young to vote, I can only gripe and rant, but I like to think I do that well. Let's just say that I'm disappointed with Paul Martin. I liked the Liberals! Or, at least, I liked their ideology! And they have to go off and ruin the government with their poor leadership and management! Leaving responsible, liberal people like myself with an unpalatable choice to make. Do we continue to support the old, corrupt leadership? Or do we support a new, corrupt leadership.

    I do…

    Read more…

  31. Canadian? Yes. Proud? Sometimes.

    There are times when I think I need a scale. On the far right end, at about 100 or so, there's Canadians like Stephen Lewis, who make me proud to be Canadian.

    On the far left end, at about -100 or so, there's Canadians like Andrew Uitvlugt, mayoral candidate for Kelowna, B.C., who wants to offer crack to homeless people who will pick up garbage! His idea being to reward them with crack, hoping that their sense of a job well done will make them need less crack.

    I have lost all hope that such people will key into reality.

    So um . . . yeah. If you live in Kelowna, don't vote for him. Because that just might be insane.