If you see it don't step into it eh!
Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Polls claim that over half of the Canadian population no longer trusts him. He claims to be a "trained Economist" yet he has never worked as an Economist. Some say he is a bit of a weasel or a rat and he will say one thing and do another. Years ago he promised to rebuild our Navy and Coast Guard icebreaker fleet and rebuild the Army's fleet of older vehicles but at this date he still has not laid the keel for a single replacement ship. He has recently cancelled a 2 billion dollar contract to purchase safer Army vehicles that give good protection to our troops. He has a well earned reputation as being a bully, vindictive and a person who never admits his mistakes. Nobody is perfect. But few PM's have been as disappointing as Mr. Harper.
Yes Mr.Harper has a tough job but a growing number of people including those in his own party realize that it's time for a new leader. Canada, unlike the USA, allows a PM to sit more than two terms and consequently Mr. Harper and his party need to plan his exit strategy. I don't think that he is an evil dude as some are saying I just think he has tried his best and has run into too many problems. A leader is a person who can get people following them to achieve future goals and that just isn't happening now. Are all the problems in Canada caused by Mr. Harper? Probably not but in Canada politics is a strange blood sport. First we elect a PM then we toss insults at him until he quits. Then we elect somebody else and restart the cycle. In order to be a Canadian PM you need a very thick skin. But at the same time a true leader listens to people. This one does not.
Canada seems to be going downhill not up. The middle class and many Canadian institutions are slowly being destroyed. There are fewer good jobs for our youth than any time in my life time. Too many bad decisions have been made and our ship of state is headed for an Ice berg with Captain Harper on the Bridge. So to speak. To keep with the marine metaphors we are now seeing "rats leaving the ship" because they know that in the next election the Conservative party will lose big time. This is like watching a ship wreck in slow motion. Yuk!
My final thought on Mr. Harper is keeping with the marine metaphors is the man steering us through shark infested waters or is he the shark chasing us through shark infested waters. We will need to let the Historians rule on this one.
Container ships like this dump billions of dollars of cheap products into our market made by employed foreign workers with jobs that pay them peanuts with few benefits. This is what happens when you open your borders to "free trade". Your workers lose their jobs! Then they can't support their families nor do they have any disposable income. Then your economy starts to shrink as the wealth is sucked out of it by free trade flows. Nothing is "free" in life and we are paying the price now for stupid decisions made by our "trained Economists" in the past. The same dudes who failed to predict the financial melt down of 2008 and still can't predict what is going to happen in the future.
Free trade is an incredibly stupid and harmful idea unless the products made by your workers are sold abroad in quantity. If our factory workers are making $30 an hour plus benefits in an environmentally sensitive factory then we simply cannot have a free border with a country where their workers are earning 30 cents an hour and few if any benefits in a factory belching pollutants into the environment. What happens is exactly what has happened over the last few decades. Manufacturing will move to the country with the cheapest labor and our manufacturing plants will close down and our workers will lose their jobs. We must take steps to protect our local market so that our manufacturers will have a reasonable percentage of it. I suggest a minimum of 50% would work well. The last I heard we were approaching 10% meaning that 90% of our consumer goods were made in other countries. And once you close down your factories, sell the equipment, fire the staff it is very difficult to start them up again.
When we purchased Christmas cards this year we discovered that all of them in the stores were made in China! Don't tell me that Canada can't produce a Christmas card! When we purchased our Christmas tree from Metro we discovered that the damn tree was produced in Washington State! We have a zillion trees in Canada. I have nothing against our American cousins they are great neighbors and friends and I love Chinese food- but when Canadians are unemployed why are we supporting the workers in other countries just because our borders are open to free trade?
Our RCMP one of the best police forces on the planet.
Canada has one of the best police forces on the planet. And yet our media and our public are continually attacking it. I feel proud every time I see a Mountie in their red serge uniform. There is a long and difficult selection process to be able to join the Force. When I drive across Canada in the winter I smile every time I see a patrol car with the mountie on a horse logo and the big crest. They smile back! I know they are there to help. All 20,000 of them and their 10,000 civilian employees. Mounties are a Canadian institution and without them we would be less of a country. But our media realizes that if they run anti-Mountie stories they can attract more readers and sell more ads and so every time there is the slightest problem as there is in any large organization our media attacks them. They avoid telling the good stories too. I have never hear a federal politician stand up and support the Mounties. Now why is that? What do they have to hide I wonder?
A hard working Canadian Postie who delivers your mail in all weather, summer and winter with a smile!
Canada Post delivers mail all across Canada in all weather and to all countries in the world. I have dealt with Canada Post for over 40 years in business and have never once had a problem with them. Yet too many Canadians don't seem to understand how expensive and how much effort it takes to deliver mail -letters and packages across the country to small communities in all weather. They constantly compare letters to emails which is an incredibly stupid thing to do because one is a document and the emails are simply electronic signals. Yet they call letters "snail mail" a derogatory term which is totally uncalled for. It is a clear example of apples and oranges - while there is some similarity there are clear differences too. Imagine receiving an e-mail from your Mom. Now imagine receiving a hand written note and a an attractive card from your Mom. Which one will mean the most to you? Imagine downloading an e-book then comparing it to a real book which comes in the mail- which one is better? When you hear or see somebody referring to the post office as "snail mail" call them on it. Point out the differences.
Support your Postie. Real letters have fallen off with the advent of computers and revenues are down to dangerous levels that will see the cancellation of service. Do you really want this to happen? Now we find out that because the Conservative government has refused to help our post office it must cut home delivery. This is perhaps the stupidest idea ever. Can you just see our seniors and those in wheel chairs crawling out to group mail boxes in all sorts of bad weather? And what about all those good jobs and the families they support? And also think about how horribly inefficient this new system will be. You will have millions of Canadians traveling to their group mail boxes every day to pick up mail that was once delivered to their door by their hard working Canada Post Letter Carrier. Look at the costs there. Are we saving money by canceling home mail delivery or are we greatly increasing our overall costs? A letter carrier delivers mail to hundreds of customers. Now imagine those hundreds of people walking to their group mail boxes. Do you see the problem? It is really inefficient and a waste of time that would be better spent on more productive activities.
The Royal Canadian Navy
HMCS Yukon - I served on her in 1969. We had 24 similar frigates in our fleet at one time and we even had an aircraft carrier but no more -our navy is half the size now! And those ships left are all past their best before dates, several are not operational due to breakdowns and crew shortages and not one keel has been laid for a new navy ship in the last decade!
Canada has the largest coastline in the world. You cannot protect your coastline unless you have a navy with ships capable of patrolling it. Yet we have one of the smallest navies in the western world. We have fewer sea going positions in our entire Navy than just ONE USN carrier. Ships and crew are expensive and whenever Canada ran into financial problems the government of the day cut back the budget for our Navy. With the latest government -despite a lot of talk not ONE keel has been laid for a new Navy ship since they took office. We should be keeping our ship yards and their employees building navy ships on an annual basis. We can no longer send out a fleet of ships, we can't send out a submarine because none of them work, we don't have a reserve fleet because we have no money to maintain them and the maintenance budget for our Navy ships has been mostly diverted to other uses. When you don't build ships for 20 years and then suddenly put your order in the people you need to build them aren't there anymore. The designers have no experience with military ships so they copy other countries ships. The equipment and working space is no longer there. In short you are screwed. When we had less than half the population we have today Canada had the third largest navy in the world. So it can be done if we want to do it. This government wanted to destroy our Navy and they have done a good job doing that.
The F35 FIA$CO
Peter McKay served as Canada's Minister of Defense. He had never served in the armed forces and had no experience in the military. He was a lawyer. He tried his best but unfortunately the F-35, Afghanistan war, Navy ship replacement, helicopter replacement, and search and rescue aircraft replacement all were failures on his watch. The fact that his boss placed him in a position that he couldn't manage leads one to wonder if this was a clever scheme to eliminate him from running in the next election as leader.
In 1980 Canada replaced its existing fleet of fighter aircraft with the American built F-18 Hornet. We called it the CF-18. Aircraft do not last forever. So we have had over 35 years to come up with a replacement. That's a long time. We could have designed one ourselves like we did with the CF-100 all weather fighter designed and built in Canada in the 1950's . But instead we decided to let our American cousins do all the hard work. They came up with what they thought was a brilliant plan to make one basic aircraft for three applications -their land based airforce, their sea based airforce and the US Marines. Each use would call for small modifications but the basic design would be the same thus saving them billions! It didn't work. Instead the project became incredibly expensive. The Americans had a turkey on their hands and Canada had bought into it. Unfortunately we have a government that never admits it's mistakes.
I did find a detailed and very interesting outline of the F-35 story on the Serious Birder website which you can find here. Well worth the read.
But lets consider for a moment Canada's actual needs and the capabilities of the F35. First of all when the CF-100 was designed the airforce had insisted that the design include two engines. The reason for this is the vast Northern regions of Canada and the very real fact that when one engine fails such as what happened over 120 times to date with the CF18's then the pilot could bring the aircraft back to base on the other engine. The F35 only has ONE engine. If anything happens to it the plane is lost and the pilot's life is at risk.
Each aircraft has a lifespan due to the fact it's airframe is rated for only so many hours. The F35 is rated for approximately 8000 hours. The CF-100 was rated for 20,000 hours. Should we be purchasing an aircraft that is unsuitable for Canadian conditions, that is built in another country and that costs billions and billions of dollars more than it should? Couldn't those billions of dollars be spent in better areas like health care and education and basic services for Canadians? Yes we need an air force but we don't need the F-35 the flying turkey with the monster price tag.
We came up with an innovative idea to establish two squadrons of Canadian designed and built water bombers in the RCAF. We sent the suggestion to the Minister of National Defense and they replied that fire fighting was a provincial responsibility. Here is our website on the waterbomberairforce.
The CF-100 was a magnificent aircraft designed and built in Canada. In it's day it was the only all weather fighter that could perform at night in all weather conditions. Note the two engines both designed and built in Canada. Canadian workers produced 693 "Canucks". This happened in the 1950's when Canada had one third of the population of today, no computers and when we didn't depend on others for our manufactured products. Times have changed.
THE CANADIAN SENATE
Unlike the United States where citizens elect Senators in Canada the Government of the day appoints them usually based on the work they have done to support the political party in power. Unlike the US, a Canadian senator is appointed for life or until age 75 whichever comes first. Just like any organization we have good Senators and not so good Senators. The Canadian media concentrates on the bad Senators and spews out endless stories about them while ignoring all the good work done by our good Senators. Consequently the public is left with the idea that ALL Senators are bad and the Senate should be abolished. One trick that the media uses is to show especially bad pictures of Senators or anyone else they pick on - here are some examples:
Everyone looks good or bad depending on the time of day, the lighting, temperature, age, their mood, what they are doing etc etc. So if you see the media presenting a very unfavorable image of a person ask yourself why. What are they trying to make you think? And why. For example in the case of Ms. Wallin, Mr. Harper, Mr. Ford and Mr. Duffy each one of these Canadians excelled at what they accomplished in this life. There are no dummies here. Is this all a political game? Where does the reality start and stop? If they are really crooks they should go to jail. If not then let them do their jobs. The media is well aware that an image will generate a predictable reaction and that they can sell more advertising by bumping up the number of people reading or watching them perform. In a way you can't blame them because they need to survive like anyone else. The National Enquirer has a reputation for doing this sort of thing but surely one might think that there would be ethical considerations in the mainstream media that would limit the abusive use of images to generate more readers. Or maybe not. One could argue I am doing that here with the "good" and "bad" pictures of celebs. Hmmmmmm. Oopps!
THE CANADIAN ACTION PLAN?
Lets see if I have this correct. Mr. Harper's Economic Action Plan:
1. Cancel manufacturing in Canada and replace it with dirty oil exports from the tar sands. To hell with the environment and the dangers of shipping crude. Sell our resource companies to China and hope they provide a few jobs as they export our raw materials back to China then sell us cheaply built products back.
2. Take the good jobs in manufacturing and fire the workers and put them to work in the service industry serving coffee and hamburgers with no benefits and low part time wages. Brag about the number of new jobs created.
3. Purchase 30 billion dollars worth of fighter jets made in the USA with only one engine to protect our North. We all know jet engines never fail so our pilots will be safe right?
4. Lose the 700 jobs at the Heinz plant in Leamington, 4500 jobs at the Blackberry company, hundreds more at the Caterpillar plant,800 jobs at Sears Canada, 1000 jobs at the Bank of Montreal, 300 jobs at Rogers, 275 jobs at Loblaw, 8500 jobs at Canada Post, 28,700 public service jobs, and so on.
5. Lie to Canadians and tell them our economy is fine when in fact personal debt in Canada is higher than it has ever been and we are on the verge of a huge real-estate correction that will cause financial havoc and toss us into a long and steep recession. A German rating firm recently said that Canada's real estate market was the most over valued in the world and that it was 60% over it's true value. Our manufacturing jobs have all but disappeared and Canadians are faced with working at part time service jobs at low wages. 42% of Canadians under 29 are now living at home with their parents because of the lousy economy.
6. Allow Canadian Banks to make huge profits from their customers by charging huge margins on loans and credit cards (keeping in mind the overnight bank rate is only 1%) thus forcing personal debt levels to their historic highs and generating huge bonus payments to bank CEO's and senior Management. Allow the same banks to use offshore IT labor and services while firing Canadian workers and reducing staff to generate larger profits so that higher bonus payments can be made. Then brag about how well Canadian banks are doing in difficult economic times and how wonderful the Canadian economy is. I smell bullshit folks. Yuk!
7. Send our brave troops over to Afghanistan to fight in an 11 year unwinable war with inadequate equipment then when they come back give the injured ones a small one time payout and then forget about them. Then make drastic cuts to our forces so that they don't have enough funds to purchase equipment, operate that equipment and train soldiers so that when they are placed in danger they are equipped for it. Even our retired Generals are fed up with this government.
Mr. Harper has spent millions of dollars of tax payer's money on advertising his Canada Action Plan which most of us can see is a monumental pile of bullshit. He has treated our veterans poorly, has allowed our manufacturing to disappear, has allowed personal debt to climb to historic levels, has ruined our Navy, has failed to replace any of our antiquated aircraft, has appointed people to the Senate who have disgraced the institution, and has promised development in the North and then not delivered. He has ruined Canadian institutions such as Canada Post, ignored the plight of our Native Canadians, allowed the ship building industry to shrink to dangerous levels, sold off our resources to China and other than that he has been a swell PM. But it is time to go.
I think that we all understand what the term "bullshit" means. Canadians are not stupid. We are decent, hard working, honest people who are polite and we have discovered how to live with people from all countries and racial backgrounds. But don't piss us off by lying to us or cheating us or trying to control us.
Canada is a unique country. There are some things here that you won't find anywhere else. Take a look at this excellent video on youtube where we see the 12 days of Christmas in Canada! You won't see that anywhere else!
Despite the very real fact that Canada is one of the best places in the world to live we need to watch out for the bullshit. There is a lot of it out there. And life is too short and too valuable to spend our time walking around in it. We only get so many spins around the sun and we don't want to leave a mess for our children or ruin the lifestyle we thought we had as Canadians.
I should mention that I am a retired "senior citizen" who at 65 still has some time and energy and I am not affiliated with any political, religious or special interest group. I had placed this website in hibernation for over a year and have decided to reactivate it to deal with some of the bullshit that we face today. In the past we have had hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over Canada and the world. It's been fun to act as your webmaster. Thanks for visiting the site and please come back as there will be more to come!
If you would like to support us here are a couple of books our small publishing company has produced. Each one is quite readable, fun and you will learn some very useful information that will save you money and grief. You can review these titles here. They are available in print and e-book format. In both cases they cut through the bullshit and provide you with information and ideas that you will find entertaining and very useful. In fact, these two books will not only save you money and grief they could also save your life! One thing that I have learned over the years is that if there is a problem and you do nothing the problem usually gets worse. Recently we had 1700 accidents on our Toronto highways in just a few hours. If they had only read and adopted the ideas and techniques in our winter driving handbook that number would be much much lower. Like zero!
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Cheers! your webmaster Ron