Don’t Blame the Liberals

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Risible rightwing piffle still circulates online about who is responsible for the rising costs of fuel and food. Conservatives and libertarians love to blame the Liberals, but that’s self-serving claptrap from people who love to give handouts and tax cuts to corporations and billionaires and then wonder why governments have no money. Oil and gas prices are set by the oil corporations (most of which are offshore entities) mostly based on what OPEC decides on for per-barrel prices; our government taxes on gasoline are added … click below for more ↓

Uppercase Imperialism?

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Dr. Linda Manyguns has stylized herself as Dr. linda manyguns because she stopped using uppercase (capital) letters to protest the “symbols of hierarchy.” Manyguns is the associate vice-president of indigenization and decolonization at Mt. Royal University in Alberta. On her own office’s website, she wrote: we resist acknowledging the power structures that oppress and join the movement that does not capitalize. the office of indigenization and decolonization supports acts that focus on inclusion and support the right of all people to positive inclusion and change. … click below for more ↓

Jail the Unvaccinated

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In a recent opinion piece in Macleans Magazine, Scott Gilmore wrote what I expect many vaccinated Canadians felt about those who still refuse to get vaccinated and help end this pandemic: We need to begin treating the vaccine holdouts as the fools they are. It is not fair that reasonable and responsible Canadians should pay the price for their deadly selfishness. No more soothing tones and patience. Time for the stick. The stick in question that Gilmore suggests is withholding services and access to the … click below for more ↓

The Corrupt PC Nomination Process

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This week, Stella Ambler, a former candidate for the nomination for the PC party in Simcoe Grey, sent an email that expressed her disappointment over the party’s authoritarian actions: On Monday, Patrick Harris (4th Vice-President, PC Party of Ontario & Chair of the Provincial Nomination Committee for Simcoe-Grey) sent an official reply to my appeal of the decision to cancel the democratic nomination process here in Simcoe-Grey. In short, Mr. Harris informed me that my appeal was unworthy of the party’s consideration and would be … click below for more ↓

Saunderson: An Affront to Democracy

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PC nominee candidate Stella Ambler reported that her competitor, Brian Saunderson was anointed appointed as the party’s candidate for Simcoe-Grey without allowing the members to decide if they want him. Party members weren’t even given a warning that this was coming: the autocrat premier merely waved his hands and made it happen without regard to the desires of the party’s members. Ambler wrote in a recent email: This is a very disappointing development, and represents an affront to the democratic right of the members of … click below for more ↓

Musings on Aesop and Local Politics

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I’ve always liked reading “wisdom tales”; I still read and delight in those Zen Buddhist stories that Paul Reps recounted in his book, Zen Flesh, Zen Bones, which I first encountered in the late 1960s. Not long after that, I discovered the many tales of the Mulla Nasrudin retold by Idries Shah, and the stories of the Wise Men of Chelm, the imaginary city of fools in Jewish folklore. Decades later, I still have most of these books. I suspect, however, little of the implied … click below for more ↓

A Conspiracy So Immense

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It’s a common theme in today’s political analysis to argue that Donald Trump broke America. Looking at the ongoing dumpster fire that is the Repugnican Party, the rise of white supremacists, neo-Nazis, anti-science, pro-disease, misogynist, pseudo-religious, and anti-justice groups into the centre of the party’s power seems clear evidence of Trump’s deleterious effect on both the party and democracy. It’s difficult to argue convincingly America isn’t broken these days, and that Trump isn’t the reason.  But as damaging as Trump continues to be, he didn’t … click below for more ↓

Why Master Sun Matters Today

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Master Sun was a wise man. So wise that his famous treatise, The Art of War (aka The Art of Warfare), has been read, written about, critiqued, and discussed for roughly 2,400 years. It has been used as a model of strategy and leadership for the military, for business, romance, sports, and for politics. And, like Machiavelli’s The Prince, it has often been misused, misunderstood, and misinterpreted for those purposes.* It’s a short book: a mere 13 chapters written in generally brief aphorisms. And, very … click below for more ↓

Time of Use Billing is an Assault

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By returning to the money-grabbing time-of-use (TOU) billing, Ontario’s Hydro One continues its unrelenting assault on the province’s seniors, stay-at-home parents, the unemployed, night shift workers, those under lockdown, and every business and industry here. Time-of-use billing has always been nothing more than an egregious money grab by the service provider. This customer-hostile practice had been briefly halted during part of the pandemic because so many of us had to stay at home as the result of provincial lockdown orders. It’s tough to pay your … click below for more ↓

County’s Lukewarm Response to SVJI

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Seems our mayor failed to get the response from the county for the Saunderson Vindictive Judicial Inquiry (aka the SVJI) he hoped for. Rather than welcoming the report with open arms, Simcoe County Council seemed hesitant to do more than what appears a token gesture of support “in principle.” One might even think some of them actually read the 900-page report with its 306 often redundant or irrelevant recommendations and thought, “This isn’t right for my community.” Saunderson pitched the SVJI to Simcoe County council … click below for more ↓

The Inquiry Cost $250,000 More? Were We Lied To?

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Hidden costsFormer councillor Tim Fryer is back on the agenda this coming week, making another delegation to the Strategic Initiatives Standing Committee about the true costs of the judicial inquiry (aka the Saunderson Vindictive Judicial Inquiry, or SVJI). I admire Tim’s tenacity at trying to get the truth out to the public about this debacle. My respect for him has risen considerably since he’s been off council, but I wish he had been such a bulldog for the truth when he was at the table (I wrote about Fryer’s last appearance in front of the committee here).

At the very end of the agenda, you can read Tim’s letter, starting on page 161* and continuing through page 166. What’s most interesting is that he included a letter from the town to EPCOR, included on pages 163 and 164. That letter shows the town agreed to pay EPCOR’s legal costs over the SVJI of $250,000 or more. Yet those costs do not show up on the town’s most recent official accounting of the costs for the SVJI (read it here) **

For a council eager to censor “fact-check” residents’ comments and letters so they conform to the party line, it seems highly hypocritical to find that the town itself isn’t forthcoming about the facts. Yet we now learn that $250,000 was mysteriously left out of the calculations. As Fryer writes,

I figured if a $4 Walmart or $8 Tim Horton’s expense charge could be included then certainly something like the $250,000 or more of EPCOR’s legal expense coverage, as per the Side Letter Agreement terms established with council after the CJI was initiated, should be too.

Continue Reading“The Inquiry Cost $250,000 More? Were We Lied To?”

We’ve Seen It All Before

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“[They] are most easily recognized by their deliberate perversion of truth and fact. Their newspapers and propaganda carefully cultivate every fissure of disunity, every crack in the common front against fascism. They use every opportunity to impugn democracy… Their final objective toward which all their deceit is directed is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjection.” Sounds like someone knowledgeably writing about modern Trumpist … click below for more ↓

Post-election musings

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Media reports suggest that, like me, most Canadians breathed a large sigh of relief when Joe Biden won the US election and ended the proto-fascist regime in the USA. Not that I think he’s some sort of saviour of American politics: for all the rhetoric the Trump campaign spewed at him and his party, the Democrats are not leftwing, let alone radical. The most “radical” of them all — Bernie Sanders — would barely qualify as a centrist in most Western nations. And most of … click below for more ↓

Bring Back the Salons

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Today if someone mentions a “salon” you probably think about a haircut or manicure. But in the 18th century, prior to the French Revolution, salons were the focus of civil debate, intellectual curiosity, and culture. They were  centres of discussion on everything from manners to literature to philosophy to science. And they were run by women. Salons were the bright stars of the Enlightenment; cauldrons of intellectual, cultural, and social development. More than ever, we need a salon culture today. Social media is driving us … click below for more ↓

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