Votes don’t split, Justin Trudeau

Dear Mr. Trudeau,

First off, thank you for putting yourself on the line for leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada. Names notwithstanding, the act is one that is necessarily of self-sacrifice, since the job of leading is often thankless, rarely appreciated for what it delivers, and may very well likely make you age before your time. It is the call of duty that is more admirable, that you would take on a responsibility that most Canadians would prefer to avoid. It will be refreshing to have a younger perspective on what has become a party bogged down in its past mistakes, real and perceived, and how that party could be transformed into something more relevant.

It is that relevance of which I am concerned. I am currently sitting in Calgary Centre, awaiting the outcome of a by-election. It’s been an interesting contest, and to some degree, has become even a microcosm of what we’ve seen across Canada. The same messages, the same tactics, and the same mistakes. It will be a turning point, of that I have little doubt, even if (regrettably) the “status quo” is maintained — there are lessons to be learned, here, Mr. Trudeau. And a very important one to which you need to pay very close attention:

Votes do not “split”.
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Canada’s Two Political Parties: Conservative, and Other

It’s Federal election time here in Canada. Which means it’s a fast-and-furious stream of incoherent messaging all tantamount to white noise as the various political figures attempt to sway Canadian passions (which are, at best, as politically frigid as Winnipeg in February).

Adding to all of this are, new to this run, a number of social media-style services all helping to add “information” (and likely being more like more noise to the signal) to help people align themselves with the political party of choice. I came across one, recently, and suddenly realised that despite the fact we have five major political parties vying for seats, they’re really only divided two ways.

Which means you either vote Conservative, or you don’t.

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Suggestions to our political “leaders”

We’re barely a week into the 2011 Canadian Federal election, and it already feels like a month. I suppose if there’s one good thing about elections up here, it’s that they’re short — none of this near-two year campaigning that goes on south of the border.

Already, the various political parties are … well, failing. I’m rather stunned how fast that happened, actually. You’d think they’d actually try to get out a message first, but they stooped to mud-slinging pretty much out of the gate. Yeah, real positive way to foster respect and attract voters, folks…

So I feel that, as a Canadian with some significant sense of civic duty (and certainly more than enough know-it-all-ism), I need to offer up some suggestions to our so-called “leaders” (read: I choose not to lay insults as they are neither interesting nor constructive) if they have any hope of inspiring Canadians to vote for them … if at all.

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I Believe

Dear Canada,

I must, in true Canadian form, say “I’m sorry”. I doubted. All I could see was fault, all I could see was mediocrity, all I could see was the world laughing at our attempts to be more than our humble selves.  I thought that Vancouver was the wrong place to hold the Winter Olympics (having lived there a couple of years, I know how finicky the weather can be).

And I wasn’t alone. Thanks to media mainstays, such as The Guardian and the Denver Post, and CTV’s frequently slipshod and amateurish approach, there was little reason for me to think otherwise.

I find myself, now at the end, relieved to be wrong, and fiercely proud to be a repatriated Canadian.

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Taking a pet from Costa Rica

It figures, just when we thought we’d started to have everything figured out, we hit another snag. (There’s always another snag.) This time, it’s with Asia, our cat.

Our problem is not with Canada — all they need is a valid rabies vaccination, which we have. Our problem is not our airline (Continental) — we already have a reservation that allows us to take our cat. Our problem is with Costa Rica.

I’m so not surprised.

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Canadian citizenship questions are kinda funny

My friend Julia is getting ready to have her Canadian Citizenship test, as she’s tired of being merely a Permanent Resident, and now apparently wants to have more say in these taxes she’s been paying.

To that end, she’s received and is now reviewing the requisite materials for the test. (I offer you the list of questions she gave to me, unaltered, as a starting point.) As one might expect, the test has a number of questions that, yes, an average born-and-raised-in-Canada Canadian would flunk. (I would imagine the same is true of most countries.) Some of these are taken for granted, as just about everyone just accepts things as they are.

But some of these questions are … well, let’s say that they just scream for alternative answers.

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Dear Canada: I’m going to break the law

Well, it would appear that short of an Act of God (or, heaven forbid, some actual common sense runs through Parliament), Bill C-61 will forever handcuff Canadians and prevent long-term technological evolution. It’s one of the worst-written pieces of legislation to hit Canadians in years, as it does not take real-world habits into account at all (short of the negative views, of course), and penalises everyone for something most of them haven’t done.

I’m going to get the Government in on a little secret. I’m breaking it. I refuse to let your ridiculous industry ass-kissing paperwork prevent me from moving with the evolutionary tide. I’m breaking the law and doing what I think is right.

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