Friday, 7 October 2016

Getting Tough on Pitbulls - How Denis Coderre gave a master class in being a loser politician



Muncipal elections are in 2017. I expect the phrase "The Biggest Loser" to take on a whole new meaning.




The pit bull ban is a polarizing topic in Montreal. Well, at least it used to be. Until a bunch of passionate, well-organized people staged demonstrations, cited a wide variety of sources and literature over and over to support their case, and basically won the air war and convinced everyone (including me) that this is an ill-advised and pointless initiative.

This is how politics should work.  I will be honest, I was indifferent to the whole issue. I don't have dogs, and don't plan to. Pit bulls are hardcore as far as breeds go, and as I understood it, my home province of Ontario had successfully banned them more than 10 years ago. So at first, I wasn't all that concerned about a pit bull ban.  Again, I was not fervently pro-ban. It's just not something I was inclined to give much thought to.

But every day in the paper, and on social media, there were the grassroots. Regular people, who care about something, and who were willing to put themselves out there and make their case in the court of public opinion.  Everything I heard was overwhelmingly anti-ban. Local opposition groups formed, facebook groups popped up, and several protests were staged all over the city. In this balkanized, half-merged island of municipalities, several outlying boroughs who had the autonomy to enact their own policy declined to adopt or support the ban.  My local city councillor, Sterling Downey, has been active and vigilant on this issue, becoming the de facto spokesperson of the opposition on this at City Hall. I have to admire the guy's tenacity.  He's fighting for something he believes in, and unlike most politicians who collect their fat paycheques and are all but invisible, I see him in and around town involving himself on the ground and making the evidence heard all the time.

And when I think about it, nobody has came forward on the other side to support this ban or passionately argue for it. Not at the grassroots level.  Nobody, that is, except the person who enacted this ban, Montreal mayor Denis Coderre,

I have to disclose that I have never liked the mayor since his election in 2013, mostly because 1) it is obvious that he is really full of himself and 2) his constant preening and public gestures are ridiculous and embarrassing. I have found my media encounters with the mayor to go from the irritating to the grating.  Why? Because he wraps himself up in the city's flag to assert that HE is in charge, HE knows how the world works, and all must bow before him.  The utter self-aggrandizement this guy engages in is infuriating. From staging a photo-op with a jackhammer where Canada Post was going to install some community mailboxes, to announcing the opening of a publicly funded "anti-radicalization" centre in the wake of whatever Paris or Brussels attacks happened last year, to live tweeting every game played by this city's mediocre NHL team as if they were the 1987 Oilers, I just want to scream: "GET THE F____ OVER YOURSELF!" Canada Post is broke, it's not your job as a municipal politician to fight the threat of islamic terrorism, and believe it or not, the hockey team has announcers.

On a more personal level, the daycare one of my sons frequents was built on a piece of contaminated land that the city sold to them, saying it was decontaminated. The city then stiffed them with the decontamination bill. The only person who could intervene to fix the situation was the mayor, but he was unavailable for months.  Like many other self-important jackasses who have held the chief magistrate job in Canada before him, he was continuing the trend of frequently jetting off to far-flung places like China on "economic development missions", mistaking himself for a Fortune 500 CEO when in fact he was just a politician flying 1st class on the taxpayer dime.  I'm not sure what happened with the decontamination file.

But whatever. Those things all in the past, and I hadn't really thought of them until I wrote these paragraphs because, you know, I have a life and priorities or whatever.

Now, however, I have been inspired to write this because the mayor's annoying cockiness turned into a case of full-blown hubris, as he continues to dig his heels in and insist on this pit bull ban legislation, (which also contains a bunch of other random provisions placing further restrictions on all pet owners), despite there being almost certainly no political benefit in doing so.  Let's recap the definition of hubris for any non-literary readers.  It's really worth it in this textbook example:

Hubris Definition

Hubris is extreme pride and arrogance shown by a character that ultimately brings about his downfall.
Hubris is a typical flaw in the personality of a character who enjoys a powerful position; as a result of which, he overestimates his capabilities to such an extent that he loses contact with reality. A character suffering from Hubris tries to cross normal human limits and violates moral codes. Examples of Hubris are found in major characters of tragic plays.

Source: http://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english-thesaurus/full-of-yourself

A politician who you disagree with, but who acts out of naked self or party interest, is relatable or understandable on some level - he's at least acting rationally.  A politician who brazenly refuses to listen to reason because he is so blinded by his own massive ego and conviction that he has a monopoly of knowledge on what's good for humanity is just the worst. Period.

Way to go, Denis Coderre.  How many thousands of Montreal residents who had no opinion on pit bulls like me have you alienated? Next year's municipal elections promise to give Montreal a new season of "The Biggest Loser" they'll never forget.

Getting Tough on Pitbulls - How Denis Coderre gave a master class in being a loser politician



Muncipal elections are in 2017. I suspect the phrase "The Biggest Loser" to take on a whole new meaning.




The pit bull ban is a polarizing topic in Montreal. Well, at least it used to be. Until a bunch of passionate, well-organized people staged demonstrations, cited a wide variety of sources and literature over and over to support their case, and basically won the air war and convinced everyone (including me) that this is an ill-advised and pointless initiative.

This is how politics should work.  I will be honest, I was indifferent to the whole issue. I don't have dogs, and don't plan to. Pit bulls are hardcore as far as breeds go, and as I understood it, my home province of Ontario had successfully banned them more than 10 years ago. So at first, I wasn't all that concerned about a pit bull ban.  Again, I was not fervently pro-ban. It's just not something I was inclined to give much thought to.

But every day in the paper, and on social media, there were the grassroots. Regular people, who care about something, and who were willing to put themselves out there and make their case in the court of public opinion.  Everything I heard was overwhelmingly anti-ban. Local opposition groups formed, facebook groups popped up, and several protests were staged all over the city. In this balkanized, half-merged island of municipalities, several outlying boroughs who had the autonomy to enact their own policy declined to adopt or support the ban.  My local city councillor, Sterling Downey, has been active and vigilant on this issue, becoming the de facto spokesperson of the opposition on this at City Hall. I have to admire the guy's tenacity.  He's fighting for something he believes in, and unlike most politicians who collect their fat paycheques and are all but invisible, I see him in and around town involving himself on the ground and making the evidence heard all the time.

And when I think about it, nobody has came forward on the other side to support this ban or passionately argue for it. Not at the grassroots level.  Nobody, that is, except the person who enacted this ban, Montreal mayor Denis Coderre,

I have to disclose that I have never liked the mayor since his election in 2013, mostly because 1) it is obvious that he is really full of himself and 2) his constant preening and public gestures are ridiculous and embarrassing. I have found my media encounters with the mayor to go from the irritating to the grating.  Why? Because he wraps himself up in the city's flag to assert that HE is in charge, HE knows how the world works, and all must bow before him.  The utter self-aggrandizement this guy engages in is infuriating. From staging a photo-op with a jackhammer where Canada Post was going to install some community mailboxes, to announcing the opening of a publicly funded "anti-radicalization" centre in the wake of whatever Paris or Brussels attacks happened last year, to live tweeting every game played by this city's mediocre NHL team as if they were the 1987 Oilers, I just want to scream: "GET THE F____ OVER YOURSELF!" Canada Post is broke, it's not your job as a municipal politician to fight the threat of islamic terrorism, and believe it or not, the hockey team has announcers.

On a more personal level, the daycare one of my sons frequents was built on a piece of contaminated land that the city sold to them, saying it was decontaminated. The city then stiffed them with the decontamination bill. The only person who could intervene to fix the situation was the mayor, but he was unavailable for months.  Like many other self-important jackasses who have held the chief magistrate job in Canada before him, he was continuing the trend of frequently jetting off to far-flung places like China on "economic development missions", mistaking himself for a Fortune 500 CEO when in fact he was just a politician flying 1st class on the taxpayer dime.  I'm not sure what happened with the decontamination file.

But whatever. Those things all in the past, and I hadn't really thought of them until I wrote these paragraphs because, you know, I have a life and priorities or whatever.

Now, however, I have been inspired to write this because the mayor's annoying cockiness turned into a case of full-blown hubris, as he continues to dig his heels in and insist on this pit bull ban legislation, (which also contains a bunch of other random provisions placing further restrictions on all pet owners), despite there being almost certainly no political benefit in doing so.  Let's recap the definition of hubris for any non-literary readers.  It's really worth it in this textbook example:

Hubris Definition

Hubris is extreme pride and arrogance shown by a character that ultimately brings about his downfall.
Hubris is a typical flaw in the personality of a character who enjoys a powerful position; as a result of which, he overestimates his capabilities to such an extent that he loses contact with reality. A character suffering from Hubris tries to cross normal human limits and violates moral codes. Examples of Hubris are found in major characters of tragic plays.

Source: http://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english-thesaurus/full-of-yourself

A politician who you disagree with, but who acts out of naked self or party interest, is relatable or understandable on some level - he's at least acting rationally.  A politician who brazenly refuses to listen to reason because he is so blinded by his own massive ego and conviction that he has a monopoly of knowledge on what's good for humanity is just the worst. Period.

Way to go, Denis Coderre.  How many thousands of Montreal residents who had no opinion on pit bulls like me have you alienated? Next year's municipal elections promise to give Montreal a new season of "The Biggest Loser" they'll never forget.

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Persecuted Billionaire Has Tantrum, Takes Toys Home




If you want to be a prick, take advice from the master.

First of all, let me explain that this column is not a joke because we count on these guys for our tax base. They pay a large share of taxes. They have, therefore, an enormous amount of leverage in these situations.  I still think this is a shitty-ass thing to do.

After careful reflection, this is what I have to say on this topic:

In the end, Murray Edwards, you're just a human being and a Canadian like the rest of us. That means that some day, you'll be pushing up daisies and the $800 million of Canadian Natural Resources shares you own and the $56 million in annual dividends they pay out will be worthless to you. Think about how staggering those numbers are to 99.99% of the population, and that's only like 25% of your wealth. Yet here you are, abandoning the province that gave you everything while its probably in the worst shape its ever been in. I don't like a lot of the ignorant, moralistic, anti-business bs I read on the internet, but you're going too far. You can't hide under the "persecuted successful businessman" cloak. Alberta's gonna take 33% from you after three decades they basically took nothing. How much $$$ do you need? I guess we'll find out when the names in the Panama Papers are released tomorrow. And even if you're not in there, this action is a disgrace to your city, province, and country.

Monday, 11 April 2016

Mulcair Bites the Dust





Tom Mulcair was the obvious choice when he became NDP leader. The untimely death of Jack Layton and the NDP sweep of Quebec in the 2011 Federal Election meant that the experienced Quebec politician who started the party's momentum in that province was the best politician, the only politician, who could respectably lead the party in opposition.

So we can be a little more forgiving of the NDP for choosing him than we could of the liberals for choosing Michael Ignatieff and Stephane Dion. But only a little bit. In hindsight the guy was a complete disaster. An arrogant, finger wagging, bearded man in his mid sixties. This guy was going to run for PM in 2019?

He did score some points from journalists who cover Ottawa politics for using his lawyer training to grill the Conservatives in the House of Commons while they were in power, mainly about the Senate expense scandal. But the 99.7% of Canadians who have never watched CPAC didn't see the performances, so they had to take the journalists word for it.  And in a country with a $3 trillion economy, history will probably give his months-long surgical lasering in on a $90,000 cheque the significance it deserves.

Other than that the guy mostly did his best to draw attention to himself and mostly succeeded at making people cringe.  Dutch disease, Angry Birds, Hotline Bling, a door-stopper autobiography, and "Mul-care" on John Oliver. Who could take this guy seriously? Who cared that he was once a provincial environment minister or Layton's Quebec lieutenant? It all seems like a million lifetimes ago. And these episodes would have been embarrassing, if anyone had actually noticed any of them.  I really don't think many people did.

Worse, as a moderate Quebec mushy-middle federalist, he appealed to no one. How was he ever going to bridge the gap between the party's two main constituencies? You have militants on the prairies and out West, where the NDP brand has traction but commodities are a big business that everyone and their brother works in, and the downtown dwelling academics and Naomi Kleins of this world who say they are activists for equality but are really upper-class middle-aged white people who've already made their fortunes peddling $50-word laced ideological garbage. I'm sure someone can bring these factions together, but it wasn't going to be him.

After October, Tom Mulcair was destined to spend the next 4 years desperately seeking the attention that would give him legitimacy. When we look at what happened since he became leader in 2012, it was pretty obvious no one was going to give it to him. Why don't you go enjoy your pension Tom?

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Justin Trudeau - Because it's 2016


When oil was ~$100, Bombardier went all in on a whisper - quiet,  fuel efficient plane. Now they are running out of cash, and it's your problem.

When oil was ~$100, Alberta's population swelled, sometimes adding as much as 100,000 new residents a year. Now the price of oil has fallen 77%. And it's your problem.  The Alberta premier is asking you for a cash bailout.

The previous government lowered taxes and squandered billions on curling rinks, gazebos, and volunteer firefighter tax credits when times were good, so now you find yourself hamstrung and in debt right out of the gate, since I doubt any oil company is going to have meaningful profit to pay taxes on for awhile.

And you have people all over social media complaining about you. The left thinks you're too pro Israel and pro Saudi.  The right thinks you're too pro muslim and pro Syrian refugee. Everyone is going to associate you with spending too much money, even though you didn't create the situation. "He's just like his father!"

Dude, why the hell did you want this job again?