Where’s Waldo?

In today’s installment of Heave Steve, I must posit this question:

Where the hell was he for the past few days?

The majority of the G-20 leaders from around the globe were having a pow wow at the United Nations headquarters in New York City to discuss a varied slew of issues that are relative to global unity and security  – but where was the Right Honourable Stephen Harper?

Not in New York, I can tell you that right away.

Who was in New York?

Among the major players were Barack Obama (United States Of America), Gordon Brown (the United Kingdom), Nicolas Sarkozy (France), Dmitry Medvedev (Russia)… hell, even the world’s snappiest-dressing/Jew-hating/terrorism-endorsing/nuke-wanting and all-around assclown Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was in attendance.

This was a meeting of the United Nations Security Council – the people who penalize countries when they do bad things (whether it be in the form of military strikes, or the more common strongly worded letter) – a council that Canada really wants to be on so it will have a say in how the world works, or at least the illusion of doing so.

The big topic of this meeting?

Nuclear weapons: who has them, who wants them, and who is not allowed to have them.

Sounds like a good conversation that the Canadian people should have a voice in, doesn’t it?

What makes it a great place to be for world leaders is that you get to step up to the dais on – what is quite literally – the world stage and address the peoples of the entire planet, telling them what your particular country plans to do in the coming months and years and what that means to global peace.

click for larger image

From here, you explain to the world how your country’s actions, programs, policies, and military operations will effect nations and people around the world – either for the better, or for the worse.

The big drama this week?

Ahmadinnerjacket – errr, Ahmadinejad – announced to the world that he had a secret uranium enrichment facility (on top of the one the U.N. Security Council was already aware of) humming away at an undisclosed location in the Iranian desert… which is the type of place where you can turn regular uranium into the type of fuel that either powers a nuclear power plant OR a thermonuclear weapon.

1970-french-nuclear-test1

This is somewhat distressing because:

A) Iran is the number one exporter of terrorists in the world.

B) Iran hates Israel and has repeatedly said that it intends to wipe Israel off the map – which is one use for a stockpile of nuclear weapons.

Crazy, eh?

You know… it would have been really great if someone of global import had spoken up on Canada’s behalf during the fallout of that revelation – someone who could step up to the podium and say how outraged we as a Canadian people were at such a unacceptable revelation.

Wouldn’t that have been great?

Yeah, but Stephen Harper – the Canadian Prime Minister who is supposed to be the focused voice of 33,792,000 Canadian citizens – wasn’t anywhere to be found at the United Nations building.

You know what building he WAS found at?

A Tim Horton’s store in Oakville, Ontario – from which he dutifully blasted Iran’s secretive nuclear shenanigans with all the authority he could muster.

At a Tim Horton’s.

I’ll give you a minute to process that information.

Need a bit more info?

He made this declaration after bragging about how Canada was once again the home base for Timmy’s.

Just wrap your mind around it.

You good?

Need another minute?

Two or three?

Okay… I’ll wait.

Got it?

Good.

Some might say that the neighborhood Timmy’s is the best place to make a Canadian statement – and I would agree to a certain extent if it wasn’t a matter of global import where image is everything.

I mean… seriously.

C’mon, man – give your head a shake, Steve!

What the hell were you thinking?!?!

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A Few Words Strung Together About The Ontario HST…

Listen.

You can’t do anything about it – no matter how much the NDP and PC parties would have you believe.

You should also remember when it comes to election time in 2011, neither the NDP or the PC party could cancel it – even if they were inclined to do so… which is completely unlikely because government likes money – since it makes it possible for them to live up to 45% of the promises they make during their election campaigns.

The only reason that the NDP and PC parties are squawking about it now – two years before any election could be called by normal means – is that they’re trying to build up doubt amongst voters in the long term.

In two years time, the dust will have settled mostly over the HST implementation because the electorate will have been paying the extra taxes for more than a year and will have settled into acceptance – however begrudging it is.

Ontarians were irritated by the health premium tax introduced by the Liberals before eventually getting over it by the next election – despite the two opposition parties hammering away on the issue to no end during the last provincial election campaign.

It all boils down to the experienced adult’s concept of reality i.e. the old saying that the only certainties in life are death and taxes – which is pretty much universal no matter which party is in control of Ontario’s parliament.

Taxes go up in the long term – never down (except in brief spurts that raise the ruling party’s profile for a time – such as the federal Conservatives lowering the GST rates).

Why don’t they ever go down?

It’s simple: the provincial electorate – the citizens who vote during an election – get used to a particular level of service from their government and it’s individual agencies that deals directly with the public.

Let’s take two costly departments as an example – the Ministry Of Health, and the Ministry Of Education.

These two governmental departments take an enormous amount of cash to run at their current levels of service… and even then, they don’t really have enough money to meet their goals as set out by the government – the goals that the majority of Ontario’s citizens look forward to seeing implemented sooner than later.

How else is the government going to pay for shorter wait times at hospitals and doctor’s offices?

Where is the government going to get money to hire teachers and implement a better curriculum to teach at your children’s schools?

Taxation.

The money for these enormous public institutions comes from your pocket through taxes and tariffs on the goods and services that you consume on a daily basis.

As much as it hurts at the point of purchase, the average citizen sees that money come back to them in the form of the government improving areas of their lives – whether it be through better health care, improved educational opportunities, or expanded and renewed infrastructure projects.

That’s where your tax money will go when the HST comes into effect next July.

The NDP and the PC parties would like it very much if you temporarily (or better yet, in the long term) forget that you can’t get something for nothing in this world that we live in.

Both the provincial New Democrats and Tories tried that last time they ran the province and what did it result in?

Nearly every single public employee union was on strike.

The poor were getting poorer.

Health care suffered.

Things didn’t get better until taxes went up when the Liberals took over.

See how that works?

In the end, higher taxes make people happier – which seems rather perverse when you think about it and is the absolute inverse of what the opposition parties want you to believe.

What else can they harp about that will resonate with the general public?

The OLG and eHealth scandals are fleeting and will subside over time, most likely long forgotten by the fall season in 2011 – yet the NDP and PCs still nag about those at every chance they get – despite only the eHealth issue being directly attributable to the current Liberal party.

No… taxes are the only long-term issue that effects the public, so that’s the topic which the opposition will crow the loudest about.

But it doesn’t really matter in the end.

We as the voting public will get over the HST and the increases that it represents to our bottom lines.

That may stick in your craw at the moment and leave a sour taste in your mouth – but it’s inevitable.

It’s somewhat similar to those of you out there that may be reading this blog who absolutely HATE getting any kind of needle – regardless of the obvious health benefits that will you’ll receive upon going through the momentary pain.

So why don’t we all just roll up our sleeves and demand that our chosen political parties get it over with and move on to something far more interesting?

I, for one, and really tired of hearing the broken record that’s playing at Question Period.

Let’s listen to something better.

Brief Thoughts On The Emmys

1. Neil Patrick Harris is an excellent host.

2. Ricky Gervais pwns Steve Carell.

3. Battlestar Galactica has been screwed 5 out of 5 years – best the show got this year was one of it’s score pieces being played under the “The Year In Drama” clip reel.

4. Bob Newhart looks like death.

5. I love Jon Stewart and the Daily Show – but they should let the other kids win sometimes.

6. Kanye West and Joe Wilson are douchebags – and Hollywood made sure they knew it.

7. Irish lesbian MILFs are fun.

8. Mathew Weiner’s name would be better if it was spoken “Weener”.

9. Jeff Probst is an everyman.

Noname

A Faint Pulse…

Unfortunately for all of us, we have to wait a bit longer to heave Steve.

In what can only be termed as a Hail Mary Pass, the Conservatives quickly floated a contingency bill that gave the opposition parties a taste of what they had been begging for since big business started firing everyone who wasn’t an executive – an extension to the employment insurance benefits.

Let’s be completely honest here: I labeled it a ‘contingency bill’ because the bill served zero purpose in the Conservatives over-all political goals other than to keep them afloat for a little bit longer – allowing them to attempt finalizing a slew of legislation that will further screw the average Canadian citizen in whichever way they can dream up.

The Conservatives are big on the ‘scorched earth’ style of politics when their back is against the wall – rapid fire legislation and appointments being a key example.

Last time there was a fear of their life-support plug being pulled, what did they do? A flurry of Senate appointments,  sending long-time Conservative friendly people to live in the Canadian Senate for the rest of their natural lives – despite Harper spending years decrying the process and demanding it be changed so that Senators are elected instead of rewarded for toeing the ruling party’s line.

Yeah, that sounds EXACTLY like the people we need in Ottawa.

I really wish WordPress had a sarcastic font – but I digress…

Most of the Conservative’s forthcoming agenda has to do with making large corporations feel better – and to a degree, this is something that DOES need to be done in this post recession climate (yes…. you can come out  now: the recession is over for the most part).

But if you look harder, there are a few items that are not related to the recession at all – items that are designed to give breaks and advantages to businesses that make billions of dollars in Canada that have nothing at all to do with calming the accountants of said business in this time of an economy sorting itself out.

Some of these legislative efforts are at the behest of billionaire C.E.O.s who felt they simply weren’t making enough money BEFORE the recession – which is precisely what the Conservatives do best: bend over backwards to make the top 1% of the population (with more money than the bottom 99% put together) happier than they have any godly right to.

Would you like an example?

The current ‘consultation’ with the public over copyright reform is a smokescreen to hide Stephen Harper’s directive that the Heritage Minister, Industry Minister, and the Attorney General are all on the same page about Canada signing onto ACTA.

What is ACTA?

That is a very good question, and you really should write to your local member of parliament to ask what exactly ACTA is and why Canada is a signatory country without doing any public consultation or disclosure.

The ACTA treatise is one of the most classified documents in the business world and has to do with copyright issues – specifically regarding copyrights held by Hollywood studios in the fields of music, movies, and other intellectual properties.

The problem with ACTA is that the text of the document is forever changing – like the sands of your local beach – and is not open to public scrutiny.

One version of ACTA was leaked onto the internet a while ago – but I’ve found out that the document has changed since then, so even with the leaked information, we as consumers are in the dark.

I’m going to borrow some text from Inquisitr.com since they’ve summarized the findings better than I could:

The core of the document details how each party should deal with intellectual property matters, including costs, complaint process and legal standards. Where it goes further is with the introduction of set rate penalties based on types of infringement, and further makes no clear distinction (that I could see) between a commercial piracy outfit, and a kid at home downloading a movie on BitTorrent.

While international co-operation on issues such as these isn’t out of the ordinary, it’s the secrecy around the document that has caused alarm so far; and it turns out that it was justified. The net effect of this treaty is to overrule local laws and to increase the severity of intellectual property/ copyright laws in signatory nations. Maybe not police stat level, but in places like Australia and parts of the EU which don’t have as strict an interpretation of copyright (for example, you can legally rip a DVD in Australia), this document could force local laws to be changed. – Duncan Riley, Inquisitr.com

What should alarm you is that, in effect, Canada’s laws regarding copyright issues will cease to be made by Canadians – and made by an international consortium that includes lawyers from the largest Hollywood studios.

Why should this alarm you?

Why the hell SHOULDN’T this alarm you?!?!

Remember my past blog about copyright issues? If you haven’t read it, please look it up in the topics menu at the top right of your screen.

For all intents and purposes, Hollywood will be making the laws by which you would be prosecuted if you were caught with an MP3 on your computer you didn’t pay someone for the right of having.

If you’re a lawyer or have a head for reading nauseating legalese, you can access a PDF file containing one version of the ACTA document by clicking here.

Yet, this is just ONE of the many legislative efforts that the Conservatives are trying to finalize as quick as their legal teams can type.

There are others that would remove trade barriers that try to keep American and Canadian businesses on an equal footing in Canada.

Some of the proposed legislative items floating around Stephen Harper’s desk involve creating a two-tier health system in Canada in such confusing language that it would seem like quite the opposite – and who do you think a two-tier system would benefit the most?

Yeah… that wealthiest 1% of the population.

Well, okay… to be fair, it will probably benefit the top 30% of money makers in this country.

It will absolutely never benefit little Jacob who has pediatric cancer and two parents that work – one in retail and one in construction.

Have I ever mentioned before that the Conservatives hate the poor, the destitute, and the infirm?

Maybe I have.

Stephen Harper makes me long for the days of Brian Mulroney – who despite his government’s flaws – honestly thought what they were doing would benefit the average Canadian citizen i.e. the people who elected them to office.

Speaking of which, Mr. Mulroney had a party the other night celebrating the anniversary of his 1984 electoral victory – the absolute pinnacle of the federal Conservative movement to this very day – and there were a few amusing tidbits of information that came out of the party.

Stephen Harper did not attend – nor do I think was he invited (but I could be wrong, however remote that could be)… and he was never mentioned by name by Brian Mulroney in that sexy baritone of his.

Mulroney DID however take a swipe at Harper – at least according to people who had attended the gala – by asking if all the attending party-goers had their Conservative Party of Canada membership cards on them… for which Stephen Harper says Brian Mulroney doesn’t have any more.

I’m not privy to whether or not our former Conservative prime minister is an actual card carrying member of the Conservatives in this day and age – or whether or not he has any interest in being one – but I do savor the attempt by Mulroney to show the older statesmen in attendance that Harper and his gang of corporate lackeys (that are all under 50 years old on average) have lost touch with what government used to be about in Canada.

What it used to be before the Conservatives sold their soul to big corporations – sold one paltry $250 dinner plate at a time during speaking engagement by prominent parliamentary contenders and winners.

When it was about ideals that the Progressive Conservatives legitimately thought more than 50% of the population believed in.

Unfortunately, that was a very long time ago.

No, this blogger has never voted Conservative… and never will as long as he’s in control of the hands that are checking off the little boxes on the electoral ballots.

However, I can look back and realize the monumental gap in beliefs between the heyday of Mulroney and the government that we have in Ottawa at the moment that I’m writing this blog.

Which is one of the many reasons we so desperately need to heave Steve.

Now, if only the NDP and the Bloc Quebecois (and the Liberals to a much lesser extent) would stop accepting a reach-around from him…