Thursday, December 17, 2009


Canadians are feeling ashamed to be Canadian.

Apparently, Copenhagen and Afghan detainees are spurring on a recent fit of self-loathing.

Not me.

I am happy to be Canadian.

While this is not the best of all possible worlds, it is pretty darn good in most ways.

A strange absence of mortal shells zinging over head is a good start.

Then there's our universal health care and our glorious physical beauty and warm and friendly neighbourliness - everywhere except Vancouver, of course.

That goes without saying.

Or saying very loudly.

In public.


But this morning there is one thing that made me feel downright queasy about being Canadian.

It's that full-page ad in the morning paper from Roots.

Many, many, many leather goods - bags, wallets, purses, pouches - all adorned with the Canadian flag.

There is something creepy about this kind of cheap and phony patriotism.

How does putting the national flag on a shoulder bag make me or you or the shoulder bag any more attractive or superior or pious?

Can I start selling products stitched with the Maple Leaf on them, or is this an exclusive deal for the Roots people?

From whence comes this special dispensation?

And why?

99% of everything we wear in Canada is made in China.

Does Roots get flags because it is the rare exception?

Are Roots products secretly made you know where?

If you are carrying such a bag, please don't stop and say Hello.

In any event, I live in Vancouver and I don't know how to say Hello back.

What Price is Right?


Wanna start a good fight in a bar?

There's a word that'll get the fists flying.

The Ontario government is considering turning over to the private sector their Hydro, Gaming and Liquor exclusives.

And this is not mere conjecture.

They have asked two major banks for assistance in this initiative.

This matter always seems to bring out the North and South in us all.

Turning government crown corporations over to the wheelhouses of the free market is always the best idea or the worst evil imaginable.

But I don't settle in either of those camps.

I would prefer governments to NOT be in many businesses IF AND ONLY IF they ever bothered to provide some safeguards and protections for the public good during the dumping process.

Did the Campbell government do that with B.C. Ferries?

I don't think so.

Was the sale of BC Rail a good clean kosher deal?

If the Basi-Virk trial ever begins or ends, we might find out.

The Globe has written an excellent editorial this morning on exactly this dilemma.

"As governments assess which services they should and should not provide, they need to decide when owning a company is in the public interest. A sale may make sense if it can satisfy four conditions: It should give the government an immediate upfront cash benefit; it should allow the public to continue to share in the profit the company makes; it should preserve the priority of the public good; and it should not harm vital public-policy interests."

All of this, is, of course, sound theory.

Practice is so very different, isn't it?

We Are Safe

“We have all the manuals, but we haven't had the opportunity to do the training.”

Thus spake Oak Bay Police Chief Ron Gaudet two years after Peter Lee murdered his family in the good chief's jurisdiction.

But not to worry.

The chief's all over it.

Chief Gaudet promised his members will complete a mandatory, one-day online training program by next spring.

Let's pause a moment and think about that.

The police in leafy old Oak Bay, B.C. by the Sea have had two years to get their act together long enough to do a one-day training course on domestic violence.

Think about that phrase.

A one-day training course on domestic violence.

Oh yes, that'll really bring everyone up to speed.

Now look again at the description of this potential life-saver.

Not only is it all of one day, but it is...wait for!

Yes, indeed.

You can really get a feel for the subtleties of human interactions from an ONEFFINGLINE course on domestic violence.

Then, when all of these treasures are considered, consider this.

The police in the Lee case had asked the Crown to hold Mr. Lee after he'd already almost killed his wife.

But it was the Crown who saw fit to let this time bomb out on bail.

Will the Freuds and Jungs down at Crown Counsel be taking this one day on line course too?

Oh, we are in good hands all right.