It really has turned in to the week of Theresa Spence. You can question the timing and the way some things happened, but in my opinion, this woman has lost all of her credibility. I actually having a hard time making sense of what happened. First, she refused to allow any reporters into her camp. Next, she personally phoned up to Attawapiskat and forced the removal of a Global News crew. After that, she refused to attend the meeting with the Prime Minister because the Governor General was not going to also be in attendance. This is roughly the equivalent of cancelling your meeting with the CEO of McDonald's because Ronald McDonald can't make it as well. I don't get it.
In the end, I'm not even sure what happened. Some threatened to boycott the meeting (not sure if they did). The Governor General held his own meeting. John A. McDonald took some punishment. And Theresa Spence is still on her hunger strike. The Prime Minister did promise future meetings, so perhaps it was successful after all?
On a slightly smaller scale, but a Global News story showed Theresa Spence driving away in a giant white Hummer (confirmed here). What the hell? How do you drive away from a hunger strike related to environmental demands in a giant white Hummer? I know that this might sound like a joke, but could you honestly take the opinion, any opinion, of a Hummer driver seriously?
In other native news, I don't fully understand what this means, but it looks like a court
decision has expanded the interpretation of "Indians" under the law.
Their word, not mine.
So with all of this First Nations stuff going on this week, this is where it starts to get a bit fishy for me. A story comes out that one quarter of all First Nations are under financial investigation.
Is this just a news organization digging in to an important and timely
story? Or is it a well timed leak to chip away at an opponents
credibility? Either way, it chips away at the First Nations position.
Of course, the National Post keeps publishing anti-Idle No More/Attawapiskat
stories. All of a sudden, they've become real champions for the public
good. They're even complimenting the CBC now. That's the problem with
popular movements. With so much going on there is always, always,
always somebody involved that is doing something wrong. By harping on
one point, critics can take the whole movement down. And the most amazingly awesome thing about the National Post writing a story about a CBC story? All of the commenters talking about how great
it is that the National Post has finally spoken the truth, gotten the
word out and avoided censorship by the "left wing" media.
On to other stuff. A government funded study came out that was able to isolate the "natural pollution" of the oil sands and proved that lakes and rivers in the vicinity of all of this development are in far worse shape than when development started. 23 times worse, actually. Of course, both the Government and the Oil Sands industry don't feel like this is worth any kind of action.
Hey. France solved the World. Way to go guys. You figured out how to bring Muslims and Catholics together. Hatred of the gays!
Disabled veterans have reached a settlement with the government over reduced pensions. Isn't that awesome? MP's with gilded pensions
can decide to claw back the pensions of disabled veterans.
Way to go guys. The Federal Government lost a hard drive with the personal information of a half a million people who obtained student loans.
I'm really jealous of the idea that this blog came up with. She picks
one ridiculously overpriced Vancouver property and then compares it to
the lavish mansions that could be purchased for the same price
elsewhere. The best of lists her favourites for the year (make sure you click through on each one). I think this one is mine.
This article points out something that seems really obvious - We're
leaving a tonne of money on the table by not processing our own crude.
And as we continue to ramp up production we make things worse by
increasing supply and driving the cost down. If we're going to ruin the
planet, why not slow things down a bit, build our own refineries and
pave the path to environmental destruction with fat stacks of cash? I
do not buy the argument that we don't have the money required to build
our own refineries. These companies can come up with billions and
billions to pull the stuff out of the ground but they're too poor to
Some documents showed up that suggested Jason Kenney either didn't know what he was talking about or was outright dishonest when he talked about
refugee health care cuts. Not sure which is the better option.
I don't pretend to know much about Haiti. Or what would be best for
them. But this is a pretty depressing take on what is going on there. And when Don Cherry comes out against something, man, you'd better hope you're on the other side of that argument. I wonder what would happen if Don Cherry and Donald Trump got together? Man, I'm going to tweet that.
I was excited when I saw this article on McLean's titled "99 stupid
things the government did with your money" (part I here). But it's kind of a stupid
article. Cherry-picking ridiculous sounding expenses with no context
doesn't necessarily tell the whole story. They really lost me at #4.
Honestly, your #4 waste of taxpayer money is paying Roberto Luongo
$160,000 for an endorsement deal?
This Salon article points out that "conflict free" diamonds might be a bit of a myth.
This is a pretty great snippet of what is going on in the US right now.
In response to the ever-present "I run a small business and I balance
my books. American needs to balance its books" argument:
us try to take Walden’s small business analogy seriously. Suppose the
problem is that we’re a business whose expenses are outstripping our
income. We propose some measures to correct it — say, cutting expenses
when possible and also working some longer hours. But we have a business
partner who listens to a lot of Rush Limbaugh and has some different
ideas. He says increasing revenue by working longer hours — even a
single longer minute when we have customers waiting in line at closing
time — is totally off the table. He says the answer is to cut our
employees’ pay and ban them from taking bathroom breaks. And he also
informs us that, unless we approve the savings ideas he wants, with none
of the savings ideas we want, he’ll refuse to pay vendors who have
already delivered things to us, thereby ruining our credit rating
Speaking of the US, everybody seems to be all about comparing Obama to Hitler right now as Obama talks about gun control. This article pretty thoroughly debunks the notion that Hitler limited access to guns as he seized power. I'm sure this will immediately put an end to that silly argument.
I'm sick of all of this gateway drug bullshit. Yes, I would imagine
that a really large number of cocaine/heroine/meth addicts got their
start on pot. But I'd also imagine that before they smoked pot, they
drank alcohol. As well, I'd imagine that a huge percentage of pot
smokers don't go on to become cocaine/heroine/meth addicts. So fuck off
with your gateway drug theory.
Apparently many American weatherpeople don't believe in global warming.
I thought this train of thought would take me further. It didn't. But I put a lot of work into it so I'm going to include it here at the bottom of my post. We have a long history of putting people in power with small amounts of support.
I honestly believe that until we get a system where we have a better
representation of how we actually voted, there is going to be problems.
So, I started looking around to see how many MP's narrowly skated to
victory. The first thing I learned is that it's difficult to find a
nicely summarized presentation of the information. Wikipedia
had a bit, but it was incomplete. Elections Canada was very
difficult to navigate. Finally, I found this guy
that did some analysis
of the Elections Canada data (Unfortunately, he charges to download his
information so I wasn't able to really analyze it). I started by
looking at percentages.
There's a very large number of MP's that were elected with less than
40% of the vote. In a multi party system, that's not all that
surprising. So I started looking more closely at MP's with less than
33.3% of the vote. To me, anybody in power with the support of less
than 1/3 of their constituents is a bit suspect. I was hoping that
somebody had gotten elected with less than 30% of the vote, but it
wasn't to be. But I found a winner. Daniel Petit, a Conservative MP
from Quebec was elected with only 30.3% of the vote in his riding.
Hooray for vote splitting. Then,
I looked at vote totals. In some of the ridings with large
populations, there are MP's with votes in the 30-40,000 range. I
ignored some of the weird outliers (Territories, Labrador) with
population difficulties and I found that there are two MP's in office
with fewer than 10,000 votes. Both were Liberals. Kevin Lamoureaux
from Manitoba had only 9,097 votes and Sean Casey from New Brunswick had
only 7,292 votes.