Weekly Highlights from our Conservative Overlords

Weekly Highlights from our Conservative Overlords

Monday, April 29, 2013

Why trolls and homophobes have me feeling pretty good about the world today.

So.  NBA player Jason Collins came out today.  And when you read through his story, it's difficult to feel anything but good for this guy.  I mean...how could anybody have anything bad to say about one guy admitting to the world that he's gay?

Of course, there's the Internet.  And colour me surprised!

You have people complaining about the flamboyancy of gay pride parades.  I guess he did mention ever-so-briefly an ambition to be a part of one of these events, but really?

Then, you have people suggesting that he's a vile opportunist who only came out so that he could get a larger contract?  Okay, so now it's not only a choice, it's a contract bargaining tool?  Ya.  I heard gay people have it way easier out there when searching for employment.

Of course, what conversation about homosexuality wouldn't be complete without conversations about god smiting the unnatural, unprocreativeness about the unholy gays.  Thanks guys.

I'm sure somebody out there has crafted some sort of response about how this is nothing but a plot by the left wing to turn all children homosexual through mandatory gay basketball.

Anyhow.  It's easy to read all of this shit and get really, really depressed about society.  See, on one hand, you look at this and think "Oh my god.  These people are freaking out about one gay basketball player.  What chance do we have?"

But that's what's so great.  This isn't just one basketball player.  This is a complete sea change in attitude that has created an environment where it's okay for there to be a gay basketball player.  This is a whole bunch of bigots and homophobes really, really fucking scared right now because they can't wrap their heads around this being okay.  The problem is that while much of rational society doesn't really consider this a big deal and is wondering why it has taken so long, it's still somewhat relatively acceptable to spout homophobic nonsense.  What I mean is that while there is probably a certain percentage of nonsense-spewers out there thinking "Not only is this guy a homosexual...he's a black homosexual", we've evolved to a point where all of those types know that nobody is going to accept their explicit racial drivel within a relatively mainstream conversation.  Eventually, we're going to reach a point where it's just not acceptable to openly spout your homophobic bullshit.  They'll need to skulk off to the extra special corners of the Internet for that.

So.  That's why I feel pretty good about this.  We're at a point where this is no big deal.  But we're still not at a point where it's acceptable enough that the nonsense spewers are shamed back into their basements.  It's coming.  It's close.  It's just not quite there.

Nothing is Anyones Fault - Week 104 - April 22-29

Isn't it great that people like Vic Toews can now throw you in jail with no charges and then hold a secret trial?  I feel better already.  Seems like he can decide who gets to talk to the media as well.

How on earth did I miss this story/picture?  Bieber shaking hands with Steve-O in overalls.
Steve-O is defending his right to use taxpayer dollars to send out attack ads.  Adrian Dix made some comments in an interview earlier this week when questioned about seeking corporate donations.  Paraphrasing, he said something along the lines of "These are the rules now and we will play by them.  But if we are elected, we will change them."  There's something troubling about the Prime Minster, who has the ability to change these laws, using a similar "these are the rules" argument.

Peter McKay is sick and tired of people asking him about the stuff he's supposed to be overseeing.

The Ontario Government is stepping in to support freshwater lakes research facility open.  The Conservatives are going to have to work extra hard to muzzle that research now.

This is just the funniest thing I've read in a long time.  George Bush: World Savior.

Have no fear!  Jason Kenney is on the case!  He's going to look in to the accused VIA train terrorists botched deportations of many years ago.

Oh fuck these people.  Fuck all of them.  It isn't bad enough that the "news story" about the persecution one of the accused VIA rail terrorists families contains a whole lot of editorialization...but the comments degenerate into a "ship them all home" lynch mob of "true Canadians".

Stephen Harper suggests that now isn't the time to "commit sociology" with respect to terrorism.  So when is the time to actually think about why this stuff happens and what we can do to reduce it?  Oh.  I forgot.  We're talking about terrorism.  All we can do is stick our heads in the sand, condemn it unconditionally, and pass more laws.  We should never try to understand something that we don't agree with.

Peter Penashue still claims nothing is his fault and dangles the "official voice in government" carrot in an attempt to win votes.  He also claims polls are wrong.

The EPA thinks Canada needs to improve things at the oil sands.  Joe Oliver thinks otherwise.  And can't figure out why they won't approve our pipeline.  Strange when a bully finds out his tactics don't work everywhere.

But it's all now going to be the fault of unions that the Keystone XL doesn't get approved.

Sometimes I hope that Matt Taibbi is just sitting at home, making things up.  How is it that he can so consistently track down these insane stories of banks and governments screwing people over so very, very badly?  How is it that he can uncover these stories and absolutely nothing happens?  This one sounds familiar (banks rigging interest rates).  These stories make me want to just stay in bed.

So.  Yes.  When a UN Human Rights council starts criticizing Canada's human rights record and some of the voices include North Korea and Iran, it might be a bit hard to take.  But lost in all of this...There's 81 other countries criticizing us as well.

The Canada Revenue Agency seems to have a hard time collecting taxes.  The amount of taxes owed to the CRA has jumped significantly in the last 7 years.

A symbolic victory for the Liberals?  The Conservatives defeat a motion to provide "free speech" for MP's in the House of Commons.  Nothing says irony like your members of Parliament voting against their own free speech.

The Conservatives are pursuing tougher sentencing on some specific violent crimes.  The sole purpose of this legislation seems to be about avoiding parole hearings.  None of the people convicted of these crimes end up getting out of jail (your Pickton's and whatnot).

Canada Post is trying to claim trademark to the term "postal code".

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Terror, Terror, Everywhere - Week 103.5 - April 22-24

Why are the Conservatives totally incapable of military procurement?  This Tyee article gets fairly technical in pointing out all of the reasons why designing and building our own icebreaking patrol boats is a terrible idea.  Hint: They're slow, they're expensive, they're unstable, they try to do too much and end up doing nothing well.  On and on it goes.

Speaking of Peter McKay being an idiot.  Surprisingly, here he is blaming somebody else for a decision made within his portfolio on danger pay.  Isn't he in charge?

I know that this isn't just a Conservative thing.  But I'm sick and tired of governments using the Bureaucracy as their personal publicists.  Why should we pay a lot of money for the Conservatives to have splashy events announcing the end of the long gun registry?  And then they cancel it?  This is stupid and a waste of money.  And Vic Toews is an idiot.

Oh dear.  Andrew Scheer says that backbench MP's can speak in Parliament, even if Steve-O doesn't want them to.

Timing and buzzwords.  An "Al Qaeda" linked "terror plot" has been foiled by the RCMP.  Surprisingly, after having them under surveillance for more than a year, the arrests are announced as the Federal Government tries to push through tougher "anti terror" legislation.  Not that catching people planning to do things is a bad thing.  I'm just going to be a bit skeptical about the timing of this arrest until I hear a few more details.  Oh wait.  Now it's "Al Qaeda inspired"...no... "supported by Al Qaeda".

And...here comes the publication ban on the terrorism case.  I'm sure we'll get straight to the bottom of everything now.  "We can't tell you why, but we can assure you that there are some really good reasons as to why we're eroding your rights and expanding our police state."

A nice summary of all thwarted terrorist attacks in the US since 9/11.  Note the ranking system.  A "3" is "An Islamist extremist plot to commit violence in the United States that was essentially created or facilitated in a major way by the authorities and then rolled up by arrest when enough evidence is accumulated."  Of 52 plots, 26 (exactly half) are categorized as a "3".

No biggie.  Just 3,000 federal government data breaches affecting 725,000 Canadians in the last 10 years.

Wait.  Somebody commenting on one of the pipeline stories told me that the Gulf Oil Spill was no big deal and cleaned up long ago?  This story about lingering problems can't possibly be true?

The National Post quickly completed an in depth analysis of the most important part of Justin Trudeau's new ad:  The math on the blackboard in the background, of course.

I like science.  I like numbers.  I like Eric Grenier and 308.  Here is a great article breaking down polling data since the 70's, focussed on leadership bumps.

So the Americans are proposing charging Canadians (and Mexicans) a fee every time they cross the border.  And there is outrage, of course.  Which I find really funny, for one reason.  There is absolutely no discussion anywhere on what that fee might be.  Is it a dollar?  Forty?  Who knows.  But it doesn't matter.  Outrage!  I mean, it's in the constitution that Canadians (and Mexicans) can cross the border into the US for free, isn't it?  I'd happily pay a dollar or two at the border if it cut down on wait times.

This is a pretty funny article with some quotes from Laureen Harper.  She sounds like a nice lady.  (this is not sarcasm.  I genuinely feel like she sounds like a nice lady)

I know.  This is Provincial Politics.  But what a fantastic article from the NP about how everything Christy Clark says is total bullshit.  But oh, the comments.  Don't read the comments.  You'll just depress yourself.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Tracing the Oil Sands Money

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about the oil sands.  Who owns them?  Who should benefit from them?  I'm scared that Alberta and the Federal Conservatives seem to want to rip this stuff out of the ground as quickly as possible.  Certainly, this benefits the oil sands companies.  This creates jobs.  But is this what is best for Canada?  Where does all the money go?

I tracked down this report.  It claims that the Alberta Government owns 97% of the mineral rights to the Oil Sands.  And it seems to me that the various governments get paid in two ways: Royalties (Alberta Government) and Income Tax (Alberta and Canadian Government).  I think that the income tax revenue is great and all, but it seem disingenuous to get really excited about taking a (already mandated) portion of the massive profits companies create by extracting something owned by the Government.  I'm more interested in Royalties.

Here is where I become a little less sure of my analysis.  It seems like there are two different types of royalty programs for Oil Sands projects.  One set of Royalties of 1-10% on Gross Revenues, and one set of Royalties of 25-40% of net revenues.  On the surface, this sounds impressive, but the more I think about it, the more it feels like Alberta and Canada are getting a bit of a raw deal here.  Yes, these companies are putting out huge sums of money to build infrastructure.  But it seems to me that they have pretty much guaranteed profits.  Let's dig a little deeper.

I see similar numbers popping up in many places, but this Wikipedia article is a good summary.  It places cost of bitumen extraction at $18-22 per barrel.  Include refining and it gets to $36-40 dollars per barrel.  Lets take a look at both ends of the spectrum on this.

$50 a barrel seems to be a pretty terrible price for oil and is where the royalty calculator bottoms out, so let's start there.  $50 per barrel means that:
$40 - Cost of Oil Production (We'll take worst case)
$0.5 - Royalty Paid on Gross Revenue Model
$2.50 - Royalty Paid on Net Revenue Model

So, absolute worst case, an oil company makes $7.50 to $9.50 on a barrel of oil, while the government (who owns the oil) takes in a whopping $0.50 to $2.50 on that same barrel of oil.  Worst case, the oil company sees a profit of 15%?  Not too bad.

Let's take a look at better case.  Let's say $100 per barrel:
$40 - Cost of Oil Production
$6.50 - Royalty Paid on Gross Revenue Model
$21.00 - Royalty Paid on Net Revenue Model

So when we have a decent oil price, the oil company makes from $39.00 to $53.50 on a barrel of oil, while the government (once again I'll mention that they own the oil) makes from $6.50 to $21.00 on that same barrel of oil.  So, when things start to look a bit better, the company is making up to 53.5% profit from something that the government owns.  Yes, we get income tax paid on this profit.  Yes, the employees pay taxes and jobs are created.  But is it any wonder these companies are fighting so hard to do us the favor of extracting our oil?  Does it not feel like perhaps we are selling our limited natural resource a little bit too cheaply?  Why are foreign companies so willing to invest in Canada?  Why don't we invest in ourselves rather than selling out?

I'm actually really hoping that somebody is going to come along and poke all sorts of holes in my very simple analysis.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Good Week, Bad Week - Week 103 - April 15-22

I don't feel like this is a good week for Stephen Harper.

First up, his Justin Trudeau attack ad seems a bit uninspired.  Is he losing his cynical edge in his old age?  It actually resulted in a boost in donations to the charity featured in the ad.

Then, he has MP's openly complaining (again) about a lack of a voice in Parliament.  I actually feel for the Prime Minister here.  He knows things are going to go very badly if he lets some of these guys speak their minds.  The Globe and Mail has the count at 9.  Is this the start of a new Reform party?

Oh boy.  So, one of studies commonly used to justify austerity spending has been shown to hold some serious errors.  Once corrected, the major finding is no longer valid.  Way to go, guys.

Stephen Harper has made the former head of his security detail the ambassador to Jordan.  This is roughly the equivalent of a CEO making the security guard the branch manager of a far off store.  Perhaps he saw something in him that he liked.  But you'd think things like experience, education, etc. might factor in to who becomes an ambassador.

So what happened in Boston is terrible.  But it got me thinking...I plugged "bomb" in to google news (3:50 PM, Wednesday April 17th).  These are just the stories that popped up about bomb attacks around the world in the last few hours.
Terror Strikes Bangalore, 16 Injured in Bomb Blast
Bomb Attacks Kill 4, Injure 18 Across Iraq
Bomb Kills 7 Civilians in Western Afghanistan

Justin Trudeau condemned the actions of the Boston bomber but then made some comments about understanding the "root causes" that would drive somebody to this kind of action.  Apparently, this is not condemny enough for Stephen Harper.  I guess in a good/bad, black/white world, there is no attempts to understand.  Seeing all the difficulties that Ignatieff had when he parsed issues, I'm not sure this was worth the risk for Trudeau.  Even though Obama just said something similar.

Vic Toews has decided that the Boston attacks really show that we need stronger anti-terror laws.  Okay.  So a bomb goes off, in another country, and the perpetrators are quickly apprehended.  And this shows that Canada needs more anti-terror laws?  How is that? (The NP agrees that this is stupid)

Steady hand on the tiller!  Oh wait.  We're actually seeing the slowest economic growth in the G20 outside of Europe?

Letting the Conservatives handle election reform is like handing over financial reform to Wall Street.  Start by not consulting with the Chief Electoral Officer, end with delays!

And about those delays.  The Conservatives were about to table an election reform bill.  But the Conservative caucus freaked out.  So the bill was pulled before it was tabled.  And the opposition cried foul because the Conservatives aren't supposed to see these things ahead of time.  But the Conservative Speaker of the House (totally unbiased) says there is no evidence that they saw it.

Canada has actually made some progress in reducing GHG emissions.  Except for the Alberta Oilpatch.  And Peter Kent is claiming it's all his doing (just like the decades long drop in crime).  Contained in the report - Industrial facilities in Alberta are responsible for half of all industrial emissions.

Out with the Environment Canada logos, in with the Economic Action Plan advertisements!

Mike Duffy promised to pay back his housing allowance.  That was in February.  He still hasn't done so.  And he might not pay it back at allBut then he did.  Maybe.  I mean he said he was going to months ago.  I think we're going to have to see some paperwork this time.  Even though he's a "man of his word".

I haven't talked about this guy much.  This gem of a Conservative MP (from Edmonton, up for drinking and driving charges after refusing a breathalyzer and locking himself in his car).  I am with him on not believing everything that the police say, but his explanation for why he refused a breathalyzer doesn't really add up.  Oh well.  I'm sure he'll get re-elected in Edmonton.

The Conservatives have released a number of letters from NDP and Liberal MP's asking the government to consider foreign worker applications.  The article dwells largely on one from Trudeau.  This seems bad on the surface.  But is helping a CHINESE restaurant bring in chef's from CHINA for assistance on developing a regional Chinese menu the same thing as trying to staff a Canadian mine entirely with Chinese workers after eliminating all Canadian applicants with trumped up language requirements?

Justin Trudeau has raised the point that the Conservatives and the NDP do not respect and have not celebrated anniversaries of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  I must admit that I've been somewhat ignorant of criticism of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and I'm having a hard time even figuring out what the arguments against it are.  It seems like some left wingers don't feel like it went far enough.  Right wingers feel that it is a power grab?  They don't want everybody to share in these rights?  I don't get it.

The Government of Canada opened a food truck in Mexico City, in an effort to create some sort of Canadian Food Brand identity among Mexicans.  Why not start in Canada?  Or New York?  Basically anywhere but Mexico City.

An interesting analysis via Gizmodo.  Contained within the data:
- The 225 richest people in the world have a wealth equivalent to the poorest 2.5 Billion people in the world
- The median US income is about $50,000 per year
- Which puts that earner in the top 1% of the World
So.  Stop bitching about your life because there are probably several billion people that have it worse than you.

Is fracking causing earthquakes in Oklahoma?

Monday, April 15, 2013

Off to a Roaring Start - Week 102.16 - April 8-15

Okay.  So I missed Week 102.  I apologize.  Did anything exciting happen?  There seems to be a lot that went on today.  Even ignoring the obvious in Boston.

And here it is...The Conservative attack ad on Justin Trudeau.  I don't think this is going to be all that effective.  Everybody already knows that Trudeau is young and has done some dumb things.  That's kind of half of the appeal, isn't it?

John Baird pisses off Palestine again by taking a meeting with an Israeli official in disputed territory.  They launched some protests.  Not to worry though.  He quickly apologized for his lack of tact and foresight.  What?  He didn't?  He made a joke about it and laughed it off?

Holy shit.  Read this Russell Brand "eulogy" of Margaret Thatcher.  He precisely sums up modern Conservatism: "diminishing the resources of those who had least for the advancement of those who had most."

Businesses are screaming about labour shortages, and want to bring in low cost foreign workers.  This article points out that if there were truly labour shortages, wages would go up.  And they're not.

The morons at the Financial Post mix up sales with prices.  It will probably fixed by the time you get to it, but the original headline states that "Canada's housing prices drop more than 15% from last year".  The body of the story refers to a drop in sales.

Another way the 1% screw us over.  Buying insider knowledge on yet-to-be-announced regulatory changes from politicians and bureaucrats.

Surprisingly, Albertans have less of a belief in global warming, are big on pipelines and don't think Provinces should share revenue, when you compare their opinions to the rest of Canada.  Thank God they aren't running the country.  A lot of damage could be done with an Alberta focused, archaic Conservative agenda.

A more in depth look at the flight restrictions placed over the Arkansas oil spill.  Seems to be having an effect, as we don't hear shit about this spill any longer.

So, there is a new requirement to comment at the "public" hearings on the Northern Gateway Pipeline.  You have to provide a CV and fill out a 10 page questionnaire.

More from the Tyee on Oil Sands myths.  Money on the table, double discounts, etc.  As well, a great point is made: The interests of giant oil companies aren't necessarily the interests of Canada.  This almost seems to be a weekly column for the Tyee.

The Conservatives don't like tracking weapons.  But they like charging for them.  A license fee is brought back on long guns.

Stories about really, really rich people in London and New York buying insanely expensive property, not living in it and the problems this causes.  One commenter points out that this is happening in Vancouver too, but I don't agree.  In London and New York, obscene amounts of money seem to get you a nice property.  In Vancouver it's a teardown.

An executive at HBO seems to be embracing piracy.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Steady Hand on the Tiller - Week 101 - April 1-8

Yes.  Things are a bit early this week.  I'll be away and I wanted to get something out.  There might not be a post next week, but I'll try to get something out.

Wasn't Stephen Harper's biggest promise that he was a "steady hand on the tiller" and a "prudent fiscal manager"?  Well, our prudent fiscal managers really have things humming along!  The TSX hits some lows and real estate is not looking very good.  A terrible jobs report too.  Way to go guys!

In other "prudent fiscal management" news, here are some details on the billions of dollars that Canada will have to pay out as government employees are let go.  The debt continues to skyrocket and they spend boatloads of money on their pet projects (throwing people in jail, buying the best shit to blow other shit up with, etc). We'll probably end up re-hiring many of these positions in a few years time.

The Liberals are starting to poll well.  I can only imagine the reaction this will bring.  They've already developed some anti-Trudeau attack ads.

Thankfully, they've found the "mastermind" behind the whole robo-calls scandal, and charged him.  Amazingly, a junior employee on a local campaign with no authority or access to any information was behind the whole thing!  His lawyer points out that this doesn't make much sense.  From the Tyee we have this gem of a cartoon:
Actually.  It's not a very good cartoon.  But I still like it.

Update: So.  Internet voting is supposed to raise voter turnout, right?  Somehow, I don't think the Conservatives are interested in getting more people out to vote.  And magically, Elections Canada sees their budget hit and they have to scrap internet voting.

The Federal Information Commissioner is investigating why Stephen Harper is muzzling scientists.

Parliament voted to give themselves (and the Senate) a pay raise.

As well, they seem to think it is okay to accept huge amounts of, I'm going to say it, bribes in the form of "travel expenses" from businesses, foreign trade organizations, etc.  MP's should either travel on official business that the government pays for, or they shouldn't travel at all (vacations excepted).  Why are they allowed on junkets?  How can they remain impartial on something after accepting a free trip and bringing along their wife/husband?

People wonder why BC citizens aren't too pumped on a new pipeline.  Another one ruptures in Arkansas.  I'm sure there will be lots of people explaining why this one ruptured but why a BC pipeline never will.

And here it is (somewhat).  The National Post is up in arms over the slander committed by journalists pointing out that it was Canadian oil spilled in Arkansas.  "But it was an American pipeline!" they scream.  Correct.  It doesn't matter where the oil came from.  But it also doesn't really matter where the pipeline was or who operated it.  It was a pipeline.  It leaked.  It causes problems.  This (and the countless other pipeline leaks) kills the arguments that pipelines are 100% safe and we shouldn't be afraid of environmental catastrophe.

Exxon has been given authority over a no fly zone above the spill.  Which seems really, really odd.

You know, if I, say, own a restaurant in, say, Northern Alberta.  It would be pretty silly if I expanded my restaurant capacity far beyond what was locally necessary and then complained that I couldn't get decent prices for my restaurant food and pointed out that restaurant food cost a lot more money in New York City, so you had better approve my proposal to build a dumbwaiter from Northern Alberta to New York City because I was losing too much money selling my food at a loss in Northern Alberta.  It just wouldn't make business sense to keep building up my capacity if I was unable to sell my product for a decent price.  So, why is it okay to just build and build and build in Northern Alberta, yank out a non-renewable resource as fast as possible, sell it at a loss, and then complain that people aren't doing enough to help you make as much money as possible?  This is insane.  As well, this Tyee article points out (again) that this whole oil price difference thing is a bit of a myth.

Okay.  So maybe trains aren't the answer over pipelines.

A mine clean-up in the Northwest Territories has ballooned to almost a billion dollars.  Which is a quarter of the entire budget set aside to clean-up over 6,700 toxic sites.  So, there might be a budget shortfall for the program, I'm thinking.  Why is the owner not responsible for the clean-up?  To Wikipedia!  Hmmm...that doesn't really clear things up.  Anyhow, this suggests that we should collect money for clean-up ahead of the fact.  Before the mine is sold and the owners skip town.  Seems like it is not just mines that are an issue either.  Pipelines are in the same boat.

The two Canadians involved in the attack on the gas plant in Algeria have been outed and seem to have inspired a new round of anti-Islamiscism in Canada.  Even though one of them was a suburban white kid with a Greek Orthodox upbringing.  Too foreign!

John Baird thinks Iraq is ripe for some commerce!

Patrick Brazeau announces his resignation.  On April Fool's Day.  In the evening.  Which is just about the stupidest April Fool's Day prank ever.  This guy is a gigantic idiot.  Others think so too.

More from the Senate.  The husband of a Liberal Senator has used his offshore bank account to avoid taxation during a dispute with Revenue Canada.

I'm going to need a separate Senate section soon.  Pamela Wallin steps down from some Senate Committees she is involved with.  But remains a Senator.  So...stops doing work, keeps cashing massive paycheque.  And don't forget that travel!

I was having a bad day and thought I'd totally ruin it by reading an NP article (and comments) about a homosexual couple in small town Manitoba forced to close their restaurant due to the discrimination they faced.  Unfortunately...comments closed.  The story is depressing enough.  Said another local restaurant owner, "A lot of people don’t like it, You don’t know what they’re doing in the kitchen." Hooray for Canada.

For the past few years I've been wondering why nobody in BC remembers "Music 91".  It makes me very happy that this Tyee article compares "Music 91" to the Times of India Film Awards.  Very happy.  But there's still no reference anywhere on the Internet to Music 91.  I would love to see a full listing of who played where.

Monday, April 1, 2013

100% Truth Day - Week 100 - March 25-April 1

Holy crap.  By my counts, we're 100 weeks in to this government.  How many weeks left?  As well, I realize the timing of this post.  But I can guarantee you that nothing here has been made up.

It's not clear who is paying.  But Stephen Harper's pandas are going to cost $25 Million.
You know what?  Fuck these assholes.  They pulled out of the UN group focused on drought in Africa because it was too bureacratic.  How convenient.  I'm sure the next International Conference on digging up oil or forcing unnecessary copyright laws on people is going to be a stupifying example of gettin-shit-done.  Actually...I guess they do get shit done when it's in their interest.  Just not when it's drought, starving people or the environment.  When they talk about linking aid with trade and security, I think this is what it is going to look like.  Those guys don't want to buy lumber, natural gas or tar sands oil.  Why would we give a shit about them anyhow?

Speaking of which, the CBC tries to make some sense out of Harper's Aid-and-Trade announcement.

Conservative backbenchers are pissed at the Prime Minister for his heavy handed approach.  Which, on the surface, sounds like good news.  The only problem is that many of them are pissed that he's not being enough of a lunatic.

Canada's Banks: Too Big to Fail.  Hey, this will end well.

Elections Canada came out with some recommendations so that we can avoid another robo-call scandal.  We'll see if the Conservatives do anything about it.

Suncor dumped a bunch of Oil Sands shit into a river.  No problem though.  Everything is fine.  The share price is up!

The Conservatives are coming down hard on tax cheats!  By cutting the Canada Revenue Agency budget.  That's okay, they're deputizing regular Canadians and hoping to entice snitches.

Stephen Harper wants one website for all of the government of Canada.  This sounds reasonable.  Until you start to think of the logistics of managing such an enterprise.  As well, some fear this is just an attempt to limit the flow of information from the Ministry of Truth.

Conservative Senators!  Aren't they awesome?  This one left his girlfriend on his payroll for six months after the ethics officer told him to take her off.  I guess it would be pretty tough to fire your girlfriend.  Girlfriend?  Mistress?

Don't worry though.  Steve-O makes some more progress towards Senate reform.  Wait?  He just appointed another Senator?  What the...

Hey.  Surprise.  Another (former) Conservative MP did something underhanded.  Jay Hill contravened the Conflict of Interest Act.  I'm sure he'll be a Senator soon.

A Tyee article on the insanity of providing Corporations with the ability to sue the Government via free trade agreements.  No matter what we, the citizens, decide is best for Canada can get thrown out in a lawsuit for infringing on a companies right to make a profit.  They also take an in depth look at the Conservatives signing deals without any sort of debate or discussion.

Idle-No-More, you say?  Well, how about we rip open your finances then?

A Conservative Minister suggested that a New Brunswick teen will "make a good wife someday".  And doesn't understand what he did wrong.  The girl in question, seems to feel it is much ado about nothing.

Darryl Sutter is going to personally get the Keystone pipeline approved when the LA Kings visit the White House.  See.  This is how you do things, Tim Thomas.