Friday, June 29, 2007

401 Blockade

I've arrived safely in London. I left Ottawa around 8pm hoping to get ahead of the blockade. It's a good thing I left Economics early, apparently blockades started before midnight:

Protesters launching a National Aboriginal Day of Action blockaded one of the country's main thoroughfares last night, beginning a "campaign of economic disruption" hours earlier than threats had indicated.

A blockade of Highway 401 between highways 37 and 41 went up in both directions around 11:30 p.m., Ontario Provincial Police Sergeant Kristine Ray said last night. Traffic was being rerouted to the north.

Around 9:15 p.m., a rail line was also blocked and a fire ignited in the middle of a county road near Deseronto, Ont.

I drove the 401 right around this time and didn't see any of what is reported above.

While I support anyone's right to protest I think we are looking at this issue all wrong.

Not only do blockades just continue the stereotype of the "angry Indian" this militant-type behaviour "targeting" roads just give a poor reflection on all Aboriginals, even though this is a militant extremist group conducting this blockade of the 401.

Do any of these protests, blockades really get Canadians to think about land claim issues? Most people I spoke with today were simply fed up with the whole situation.

Billions upon billions of dollars go our country's Aboriginals, certainly more than what our American counter-parts do, and somehow our Aboriginals have the highest suicide, infant mortality, poverty and substance abuses than any other group in Canada. Do Aboriginals/Native Americans living in the USA face the same issues?

Does this group have problems? Yes. Should they receive help from Canadians because of the whole, we took their land and that nasty residential school experience. Absolutely. But. When does it stop? It's been years of time and billions of dollars have been spent, and our nation's Aboriginals are probably worse off!

So where's the problem? How can it be resolved?

Today is the Aboriginal Day of Action and many Canadians aren't too optimistic of it actually achieving anything

Continuing the cycle of victimhood and violence is not how to solve the injustices of the past.

So what is to be done? Not an easy answer, but will a few extremists acting like domestic terrorists, it certainly does nothing for helping their cause.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Half of Canadians Believe in Two Tier Law?

Is this the same group (approximately half) of Canadians who support two-tier health care? Probably not....

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

401 Travel over Long Weekend

Yet another reason why I will be leaving Ottawa Thursday night and during the night to London.

I booked Friday off from work, so I didn't want to be driving across the 401 during the day on my day off. But now thanks to this, I'll be just grabbing a few more coffees along the way and driving through the night instead...

Monday, June 25, 2007

Caught in an Academic Limbo

I want to tell you about a situation my friend is in. He just graduated from his undergrad at University 1. He’s starting another degree at University 2 and he’s taking one summer course at University 3. He’s started a new job recently, but won’t get paid until he’s worked for four weeks.

Pay day is July 6th but his rent is due July 1st. Having not been employed since February (part time while in school) he has been hurting for money, but managing to get by using his line of credit. Unfortunately, he has maxed out his line of credit and credit card and is unable to pay his rent next week.

Where does he turn to get an emergency loan for the six days until pay day?

He tries University 2 first; they said he is not considered a student until September. He can’t get a hold of university 3’s financial aid office after trying three times. So he tries University 1 (to whom he has paid over $20,000 in the past four years). University 1 tells him that his only option is social services.

Talk about being caught in an academic limbo.

What is this poor guy to do?

Sunday, June 24, 2007

BOOK REVIEW: Who Killed the Canadian Military

After reading Jack Granatstein’s companion book, Whose War Is It: How Canada Can Survive in the Post-9/11 World, I thought I would read the first book he wrote about the Canadian military. This is yet another book I’ve been meaning to read but didn’t get the time until the school year was over.

Well organized chronologically, Granatstein follows over seven chapters who killed the Canadian military. While Pearson, Diefenbaker, Hellyer, Trudeau, Mulroney and Chretien each played their part in putting the Canadian military in the shambles that it is today, he concludes by answering his question, who killed the Canadian military, "we all did".

Grantastein writes this book in 2004 and predicts the troubles that we would experience during an international crisis. He discusses how Canada does not have enough military equipment, specifically aircraft as we had to beg from our neighbours to borrow during the ‘98 Ice Storm. And do ya really think these aircraft will be available during an international crisis???

Case in point. Ultimately who was blamed last summer when it took hours to transport thousands of Canadians out of Lebanon? Was it Hezbollah? Nope. The Canadians of Convenience? Nope. Who was ultimately blamed? Our new Prime Minister Stephen Harper who had the audacity to use the aircraft at his disposal to help with the evacuation and was promptly granted an F for his efforts.

If you read this book you must read the follow up one as well!

Rating 9/10

BOOK REVIEW: Rescuing Canada’s Right: Blueprint for a Conservative Revolution

This is a book I’ve been meaning to read when I bought it about a year ago. But alas, my professors assigned me other books to read. Even though the book was published two years ago and it’s slightly dated with the election of Stephen Harper, nevertheless there are plenty of suggestions in the blueprint that need to be executed.

What I liked most about this book is Adam Daifallah and Tasha Kheiriddin’s honest look at the history of the Conservative Party. Divided into 16 chapters and three sections the books is very well organized and well sourced. I can’t capture the greatness of this book in this review. I myself have not always voted Conservative and I can’t say I will always vote Conservative; however, this is a definite must-read for all those who consider themselves open-minded enough to consider that the Conservative Party in power would be a good thing for Canada.

Rating: 9/10

BOOK REVIEW: An Accidental Canadian: Reflections on my Home and (Not) Native Land

Globe and Mail columnist Margaret Wente writes this funny anecdotal book, which was chosen as a Heather’s Pick. I starting reading this book at Chapters and before I knew it I was on page 50. It’s hard to book a book down once you’re into it. Despite having many many books at home that I had already bought and planned to read, I bought it anyway.

Divided into thirteen chapters Margaret uses her way with words to capture the reader and bring the along the journey for the ride. The book was more of a memoir than I had anticipated, but I didn’t mind learning more about one of my favourite columnist.

She discusses what we hail as our national icons (PET, Margaret Atwood and hockey). Having a degree in English would compel her to write Atwood. Myself I would not have chosen two of these three (my picks would have been health care, hockey and anti-Americanism).

One of my favourite chapters is “Roughing it in the Bush, con Latte”. Here Margaret writes the Toronto/Urban affliction with having to escape to the land of wilderness. She talks about her experience of building a house in the wilderness with her husband and all the work, debt, and funny anecdotes that go along with it. I especially liked her proclamation of about being pro-SUV. She comments:

Call me criminal. But my neighbours don’t. They remember how we plucked them from the elements one stormy winter night on a remote country road. Their puny little car couldn’t make it up the hill…..Now they’ve got an SUV too….Contrary of what you may have read, SUV drivers are the opposite of vain, self-absorbed and arrogant. On the contrary. We’re plugged into Canada’s deepest values. Read Margaret Atwood: this country is all about survival…..And don’t tell me about high gas prices. (It’s funny that the people who want to ban gas guzzlers are the same people who demand price caps whenever gas goes over eighty cents).

She goes on and makes a point about these “guardians of public morality” for the next few pages. In sum I truly enjoyed this book and it was a delight to read!

Rating: 8/10

Monday, June 18, 2007

Is socialism still a viable political alternative for the major industrial nations?

While this isn't a scientific poll, the results thus far have flipped since this morning. Do Canadians really think that socialism is a good thing??

Friday, June 15, 2007

Attention Facebook Users

Looks like you have to keep checking your privacy settings. Facebook likes to add features such as public profile (that anyone can find using Google) and NOT tell you about it. Also if you have added any of the new applications there are privacy settings related to who you want to see them. Check it out!


I plan to resume my segemented posts (Bizarre Human Custom, Book Reviews, Flashback Fridays). Flashback Fridays consists of looking back on old blog posts either for a laugh or to reflect on how much I've changed (or not). I'll be writing up a few book reviews this weekend. This week is just one to make you laugh.

I have been going to every bike shop in London in search for a full suspension bike. As George and I were coming out of a shop today, George opened the car door for me, and some guy rode by on a bike and yelled: "Nice rack!" My jaw dropped and I was ready to see what George was going to do about it. "Isn't he going to say anything," I thought to myself. I finally realized the guy was talking about George's bike rack on the back of his car.....I guess the world doesn't revolve around me...and my rack ;)

Bans, and Tolls, and Hybrids...Oh My

Reason number 41238946 why I hate Toronto.

Today's announcement of the consideration of placing tolls on Toronto highways and banning gaspowered leaf blowers really irks me. What is the point of reducing consumption by downloading it to the consumer but the CN Tower is getting lights installed on it. Is it just me or does this make absolutely no sense and is completely counter-productive.

Can someone please calcuate how much energy/cost of running these LED lights.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Why Women make $0.70 of a "man's" $1.00

At a very liberal university I often experienced a weekly dose (read: shove down my throat) about the discrimination in Canada's society.

Margaret Wente brings up this issue but offers a different answer than the same old "discrimination" or "sexist" card.

Why, after all these years, does the pay gap persist?

The AAUW knows why. Pay discrimination, it says, is still a serious and systemic problem. Statscan has another explanation. Women tend to choose careers in health care and education - lower-paid, public-sector fields - while men choose commerce, computer sciences and engineering.

So please, would the social organizations who constantly use the women's $0.70 of a man's $1.00 stat please use some common sense and consider other variables than income levels?

Another issue that was brought up in university classes was racial discrimination. I was "taught" that gender and racial discrimination is often "invisible" or "systemic". But when I bring up the issue that how do we critique or evaluate something if it is "invisible" my prof changed subjects and couldn't answer my question.

I'd like someone to answer another question I have. Why is it that my partner (a Caucasian male) with two university degrees and 5 years of work experience as a bank manager has sent out over fifty resumes/job applications for managerial positions and has received only three job interviews? (One of these interviews the was at a hotel bar and the interviewer was really two interviews)

One answer to why is that the job application process is all online and for many of the jobs to which he's applying he must answer the questions "Are you female/male" "are you a visible minority" before you can submit the application. Thought the questions were illegal? So did I.

These are especially prevalent for administrative/managerial jobs to which he's applying at Universities (positions which are actually dominated by women actually). For example, at Trent U the Chancellor is female, the President is female, the Dean (we only have one) is female the Registrar is female, etc... etc... etc.... Oh yeah, and 75% of students are female as well. (Would it surprise you that Trent does not have an Engineering program?) But somehow there are female only weight room hours when men are the minority?

Am I a visible minority because I'm a red head? Or consider my two friends. One is 1/2 Native but looks like a WASP while my other friend's heritage is European but has facial characteristics of an Asian or Native person. The bottom line is, these questions are irrelevant to how well a person can perform the job.

On the other hand, maybe it has nothing to do with this.

Perhaps my boyfriend can't get a decent interview because of those darn Capital One commercials that give a negative light to bankers.

I'm Fed Up With Hearing About She Who Shall Not Be Named


I work in the nation's capital and on my commute to work I like to listen to music (nothing better to do when you’re stuck on the backed up 417). I primarily flip through a couple radio stations from Rock to Dance/R&B to Adult Contemporary. What compelled me to write this entry rant was at the same time three radio stations were talking about She Who Shall Not Be Named and her experiences with the correctional system. (Hint: Her name is the capital of France)

The reason her name is She Who Shall Not Be Named is because I don't want a bunch of people who want to know more about her to Google her name and end up on my blog. I don't want the traffic and I don't want to give her any more attention. I'm just fed up with hearing about it. Again, and again, and again.

I hate celebrities and I hate our culture's obsession with them. We live in a society (USA & Canada) where more people will vote for reality show contestants than their politicians. We are trying to spread democracy in other countries when we don't give a damn here.

Why is this?

The answer most people give is that they are too busy or don't know enough about the issues, but is this accurate?

People care enough (and seem to have enough time) to know about celebrities and television but not give a care about issues (like legislation passed) that REALLY affects their lives in a more meaningful way.

What really irks me is people who do not vote.

My (blunt) response is "Who the hell do you think you are?" or "How dare you?" We are so fortunate to live in this country, have a free democracy, and have the things that we have. Sure there are problems, sure there are corrupt politicians, but if we held our politicians more accountable, they would not dare improperly spend our money. Yes, it's OUR money not the government's money/purse.

We have no one else to blame but ourselves.

RANT OFF....I feel better now

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Looking for a Doctor Taking New Patients (in Ontario)?

Just found out about this link.


Author's Note: I posted this post last June after the playoffs ended. It still gives me a chuckle.

I examine the custom of “The Playoff Beard”.

Humans of the male persuasion from around North America spent much of the day, on this day of 20 June in the 2006th year, with hair removal of “The Playoff Beard”. Today marks the end of the season of the athletic competition of what the North Americans refer to as “Hockey”. There is a common practice in which the male competitors of this athletic competition do not remove their facial hair when their contingent enters what is known as “The Playoffs”.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting“The Playoffs” refers to the athletic contest that occurs after the exercises are finished. If one is successful during the exercises they will go to “The Playoffs”. The warriors and their master trainer—sometimes referred to as “coach”—use “The Playoffs” to measure how prosperous they are in their athletic aptitude. The goal of the battles is for a large mug once belonging to Lord Stanley.

If a contingent reaches “The Playoffs” there is an unfounded fear that the warriors as well as the male congregation of devotees—sometimes referred to as “spectators”—must not remove their facial hair, as it would result in tragedy and a loss of the battle. There has been no evidence to indicate the customs in which the women engage during this period of time since they are excluded from this ritual. A theory has been proposed that women did engage in this ritual but used artificial hair or cosmetics to join the custom.

One is permitted to maintain the cultivation ensuring trim and proper edging. If one is to remove all of their facial hair during “The Playoffs” prior to the elimination from the battle, one may be ostracized or denounced for being the explanation of losing the battles. Along with the battle for Lord Stanley's Mug, there is an unspoken competition amongsts the warriors to whom can develop the longest, thickest and messiest facial and head hair combination. Men who grow long and thick beards are seen to be more masculine and distinguished.

If a sequence of battles is lost this team must retire, in which they will be permitted to remove “The Playoff Beard.” The most unexplainable attribution to this ritual is a series of proclamations by a set of mythical beavers known by the names of Frank and Gordon of Bell (a land which we have yet to discover).