Sunday, December 03, 2006

Stéphane Dion, Canada's next Prime Minister.....NOT!!!

The Liberal Party of Canada seems to think they have elected Canada's next Prime Minister over the weekend. Not if I can help it.

What does it say about a party who's winning leadership candidate is the one a majority of convention delegates dislikes the least? An acceptable second-choice - the most inoffensive option - seems to be an appropriate way to go for a second-rate party. This doesn't bode terribly well for the next election; two uncharismatic policy wonks going to toe to (snore.....) toe in the leadership debates. Is it just me or is the idea of Jack Layton being the most likeable party leader just a tad scary? Reminiscent of the Ed Broadbent days, at the very least. For the love of god, somebody invite Green Party leader, Elizabeth May, to the show!

I didn't think Dion was going to win it. I, like many of the pundits, thought that Bob Rae was grabbing much of the momentum leading up to the vote (not that the endorsement of Joe Volpe amounts to anything even remotely resembling momenutm). I figured the winning candidate would have been between Rae and Michael Ignatieff (whose last name roughly translates into "damned Ukrianians and Jews" in English), with the ultimate winner being he who had the smaller anti-me movement. Turns out, both the anti-Rae and anti-Iggy votes were larger than expected, as they all seemed to flock, like lemmings, to Dion.

Perhaps that's too unkind. I think the story of the convention was Gerrard Kennedy. After having blown a huge fourth quarter (wait, this is Canada)...third period lead ten years ago in the Ontario Liberal leadership convention, he proved to be THE deciding force. Not only did he ultimately play kingmaker in a personal capacity, but he was able to deliver the goods, in the form of delegates. This has been less of a certainty in recent years.

You have to figure, however, that the Rae-Iggy friendship is over. "Friendship over delegates" my ass! Rae gave him the ultimate slap in the face, by not giving him - his former university roommate - at least a personal endorsement, if not that of his delegation. Having said that, the anti-Rae and anti-Iggy crowd tended to be a mutually exclusive lot, now didn't they?

Whatever Iggy did to court the gay vote, I don't know, but he did ultimately sway Scott Brison and George Smitherman to his camp. Or course, I think the latter was just the inadvertent result of the Ignatieff camp passing out free baggies of crystal meth. in an attempt to attract youth delegates, but who's to say? So, what's next for Scott Brison? A leadership run for the N.D.P. or the Greens? More fittingly, perhaps it should be the Monster, Raving Loony Party. Wait, you need U.K. citizenship for that.

On a final note, I couldn't help but be fixated on Belinda Stronach's dye job the whole weekend. I guess she got tired of the blond jokes. Either that or she's emulating the career of her favourite female role-model, Christina Aguilera. However, did anyone else notice how straight the do was Friday evening, and then how frizzy, JBF throughout Saturday? I guess Tie was in town that weekend for the Leafs-Canadiens tilt at the Bell Centre.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

A New Christmas Poem

The following poem was brought to my attention, through a couple of sources including Reg Whynott, the former Chairperson of the old Regional Municipality of Hamilton-Wentworth.

As much as I don't like wrapping up my support for military endeavours, including the current one in Afghanistan, in the Canadian flag I thought it was appropriate in light of the content of the poem. For me, the flag symbolizes not necessarily the country of Canada, but all the freedoms we enjoy, which are paid for in the sacrifices of our military.

I thought it appropriate to reproduce in this period between Remembrance Day and Christmas. I'm sure Reg wouldn't mind.


The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,

I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.

My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,

My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.

Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,

Transforming the yard to a winter delight.

The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,

Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.

My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,

Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.

In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,

So slumbered I, perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,

But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.

Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know,

Then thesure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.

My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,

And I crept to the door just to see who was near.

Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,

A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.

A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,

Perhaps a Ranger, huddled here in the cold.

Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,

Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.

"What are you doing?" I asked without fear,

"Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!

Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,

You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"

For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,

Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts…

To the window that danced with a warm fire's light

Then he sighed and he said "Its really all right,

I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night."

"It's my duty to stand at the front of the line,

That separates you from the darkest of times.

No one had to ask or beg or implore me,

I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.

My Gramps died in Europe on a day in December,

"Then he sighed, "That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembers.

"My dad stood his watch in the jungles of 'Nam',

And now it is my turn and so, here I am.

I've not seen my own son in more than a while,

But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile.

Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,

The red and the white ... a Canadian flag.

I can live through the cold and the being alone,

Away from my family, my house and my home.

I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,

I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.

I can carry the weight of killing another,

Or lay down my life with my sister and brother…

Who stand at the front against any and all,

To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall."

"So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright,

Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."

"But isn't there something I can do, at the least,

"Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?

It seems all too little for all that you've done,

For being away from your wife and your son.

"Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,

"Just tell us you love us, and never forget.

To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone,

To stand your own watch, no matter how long.

For when we come home, either standing or dead,

To know you remember we fought and we bled.

Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,

That we mattered to you as you mattered to us."

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Recently, my employer, the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, finally blocked access to the wildly-popular "". I guess they feel that, in spite of YouTube's efforts to keep porn off its site, there was too much inappropriate stuff being posted. Or, at least too much junk that was distracting students from using the internet for legitimate educational purposes.

They may have a point. There has been an unfortunate trend - and a lot of media - for students to post things like fights and idiotic stunts of the "Jackass" film persuasion. This isn't the type of stuff we want kids looking at. At least not during school hours.

Nevertheless, I found the blocking of the site unfortunate as it coincided with my first ever uploading to YouTube. There are now four videos of my greyhound, Dinsdale, available for viewing. Now, I can't share them with my students and teaching least not during school hours.

If you want to look at one, go to the link below. Its called "Dinsdale at the Dog Park" Once there, you can access the three others:

Is Quebec a nation?

Yesterday, the House of Commons passed a motion recognizing the "Québécois" as a "nation". Not the territory of Quebec, but just the people therein. In advance of the resolution, the country had been engaging in hair-splitting as to what exactly constitutes a "nation". Since the resolution, the discussion has focussed on what or who actually makes up the "Québécois".

Many have a confused notion as to what, exactly, a nation is. People have pointed out the contrast in which the term is defined in English and in French. In English, we often use the term nation interchangably with "state", meaning an autonomous country with borders, an independant government and international recognition. In French, it is said that the term merely means a people with a common and distinct history, language, culture, customs, etc. I would sugges - and I have a degree in political science - that the French definition is also the English one, but English-speakers, particularly those blind unitary Canadian nationalists of the Pierre Trudeau ilk, don't distinguish between nation and state.

The government lost a Cabinet Minister over it. Michael Chong, who had held the post of Minister of Amateur Sport and Intergovernmental Affairs (hows that for a Cabinet Combo? Maybe we can settle those federal-provincial scuffles with a cross-country race, or something!). Chong, now merely the M.P. for Wellington-Halton Hills, believes that the notion of Canada as a nation is indivisible. Thus, he could not support Prime Minister Harper's motion and had to leave cabinet. He believes, like many others, that we cannot have a "nation within a nation", or, as Joe Clark used to call it, a "community of communities".

This is unfortunate, because I think the strength of Canada is that we can and do have nations within this nation of ours (although I often ask myself whether Canada is, in fact, a nation. Its certainly a state, but not every state is a nation, just the same as not every nation has its own state). In my view Quebec, or Quebeckers (I hate when they use the term "Québécois" when speaking English) at least certainly constitute a nation. I believe the Acadien people, although smaller in numbers, constitute a nation. Heck, for anyone following the whole Caledonia debacle, we've got six nations right up Hwy. 6 from Hamilton! You don't want to tell the various aboriginal sects, from the Six Nations, to the Cree to the Dene, that they don't constitute a nation.

Where I would agree with Trudeau - and I don't often admit to agreeing with that bastard, at least not when it can be traced back to me in writing - is where he dealt with the issue of national self-determination in his seminal essay "New Treason of the Intellectuals". In challenging the notion of "national self-determination", he argued that nationhood does not necessarily lead to an automatic claim to statehood. If so, we would have national groups claiming statehood on a daily basis. Once the Quebec nation achieved statehood, then certain "nations" within Quebec, chiefly the anglophone minority and aboriginal groups, such as the Cree, would have an equal claim to sub-statehood. Whether or not he would admit it himself, I think Trudeau was tacitly agreeing with the notion that nations can exist within nations...or states. Erego, he would have had to have supported Harper's motion this week.

In any event, many see this as a cynical ploy on the part of Harper and the Conservatives to shore up support in La belle province....or la belle advance of an impending election. They're currently getting killed there in the polls, thanks to Kyoto and Afghanistan. Others suggest it was a shot in the arm to the Liberal leadership campaign of Michael Ignatieff, whom Harper feels he can thump in an election. But when it comes down to it, because it lacks constitutional authority, this whole thing may be little more than a trumped up version of a similar debate following the 1995 referendum, where a weak-kneed Jean Chrétien had his government pass a similar motion recognizing Quebec as a "distinct society". This, after basing his whole leadership campaign on opposing the Meech Lake Accord.

Typical Liberal. F***ing hypocrites when it comes to national unity.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

The Hamilton Spectator

I recently wrote to Dana Robbins (picture), the outgoing Editor-in-chief of the Hamilton Spectator. Shortly after I wrote him, he announced he was leaving the Spec to take on the post of Publisher of both the Kitchener Record and the Guelph Mercury newspapers.

I wish him well. I think the Spec has become a marvellous paper under his leadership. Its too bad I'm cancelling my subscription. I explained why in my letter to him below:

Mr. Robbins:

I love the Hamilton Spectator. I always have. Its not only because I've written for the paper twice (a Spec Huddler in 1984 and a member of the Community Editorial Board 2000-2001), but I happen to think you run a high-quality operation.

My one hour in the morning with the Spec is the highlight of my day. I love sprawling on the couch with a cup of coffee while my partner and baby are still sleeping. This is a ritual I have been undertaking for ten years since I returned from studies out west. I used to read the paper on my stomach on the living room floor growing up. I consider those who write (and have written) for the Spec as close friends, if not family. My favourites over the years have included Don Lovegrove, Wade Hemsworth, Tami Paikin-Nolan, Mike Davison, Tony Fitzgerald (even back when he had the black fro'), Alge Borusas and many others whose names I can't even remember. Your current crop delight me every morning with their observations, insight and witticisms. These include Terry Cooke, Andrew Dreschel (even though he hates road runners), Lorraine Summerfeld and even that annoying Sheryl Nadler, pretentious head shot and all. Sometimes I wish she'd take her thinly-veiled husband search to your parent paper up the highway, where she wouldn't have to bemoan the absence of funky lofts and gay art culture. She seems to spend all her weekends there anyhow. But I digress.

I am having a crisis of conscience that I thought you may like to help me with. As much as I love - LOVE - my daily ritual of reading the Spec (I always start with the front section, cover to cover, and then the Go section, leaving the comics to the end. I won't tell you what I'm doing by the time I get to the Sports section), I am feeling increasingly uncomfortable as a home subscriber. Every Wednesday night when I put out the blue box I can't help but feel a twang of conscience at the amount of paper that has accumulated over the week. When I go to school on a daily basis and see the number of copies of the Spec that are consumed, or in many cases ignored in a pile in our main office, I get visions of clearcuts and greenhouse gasses and overflowing landfills.

I know, I and many others are recycling our newsprint and I'm certain the Spec makes every effort to use recycled paper in their massive daily circulation, as do hopefully most other broadsheets and tabloids on the planet. But is it really enough? Disgraced, and now ex, Conservative M.P., Garth Turner has recently commented about the age of "digital democracy". Can the same be said for news media? Every major news outlet on the planet, newspapers included, have websites. What you can access in your daily paper, you can get on-line. You can even purchase an unlimited amount of daily comics, delivered to your e-mail inbox, for about ten bucks a year!

Mr. Robbins, I'm thinking of cancelling my subscription. This would have seemed unthinkable to me even a year ago. However, I recenlty became a father and have been thinking more and more about the planet I want to leave for my son when I'm gone. I'm cycling to work every day, even in the winter. We've just purchased a new extremely high-efficiency furnace. We're slowly but surely replacing all lightbulbs in our home to those ridiculously low-wattage, yet oddly shaped ones. As much as it pains me, I think my daily Spectator may be the next thing to go.

There are obvious drawbacks for both you and me. For you, the business is all about circulation. You need to reassure advertisers that your paper is reaching however-many-hundreds of thousands of homes on a daily basis. If everyone else does what I am thinking of doing, you start having problems meeting your payroll. You may even have to lay Sheryl Nadler off from her photographer job! For me, I lose the luxury of my daily ritual of sprawling across the couch, hot cup of coffee in hand, with my paper copy of the There's only so much sprawling you can do if you're reading the paper on a laptop.

Do you have any insights to offer me as to how I can reconcile the pleasure I receive of taking the Spectator out of my mailbox at 6:15-6:45 on a daily basis with my increasing desire to do more and more to save the planet? If not, I may be forced for the first time in my entire life (at least that spent in the Greater Hamilton area) of living in a home that does NOT have a Spectator subscription.

Mr. Robbins, talk me out of this!

Rich Gelder

YouTube and Dinsdale

This very day, my employer, the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, has seen fit to block via its netsweeper. Oh well.

In the mean time, I have uploaded my first ever video to the notorious site (at least in the minds of the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board). The video I have uploaded is called "Dinsdale at the Dog Park", but was originally entitled "Pesky Greyhound". Have a look and you'll see why.

I hope to be able to upload more greyhound videos, although Baby Liam is off limits (mom's orders).

What I wrote to my teacher's union rep

The following is a note I wrote to my OSSTF (Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation) representative regarding the "PAC (Political Action Committee) Files" publication they put out.

Basically the PAC Files is a mouthpiece for the small minority of N.D.P. and similar left-wing activist types in our union. They tend to "borrow" heavily from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, whatever the hell that is. Recently, our union circulated a survey regarding what we would like to see canvassed in the PAC Files. Below is my modest response:

Dear Joanne:
As our Branch President, I understand it is to you whom I am to address the PAC Files Member Input Survey. Thank you to you, to Mr. Uhrig, and to the Federation for the opportunity for so doing.

With respect, if I were to fill out the form provided, I would have to score ("-4") for all categories, as I feel that the publication ought to be discontinued in its entirety. It serves very little purpose other than a forum for the personal political views of a small minority of our membership and for the further dissemination of publications from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

Periodically, our membership receive this publication in our school staff room mailboxes. Most routinely, after our Branch President and her delegates diligently slide one into each mail slot, they are even more quickly discarded into the recycling box placed below. Copies of the PAC Files accumulate in the recycling box as fast as snow during a raging blizzard. This is sad for two reasons. Firstly, people are not taking seriously the efforts of those who put together the PAC Files. Secondly, it is an affront to efforts to save our environment through the lessened use of paper.

However, I can scarcely blame those who see the publication, roll their eyes, and then toss it into the waiting blue box. The material that has usually been canvassed, at least in my seven years of teaching, has tended towards "global issues" (read "Bush-bashing") and not sufficiently close to those issues that affect teachers qua teachers. Interesting though these pieces may be, is it really appropriate for our federation to be expending resources on them, when we have bigger "political" battles to fight (eg. Bill 52)?

I must also object to the one-sided ideological bent that is routinely present in these pieces. The editors can claim that the publication is a "forum for discussion", but how much discussion is really taking place when only one side of these issues is ever really presented? Would the PAC files be open to submissions from pro-life groups, or those opposed to stem cell research, or those opposed to same sex marriage? Should a teachers' "political action committee" publication even be concerned with such?

Also, I have been bewildered with the PAC Files recent tendency, which in fairness has abated in the most recent issues, to merely reproduce opinion pieces from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. If we wish our membership to be subject to the editorial views of this organization, could we not just point them that way through the use of weblinks or subscription cards? What is the point of the political action committee spending federation resources to cut, paste, print and deliver something that is already available elsewhere? Do we really want our organization's political wing to consistently parrot the views of an outside organization that 90% of our membership have never heard of, let alone agree with?

Whatever the point of the PAC Files is, I submit that it is not an appropriate use of federation resources and ought to be discontinued forthwith. If the routine contributors to the PAC Files, other than the CCPA, desire a forum for sharing their personal political views I invite them to forego our limited federation resources and blog their thoughts, like the rest of the world.

If it is the will of the federation membership to have this publication continued, may I at least make one request in the name of the trees and the planet we are trying to save? The reality - and most of my colleagues at Sir John A. Macdonald would agree with me - is that a majority of copies of the PAC Files are ending up, unread, in the recycling bin. Can the PAC consider no longer printing the PAC Files, instead moving to an on-line version, or even one that can be saved in a .pdf format and deposited in a First Class conference? I understand that the federation also has issues with the Board's First Class platform, issues which I have yet to really understand. However, the fact of the matter is, like the First Class platform, the staff room, the mail boxes therein, the recycling bins and the buildings themselves are also Board-owned and controlled.

I make this submission with the greatest respect for those individuals who have given freely of their time to contribute to both District 21's Political Action Committee and to the PAC Files itself.

Rich Gelder
Sir John A. Macdonald branch
District 21

Sunday, November 19, 2006

A really neat greyhound comic

Here's a really cool comic strip that appeared in The Hamilton Spectator on Saturday, Novembrer 4th(November 5th for those American Sunday papers).

Its from the "Mutts" comic strip, and accurately chronicles the life - and after-life - of a racing greyhound. I post this is in dedication to our very own Dinsdale and hope I'm not breaking too many copyright laws.
In case you can't read the text (it shows up really small), here's what the greyhound says in each frame:
1. Shelter Stories: "Flash"
2. I'm a greyhound, a racing greyhound.
3. I spent the first three years of my life either in a cage or out racing. Racing, racing, racing.
4. I always lost.
5. I was determined "useless" and was to be "weeded out".
6. Then a greyhound rescue group saved me and found me a loving home and family.
7. I raced to their open arms.
8. I finally won.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Garth Turner

Garth Turner has publicy disossociated himself from the Conservative Party and will likely have to contest the next federal election as an independant.

I really like Garth Turner. I really do. I first encountered him as an assistant to a Cabinet Minister in the Mulroney government back in the early 90s. I found him dynamic, full of ideas and different from others in public life. I harboured a secret desire to support him for the leadership during his 1993 run, but went with the flow and "drank the (Kim) Campbell Kool-Aid". I always hoped he would be back.

Well back he came, along with other former Tory M.P.s I admire, such as Rob Nicholson in Niagara Falls. It was rejuvenating to see this class come back; almost as rejuvenating as the Conservative victory itself, at the very least because it turfed the evil Liberals from office. However, much has changed since last January. Did it start when Garth Turner was passed over for a Cabinet post? As a free thinker, you would expect that Turner might become a thorn in the side of the government; being outside on the tent pissing in, rather than in the tent pissing out. And everything must be examined through the prism of the control the Prime Minister's inner circle seems to be trying to exert over "the message" being delivered to Canadians.

I don't think Garth Turner would ever have survived one week in Stephen Harper's Cabinet. I don't want to suggest that Ministers and Tory caucus members have become gagged eunechs, but how else do you explain the reasons for and the manner in which Turner was unceremoniously dumped from caucus? I can't imagine it was really unanimous, nor could I imagine, in the current climate, any other caucus members speaking up on his behalf.

Was the reason for his departure the issues he was raising outside the control of the so-called "inner circle", or was it because he has been blogging it? A la Marshall McLuhan, is it the message or the medium? Turner frequently asserts that "digital democracy" is the wave of the future. I wonder, however, if he's ahead of his time, as how many people actually read his blog (or mine, for that matter). Here in Hamilton, a minor buzz was stirred when mayoral candidate (and eventual winner) Fred Eisenberger ran an attack ad on "". Routinely criticized for running lacklustre campaigns, people are now wondering whether this act was a stroke of genius. How many people are surfing YouTube as routinely as they are their television sets? And are these people looking for campaign ads when they do? Late on election night, after Eisenberger had been declared the victor, I had a look at the ad, which kind of screamed U.S. Republican Party. Slightly over 2,000 people had viewed the video to that point. Eisenberger's margin of victory was 452 votes. Is Garth Turner on to something?

Many were disappointed either that Garth didn't join the Green Party, nor expose secrets on the Prime Minister /his government. With the type of control that PMO has, what kind of information did they expect Garth Turner to actually be in possesion of? For my part, I may be most disappointed that Garth Turner's return to the House of Commons may be short-lived. I don't think he's going back to the Conservatives and I hope he has enough scruples to stay the hell away from the Liberals. In fact, if you are to believe what he is saying on his blog these days, he's finished with party politics altogether.

Oh well. Maybe he can pull a Joe Lieberman (what I used to call a Chuck Cadman) and win it all in Halton as an independant. As a Conservative, I don't know if that would make me happy or upset! It would be worth it, though, to still have Garth Turner around, rambling MPTV rants and all!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Fred Eisenberger elected mayor

Who knew? Just goes to show how accurate I am in picking winners. I had Mayor Larry (DiIanni) winning in a landslide - a two-to-one margin I suggested to someone. Perhaps I won't quit my day job and go into the oddsmaking business, at least where elections are concerned.

I had hoped that Mayor Larry would win re-election, but Mayor Fred I can live with. Not the most inspiring leader I have ever encountered, having first seen him in "action" in the early nineties, when some Beach Strip residents were up in arms over an emissions issue. Whereas his wardmate at the time, the late Dominic Agostino, took the lead in being vocal about an important local issue, Fred seemed to have this deer-in-the-headlights demeanour that suggested he either didn't know what was going on, or that there were about 1,00o other places he would rather have been than at the Beach Strip community centre that evening.

Every campaign he has ever been involved in, including that as a Conservative in the recent election, having placed third behind NDP winner Wayne Marston, and Liberal bagman, Tony Valeri, has been lacklustre.

Can it really be that a U.S.-style attack ad on, of all places, made the differnece? Or did Joanna Chapman's witch-hunt really bear fruit? I hope its neither of the above.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Here's baby Liam

I know, I know it's October and I haven't been on since baby Liam was born back on August 14, 2006, weighing in at 8 lbs. 5 oz. Here's a couple of pictures of him, including some really cool ones we took over the weekend, figuring out the digital camera we bought off Ebay for the specific purpose of taking baby pictures.

Mom and baby are doing fine. Breastfeeding's a grind, and we do supplement with a lot of bottles. He's got a set of lungs on him (takes after dad) and lets us know when he's hungry. He's starting to hold his head up on his own, smile and hold conversations with the respective grandmas.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Baby Liam is almost here.

Geez, its been a while.

Won't be long now until we have little baby Liam. He could come any day.

What's new since I last wrote? Italy won the World Cup (doh!!!!), Israel and Hezbollah are bombing the shit out of each other. Everyone's whinging because Prime Minister Harper is taking a pro-Israel stance ("honest brokers" my arse!!!!).

I finished coaching with Hamilton Olympic Club for the time being (until I've had a year or two getting used to being a daddy!!!). It was tough to leave, but I think I've left a stable of athletes in reasonably good shape. I even had a school athlete (Sir John A. Macdonald in Hamilton) win an OFSAA medal (silver in the senior girls triple jump!!!!!). Yippee!!!!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Tee Hee! Tories Win!

Well things went pretty well Monday (unless you count Toronto. Oh well, all the more reason to dislike the city). However, there are some eerie parallels to the 1979 election. Conservative minority, leader from Alberta, outgoing Liberal PM stepping down. The only thing missing are the Créditistes.

There has been some suggestion (okay, its my idea) that the Grits are attempting to recreate the 1979-80 scenario to pave the way for Martin's triumphant return. Perhaps the Liberals ensure that Harper's first budget gets defeated, and we go back to the polls. People then think, okay we gave the Tories a chance, they messed up, the Liberals have sat in the corner for the requisite 6 - 12 months, now we can go back to our debilitating addiction to voting Liberal and we can all get back to normal.Then Martin's next election night speech ends with "Well, welcome to"

I can't help but be reinforced in this irrational, paranoid fear by some of the numbers out of Toronto. Did anyone notice the margins of victory for the Liberals, particularly in Scarborough? They were huge! Belinda herself was never even in any danger. Its like there's some Stepford Wives thing going on Toronto where people march like zombies to the polls in a trance-like state ("MUST......VOTE......LIBERAL!!!!").

On another note, local Cabinet representation is going to be interesting. David Sweet will not be in Cabinet, period. There's no bloody way. Dean Allison, who's riding takes in all of upper Stoney Creek, Glanbrook and a sliver of the old city of Hamilton (so don't let anyone tell you the NDP won all of Hamilton's "three" seats), is a long shot, but would be a good representative. The general consensus is that the closest Cabinet Minister to Hamilton will be Diane Finley. I don't know if that will wash with the likes of Mayor Larry.

Personally, I hope that Rob Nicholson in Niagara Falls and Garth Turner from Halton make it in. But, then again, I am a holdover from the Mulroney glory days.


Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The Liberals are in panic mode! Guns and soldiers in the streets? What the f*** is that? Harper was looking decidedly Prime Ministerial in the English-language debate on Monday evening. And, I love how the Toronto Star's headline yesterday screamed "Tories Headed for Majority", in a thinly-disguised attempt to rally the Liberal troops, and in hopes of repeating the 2004 "gaffe", whereby Harper openly ruminated about a majority, and then lost the election. Are the Liberals and Star pathetic, or what?

The Leafs lost a tough one in Vancouver last night, but it was worth it to see Carlo Coliacovo absolutely lay out Todd Bertuzzi with a beautiful open-ice hipcheck!!!!!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

The election (Go Tories Go!)

Tee-hee!!!! The Conservatives have taken the lead in the most recent polls for the federal election. This is good news, particularly for anyone who believes that the time for a change is now! I, for one, am tired of the arrogance and corruptness with which the Liberals have been running the country, as if power in this country is some sort of birthright. Well screw them!

Here's how the campaign is shaping up locally, for those interested in the Hamilton area. The only really safe seat is an NDP one; David Christopherson's in Hamilton Centre. He'll win by about 10,000 votes. Everything else is up for grabs. Tony Valeri will either be helped or hurt by his high profile in the current regime in his race in Hamilton East- Stoney Creek. The NDP almost took it last time and have a fairly well-known candidate this time in Wayne Marston. The Conversatives? Probably not here.

On Hamilton Mountain, the dirty, rotten Liberals have local TV personality and municipal councillor, Bill Kelly. He'll be given a run for his money by NDPer Chris Charlton, who almost took the seat the last time out against a moribund Beth Phinney, who has since retired from politics. A Conservative win here would be nice but is, alas, probably wishful thinking. The candidate is a gentleman by the name of Don Graves.

My riding is interesting, and possibly ripe for the picking by the Tories. The candidate, David Sweet (pictured above), will be well-supported in the rural areas of the riding, but incumbent Liberal, Russ Powers, a big nobody in Ottawa by most accounts, will be tough to beat in his home base of Dundas. Currently, the sign war is being won by the New Democrat, Gordon Guyatt, whose claim to fame is that he once forgot his infant child in the backseat of his car for a period of more than twenty minutes during a shopping trip. The Westdale area of the riding may be the big difference here, with the race shaping up to be a two-horse one between Sweet and Powers.

The last election was close, with Powers beating out Sweet. What is interesting, however, are the results of the 2000 election, where the combined Canadian Allaiance and Progressive Conservative vote would have been enough to ouster Liberal incumbent, John Bryden who, incidentally, crossed the floor to join the Conservatives in 2004! I'm doing my bit, having snuck a David Sweet sign onto our lawn when Cathy wasn't looking!

A few other locals I would like to see elected, and who would make for a pretty sweet Conservative front-bench, should they form the government, are Garth Turner in Halton (every Conservative hopes he kicks Gary Carr's ass up and down the streets of Georgetown!!!! Carr jumped ship from provincial Conservatives to the federal Liberals, after serving a brief stint as the Speaker of the Ontario Legislature, taking a page out the Belinda Stronach book of political opportunism), as well as Rob Nicholson in Niagara Falls, who found his way into Kim Campbell's short-lived Cabinet in 1993. And, if Diane Finley and Dean Allison can hold their ridings in Haldimand and Niagara-West/Glanbrook, respectively, we'll have some great Conservative representation locally in what is hopefully a Conservative majority government.

Let's keep our fingers crossed for January 23!!!!!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

John Casto was his name

John Casto was the name of the gentleman I referred to below.

That was/This is Dinsdale, by the way.

I guess I should have identified the young lad to the left of me in my previous entry. He's Dinsdale, the retired racing greyhound. He's been my (and our) companion for almost seven years.

I got him through a group called Greyhound Lovers of Hamilton-Wentworth. He's from West Virginia, where his less-than-stellar racing career lasted all of eight weeks. He was retired at the age of three and a half and then came to live with me (now us) in Dundas. Even as I blog, he's sat here on the carpet at my feet, scrounging for another handout from this evening's turkey dinner, that Cathy was so kind to make for her sister, brother-in-law, nephew and myself.

Speaking of West Virginia, sad news about those 12 miners who were killed in the explosion. And awful about the families believing they were alive and safe for more than three hours!!!! People are quite angry about that. I hope they can find it in themselves to forgive those responsible for giving them the false hope, so they can get on with grieving for their lost loved ones.

There was an interesting interview with a local man the morning after the confirmation of the miners' deaths. He spoke about the time where they believed that only one person died and that the other twelve were safe. When this news had broken, the Pastor in the Church had asked people to come forward and pray for the man who had died, who had been identified. Of the hundreds in the church, only about four people came forward, including the man being interviewed. The rest of the people there were too busy dancing and shouting in jubilation about their loved ones who had survived. The gentle soul who being intereviewed could not understand it. For, in his opinion, although he had no kin involved in the tragedy they were all his brothers, just like the interviewer was his brother, as was the cameraman.

And we continue to hold the so-called "Christian right" in such contempt.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Good morning and Good 2006

Hello. Welcome to my "blog". Hope you enjoy my rants, meanderings and whatever else it is I see fit to write.

I hope to focus on the following themes, if any interest the reader: Canadian politics (Conservative I am, but I'd vote Green if I had a second choice, or if there were some convoluted form of proportional representation in Canada), sports (track mostly, if anyone still cares) and pending fatherhood. If anyone reading this knows me, my fiancé, Cathy, and I are expecting in August. Yipeee!!!!!

Just a short introduction for now. I shall be writing much more later but am on the way out now to pick up some groceries for an ailing Cathy (sinus infection), myself and our expected.

As I finish this, the Conservatives and Liberals are tied in the polls three weeks in advance of election day, the Leafs are on a six-day winning streak (take that, Sidney Crosby!!!!!) and Leeds United look well poised to make jump back to the Premiership next August. And you gotta' love England's group for the World Cup this summer!!!!!!