Monday, September 29, 2008

Haper Gives Me a Headache

To reverse Harper's attack ad aimed at Dion, one might ask, what kind of leader is Harper? Autocratic is the answer He keeps his troops well-muzzled and would like to do the same thing to the arts community. His attack on the arts and artists, was ably countered by Margaret Atwood and I think also that les Quebecois are less than pleased. But, of course, people in the arts are all feeding from the public trough and should keep quiet.

Harper is also the only party leader who has refused to respond to Make Poverty History. Probably because he's sure that a lot of the poor won't vote, so it doesn't matter.

Then there's the -- our economy is fine, oops, wait a minute, nope, we are in trouble and only I can save us. Actually, the only thing that might save us is to take a completely new approach, bite the bullet and move toward a green economy.

That's enough about politics so I'll move on to more enjoyable things.

The Word on the Street event took place yesterday and we had sunshine. There were not as many booths as in previous years and NONE of the political parties were there. I wanted to contribute to the save Al Purdy's house fund, but couldn't take advantage of the - contribute $25.00 and get a free book deal. I do have the address though and can send a smaller donation.

Purdy was an excellent, and accessible Canadian poet. The house was due to be sold because his widow couldn't maintain it. She proposed turning it into a writer's retreat if enough money can be raised. For more information see

I was happy to find Brucedale press was at Word on the Street again, they publish writers who live in the Bruce Peninsula area. New this year, The Book Band which represents four or five small press publishers in the part of Ontario.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Fret Nots

I looked up the meaning of fret in my Canadian Oxford Dictionary and was pleased to discover that the fifth meaning applies to water - move in agitation or flow or rise in little waves. I like that and might use it in my fiction. But, at the moment, I'm working on not fretting, which the COD also describes as intermittent whimpering. I'd rather growl, or provoke laughter than whimper.

My adventures with Human Resources Development Canada and with Canada Post could make a good comedy sketch starring yours truly. I'm now a woman of reduced means, as they said in Victorian times, and I reapplied for the Guaranteed Income Supplement based on the severe drop in my 2008 income. An obliging HRDC staff person filled out the form. I did not understand the arcane formula used to decide what goes on the form but I signed it because it appeared to be correct. The form was sent to the HRDC gods in Chatham Ontario. After an ice age passed, they replied. They said no, but provided an avenue for appeal. I sent a registered letter stating relevant details to HRDC. Nothing happened. After a six week wait, I called HRDC and they informed me that no letter had arrived. I called Canada Post. They told me the letter went out on August 7th, and we don't know what happened to it after that. In three months, we might know, but until then - no luck for you. So, yesterday, I called HRDC again and they told me to go to the local office and resend the information. It took a mere two hours to get it done, again. After that experience, I feel that the $12..00 registered letter fee would have been better spent on some frivolous thing, like a four slice pizza. I also feel like a Monty Python character, perhaps the one in the dead parrot sketch. But I will not fret, that would be unbecoming for a person of my lowly status. Instead, I'm practicing my growl, in case I have do go through this for the third time.

I'm not going to fret much about the stock markets going haywire either. We are all involved in the U.S. economic mess because our government puts some of our money in the market and the Bank of Canada is helping prop up the perpetrators. I think I'll emulate Alfred E. Neuman "What, me Worry?" Nope, not me. I'll do what the rest of the low-income people do and squander my money on necessities and three lottery tickets a week instead of one, thereby vastly increasing my odds from one in a billion to perhaps one-and-a-half in a billion. We who inhabit the low income zone are a feckless lot and frequently give in to our need for possible immediate gratification.

I'm also not going to whimper about the fact that my daughter will turn 44 on Monday. I'll save my sniveling for when she turns 45 - then she'll be what people refer to as middle-aged and we can get together and grumble about it.

It's time to shop for a birthday card and a present for N. Something frivolous, of course.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

They're Off and Running - I am too.

The Canadian election campaign has officially started. Of course, it started ages ago, but never mind. All the horses are out of the gate and on the track now. We will likely see all the major party leaders visit this part of Ontario more than once. I note that Smilin' Jack has Calgary as his first stop. That should be tons of fun.

I hope the coverage of the campaign will be fair to all the parties, well, I can hope, And, I hope that the Liberals keep to the high road and don't fulfill Harper's predictions.

This week, I have a lot of different chores and appointments jammed into a few days, so I'll be running too.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Pass the Hot Potatoes

Here an election, there an election, and in both places - there are hot potatoes. Canadians can look forward to, or dread, an election on October 14. That's not a surprise because the Conservatives have been campaigning madly for weeks, or is that months? I think the two hot potatoes are the environment and the economy. Harper, he of the rigid hair and attitude, will focus on the economy and will denigrate the Liberal's plans for the environment. It appears that Dion will continue to present the Green Shift as his major platform plank. I hope he can manage to convince voters of its validity and its sanity. If our environment becomes more and more toxic, the effects will be far worse than a dip in the national economy.

It could be argued that calling an election now is illegal, but it's unlikely that there will be much focus on that particular issue. The PM says that Parliament was not working, meanwhile his party generated a booklet that was all about how to obstruct the business of the house and stall committee work.

There is also the money-in money-out scandal and the Chuck Cadman problem.Of course, the Conservatives will do their best to ignore all this. They will likely to continue to refer to Dion as ineffective and to Harper as a 'strong leader'.

I believe we should be wary of that 'strong leader' rhetoric. Even Harper's method of increasing funding for the Armed Forces could be criticized, if Dion wanted to. Dion's partner/wife, Janine Krieber, is an renowned expert in anti-terrorism who teaches at RMC. She believes that Canada's military can do its best when thoroughly and expertly trained and prepared etc. Might - in other words - is not the definitive answer to terrorism. History proves that's true, but, alas history has been ignored by Harper, who prefers to theorize on the virtues of unrestrained capitalism.

Meanwhile, south of the border, there are also hot potatoes. The Republican presidential candidate has chosen a woman to run as the VP candidate. She is much younger than McCain and has far less experience. That could be a problem, but the bigger problem, which no one is addressing, is her belief system. One important example: abstinence is the only sex education that should be funded and taught. How unrealistic! As a mother, I sympathize with her and with her teenage daughter who is now pregnant. But, I am also concerned for the young man who is the father of the child. Yes, he should admit responsibility and do his best to provide for the child, but must he marry her? It would tidy up the situation, but what does he want to do? I suspect we'll never know. As a side note to all this, the rate of teenage pregnancies in the U.S., which had slowly fallen for several years, has now risen again. Does abstinence only sex-education have anything to do with this? I think it may. We are all fallible, and promises made in good faith are sometimes broken.

Mrs. Palin took on the 'old boys club' in Alaska, but now, she wants to become a member of the most powerful old boys club in the world. Irony abounds