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Posts that have been updated since they were published. This does not include changing very minor spelling or grammatical errors that do not change or clarify the meaning of what was written originally.

Far-right business hacks at the “National Post” / “Financial Post”

The National Post: Who's the biggest fool, Eby or Trudeau?

The National Post: “Who’s the biggest fool, Eby or Trudeau?” (No author.)

With respect to my comment on Eby on Tuesday, I noted a piece in the “National Post” (apparently in the “Financial Post” section) by some nameless entity (see screenshot above) — perhaps the Post itself, or perhaps an individual named “Corcoran” (see second screenshot) — but not marked as “opinion” (see first screenshot) even though it clearly is, titled “Who’s the biggest fool, Eby or Trudeau?” It’s hilarious that anyone who disagrees with the almighty Bell is considered a “fool” or an “ignoramus”. That’s what’s called an ad hominem attack; if you can’t explain why you disagree with someone, call them a name. The words “fool” and “ignoramus” work. And if you run short of names to call people, just pull up a recent campaign speech (or any speech) by a guy named donald trump to get some more words … although not that many, since the guy has a very limited vocabulary.

But hey, I get it, people disagree! So I’ll raise the bar a little and respond intelligently instead of calling the “National Post” (or Corcoran) “fools”.

I don’t believe anybody — Eby, Trudeau or anyone else — is suggesting that BCE should subsidise their subsidiaries until the end of time. But big business(es), and those on the right in general, are big on the fact that people should take responsibility for their own actions. What a concept! But that only applies to poor people on skid row and drug addicts, not big business. It’s completely unreasonable, foolish even, for us idiots that don’t run BCE and other massive companies to think that BCE should take responsibility for their own misguided, stupid and even foolish decision to attempt to buy up the media industry, and their own foolish decision to run said media industry into the ground with their ignorance! It’s foolish for us to believe that BCE should pay back various levels of government the money that they/us — Canadian taxpayers! — will pay in (un)employment insurance to the unemployed journalists, cameramen, teleprompter readers and various other human beings that will become unemployed.

Of course not! It’s their own fault they’re unemployed! The fools! And if it’s not their fault it’s the big bad government’s fault for forcing us to work within the confines of decent, modern, civilised Canadian society!

“Bullshit”, as described by the “Financial Post”, is quite clearly the domain of big business press releases (viz. “moving forward”, at least for the employees that won’t be moving backwards in lifestyle) … and the fools at the “Financial/National Post”. I hereby award the “Harry G. Frankfurt Award for Demagogic Bullshit” jointly to Corcoran, their shitty newspaper and BCE Inc.!

The Financial Post: Who's the biggest fool, Eby or Trudeau?

The Financial Post: “Who’s the biggest fool, Eby or Trudeau?” Corcoran?


Updated, 17 February 2024: Made notes about the possible author of the article in the captions of the screenshots.

Excellent service (not!) at Visions Electronics, Vancouver

I did something for the first time in my life on Boxing Day, and that was go shopping looking for a Boxing Day deal, days after I had smashed my cell phone by dropping it. I’d done a bit of online research in advance, of course, so I already knew roughly what I wanted. My old phone was running Android 9 (“Pie”, to you weirdos that like to use silly words instead of version numbers) and the new one runs Android 12. (I’ll have more to say about how crappy Android 12 is in a future post. How Google gets away with selling a software product [as Microsoft does], even though it’s open source, without providing any kind of support except through their fanbois is beyond my understanding.) I’d also decided to shop at Visions Electronics, who had been open on South East Marine Drive at the north end of the Knight Street Bridge for a few years. I’d never been in there, so I thought it was time I had a look after driving past about a million times.

Although I wasn’t there at opening time, I was still surprised at how “un-busy” they were. It’s not as if the place was deserted, but I suppose they just didn’t have the deals people wanted. Apparently Boxing Day sales are a thing of the past, with Black Friday and Cyber Monday taking their place.

I first went over to the big “CELLULAR” sign, where I found … no cell phones. I eventually found a small cell-phone display (nowhere near the big “CELLULAR” sign!), but they were just selling phone packages from the Canadian cell-phone oligopoly (including my current provider, Troublesome Mobile, aka Freedom Mobile), which was definitely not why I was there. I just wanted an unlocked phone. The salesperson there was uninterested in helping me if I was looking for an unlocked phone — he was busy doing something else on a computer anyway, and I was unhelpfully interrupting him — and pointed to a desk where customers were apparently checking out and paying for goods.

Unlike the old A&B Sound, which used to be located further west on South West Marine Drive, the place wasn’t roaming with salespeople looking for marks, even though the interior decor is similar with boxes piled everywhere. Instead I made my way to the head of a short queue where I stated that I was interested in a Cat S42 smartphone, and that I had questions. Instead of a helpful salesperson being very interested in selling me a phone, all I received in response — besides a look at the phone in question — was aggression towards and disinterest in my questions, one of which was based on the visions.ca website reporting different specifications for the phone than the Cat Phones website. Just as I didn’t really want to have a phone with a smashed screen, I also didn’t want to drag out the process any longer than was necessary by going somewhere else or going back home empty-handed to restart my research for what has become a standard consumer good, but for which cell-phone companies charge sometimes four figures for their products!

Anyway, to make a long story short I handed over my money to the ungrateful salesperson and walked out with the new phone. Admittedly, I got it for $210 less than the price on the Cat Phones website, but considering how I felt I was not really welcome or wanted in their store, I don’t plan to go back for anything else. Just not gonna happen!


Updated, 2 January 2024: After wasting several hours of my life on the Cat Phone (not the Bat Phone!), both on the phone itself and on the line with Troublesome Mobile (aka Freedom Mobile) for the better part of two hours, I returned the phone today to Visions Electronics because, despite the fact that one would assume that the phone was manufactured according to “standards” by Bullitt Mobile Ltd. in the UK, Troublesome Mobile declared that it was an “off-brand” phone and it was incompatible with their MMS system! It so happened that I returned it to the same salesperson (Thomas Lai-Mana) who sold it to me and who was completely uninterested in answering my questions when I bought it. Surprisingly (or maybe not!), he wasn’t one bit interested in why I returned it!

I also returned it because, despite the fact that the Visions website states that the phone is compatible with “All known Canadian carriers” (which seems an odd way to put it) … it wasn’t! Frankly, I don’t know whether to blame Bullitt Mobile Ltd. or Troublesome Mobile, but I already have a very low opinion of Troublesome/Freedom Mobile, so let’s go with them.

I then unwillingly (but knowingly) walked into the trap laid by Canadian mobile operators and went to a Troublesome Mobile retail location and bought a Motorola Moto G Pure … for fifty bucks less. (I bought it outright, not on some stupid payment plan.) I’ll have more to say about this ongoing scam in due course, but I’ve got so much to complain about at the moment that I need to take a break for the sake of my sanity! 🙂

Updated, 8 January 2024: I mentioned my experience at Visions to a friend, and she told me she and her husband had had a similar negative experience with a TV purchase from them. If only I had known I could have avoided my experience!

China releases two Canadian hostages

Protest sign calling for the release of Kovrig and Spavor.

Protest sign calling for the release of Kovrig and Spavor

After 1020 days — 2.8 years, 34 1/2 months — the Chinese have finally released the two Canadian hostages (the “two Michaels”, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor) they took after the lawful arrest of Meng Wanzhou in Canada at the behest of the Americans.

This, mind you, was after almost consistent but vehement denials by China of any connection between the two cases! The two Michaels just happened to have been caught “spying” mere days after Meng was arrested!

The prisoner swap was almost completely in line with my suggested method, except that it was over in a matter of hours via aircraft rather than days via ship. But it was completely in line, as noted in other media, with any prisoner swap done during the Cold War! The Chinese didn’t even make any kind of an effort to make it look like there was due process in the trumped-up spying cases of the two Michaels whereby, months or years after the release of Meng, they discovered new “evidence” that their charges were incorrect and the Michaels were exonerated by the courts. Nope, just, “Get in the van, we’re taking you to the airport.”

Unbelievable!


Updated, later 2021-09-26: I get caught up in the blatant injustice of it all — three years each stolen from the lives of two innocent humans, while the reason for it all enjoyed damn nearly 100% freedom in one of her Vancouver mansions and availing herself of the near paradise that is Vancouver and Canada, all while showing off her ankle bracelet as a fashion accessory and waving at supporters like she’s a celebrity — and lash out against the Chinese government, but the fact of the matter is that I was personally elated to hear the news on Friday our time. I am immeasurably happy for the Spavor and Kovrig families, and of course the two Michaels themselves. Welcome home guys!

Collage: Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor (the Two Michaels).

Collage: Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor (the Two Michaels)

American Olympic gymnast quits, claiming “mental health”

I don’t generally take much notice of the Olympics — I left the country when they came to my city — but, as we all know, they get lots of press. You can’t miss them.

So, of course, I’m aware that a certain American gymnast suddenly stopped competing, apparently after not doing so well in one of her early events. I’m not even going to name her, but she is named in this CBC News story.

I’ve never competed at that level in any endeavour, sport or otherwise, but you don’t get to “that level” overnight; it’s a gradual progression of relentless training and competition. Theoretically, only those physically and mentally tough enough to compete at each level make it to the next level. And at each level there is tougher and tougher competition, and more and more pressure to perform, and greater and greater hopes and expectations, on the part of both the athletes and their fans/spectators.

As I say, I’ve read the article I’ve linked to above. I haven’t read much else about her and her decision, but the article above does seem to give a reasonably balanced view of her decision. However, the fact is, as I stated above, that she wasn’t recruited a week before her performance in Tokyo and thrust into the limelight with no preparation and the weight of the world on her shoulders; she’s had years to get there, to improve and adapt both physically and mentally.

The fact is that she quit the moment she didn’t quite perform up to snuff, and she is using the claim that she is taking care of her “mental health” as a crutch, and excuse. Recently tennis player Naomi Osaka also pulled out of competition with the same excuse. I scoffed at that too, to myself, although until now I wasn’t really as aware of the details as I don’t follow sports as closely or avidly as others. However, in Osaka’s case, she did not quit the moment things didn’t go her way; as I understand it there were a number of setbacks, not the least of which was the seemingly overbearing reaction to her plans to subject herself to less media scrutiny. She did, in her case, seem to be telegraphing that she needed some “space”, and when the jerks fining her started piling the pressure on top of that, she gave in. (With her wealth, it wasn’t the money, I’m sure.) Did she have more or less of an excuse to cave at the moment she did than the moment at which the American gymnast caved? I don’t really know … or care. It’s just that I don’t think there is really a valid comparison, as some have been making.

Should athletic organisations spend more time and effort training their athletes to be able to handle more pressure? How much pressure should they be able to handle? How do you objectively measure pressure? To answer that last question, I don’t believe you can. You only intuitively know when someone can’t handle pressure after the fact. And we all now know that the American gymnast can’t, and so therefore probably isn’t Olympic material.


Updated, 2021-09-08: I gave Naomi Osaka some leeway in this post, but after her performance during and after her match with Leylah Fernandez, I’m chucking her in the same category as Simone Biles. I see some commentators referring to this growing group as “Team Quit” and “Generation Quit”.

Rogers buys Shaw. How bad can the news get?

Three weeks ago it was announced that Rogers Communications Inc. is planning to buy Shaw Communications Inc. This is yet another example of the big communications and media companies in Canada giving the middle finger to the public, and doing what they want to maintain the oligopoly they hold over the aforementioned marketplaces. Study after study, year after year finds that Canadians pay the highest prices for cell phone usage in the world, and yet the federal government, who are supposed to regulate these companies, pays lip service to lower prices but never actually follow that up with action.

Shaw owns Freedom Mobile (to whom I refer as “Troublesome Mobile” given the absolute gong show I had transferring a number to them from Virgin, a number I actually had to abandon), and they are the only reason I only quite recently got a cell phone in Canada. Before 2019 I found it more convenient and cheaper to have a phone with an American provider and “roam” in Canada. I combined that with Sugar Mobile to have a Canadian phone number. It wasn’t exactly a great system, but having lived in Third World countries in the past I am used to “making a plan” to work around the inefficiencies of Third World governments and thinking. Welcome to Canada.

Ironically, Air Canada just cancelled their planned purchase of Air Transat. The reason? The European Commission wanted concessions from the newly enlarged airline, while the Canadian government had given the green light to the merger. Thank the gods for the EC, saving Canadians from ourselves.

There has been talk that the federal government could insist that Freedom Mobile and perhaps Shaw’s fledgling cell phone service, Shaw Mobile, be excluded from the deal, to do something to encourage the nascent development of competition in our mobile industry, but such a suggestion assumes that the Canadian federal government has the cojones to do so. (But speaking of Shaw Mobile, it looks to me a lot like Sugar Mobile, the company against which Rogers successfully waged a legal challenge to shut them down in 2017! That hypocrisy is a story for another day though.) While I would support the federal government doing something like that, it won’t be enough for other opponents of the deal, such as OpenMedia.

I can assure Brad Shaw and Edward Rogers though that, regardless of the action or lack thereof from the Canadian government, if the purchase and merger go ahead, the new company will lose a long-time customer of Internet connectivity, cable TV, and now cell/mobile service. The cell service will go back to the United States; Internet will probably go to one of the resellers (possibly even of Rogers, but we don’t have much choice), and if I can get my shit together we’ll “cut the cable” completely.


Updated, 2021-04-07: Add link to Troublesome Mobile.

Out of range or no pwr at base: VTech cordless phone

VTech model CS6649-3 cordless phone and "digital answering system"

VTech model CS6649-3 cordless phone and “digital answering system”.

After a power failure, the cordless handsets on my VTech CS6649-3 cordless phone and “digital answering system” stopped working and displayed “Out of range or no pwr at base” on their screens. This system is at least ten years old, so I figured I’d be buying a new system. However, I did a web search and came across a couple of pages that didn’t quite help me solve my problem, but got me started.

The least helpful, of course, was the first result from VTech themselves: “What should I do if Out of range OR No pwr at base appears on my cordless handset?” I did briefly consider the possibility of third-party interference, but this seemed highly unlikely all of a sudden.

Further help was available at the following links:

The latter also led me to the video by Andrew Calvet, which is cut off suddenly at the end. (The “*7890#” code in this video works on my phone, but the “*331734#” code mentioned in other search results, including the two above, does not.) I got the same result as in the video, and then just hit “off/cancel” key several times to get back to the home screen. However, my screen still stated “Out of range or no pwr at base”, so I was no further ahead. So I decided to disconnect the battery, wait a few seconds, then reconnect it. (I needed to gently use pliers.) It then stated, “To register HS see manual”. Great. So I started to look for the physical manual, then remembered I had it saved on my computer.

I haven’t done a page-by-page comparison, but page 61 of this manual has the instructions “to register a handset”:

  1. Press and hold FIND HANDSET on the telephone base for about four seconds until the IN USE light turns on and it shows Registering…
  2. Press QUIET# on the handset. The handset shows Registering… Both the telephone base and cordless handset show Registered, and you hear a beep from the handset when the registration process completes. The registration process takes about 60 seconds.

I had to set the date and time the first time I did this on the first handset, but didn’t have to for the other two handsets. At the end of it all, all three remote handsets are working. The base was always working.

Not sure if just disconnecting and reconnecting the batteries in the handsets (and re-registering) would have done the trick; perhaps entering the “*7890#” code wasn’t actually a necessary part of the process.

Hope this helps you.


Updated, 2021-07-27: This happened again less than six months later. I can therefore confirm that simply disconnecting and reconnecting the battery does not work. You still need to enter the code as instructed in the video, then disconnect and reconnect the battery. The cause of the current failure is unknown, as we did not have another power failure.


Updated, 2021-08-30: OK, it seems that I’m having to do this almost regularly now, although the most recent time happened after I pulled the plug on everything in my office while I went away for a couple of weeks. So, for my own benefit, rather than making you (or myself) watch the video and read the manual, here are the steps:

  1. On a/the handset, press MENU/SELECT.
  2. Scroll up to Settings.
  3. Press MENU/SELECT.
  4. Enter *7890#.
  5. Scroll to TEST HANDSET.
  6. Press MENU/SELECT.
  7. Scroll up to NEXT PAGE ….
  8. Press MENU/SELECT.
  9. Next menu option displaying should be REGSTR CLEAR. Press MENU/SELECT.
  10. The phone will ask you to confirm “REG CLEAR ?“. Press MENU/SELECT. Phone will display “OK“.
  11. Disconnect and reconnect the battery in the handset. It’s my habit to wait a few seconds in between. The handset will now display “To register HS See manual”.
  12. On the base, press and hold FIND HANDSET for about four seconds until the IN USE light turns on and it shows Registering….
  13. Press QUIET# on the handset. The handset shows Registering…. Both the telephone base and cordless handset show Registered, and you hear a beep from the handset when the registration process completes. The length of the registration process varies, but it usually takes fewer than 60 seconds.

You’re done.

The American right is laughable

If their storming of Capitol Hill on Wednesday 6 January 2021 was their idea of a “revolution” — as one tearful insurrectionist put it to a videographer — they’re an absolute joke. A revolution has leaders and goals and lasts more than a couple of hours; that was just a disorganised mob getting their jollies and selfies for a few hours.

Note to self: If I ever need someone on my side in a revolution, don’t go into battle with American alt-righters, especially a “leader” who says he will walk with you, and then gets in his limousine and is driven off.


Updated, 2021-01-09: Added link to video of the revolutionary, “Elizabeth … from Knoxville, Tennessee.” “We’re stormin’ the Capitol, it’s a revolution!” OMG, she’s fucking hilarious!

Happy sarcastic Canada Day … enslaved farm workers

Slave ship diagram (Wikimedia).

Slave ship diagram

I used to pride myself on buying Canadian (as local as possible) fruits and vegetables, passing over the American and Mexican produce where I didn’t have a particular need for it. I was tangentially aware that 99% (or maybe 100%, I’m not sure) of Canadians won’t lower themselves to work as a fruit or vegetable picker, and so Canadian farms have to import “temporary foreign workers” every season, but I didn’t realise that they were housing those workers in conditions of near modern day slavery. Recently, according to the news, the farmers have even been (passively or actively) denying their TFWs access to COVID-19 testing, seemingly because that would probably cut into more productive picking time. (Plus, of course, as we all know, testing increases the number of positive cases!*)

It’s ironic to me that, twenty-six years after Canada and the rest of the world brought down Apartheid in South Africa, the system is still alive and well in the country that is credited with inventing it.

*In keeping with the title of this post, and in fear of those with no sense of irony, I feel I should make absolutely clear that this comment is a joke!

Updated, 2020-07-02: Add link and slave ship image.

Politicians behaving badly … as usual

Scheer and Trudeau and the UN Security Council vote

I think that Andrew Sheer confuses being the leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition with being the leader of a bunch of unruly children in a playground, bringing American-style ad hominem attacks to bear on the government Justin Trudeau. (Well, he is half American, so I suppose that’s no surprise.) OK, so Trudeau brought it upon himself by spending so much time and effort (and taxpayers’ money) on his pet project of getting Canada elected to the United Nations Security Council, but really, what the hell kind of measured, mature reaction is this?!:


Now, in all the fairness I can muster, I think Trudeau and/or the Liberals had the same personal dig at Stephen Harper when he failed in his same bid in 2010, so fair’s fair right? Meh, whatever. Politicians are almost all a bunch of self-serving opportunistic bastards; the only downside is that they have to inflict this crap on us, the suckers who pay their salaries for spending their lives acting like spoilt children.

At least the NDP’s foreign affairs critic, Jack Harris, had a distinctly more statesmanlike response. He was neither complimentary nor insulting, but had some constructive criticism of Canada’s (and Trudeau’s) attempt at election, and forward-looking suggestions.

One thing that does amuse me about Trudeau’s virtue signalling is when he talks about championing maternal issues in developing countries. As far as I know, that was (ironically) Stephen Harper’s pet project back in the day!

Champagne quarantine?!

In related news, I see that François-Philippe Champagne, our gallant Minister of Foreign Affairs, suddenly crossed the border and showed up in New York to cast Canada’s ballot in this election. What the hell?! I thought the border was closed to all but essential traffic?! If our UN ambassador was in New York, what exactly was essential about Champagne’s presence? And did he quarantine himself for fourteen days before mixing with all and sundry at the UN General Assembly?! Enquiring minds want to know.

Kudos for Scheer

On the positive side of Scheer’s ledger is this farcical two-minute exchange with Trudeau in the House of Commons that is a textbook example of doublespeak and not answering the question on the part of Trudeau:

Scheer questions Trudeau’s campaign for U.N. Security Council seat

My god! Even taking into account international diplomatic niceties, Trudeau makes absolutely no attempt to address the issues that the leader of the Opposition raises. In fact, the donkey show he puts on is as passively aggressive as is possible before the aggression crosses the line into a middle finger or active, physical aggression! It’s the legislative, “grown-up” (note the quotation marks!) equivalent of the playground, “I know you are but what am I?” that would get you a bloody nose in any other setting! It’s a wonder these politicians get anything done, and it’s no wonder they are mostly so reviled by the public. None of the rest of us would get away with anything like this in real life. Maybe I’m just an ingĂ©nue that doesn’t spend enough time watching videos of politicians being assholes.

Jagmeet Singh’s ejection from Parliament

I’m of two minds about what happened to Jagmeet Singh on Wednesday. On the one hand he moved a motion that, especially in the atmosphere in which the US and much of the world finds itself these days, was completely reasonable, and I can understand his surprise (and dismay) at even one vote of opposition. On the other hand, I can see the point of the Bloc QuĂ©bĂ©cois who claimed that his motion prejudged an anticipated report of the public safety committee that would have addressed the points in the motion moved by Singh.

I don’t know the nature of the motion, and particularly whether or not it was binding or just some feel-good parliamentary fluffery designed to (as mentioned previously) be self-serving opportunism. Which it was has significant bearing on the matter, but I have not seen comment on this by anyone in the media. However, I can certainly understand Singh’s discomfit, especially at Alain Therrien’s alleged dismissive wave in the direction of Singh. Probably another example where, had I been involved, there would have been nasal blood (Therrien’s) spilled on the Commons floor!

The “new NAFTA”

I am amused that, despite its unwieldy new name — that some (mostly Americans) have tried to make into a single “word” — people are calling the “United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement” the “new NAFTA”.

So I read that there is already bluster in the US that they’re itching to take legal action against Canada and Mexico as soon as the new agreement comes into force on 1 July. So what else is new? These are our “friends”! However, what sticks out for me in that article — besides the video of Deputy Prime Minster (and Intergovernmental Affairs minister) Chrystia Freeland’s rather smarmy (if unspoken) “fuck you” between gritted, smiling teeth aimed in the direction of the US threat — is the claim that US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer makes that other countries’ plans to tax American-based digital services is a plan to “screw America”. Ironically, the very next day, I received notice from one of my digital providers that they would henceforth be charging my company and their other customers taxes levied by six US states, including the one in which my business is domiciled. I doubt the two actions are linked, but the Americans are busy screwing themselves with new taxes!

Canadian hostages in China

China has finally, after holding them without charge for eighteen months, charged two Canadian hostages with “spying”. Everyone and their dog knows this is tit-for-tat, gangland hostage taking (“hostage diplomacy”) by the Chinese government, except the tit (or the tat) that happened in Canada was a lawful arrest under international treaties. I think it is despicable the situation in which the US has put Canada to further their political agenda, but it doesn’t excuse thuggery on the part of China who have stolen the lives of two (and arguably four) Canadians purely for spite. And on top of that the prisoner in Canada lives in her own multi-million dollar house in a larney area of Vancouver, while the two Canadians rot in cells in China! The two — known in Canada as “the two Michaels” — are Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor. Even if they were released by China tomorrow, they’ll never get back the time stolen from them by the Chinese government. It is unconscionable!

Hopefully the world will one day, together, stand up to the bullying of China (not just against Canada, but other countries including Taiwan and [recently, with deadly results] India), but it’s questionable whether or not that will happen in time for them to be stopped from steamrolling all over the rest of the world. I think China already delivered yet another “message” to Canada earlier this week; it is alleged that China strong-armed African nations — whom they have quietly re-colonised over the last decade or two — into voting against Canada in the aforementioned United Nations Security Council elections.

Hero pay

In other news, Canadian grocery store operations are clawing back the raises given to their employees when they were (temporarily, apparently) “heroes” on the “front lines” of the COVID-19 pandemic — and all the other quasi-military terms used for them and similar low-paying occupations like cleaners, drivers, etc. Never mind that these companies made and continue to make a killing on elevated sales numbers (including as a result of hoarding). The hypocrisy is galling! If there was one thing I thought people would learn from the experience of the pandemic it’s that far too many people are terribly, terribly underpaid, and then they suddenly became “heroes” overnight! And for that they got a measly two bucks an hour extra! That’s all they’re worth! And now, they’re not heroes any more, they’re just schleps schlepping their way through a work day again.

I know that I don’t have any economic solutions for the massive inequities in society (in this country or any other), but you can’t, in good conscience, pay someone a meagre wage one day and the next day claim they’re heroes, pay them a pittance more, and then take away their hero status (and extra pay) on some arbitrary (and collusive) date in the future. Are they heroes or not? Look, nobody claims they’re heroes in the same sense as a person who defends or saves the life of another, but really, the hypocrisy really is galling. And the hypocrisy is galling not just on the part of the grocery chains — Sobeys, Metro, Save-On-Foods, Loblaws, etc. — but on the part of us, their customers. I’ve said for a long time that so many people want to strike for good union wages, then they want to shop at disgraceful places like Walmart. It’s understandable that we all want to optimise our revenue-to-expense ratios, but this is a big deal that needs to be addressed somehow.

While looking for an appropriate article to which I could link on one of the main news websites (that isn’t behind a paywall, like The Globe and Mail is), I came across this one: The End of ‘Hero Pay’ for Grocery Workers in Canada an Operational Necessity: Expert. It’s written by an academic (which is not always a knock) for a retail industry publication, and as a result is skewed towards being supportive of the pay cut. However, it does cover some interesting points that are critical of the retailers that I think are worth reading.

Jas Johal

Someone else who I think doesn’t quite get his position as a member of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition is BC Liberal MLA Jas Johal. He was a half-decent television reporter, but man, the only time he pokes his head above the parapet these days is when he wants to be on TV again and has nothing constructive to say … about anything, ever! I mean, I get that his job is that he’s an Opposition “critic” of the current NDP government, but there’s a difference between the title “critic” and the adjective “critical”, and you can’t claim that the government — any government — of the day doesn’t ever get anything right.

His latest crap is to criticise and condemn the BC government for daring to consult the public on ways in which they might steer activities related to recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s not exactly direct democracy in action, but we haven’t seen a pandemic in about a century, certainly longer than Johal’s lifetime, so what the hell downside could there be to initiating a consultation process that could very well have a positive effect?!

Give it a rest Johal! I think if you looked like a reasonable person once in a while instead of whining and complaining all the time you’d actually look like the Liberal leadership material for which you’re obviously trying to posture yourself.


Updated, 23 June 2020: Corrected my grammatical error. Of course you can’t make an ad hominem attack on a government!

Zimbabwe orgasms: Independence 5.0

"The Herald" front page, 22 November 2017.

“The Herald” front page, 22 November 2017

Although not in quite the same morbid manner as described in The last days of robert mugabe (which is actually based on an interview with Emmerson Mnangagwa last year), his portrait has indeed finally “fallen off the wall” in Zimbabwe! The country has come to its senses, and Zimbabweans collectively have finally grown a pair, even if the developments do not guarantee that there will be any change in the way that ZANU-PF will continue governing the country. More cojones may still be needed by the populace in the short term, not to mention patience.

The title of this brief, celebratory post makes two references: first, to the release today of emotion that has been pent up in Zim for 37 years. The scenes on the streets of Harare and Bulawayo (and I’m sure many other places in the country) were nothing short of orgasmic. Having left Rhodesia 38 years ago, I was surprised at my own emotional reaction to the news.

Secondly, some are referring to this as a new independence day, so let’s take stock of how many Zimbabwe (and Rhodesia and Southern Rhodesia before it) has had:

  • 1.0 (1923): Southern Rhodesia attains “responsible government”.
  • 2.0 (1963): Southern Rhodesia attains independence from the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland.
  • 3.0 (1965): The Unilateral Declaration of Independence from the United Kingdom made by Ian Smith.
  • 4.0 (1980): In an act of theatre, a bureaucrat named Soames shows up from the UK and ushers Rhodesia (via Zimbabwe Rhodesia and Southern Rhodesia once again) to the latest version of independence as Zimbabwe.
  • 5.0 (2017): Within days (ironically) of the 52nd anniversary of Independence 3.0, Zimbabwe casts off robert mugabe and a “#NewEra” is declared, many referring to it as a new “Independence Day”.

I shall optimistically keep my fingers crossed for Zim.


Updated, 24 November 2017: Pointed out that the article linked to is actually based on an interview with Emmerson Mnangagwa.