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A squirrel ate my cookies!

Over Christmas I was given a box of cookies/biscuits from Toronto. I suspect they were given to me because of the name of the company that made them: Craig’s Cookies. Catchy name. 🙂

Craig's Cookies

Craig’s Cookies.

I had a look at their website and read their FAQs, one of which is, “A squirrel ate my cookies!” It’s rather amusing!

A squirrel ate my cookies!

A squirrel ate my cookies!

Motorola for the win

As you’re aware if you follow this blog — all two of you — I recently broke my cell/mobile phone and needed to replace it. I know, this is stunning news that you just never hear and likely haven’t experienced yourself, but bear with me. 🙂 Although I had a cell/mobile phone long before many people did, I essentially gave up on them and stopped owning one for many years due to the way that the Canadian cell phone oligopoly rapes their customers.

In 2017 I decided to buy a phone from an American supplier — Ting, who operated based on paying only for the services you wanted and used — even though I was in Canada. Ting was a mobile virtual network operator owned by Tucows (before they sold it), a Canadian company who also own OpenSRS, a domain registrar who operate based on the reseller model. One of these days I will write more about them and why I left them after almost twenty years, but it should suffice to say that they didn’t (and don’t) live up to their own hype. Tucows never opened Ting in Canada because of how fucked-up the Canadian cell phone market is, and they essentially said that to their Canadian clients … without using the four-letter word I used. 🙂

However, Ting was awesome for the approximately two years I used them. (They actually did live up to their hype!) They’re not any more, sadly, because they now operate based on the plan system like just about everyone else, rather than actually charging you for what you need and use. (Tucows sold Ting Mobile.)

Through Ting I bought a phone that was adequate for my needs, a US$60 smartphone. Why didn’t I spend a thousand dollars on an Iphone? Because I don’t give a fuck about fads like owning the latest and greatest tracking device. Simply put, I just needed a portable computer in my hands that would tell me when I had email that may or may not need my immediate attention. I roamed in Canada, of course, but that was still cheaper in the long run than owning a Canadian cell phone. Bizarre, but true! I also wasn’t scrolling through Facebook endlessly and watching videos on it; all it did, essentially, was check my email. (In January 2024, after Rogers and Bell coincidentally raised their rates at the same time by about the same amount — after Rogers bought Shaw and promised that being allowed to do that would cause rates to be lowered! — I’m again hearing other Canadians talking about getting a non-Canadian phone and roaming! With VoIP and Internet-based messengers like Signal, why not?! Welcome to the 21st century!)

I still have that $60 cell phone! I occasionally use it on wifi, but I suspect it wouldn’t be welcome on any cell networks in 2024, or be able to download the latest apps.

In 2019 I was enticed to join Freedom Mobile, to whom I refer as Troublesome Mobile. I am not generally someone who looks for the cheapest, nastiest deals around — quality is not cheap, but quality isn’t to be found in this industry at any price! — but considering the extent to which the Canadian cell industry, as I say, rapes the Canadian population, the deal was good for what I needed, a portable computer that let’s me check my business email when I’m out. I don’t know anyone who pays $15 a month (before taxes) to be connected wherever they go.

Troublesome Mobile offered a Motorola phone at a reasonable price, so I went for it. I had bought a Samsung tablet a few years before but, as I said at the time, “In a nutshell, I am mightily disappointed in my Samsung/Android tablet.” So there was no way I was gong to acquire a Samsung phone, and I never will seeing as they have become the Apple of the Android world. When looking for a new phone late last year, I decided on another cheap, unlocked phone from an electronics retailer. I mean, smartphones have been around for years now, right? Apple is up to the Iphone 132 now or something, I believe, and each iteration is a vast improvement over the one before, right?! Well, apparently not. I was well aware that my old Motorola had Motorola apps on it that imparted more functionality on the phone than what comes with Android the operating system, but I naïvely figured that by 2024 those things would be standard in the OS. Ha! They aren’t, but I knew I’d adapt … until my new Cat Phone wouldn’t play nicely with my network of (limited) choice.

So I returned it and, as I said, walked into the trap of the Canadian cell phone oligopoly and crawled back to Troublesome Mobile on my hands and knees and handed over a couple of hundred dollars for another, low-end Motorola. Now, with my new phone, I can again karate chop my torch on. Yippee. Sadly, I learned that the feature of my old phone whereby I could do a double wrist twist to turn on the camera doesn’t work any more. As I said, new versions of software don’t imply improvement.

I readily admit that my vast experience will all of three brands of smartphones doesn’t hold a candle to the experience of selfie queen Kim Kardashian, who can afford to buy (or is probably given) a new phone every week, but Motorola is one company that I’m reasonably content with … except for the fact that it’s owned by Lenovo, who are based in the hostage-taking PRC. Now all I need is a Motorola sponsorship so that I can get paid for my effusive words of high praise! 🙂

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!

YVR has more snowploughs! Just as the climate is warming!

I noted, in a recent news report to which I don’t have a link, that Vancouver International Airport (YVR) has learned from their mistakes last year at this time and now has more snow ploughs than they can handle. If “snowmaggedon” happens again, they’ll be ploughing their little hearts out to save the day!

Except, Tamara Vrooman, CEO of YVR, apparently didn’t get the memo that the climate is warming! Talk about the former CEO of a bank (err, sorry, credit union) making misplaced investments! One wonders if she actually hired drivers for all of the snowploughs!

Listen, I’m probably no better a climate scientist than Vrooman, but winter does happen in Vancouver. I know the statistics all point to a warming climate, but I suspect that Vancouver hasn’t yet seen its last snowflake.

In other YVR news (YVR and Canadian airports rank in bottom third of global airports list), YVR sucks! I find this surprising, actually. Despite the fact that the local Mounted thugs murdered a passenger there in 2007, YVR has significantly improved the international arrivals area (where Robert Dziekański was killed) and, really, the place is quite nice. Canadian airlines, though, are probably dragging down people’s perceptions of the airport; considering all the stories in the news these days about handicapped passengers being forced to drag themselves (literally in one case!) off of their planes, some of them at YVR, it’s not surprising that perhaps those experiences have sullied the ratings of YVR in particular. Of course, the airlines will point their fingers at the airports and the airports will point their fingers at the airlines, but that doesn’t help anyone when their disability means they can’t disembark an aircraft like all of the able-bodied passengers.

Of all people, Vrooman, former CEO of the “we love people more than you do” credit union Vancity should know that. But she has seemingly gained all of her kudos over the years by suckling the public tit, or (as in the case of YVR) working at a private organisation that is essentially a privatised arm of Transport Canada. I have very little respect for her considering her legacy that I deal with at Vancity.

Twenty years ago

Sandra Davison, Christmas 2002.

Sandra.

Twenty years — two decades! — ago today, my wife Sandra Davison succumbed to her cancer and died. Time flies.

At the time I couldn’t get the images of her final moments out of my head, and I was worried I’d always be haunted by them. I had sat in a chair by her side through the night before in the Richmond General Hospital palliative care ward. She was unconscious, and had been for much of her time (a few days) in that ward. The next day, as advised by the ward staff, I informed her family — mother Lillian and brother Mike — as well as close friends that she was expected to “pass” that day.

Many of you showed up at the hospital. You said your goodbyes and we talked around Sandra’s bed and outside her room. Apart from the fact that it has been two decades since then, I’ve possibly blocked memories from that day, and I don’t remember all of the details of who came and went. Many of you were incredibly kind to me, and I’ll always thank you for that.

At some point I was in the hallway outside her room, and I was hurriedly called in. I don’t remember exactly why, but I suppose Sandra was stirring somehow. I rushed to the far side of her bed from the door to her room. In retrospect that doesn’t even make sense, because she was facing the other way (towards the door), but I suppose I had been over there previously. She was indeed stirring, and she turned, opened her eyes and looked into mine for the last time, and she stopped breathing.

Writing that so matter-of-factly now still brings a lump to my throat.

Her eyes didn’t close though. For those of you who deal with death on a regular basis this won’t surprise you. It didn’t surprise me either — at least not to any great extent — but when I tried to close them for her (as we’ve all seen in film many times), they wouldn’t close. That did surprise me. I only tried twice.

Again, I don’t remember details after that. I do remember, though, that the hospital staff were in no hurry. We weren’t all ushered out the door as quickly as possible so that the next occupant of that room could be brought in. I vaguely remember that Sandra’s body had to be taken down to the morgue, but that wasn’t done until after I left. I waited around for Sandra’s good friend Kathy — who I had managed to intercept in Chilliwack on her way from Vancouver back home to Salmon Arm — to arrive. She took one of the roses that I had bought for Sandra for Valentine’s Day (only two days earlier) and left it on the bed with Sandra. I assume that it was cremated with her, and I still have the remaining eleven roses, now dried. They were displayed at her memorial service, along with many other flowers.

Kathy and I were the last to leave. We went back to Sandra’s and my place — now just my place — and we talked well into the night. We must have talked for at least twelve hours straight, about what I have no recollection, but I’m sure memories of Sandra must have filled the air.

Today Kathy was in Vancouver and we made the pilgrimage (as I do almost every year, twice a year) to where I scattered some of Sandra’s ashes in Queen Elizabeth Park. We fed Sandra chocolate, as I do. Kathy and I talk about Sandra all the time. Sandra is the reason I’m lucky enough to have a friend like Kathy. I inherited several friends from Sandra, but all but Kathy (and Vicki) have disappeared over the years. In some cases it’s because of my own inattention, which I regret, and in others they drifted away of their own accord. Regardless of whether or not we’re still in contact, I thank each of you for your influence on Sandra and I thank each of you for however you helped me and Sandra’s family after her death.

It took a long time, but those images of Sandra’s final moments were … very slowly … replaced by happier images and memories of her. If you’re going through similar grief in your life, in the inimitable words of Winston Churchill, “Keep going!” That’s the only way to get to the other side where the better memories surely lie.

Rest in Peace, Sandra. I love you and miss you.

Happy birthday Melissa!

Dear Melissa,

This is a bit of a bittersweet birthday, for me anyway, as I stop posting these wishes when you reach this age. I always hoped that by now we’d be seeing each other in person again, but clearly that’s not happening. Oh well.

I hope that you and your sister and brother are living good lives, and I wish all three of you all the best in the future.

Love from, Uncle Craig

The most moronic, nonsensical — and least surprising — war in history; Russia versus Ukraine

Flag of Ukraine

Flag of Ukraine.

It was a month ago today that Russia invaded Ukraine, the first (as I understand it) inter-state invasion in Europe since the end of the Second World War in 1945, 77 years ago … over three quarters of a century! I am speechless. Europe has been united in order to prevent such a catastrophe from ever breaking out again (“Never again!”), and one madman with a personal agenda based on a twisted understanding of history has changed that.

I really don’t have it in me to try and put together some coherent piece to add to the billions of litres of ink already spilled on this topic, much of it written by people far more erudite (and paid far more) than me, so I’m going to make a few little notes.

“Madman”

That term, “madman”, has been top of mind for me since I saw his speech denying the existence of Ukraine over a month ago. In news coverage I saw a comment by one American Republican senator that vladimir putin “didn’t seem right”, or words to that effect. I thought exactly the same, and several people have made similar comments since. On the other hand, I came across this piece by Joanna Williams in “Spiked”: “The war in Ukraine is not about Putin’s mental health“. To be honest it sounds like something written by a contrarian, but that seems to be Spiked’s raison d’être.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy

Unlike his Afghan counterpart on 15 August 2021, Zelenskyy stayed the course and stayed in his office in Kyiv. He turned down an American offer to evacuate him and his family with the statement, “I need ammunition, not a ride.” The guy is a fucking hero. As a politician and as a human he is probably loaded with flaws, as are all of us, but as the President of Ukraine and the leader of a country invaded by the biggest country in the world, he has and will continue to have my undying respect. I’ve often said that instead of wars, the leaders of countries should get in a ring with each other and fight until there is a TKO; despite his self-manufactured manly image, putin probably wouldn’t last thirty seconds again Zelenskyy.

Peace talks

These have been a joke since day one. I get it; whatever side you are on, you walk into “talks” asking for the world, and you eventually settle for less. But why are there even peace talks? Don’t you talk first in order to avoid a fight, and only then fight? I suppose the Ukrainians have been talking to the Russians since 2014, when the Russians invaded Crimea and, nudge nudge, wink wink, “didn’t” invade the Donbas, but clearly that talking has gone nowhere in eight years. What little it did result in, the Minsk agreements, weren’t worth the paper they were written on in putin’s mind, and he started his “special military operation” (“war”, or “invasion”, to most of us) against Ukraine anyway. Hindsight is great, but if you can’t sort out a problem in eight years, both sides are probably not trying hard enough.

Not even Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, can be taken seriously. His first condition for Ukraine is to surrender and give the Russians everything they want … which, by the way, they are failing to get by military means.

Refugees

When the war is over, the countries that have taken in refugees should sue Russia for their expenses. Why not? Actually, not that I’m starting to draw up a peace treaty, but the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 was too harsh on Germany (it’s generally accepted) and contributed to the start of World War II. I suppose this will all need to be considered in time.

Russia’s words

I understand that all sides in conflict lie, but the lengths to which Russia has taken this stretch credibility. Starting before the war they accused the West of being “alarmist” and “hysterical” in their warning about a war. I mean, it’s just a joke. Now they claim they’re not targeting civilians, as missile after missile blows up residential blocks of flats, schools and hospitals. And “de-nazification”?! Not even in 1940s Germany was everyone a Nazi! How do you “save” the Russian-speaking people in Ukraine by killing them?!

Western aid to Ukraine

I realise how high the stakes are, but the West has let down Ukraine. The analogy I’ve heard — and analogies do have their limits — is one of a big bully on a playground beating a little kid. The little kid calls out to other kids to ask for help, but they demur, claiming the bully has a knife. Of course, the “knife” in this case is far bigger — nuclear weapons — but we are so far down that path already. I don’t want to suggest that talking isn’t worth it, but the reason that putin has decided that the West is weak is precisely because we have not stood up to him. If we don’t stand up to him now, he will keep pushing. Why wouldn’t he? There are Russian speaking minorities in countries all around Russia’s western border — even more now that Russians are abandoning the country while they can — and those countries will likely suffer the same fate as the Donbas in Ukraine.

So what do we do? Do we implement the no-fly zone that Ukraine has asked for? NATO says they will not, but do they really think that they can stay out of this fight forever? If the Baltic states suffer in the same way the Donbas has, will NATO really turn a blind eye? They can’t. It will be blatantly obvious that Russia will have launched a proxy attack on one or more of those NATO countries, and NATO will be treaty-bound to step in. And then what? You guessed it, we’re a shaky trigger finger away from nukes. I hope you’re practising to kiss your arse goodbye.

Poland has offered their old MiG-29s to the Ukrainian Air Force. Predictably, Russia claims they will consider this a provocation on the part of NATO, completely ignoring the fact that they have used Belarusian territory to launch their invasion. If they can use Belarus, why can the Ukrainians not use Poland? Sadly, the U.S. [rejected] Poland’s offer of fighter jets for Ukraine, calling it “untenable”. It’s at this point that you look at NATO and wonder if the alliance has somehow managed to paint themselves into a corner. It brings to mind the not-so-old adage, “Too big to fail.” Well, maybe NATO is too big to be useful if their own founding documents tie their own hands behind their back. But what’s the solution, or a better situation? I don’t really know, but the status quo is not working. As Zelenskyy himself asks, “How many civilians have to be killed before NATO will take the situation seriously?” (to paraphrase). He’s not wrong to ask the question, and it points out what I asked above: “Does NATO really think that they can stay out of this fight forever?”

Plain speaking from two former Irish presidents

Both Mary McAleese and Mary Robinson, former Irish presidents, has some rather undiplomatic and non-neutral words for putin. (“Former presidents united in condemnation of Ukrainian invasion.“) McAleese:

She described the Russian President as “demagogic”, “moronic” and an “appalling anti-human man” who she hoped the Russian people would one day find it “within their power to neutralise”.

On whether the Russian people could rebel and prove their own President’s downfall, Ms McAleese said she thought this was “the best hope”.

“It wouldn’t be the first time the Russians have done this… they have the courage, now they have to find it” she said.

“I’ve never been a person who ever had contempt for another human being, I’ve never been contemptuous. But I certainly am now.”
— The Late Late Show (@RTELateLateShow) March 11, 2022

Ms Robinson said: “There is no doubt that Putin is very well protected, until suddenly maybe he is not.”

Robinson puts it well: It may only be someone within his circle that will set putin straight, but according to other reports he has “coup proofed” himself over the last twenty years. This is to the disadvantage of Russia, and it may well result in the downfall of human civilisation. All because he doesn’t want to hear any truth spoken to him.

The BBC is geographically challenged

Several times (not just once) in the early days of the war … sorry, “special military operation” … the BBC stated that Poland was “directly east of Ukraine”. (See screenshot.) I have no words for that level of stupidity. Ironically, though, that’s where I go for most of my international news.

BBC says Poland is east of Ukraine (crop)

BBC says Poland is east of Ukraine.

Slava Ukraini!

A note about the “mainstream media”

What does “mainstream” mean? Here’s the definition according to the Concise Oxford Dictionary:

mainstream
n. (the mainstream) normal or conventional ideas, attitudes, or activities.
adj. belonging to or characteristic of the mainstream.

Here’s an example: Bob and Sue have a disagreement over something. They have 20 mutual friends, and 15 of them agree with Sue and 5 agree with Bob. The “mainstream” of their mutual friends agree with Sue, but under the logic of the anti-vaxxers Bob is right because the “mainstream” can’t be trusted!

This is the logic under which the anti-vaxxers, anti-maskers and anti-mandates people operate, when they call for everything from the de-funding of the “mainstream media” (MSM) to their execution.

I get it. I don’t ever want to be in a situation where I have a mob of reporters banging on my door for one reason or another, but the media does have a job to do. Part of that job, sadly, is to bang on certain peoples’ doors! Do they make mistakes? Sure they do, and one would hope that they would own up to those mistakes when they make them. There are ways to (at least) try and hold the media responsible for their mistakes.

I know that the media is biased. Everyone on this planet is biased, and it’s nigh on impossible to create an organisation that is one hundred percent neutral. As long as you’re aware of the biases of where you’re getting your news, you can read that news through that filter, and get the story from other sources as well and then decided for yourself where the truth likely lies. I’ve read stories from different sources that describe the same event in very different terms. But it’s up to me (and you) to seek out other reliable news sources and collate that information to determine what you believe to be the most likely version of the truth. However, those sources need to be reliable, and the Twitter feed of some left- or right-wing nut — or even my blog! — is not a reliable news source.

With respect to the so-called Freedom/Trucker Convoy, the fact that they bash the media, don’t invite them to their so-called press conferences, and walk out of said press conferences without answering any of the questions they would find difficult, is clear evidence to me that they don’t have the courage of their convictions.

A summary of where I stand

I unintentionally did a series of posts last weekend, prompted by the idiots occupying Ottawa, so I suppose I should come clean on why I think they are idiots.

I’m all for disagreement, but all sides must be willing to take in all of the facts and then make the clear choice on the correct course of action. Now, this is easier said than done, I get it, especially on issues where choices are made and positions are set based on different guiding principles. (The abortion debate is a very clear example.) But under the pandemic there seems to be this undercurrent of denialism of science prevalent among a certain segment of the population. I’ve never seen any information from these people that stands up to scrutiny, whereas the information I’ve seen espoused by health and disease professionals — i.e., trained professionals, people who have studied the science for decades — is very persuasive to me. Combine misinformation with fatigue and you have a recipe for disaster, as people latch onto examples of misinformation that appeal to their biases and personal experiences, not to mention their wanting to get rid of the cause of their fatigue.

Further combine this with information siloing and you have a fatal combination. It’s the bane of our time. The likes of Facebook, Instagram (both owned by the same company) and Twitter won’t make money if you move off of their platforms — i.e., go to work, go to bed, have dinner, leave the computer or put down your phone — and while you’re on their platforms they make more money if they can keep you clicking. As has been made abundantly clear recently, as if it was hard to figure out intuitively, negative news results in more clicking and more sharing, and bigger profits for the likes of Facebook. And all of the Internet giants want you to feel good — it’s ironic that feeling angry apparently makes people feel good, but that’s a psychological debate for another day — and so if you show them that you love conspiracy theories, guess what? They’re going to feed you more conspiracy theories! Before you know it, you’re down the rabbit hole, getting all of your biases and prejudices confirmed, and the next thing you know you’re claiming that vaccines (which have been around for centuries) actually kill people. I have received a dozen or a couple of dozen vaccines against various diseases in my life, and none of them have killed me!

So that’s why, I believe, many people have succumbed to the false beliefs they now hold. These beliefs are complete and utter bullshit:

  • Vaccines will kill you.
  • All of us “sheep” — i.e., those of us who believe science and scientists — are all part of a huge conspiracy.
  • Cooperating with others in society to attempt to reduce the spread of disease is an abridgement of my “freedom”.
  • Trump won the 2020 US election.

I know the names of some of these idiots, and you might too: Jason Kenney, Scott Moe, Pierre Poilievre, Candice Bergen and Andrew Scheer … among others. I don’t actually know if these five believe the four points above specifically — I actually don’t believe they would — but they have sided with people who believe these things. Kenney in particular looked recently like he couldn’t comply with the truckers’ demands fast enough, falling all over himself to ignore the scientists advising him, to straddle the fence in a way that would hurt if he had any balls; Moe looked like a frightened or cowed child with his deer-in-the-headlights look as he started rolling back “mandates” as quickly as he could! As for Poilievre, Bergen and Scheer, well, the Conservative Party is so desperate right now to look relevant that they’d try anything, and that included (before they reversed course) supporting the occupation of Ottawa by anti-vaxxers and -maskers who do believe the above lies.

I’d suggest that the Ottawa Police Service better get their shit together by Friday.

It’s past time for electoral reform in Canada

I don’t want to draw too long a bow here, but the current protests in Canada highlight the fact that our electoral system is broken. The current government is in power despite not winning a majority of the votes in the last (2021) election. The Liberal Party won only 32.62% of the vote, while the Conservative Party won 34.34% of the vote. (And while the New Democratic Party won 15.98% of the vote, they won only 25 seats, while the Bloc Québécois [who only run for seats in one province!] won 32 seats with only 7.63% of the vote, less than half as many votes!) Anyone with a brain would tell you that a system which produces these numbers is flat out broken!

So while the majority of Canadians have been vaccinated, and understand short-term pain for long-term gain, it’s not rocket science to figure out how the noisy band of malcontents that have descended on Ottawa, Coutts, Emerson and Windsor (among a number of provincial capitals) have managed to attract such a following. I still believe that the majority of Canadians do not support them, and I also still believe that these protests are being driven by right-wing extremists from both Canada and the United States, but this doesn’t change the fact that the vast majority of Canadians, 67.38%, did not vote for the party currently in power.

Much ink has been spilled on the assertion that the only ones to gain from a change in the electoral system to one that includes some form of proportional representation would be the NDP and the Greens. There’s no doubt about that, but (a) opposing electoral reform for that reason is short-sighted (and mean), and (b) that doesn’t imply that the two major parties (Liberals and Conservatives) can’t benefit themselves.

I also believe that Justin Trudeau and the Liberals don’t want to enact electoral reform, not because it would help the NDP and the Greens, but because they see how fractured the Conservative Party is, and that allowing proportional representation would allow the Conservative Party to split (the People’s Party of Canada already did), yet ultimately form government because two or more conservative-leaning parties could easily win a majority (or at least the biggest bloc of seats) and form a coalition government. So ironically, if the Conservative Party would just take their collective heads out of their ass and stop parroting the Liberal line that they can’t do electoral reform, they might actually gain from it … and significantly!