Monday, September 29, 2008

The Election and other pieces of Trivia

So the election is only 16 day away from ending. We should all be thankful for small and relatively short spanned miracles.

I was watching Elizabeth May interviewed by Peter Mansbridge on CBC Newsworld, the show was her being interviewed by Peter and then given questions from ordinary Canadians about various parts and issues of the Green Party's platform. On the whole I thought she defended and articulated the Green's policies with clarity and succinctness. There was very almost no bafflegaff or the usual doublespeak that seems to be part and parcel of all elections. She defended the need to strengthen Canada's military while it remains in Afghanistan, although I thought the renaming the Department of Defense into the "Department of Peace" will not do much to change the image of Greens as being a flighty bunch of ex-hippie, granola eating tree huggers that would give daisies instead of weapons.

She talked about the Athabasca Oil Sands project and emphasized the need to set a moratorium on future development in the present. Her point was why the rush to develop all of it at once, since the a slower development would enhance technological advances so that it can become carbon neutral. She also said the tailing ponds can be seen from space. I was curious so I fired up Google Earth and sure enough from a distance of 742 km, which is higher then the typical low earth orbit, you can see them.

She was asked about the reason for running in Central Nova, when she should go to the spiritual home of the Green's, British Columbia. She said she was a Nova Scotian and still had a lot of family in the area. Which makes sense, plus she feels Peter MacKay is vulnerable.

I thought she did a good job of explaining the carbon tax and its impact on Canadians and how it is offset with lowering personal and payroll tax for both employees and employers. As well, there is incentive for companies to lower the carbon footprint, which is equally important.

Near the end, there was a discussion of her goals for the election, what is she hoping for that night. She said, to be personally elected and to have 12 Greens elected to the House, which would give the party Official Recognition. She was honest and said it was a challenge and she is not expecting to form the next government. i personally think the realistic goal is 3-4; listen, any Greens would be a major breakthrough.

What was also interesting was her reference to the more conservative nature of the Green Party, almost pushing away from the idea it's part of the Centre-Left of the Canadian Political Spectrum, she felt her party would be the natural home of former Progressive Conservatives and other right of centre supporters who are getting turned off by Stephen Harper, which in a way justifies my comment on the Teals, the conservative environmentalist.

Since she is not going to be the next PM, she was asked who she would support as the leader of Canada, immediately she said 'not Stephen Harper'. She listed a number of reasons, but when pressed again of the remaining two, she said the only other candidate would be Stéphane Dion. Just a comment on that, she's not reading the polls since if anything the support for the Liberal Party is crumbling and the likely leader of the Opposition will probably be Jack Layton.

Which leads me to:

Canadian Political Joke of the Day

What's the difference between Elizabeth May and the Liberal Party of Canada?

Elizabeth supports Stéphane Dion.

Thank you, I'm here all week, please try the buffet.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Johannes Linstead in Action

I took one of my favourite photographs from the Brantford Jazz Festival and made it black and white. I hope you can sense the energy of Johannes Linstead and his group, they were amazing.

I've talked to a couple of people who attended the event and the consensus, it was a great day and we are looking forward to bigger and better next year.

I should say according to the local paper, the hope is for a two day festival next year. You can read the article here.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Brantford Jazz Festival

Today was the Inaugural Season of the Brantford International Jazz Festival. It is interesting to attend the very first festival, makes it even more of a special event. It was a perfect very late summer Saturday for this festival, sunny, warm but not hot, very low humidity and in every ways perfect. It was held in downtown Brantford, which from what people have told me was not something that would have possibly happen a few years ago. It was held at Harmony Square, which is becoming the cultural centre of Brantford.

There was three stages set up in the area, the main stage, in Harmony Square and two others located on Dalhousie Street. One was for local talent

and the other was for youth. Sadly this stage was empty when we arrived.

We didn't attend all of the festival, because of other commitments, but we managed two, the first was The Young Divas with the Bill King Trio

They were quite good and by the reaction of the crowd, an enjoyable performance.

After them came Johannes Linstead. He is a guitar player and his influence was the latin jazz, and let me say he had the crowd bopping and in some cases dancing.
He was fantastic and the group was definitely in the groove:

It was an amazing set and worth the time to listen.

I would say the first one was a success and so I'm looking for bigger and better next year.

Friday, September 19, 2008

'Tis September 19th

You are The Cap'n!

Some men and women are born great, some achieve greatness and some slit the throats of any scalawag who stands between them and unlimited power. You never met a man - or woman - you couldn't eviscerate. You are the definitive Man of Action, the CEO of the Seven Seas, Lee Iacocca in a blousy shirt and drawstring-fly pants. You're mission-oriented, and if anyone gets in the way, that's his problem, now isn't? Your buckle was swashed long ago and you have never been so sure of anything as your ability to bend everyone to your will. You will call anyone out and cut off his head if he shows any sign of taking you on or backing down. If one of your lieutenants shows an overly developed sense of ambition he may find more suitable accommodations in Davy Jones' locker. That is, of course, IF you notice him. You tend to be self absorbed - a weakness that may keep you from seeing enemies where they are and imagining them where they are not.

What's Yer Inner Pirate?

brought to you by The Official Talk Like A Pirate Web Site. Arrrrr!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The Canadian Election, so far

Thirty five days to go until the next General Election. Can't you feel the excitement in the air? Why this is an election that will mark the passing of an era, an election that will bring about a, oh sorry, that's the US Election.

It's only Day Three and already people are sick of it. Or are not at all interested.

This is not the purpose of my posting tonight, but to give just a little bit of advice to the leaders of the major parties.


Stephen Harper Let me give you some advice, you're the Prime Minister, your party is the Governing Party. Why then do we hear more about Stéphane Dion, then we do about your government accomplishments? Of course the kicker so far has been the website touting his inabilities and incompetence, to say nothing of puffin poop. I know you did come out and apologize, but the website reeks of being sophomoric and not sophisticated. I understand you believe it was an overzealous web designer, yeah some 20 year old kid who been amped out on Red Bull for the last two weeks. He probably thinks fart noises are funny too. Surprised that wasn't included. I understand you suffered a lot of attack ads in the past and perhaps payback is deserved, however, you portray yourself as a leader, start to show it. Also you keep putting Stéphane Dion name before the public, people might want to know more about him and if you have said nothing about yourself. You see that's what happens when a party has spent more time in opposition then government, they think as opposition.

Stéphane Dion. What can I say, the papers are reporting on the fact the Liberals have decided to make him more manly He is seen in plaid, outdoors with his wife, child and dog Kyoto. I blame this on the Sarah Palin syndrome, ever since it was revealed Sarah can kill, gut and dress a moose in the outdoors, she has raised the bar of machismo. So I expect to read Stéphane Dion jokes in the vein of Chuck Norris facts. Consider
When the Boogeyman goes to sleep every night he checks his closet for Stéphane Dion.

I think you see where this is leading us. Also, he is portrayed as a dog lover, way to go Liberals, you just kissed the cat lover vote good bye.

Jack Layton. He may have the most brilliant strategy of the three, he's not attracting any attention. This may make him the first NDP Prime Minister. Starting putting together that transition team Jack they just might come in handy on the 15th of October. While the other two are trying to show which one is precisely the biggest dork, you just keep plodding along, giving your message and getting people interested in looking at the NDP. Oh by the way, he wants to friend us all on Facebook. Perhaps we can challenge him on one of the movie quizes.

Gilles Duceppe. He doesn't like Canada, he doesn't like Stephen Harper. Wah wah wah. Meh.

Elizabeth May. This is one of those times you declare your prejudice: I did not support Elizabeth when she ran for leader of the Green Party. The agreement with the Liberals have come to bite her hard on the butt. That was not a smart move. Now what am I hearing? May is upset she was not included in the debates. Okay, they don't want you. Three words. Get. Over. It. Consider the possibilities, while the others are training for the debates, you can be out hustling, getting the Green Party's message in front of people. While the others are going through mock debates, you can have real debates, with real people, sharing the Green message. Look if Chantal Hébert is correct, you stand a chance of doing quite well in this election. Don't blow it by being whinny. If all people hear is "mygoshisntitawfulwewerentincludedinthedebates", they will quickly turn you off.

Well that's the advice for day three. I expect all five of you to take this to heart. I want and clean election. I want an election on ideas and ideals.

I will have more to say as this moves forward.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Some Interesting Visitors

Yesterday morning I saw an unusual bird eating some seeds besides the car. It was a bird I had not seen before.

I asked around and even posted the photograph to determine the identity of the bird. This morning I received an email with the information. The bird in question is a Chukar.

As you can read:

This partridge has its native range in Asia from Pakistan and Kashmir, into the Republic of India (Himachal Pradesh and Punjab states). And Afghanistan in the east to southeastern Europe in the west, and is closely related and similar to its western equivalent, the Red-legged Partridge, Alectoris rufa. It has been introduced widely, and became established in the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Hawaii. In Great Britain, hybrids between this species and the also introduced Red-legged Partridge are common.

So it is found in North America but how it got to this part is a mystery. Apparently they were imported as game birds so some how these birds managed to escape and are hiding out.

I said "Visitors" because now there are three of them:

What they seem to enjoy are the pears that have fallen off the tree and bugs.

Quite an interesting sight.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Is Stephen Harper afraid of the Greens

The headline in the Toronto Star was MP joins Greens; May now in leaders' debates?. It was announced that Blair Wilson, the MP for West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country will now sit in the House as a member of the Green Party of Canada. What that means is, we finally got a MP. Okay so he was elected as a Liberal in the last election, but like he's the first guy ever to cross the floor, or I guess move down a couple of seats. He became an independent in January 2008. Apparently there was some concern with finances during the last nomination, however all that is in the past. He was cleared. He's an MP, He's a Green.

One of the major points to all this, is and you can read it in the article, the pressure is now on to have Elizabeth May join in with the leader's debate come election time, which might be soon. The criteria for involvement has always been that a party has to be represented in the House of Commons. No doubt its a measure from keeping all the fringe parties from demanding representation at the debates. It doesn't matter how the MP's got there, as long as they are there. After all the Bloc Quebecois started out when Lucien Bouchard left the Progressive Conservative Party and was joined by other PC's and disgruntled Liberals after the failure of the Meech Lake Accord.

However, what makes me think Mr. Harper is afraid of the Greens?

Consider this little quote in the Star:

Yesterday, Harper spokesperson Kory Teneycke said the overtures of co-operation between May and Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion should mean only one of them gets to participate in the debates.

An agreement for co-operation hardly means its the same party. By the way I blogged earlier about this accord and warned Ms May not to proceed with it. But I digress. It's not the same party, even if M. Dion now has a green hue on his website. The Greens are not the Liberals, and the Liberals are not the Greens.

I mentioned earlier that Elizabeth May's name and party is starting to show up in Conservative Party election material, it seems they reckon the Greens are a party they will have to deal with. It's not just a party of loopy environmentalists, it is a relevant organization on the political landscape of Canada. While some Conservatives may think of Greens as left of centre to centre, I wonder if there is some teals out there, by that I mean conservative greens who might be interested in voting Green rather then Conservative in the upcoming election. In places such as Ontario, a teal vote might tips a few ridings away from the Tories.

As for the accord, watch for the Greens to have a full slate of candidates in the upcoming election.

Something to watch.