Are we Ready for Change?

Written by Brian Revel on January 28th, 2017

Peace Arch (Courtesy of The Province)

The lines to enter the United States never seem to get shorter.

Canadians queue up patiently along the highways at the border to be vetted for entry into The States for their milk, cheese, gas and a few bits and bobs they can find in Bellingham. A Canadian invasion is gentle and always ends in the dairy section. 

Life is imperceptibly different on either side of “The Line” to the cheap-gas commuter. Just don’t speed, because the cops are ruthless down there.  

We watch CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC and tut-tut at the polarization that has evolved over time and take note that the Land of the Free isn’t so free anymore.  

The War on Drugs is tearing communities apart while the drugs themselves continue to ravage across big and small towns and cities; gun violence is at an all-time high.  

Day trippers from Langley and Surrey might not see the differences but head on down the I-5 a thousand miles and then inland a few thousand miles more and it will be ever-more apparent. 

The Black Lives Matter movement exists because seemingly, there are places down there where black lives don’t matter at all.  

For those who line up to cross into the United States at the Peace Arch crossing just a handful of metres from the salt water of the Pacific Ocean, they pass beside a white stone shed-like structure that straddles the border itself. It is, “The Peace Arch”. 

Dedicated in 1921 by the first sitting President of the United States ever to visit Canada Warren Harding revealed the inscriptions etched into the inside walls of the arch: 

May these gates never be closed” 

The iron gates mounted below the inscription are bolted open- as if to say that they never can nor ever shall be closed.  

Other inscriptions on the monument read, “Born of a Common Mother“, and “Dwelling Together in Harmony“. 

The former alluded to the United Kingdom as the primary source of our first immigrants and values while the latter was best described by Prime Minister Trudeau-the-Senior as a ‘mouse and an elephant’ living together, where the mouse has to always be wary of the elephant lest it be trampled. 

These three inscriptions best sum up the quixotic relationship we have with our continental brethren to the South. 

With the election of Donald Trump, things have changed. The United States banned certain Muslim non-residents. The USA has unilaterally withdrawn from global initiatives it was spearheading just two weeks ago. It is building walls to its (other) closest neighbour instead of leading the charge to tear them down- as Reagan did in 1989 in Berlin. 

The United States is retrenching itself, collapsing under the weight of its own corruption, delusional paranoia, and civil strife. 

Figuratively, those gates at the Peace Arch are inching closed. Yesterday it was to Muslims. We shall see what tomorrow brings but the newfound trajectory doesn’t look good for others yet to be a target of Donald Trump. 

The United States has changed. But really, has the rest of the world? Must it? 

Canada cannot afford to retrench the way the US has. Strategically we learned a long time ago our place in global affairs both politically and in trade: we are a Middle Power and a trading nation.

We must get along with others, playing the role of broker to ensure the balance of power remains balanced while trading to ensure our exports continue fuel our economy. It’s why we are as active as we are at the UN and why we sign all these free-trade deals despite parochial or populist views that they are detrimental to our well-being. 

As the United States goes through the painful contortions of a country so terribly out of balance we cannot help but start to notice that it is not the same “Peaceful light on the hill” it once was.  

It’s time we recognized there is opportunity in all this unrest. Business- especially international business- abhors uncertainty.  

Just as the banks and others are being courted by Paris and Frankfurt from London as a response to Brexit, so we should be letting businesses and NGOs in the United States that do global work that Canada is a great place to move their operations.  

After all, why should global trade stop just because the United States is having an existential meltdown?

As more and more unilateral immigration restrictions and punitive tariffs are enacted by Washington, and as violence escalates (and I believe all three of these will happen) then we need to be ready to respond to protect the global economy and the values we cherish and benefit by. 

The physical location of the United Nations may be up for grabs no less as a siege mentality seeps into every nook and cranny of the American psyche. Even those Americans with a global outlook will have to turn inward to counter the rising xenophobia as it rears ever more prominently in civil society there.  

Never mind that the “American Dream” is more attainable here in Canada. Some of the workers involved with business and NGOs in the United States will be moving for their emotional, if not physical safety.  

Eventually some of those same organizations these people worked for will have to move as well, so why not here? 

These physical, people-employing companies and NGOs will bring outside money and philanthropy with them- not to mention the jobs their fleeing workers left behind- the same jobs they will be looking for when they get here.  

Might this get the attention and thus the ire of Donald Trump? Probably. But by being steadfastly pluralist in our politics, liberal on human rights, free-minded on trade, while preservationist with the environment, and above all multilateralist in our approach, we can sell these Canadian traits to all our other trading partners looking to keep the trading door open with North America. After all, they still value these traits despite the biggest player now closing itself off from the world.

At the same time, we can reach out to Americans who still want to trade with the rest of the world. They can move here to take advantage of our excellent trading relationships we have fostered and no doubt will work hard to protect. We could be the new light on the hill.  

The United States is a big market, for sure. But 350 million people is still a fraction of the 6.75 billion people not in the United States to trade with. 

We must look past our convenient proximity of the United States to economies and societies that still desire trade and good global relations. For example, Latin and South America’s 500 million or so, including Mexico so squarely in Donald Trump’s sights, would be a great start.

The global genie is out of the bottle and won’t be put back in. By choice now, the United States doesn’t want to play at this level anyway so Donald Trump’s wrath upon us would be diminished considerably. 

Even with massive change that has happened in the past where whole empires collapse and new ones form. The same happens in wartime between non-combatants: trade and emigration continue unabated. 

But to reap the benefit in all this uncertainty, we must set out a strategy to let everyone know that the centre of gravity in international commerce and relations is shifting.  

Being at the nexus of the new Technology Revolution but importantly being the non-American centre in the Silicon Valley, Seattle, Vancouver axis is a good launching point. 

Being very international in our makeup and outlook, equidistant from Europe and Asia with some of the best international airline connections in North America already and a temperate climate to boot, we are perfectly suited to become the next modern Geneva or Venice.

I see a day where the lines past the Peace Arch will be longer heading North.  

Those lines will be filled with U-Haul vans and families looking to fulfill their dreams to live in peace and prosperity.  

We can react with our usual complaints of fast growth and housing shortages. Or else we can proactively strategize; ready ourselves and yes, encourage Americans and others discouraged by the retrenchment of the once great United States to come here and share their prosperity here with us.

 

Brexit and all things changing

Written by Brian Revel on June 28th, 2016

June 23rd 2016 will forever be considered a watershed moment for democracy on a global scale. A revolution has begun and instead of an insurrection, a fundamental global outlook shifted with every ballot dropped into the box.

It’s the day when Britons surprised the world- and even more so themselves- and voted to pull out of the most successful Pan-European peace project in the better part of a millennium. Sadly, it is just the start of the end.

Especially since I am sitting on the sidelines, experiencing a horrible case of Schadenfreude, I do not want to be one of the voices who comes out with another version of the Doomsday Book, but the training in Political Science will not let me be silent knowing that there is at least a little advice to dole out not only to the leadership in Brussels, but also to take a swipe at those who now regret voting to Leave.

Then, perhaps most importantly, I’ll suggest a couple of directions for the younger British folk who voted to Remain in the EU- believing in the greater cause. They world they’re about to grow into will be a very different place anyone their age did, even a decade ago.

* * * * *

I’ll start with the Eurocrats and the Continental leadership:

Take heed. The Brexit vote is a canary in the mineshaft. The EU project is failing. Not enough is being done to ensure enough of the population are winners. The stagnation across the continent felt by people out in the hinterlands can no longer be ignored.

Every adult out there can vote and when they decide that the unknown has fewer downsides than the status quo, they will vote for change too. Do not dismiss them as uneducated yokels. They are expressing their frustration with their own situation- their stagnation, their experience, their situation while they see tax havens for the rich, ever-bigger luxury yachts on the Riviera. The world ain’t their Oyster and they’re ready to try something new.

The “problems” with “les bandes racailles” in the Paris suburbs; the ultra-right wingers and the neo-Nazis everybody simply wishes would go away; the “Occupy Wallstreet” movement; the farmers, the labour movement. These are not inconvenient thorns in the backside. They are voters. And their numbers are getting bigger. They may not have clubs and pitchforks any more but just as was the case in centuries past, they are armed with emotion, frustration, and a vote. I have been saying this for years: The Revolution Cometh.

I was in Italy and Berlin during the last round of Euro Elections. I was shocked to find that the sentiment on the street in Berlin was pretty close to what I saw in rural Italy. It was the same sentiment expressed in newspapers in the U.K.- not to mention in France. Greeks, Italians, Spaniards, Portuguese- all to a person (except for the elites who are gorging at the trough)- are unhappy.

What I read during my travels is that the EU has too much centralized power. People have no control over their own destinies anymore. The U.K.- those “plucky British Folk“, have raised a finger or two and jabbed them in your eye. Angry, spiteful and maybe even a little blinded by the emotion of what they feel perhaps, but they’ve done it. They’ve voted to leave something certain for something much less so.

Do not be complacent, Eurocrats, Merkel, Hollande and all the others at the top of the EU soufflé. This ain’t over by a long-shot.

* * * * *

To each and every voter in the U.K. who now regrets voting to Leave:

What were you thinking? That’s right, you weren’t, were you? You think this referendum business is some kind of joke? There are serious consequences for the power you hold when you vote. You’ve been told since time immemorial that your vote matters. And now suddenly wake up and realize that your vote was the wrong one.

You read and heard what you wanted to read and hear and now, thanks to your impetulant vote, your life-savings are in ruin, the value of your home is plummeting, you’re either already out of a job or soon to be, and for what? An imaginary £350 million to the NHS instead of Brussels?

And don’t blame Boris or Nigel. You can’t really, honestly say you believed them when they said that the other 26 countries would be happy to have you renegotiate your already privileged position in the union, then have a campaign where you kicked them in the groin when they were already down with other serious issues, then poke them in the eye with a 52% Leave vote.

And you have the audacity to believe those on the continent will have you back, but this time as an ex-lover? You really believed Boris and his friends were being honest with you? Puh-leeze. I’ve got land in Florida for sale. If you say you truly believed Boris Johnson without even a hint of doubt, you’re either dishonest with yourself or lying to the world.

What was your reaction when Barack Obama, the President of the United States, directly said that if the U.K. leaves the EU, it goes to the back of the line when it came to various bi-lateral agreements? What did you (probably) do?

Did you take his comment as a serious shot across the bow- a dose of reality and a portent of issues that would come with a “Leave” vote? Nah. You told him to “sod off”. That wasn’t very bright, was it? He told you like it is and you raised your pitch fork and told him to mind his own business. When it most definitely was his business to tell you what his side of the table looked like.

Well done. I really hope it was worth it. Let’s see now- a hobbled, resourceless island economy of 60 million, versus “the Continental buffer” with Russia- a population of 300 million and with almost as much money as the US itself. Which one do you think the USA is going to play with?

And then let’s turn to the constitutional issues that this has brought up. Scotland voted to Remain. Northern Ireland voted to Remain. Gibraltar too- the most loyal of British colonies, but let’s not go there for now.

Scotland only just recently had a referendum posing the question, whether to Remain in the U.K. The consensus is that the Scottish vote was really a reaction to the unfettered liberalism in England and the fact that national economic policy is dictated from Westminster.

For the Scottish, the EU is a power for good against the diktats of Westminster. Now that England has overwhelmingly decided for everybody else that it’s time to Leave the EU, Scotland has already reserved the right to hold another referendum. And this time, it is going to pass. Bye bye Scotland. No more United Kingdom- for the first time since 1707.

So what then, England?

  • North Sea oil? Gone.
  • European markets? Gone.
  • A strong Pound Sterling? Gone.
  • The centrality and the vitality of “The City”? Gone.
  • Quick holidays to Majorca? Gone.

Unity on the Island? Gone.
Two separate countries, stuck cheek by jowl with only the Welsh to bear witness. And don’t think the Scots will be in any accommodating mood either.

And then there’s Northern Ireland. What happens when a majority of citizens of Northern Ireland take out an Irish EU passport? Will that allow the Irish Republic to annex Northern Ireland? What might happen in a referendum there?

I’ve been a voice in the wilderness for years about the impending revolution. And it is now upon us. The pitchforks have been raised and the first to fall, just as Charles II was the first to experience regicide in Europe, is again, good olde Englande. It’s just a matter of time before Europe descends back into instability and uncertainty.

I really don’t want to use the “W” word- the consequences would just be too dire but I must at least throw out the remaining letters so you know the ultimate thing to fear: “ar“.

Both on the Island, and on the continent. There are just not enough resources to go around without sharing. And England’s just pulled out of the only game in town dealing a severe blow to the credibility of that said game. Given a thousand years of turmoil to use as precedent, what other conclusion can I come up with?

* * * * *

I do not deride those who voted to Leave; who meant it, and who still mean it. For them, this really is about the economics and their well-being. Revolutions are only possible when those in the middle feel squeezed from both above and below. And who isn’t to say that’s the experience of the die-hard Leavers?

Those from below are so busy trying to just put food on the table they don’t have time for “change”. Those from above never want change that sees their elite vantages diminished.

And those who genuinely voted to Leave have, for themselves, very good reason. They prefer the unknown to the known; they believe that what is to come can only be better. I’m not so sure- I am no revolutionary, rather a devout “evolutionary”- but I respect their beliefs. I hope that they are correct that things could get no worse.

No matter the outcome, they believe they have- or about to- thrown off the shackles of their oppressors while at the same time, purged themselves of the weight of those dragging them down.

I happen not to agree with them; the consequences will be no less severe for them but for them this is about principle and their vote didn’t come from a knee-jerk reaction or some desire to simply lodge a protest. Their time has come and I genuinely hope they are able to make their lot better for them, their children, and their grandchildren. It’s going to be a tough go of it for sure: those in the EU are not going to let go of their assets easily and uncertainty is going to rule the economy for at least a decade.

I salute the principled ones no matter the case, for these are the people that our leaders must stop and listen to. To paraphrase #DanCarlin, the time to throw out another “band aid” solution is long past. Those being squeezed in the middle are demanding major surgery. And they’ll get it one way or another. The pressure is brewing in many countries- not just Britain and the United States. Others in the EU. Others still in Asia. Even China. Locals are rising up against the Global elites and they’re not going away. And yet- all these locals all being treated the same: like they’re a nuisance, when really, they’re the future.

* * * * *

Finally, if you’re one of the younger ones who voted to Remain, I shall give you this counsel:

If you want to start new somewhere else, go learn a trade. Any trade. Then get out. Get a working visa while you’re young enough, find a job overseas, and fight to keep it.

In 20 years, the British economy will still be in recession- the likes of which nobody living has ever seen. England is about to go from “World Economic Leader” back to a “Nation of Shopkeepers“. That’s going to be one massive reduction in GDP. And to get there, many, many people are going to be worse off. Japan was in recession for more than a generation. The U.K. has much further to fall.

If you choose not to go, learn a trade and then invest in something small and local. Globalism is going to be replaced by Localism- starting on your wee island. Start a small organic farm. Maybe a blacksmith shop. Barter with your neighbours. Create a micro-economy. Find local sources for what you need and local markets where you can sell your goods- all off the grid. If you can find a loom for cheap, buy it. If you can get your hands on large construction tools, hoard them.

But no matter what you do, no matter what we all do, it’s time to lower expectations. We must live within our means of course and our means are about to get a whole lot smaller.

* * * * *

Writing this, I feel so apocalyptic-like. But you can’t un-ring a bell. The first knife has been thrust between the ribs of today’s Global regime and is lodged in the heart of its golden child. England is now bleeding badly and it seems so incredulous that this grave injury is by its own hand. For better or for worse, England is about to get what it asked for.

I sure would have liked to see it happen far, far away. But then again, I’m really tired of one iteration of Thatcher or another since her Iron Lady days and so I’m happy to see significant resistance to the status quo. (Sadly, I wonder if England won’t actually move even further to the right rather than closer to the centre of the political spectrum where there could be more compassion and less churlishness in English politics. But that’s for another rant another time, I suppose.)

All this said, November is not far away and revolution is brewing in the United States.

And thinking about the orange-skinned populist who is standing in front of the pitch forks in the United States, one cannot help but wonder: How long will it be before we’re all losing touch with our antipodes when global trade is crushed by tariff barriers and trade wars?

How long before Main Street eclipses Wall Street? And will that be a good thing?

June 23rd 2016 was just the start. For the rest of this journey, only time will tell.

 

It’s time for the NDP in Ottawa

Written by Brian Revel on August 2nd, 2015

The 2015 federal election has been called.

I’ve declared. It is the NDP whom I’m supporting.

No doubt, you’ve seen my many political posts and know well of my deep distain for the current government.

I was somewhat less committed to this choice until the Liberals under Justin Trudeau supported Bill C-51. That sealed my support for Thomas Mulcair and the NDP.

Many of you know that I once ran as a candidate for the NDP against who is now the premier of British Columbia- and later ran for the nomination in the federal riding of Vancouver-Centre. My own partisanship therefore might seem like a foregone conclusion. But don’t let that fool you. I was disillusioned by the NDP and its own weaknesses for many years. It isn’t perfect and my circumstances at the time had me staring straight into those imperfections. It took me ten years to realize that the seeds to those circumstances were sewn by none other than myself and that no party is perfect, anywhere at any time. But my return to the NDP fold has been very, very slow and I have questioned myself every step of the way. I still refuse to rejoin as a member but I certainly have no qualms about expressing why I will vote for the NDP.

As we look across the expanse of this upcoming 78-day election campaign, I see on the horizon two very different Canadas. Stephen Harper’s Conservatives are taking this country into some very deep and uncharted waters. They have lied and they have deceived us all to get us this far. I don’t want to overemphasize this but truly, this election will see us at the brink.

In one direction will see us having more added to the unprecedented record of what we’ve had for the last 4 years… Contempt of Parliament, a devastating economic record based on oil and gas, unprecedented scandals, unprecedented muzzling of science, an unprecedented targeting and demonizing of one cultural group (Muslims), an unprecedented overt attempt to control the media, an unprecedented suggestion that citizenship can be revoked, the unprecedented passage of an anti-terrorism act whose scope is so broad that just about everybody can be a potential target, an unprecedented commitment to warmongering and warfare, unprecedented secret trade deals and radical legal changes buried in omnibus bills, unprecedented limit on Parliamentary oversight, unprecedented attacks on organized labour and working families… What more evidence do we need? We are headed toward a country I have never known.

On the other hand, the opposition parties, disparate as they are, are jostling each other for the touted place as “government in waiting”. The Liberals under Justin Trudeau (a star leader if ever there were one) seem to be mired still in their own narcissism and arrogance- no matter what they tell us. Actions speak louder than words and their policies shift with the winds which means the finger they raise to test those winds could very well be the same one Justin’s father used to signal his distain for unhappy voters from a train in Salmon Arm in the summer of 1982.

This was the case when Trudeau kicked the Liberal senators out of the Liberal caucus. Good for him… that was a good start. But then he turned around and supported (as did the former Liberal Senators) supported the most draconian, invasive, unprecedented attack on Canadians’ political and civic rights ever by proposing a few amendments knowing they would be defeated and then voting for Bill C-51, the new “anti-terrorism” bill.

On every question, Canadians have to hold their breath wondering which way the Trudeau weathervane policy-machine will point. Behind the leader, who’s in charge? The Chrétien-ites who could go populist and left? Or the Martin-ites who would just find the path Harper has hitherto forged and follow it, leading us further into oblivion? We just don’t know and we would only know once they actually started to govern. That’s too much of a blank cheque in this time of extremes if you ask me. What we need is certainty. What we need is someone to stop the inevitable lock-step march we are headed on, point in another direction and then lead us in that direction. And as much as many might like to believe otherwise, Trudeau just doesn’t have the personal gravitas, or control of his party, to make that happen.

Then there is the Green Party. While principled, and in the past has been a very strong contender for my vote, is just not big enough to stop the Conservative bulldozing machine. I love Elizabeth May’s plucky earnestness- almost naiveté- in Parliament. She harkens back to a day when politics may still have been bare-knuckled but at least there was a civility and respect for the process and the institution of Parliament. She has principles and is no doubt the conscience of Parliament just as the NDP used to be under Tommy Douglas and Ed Broadbent.

But the reality is that the issues confronting Canadians in this election span much more than environmental or representational questions. There are elections where those questions are relevant- but not this one. This election is about much, much, more. Yes, she may be the lone voice talking about “Democracy” but right now we need boots- lots of them- in Parliament to ensure that her (and our) beloved democracy survives and the Greens just can’t pull that miracle off.

This leaves us with only one choice. The NDP is that party, although the media seem very slow to recognized that fact. The NDP is Her Majesty’s Official Opposition and second in the polls. They are there for a good reason. They have proven themselves to be competent in the “game” of politics and most reflective of the values of Canadians.

The national NDP has expertise rooted deeply in communities across the country. It has been government in six of Canada’s provinces as well as Yukon, and shares the same values as a long-governing party in a seventh. The NDP has had its grand moments and its downfalls. As a movement and as a political organization, the NDP has grown and matured. To be national government, it is ripe for the picking.

Along the journey in its quest for relevance, the NDP has shed much of its extremist “socialist” views, although I can’t say they are gone for sure. All I know is that the system of government we have now slows any agenda to glacial speed until you’ve been in office long enough to manipulate the systems themselves… just as the Conservatives have managed to do since 2006. But the direction the NDP pulls will at least right our “ship of State” and pull us back from that brink. If it goes too far in the future, kick the rotters out… just as we must do to the current regime in this election.

In the last decade we have seen almost imperceptibly incremental steps towards a totalitarian State under Stephen Harper and the Conservatives… but they have started to have a cumulative effect. With every ‘reform’, the Harper’s Conservatives are getting bolder. Never ever forget that Hitler’s Nazis were first elected to the Reichstag. They didn’t just magically appear there one day. Yes, Krystallnacht helped them seize power but not every extremist needs a staged riot to win an election, do they? The conditions that made their seizure of power possible were slowly built up over time making 1933 a  pivotal moment in German history.

But let’s look away from the extreme, worst-case scenario and look at our everyday situation. This election, like never before, is about the kind of Canada YOU want to live in. Tax breaks that impoverish, rather than services that empower. Environmental policies that pull us back into the dark ages rather than policies that would create jobs and improve our impact on the environment. Economic policies that support the wealthy’s tax havens rather than ones that build our communities. A “multi-cultural” Canada that suits Conservative dogma rather than one that supports all Canadians to be their best in their endeavours. Cuts to education and social assistance and growth in jails rather than the other way around. Lies sold as truth, or the truth as Canadians experience it. Solutions to problems invented for expediency, or solutions to make our lives better for real.

That is the choice.

This is the election for a generation.

This is the moment for real change.

This is a Call to Arms… for Democracy.

 

What about the $90,000?

Written by Brian Revel on June 8th, 2013
Close-up

Why did Nigel Wright give a gift of $90,000 to a sitting senator instead of buy this pretty little house listed on www.realty.ca in Maxville, ON for $89,999?. (Listing online on June 8th, 2013)

FOR SALE: 2-BEDROOM HOUSE, 50 MINUTES FROM PARLIAMENT HILL – $89,900.

Regarding the Mike Duffy, Nigel Wright imbroglio, while the media are off chasing after various players and bystanders in this rotting, festering midden of fat cats and gentlemanly winks and nods, I can’t seem to let go of the motivation behind that $90,000.00 cheque.

Who in their right mind (or is that Wright mind) would give $90,000 to a sitting senator without expectations of a pay-off down the road? Who the heck can afford to give 11% shy of 100K to anybody else without expectations somewhere down the road?

Is the Prime Minister’s now-former Chief of Staff so utterly filthy rich and therefore out of touch with ordinary Canadians, that from his savings as well as his personal income as Chief of Staff in the PMO he can afford to give $90,000 away?

So I’m trying to keep all this straight. A businessman. A lawyer. Someone with great economic and financial acumen. If he wanted to maximize his nest-egg, or his retirement, or advance his ‘buy-a-house-in-the-Cayman-Islands’ fund, might he not want to invest his $90,000 in something that would give him a return?

How about some real estate?

While you might not be able to buy a house in Vancouver or Toronto for $90,000, you certainly can buy a house in Maxville, Ontario for that much.

Take this modest but lovely 1,350 square foot 2-bedroom house that sits on over a 1/4 acre of land in Maxville Ontario. It’s only 77 kilometres, or a 52-minute drive from Parliament Hill. Here’s the Google link to show just how easy and accessible it is.

Yes, there are places much larger and closer just across the Ottawa River in Québec but let’s just keep the real estate in Ontario where Nigel Wright is from, presumably where he already knows and understands all the real estate rules and laws.

Remember- this was not a loan. Nobody has said this is a loan. It was a gift. A present. No strings attached, supposedly.

Imagine yourself going to the Christmas tree and finding a box under it with a cheque inside, in your name, for $90,000. No strings attached. Just a gift. A present. How cool would that be?

Now unless your dad was Warren Buffet, the first thing you’d ask is who the hell is rich enough to give me $90,000? The second question would be, “Why me?” followed eventually by, “What does this person want from me?”

And then, of course, you’d cash it quick before it might bounce. ‘Cause who knows- you might be in the midst of an audit of your expense accounts and you need just that exact amount of money to cover a few ‘errors’ they found along the way…

…Unless you were honourable enough to say, “No, this isn’t right. I screwed up in my accounts and it’s up to me to clean up this mess- alone.” Where upon you’d rip the cheque up into a million pieces and throw them into the yule log fire.

But I digress…

Seriously, I don’t care how rich you are, $90,000 isn’t exactly chump change for anyone. Even Bill Gates would be looking for a tax receipt if he were to give a “gift” to a charitable organization for that much. He ain’t no fool.

So what’s up with Nigel Wright? What makes him so incredibly generous to want to underwrite a sitting senator already suckling at the trough of patronage par excellence, courtesy of your tax dollars and mine.

While Nigel Wright has resigned his post as Chief of Staff in the PMO, he is not off the hook. What was in it for him? Surely he didn’t cut a personal cheque out of the kindness of his heart.

I’m not in Ottawa. I’m not in Toronto. I have no access to the gated communities where Nigel Wright may well be sequestered. I’d sure like to see some reports from journalists much closer to the source of this $90,000.

Go pound on some doors. Rob Ford is a distraction for crying out loud. Go camp out on Wright’s doorstep. At least there you’ll be able to change the course of history. Canadians have a right to know.

‘Deep Throat’ apparently told Bob Woodward to “Just follow the money.” as dramatized in the 1976 movie All the President’s Men. The underlying stories are too similar to overlook the rest of the quote which I have paraphrased here: Because despite the myths surrounding the PMO, the people there aren’t too bright after all, now that things have gotten out of hand.

Please, someone do a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknessess, Opportunities, Costs) analysis of this gift. There is much, much more to this than meets the eye.

What was/is Nigel Wright expecting in exchange for his supposedly benevolent, altruistic act of good will? The man gave a gift of $90,000 to a sitting senator!

Would you give even $900.00 to a sitting senator making more than twice your annual wages? How about to your neighbour who might be in the middle of a Revenue Canada audit? Somehow, I think your answer would be, “Sorry, neighbour, but your issues are your issues. Your financial mess doesn’t trump my own desire to get through to the end of the month.”

So why would Nigel Wright cut a personal cheque for $90,000 to Mike Duffy when he could have invested that money in a pretty little house in Maxville, in Eastern Ontario?

It just doesn’t make any sense.

Follow the money. It’s the path to the end of this horrendous, despicable government.

* * * * *

Here’s an image of the full listing for the house Nigel Wright could have bought as an investment instead of giving Senator Mike Duffy $90,000.
(Source: www.realtor.ca)

 

A sad prediction

Written by Brian Revel on January 18th, 2013

As I mentioned in my speech at the Enbridge Northern Gateway hearings, I doubt that any of our efforts will have any effect.

I am utterly convinced that even if the Joint Review Panel decides that the project should not be allowed at all, the Stephen Harper Government will bully its way ahead anyway.

The Conservatives have stacked the deck of cards. In their patently undemocratic omnibus bills, they have changed many laws that would have once protected us from such fantastical and sinister projects, rendering them toothless. This project is going to go ahead no matter how bad this looks. After all, who really cares, right?

The thing is, Harper really has this wrong.

I foresee a War in the Woods the likes of which Canada has never seen. Survey pegs will disappear in the middle of the night. Trees by the thousands will be spiked. Equipment will be vandalized. Lives will be threatened and some, I fear, will even be lost.

The police will become involved, not as peacekeepers but rather as enforcers of Harper’s heinous laws and when they fail to achieve the goal that Enbridge wants, the military will be brought in as re-inforcements.

There will be ambushes on both sides. Harper will wish he had kept the long-arm registry.

Armed helicopters will patrol the surveyed right-of-way during the surveying, construction and subsequent operation of the line. It won’t be martial law but it will get pretty damned close in parts of this province that is supposed to be “True North Strong and Free”.

Hundreds will go to jail. Thousands will be vilified by Harper’s allies. Millions will be involved, one way or another.

British Columbians, fresh from an unprecedented fight over the HST are not shy to another fight to remind our governments that they work for us. The entire Enbridge fiasco, combined with any one of the myriad of sleights that British Columbians have had to deal with from the Conservative government has the potential of bringing us together in ways never seen before.

The solidarity against this project is only going to grow stronger and British Columbian’s resolve to stop this folly is only going to become more entrenched.

Do not be surprised if there is even a move made to have British Columbia secede from the Canadian confederation over this issue.

It’s extreme and it’s not pretty.

But unless we see a change in approach, I’m sorry to say it’s my sad prediction.