Between Friends

Two days ago I sent a very brief e-mail to a friend in the States giving a link to a Trump spoof available on U-tube. It sparked a brief exchange of letters that strike me as being rather interesting. For one thing, my own Canadian naiveté got readjusted. Continue reading

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Formula for Soft Revolution

As I watched the Trump of Trump Towers ascend the Star Spangled Throne I found myself pondering something I had written a quarter of a century ago about the ideas of two very insightful men and then I remembered why I had begun this blog in the first place. Continue reading

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Aw shucks, ’tis the season to be both jolly and nostalgic so let’s go back to 1944 and attend a good old fashioned carol service in which my father, the minister, managed to burn the Christmas cross.  I present this (with my own permission) as an extract from my own memoirs,   Always an Updraft   Penumbra Press, 2005).  Continue reading

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Hey Justin! C’mon Man!

Sub-title: An Open Letter to the Prime Minister that he Will Never Read.

Dear Prime Minister,

Your recent interview with Le Devoir and subsequent comments from the punditry seem to imply that you’re actually thinking of side-stepping electoral reform in this first term.  Obama recently said derisively to a multitude of Trump ideas, “C’mon Man!”.  I find myself wanting to shout the same at you. Continue reading

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The United Church of Canute ?


Legend has it that more than a thousand years ago King Canute of England sat on the seashore ordering the incoming tide to recede. His intention was to demonstrate to the courtiers that the relentless progress of the tide could not be stopped.  The legend has often been interpreted in reverse to suggest Canute really thought he had the power to stem the tide.  Using this reverse interpretation I dub Canada’s largest Protestant denomination “The United Church of Canute”. Continue reading

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Consult, Consult — Delay, Delay?

My current fear is that the consult craze when applied to electoral reform will inevitably result, intentionally or unintentionally, in a long delay and the eventual defeat of essential remedial action. Continue reading

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Mathematics and Electoral Reform

Our “sunny ways” government is willing to give Elizabeth May (M.P. for Saanich-Gulf Islands) a place on the electoral reform committee but not to give her a vote. Well, shucks, there’s an easy mathematical way around that. Ask her to leave 4% of her brain in storage – after all, 6% of Ms May is equal to 100% of any other M.P. – and then let her vote.  It’s a mere matter of mathematics. Continue reading

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The Missing Debate

It‛s been a long campaign and I thought in my ignorance that eventually the real debate would emerge. But no. It‛s all been about the economy, jobs, the niqab, fractured citizenship, refugees, deficits, terrorists, environment, and other comparative trivialities.

I say “comparative” with good reason and you may well ask, “Compared to what? Continue reading

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The Resurrection Game

I‛ve been wracking my brains to find an analogy to help me understand Canada‛s supreme ruler. I may have found it. Stephen Harper uses Parliament, Politics and the People as his personal Play Station and his games are not only ones where he pushes the buttons and twists the knobs but actually writes the programs. From the player‛s point of view that is about as interactive as one can get.

It is only in terms of this Play Station analogy that I can wrap my mind around, for instance, the calm way in which he incorporated intentional misrepresentations (what used to be called lies) into his initial election announcement.  Others have criticized him for that but in line with the Play Station analogy such criticism may not be fair. Don‛t forget he plays his games by his rules and consequently anything goes that he programs to go.

It is intriguing, however, that he can play these convoluted games without any sign of his fingers twitching on the buttons or wrists flexing as he manipulates knobs and levers.  An experienced gamer, indeed.

Of course, the Drop-the-Writ speech was only the introductory game. Think of it either as a trailer or as what we used to call a teaser.

Within a few days of dropping the writ he came up with another Political Play Station game that really outdid himself.

Think of it as The Resurrection Game.

The first ploy in that game was to resurrect the Home Improvement tax credit that he had cut off in a previous game. Of course, there must be a twist, so the game plan said this credit will be re-instated mid-term, if elected. What a neat gambit –2016 or thereabouts if his government is elected. I could go on about how this poor resurrected political Lazarus is not only grossly deformed in several ways but has lost its original sense of purpose — but that‛s not my point. My point is that in The Resurrection Game Mr.Harper has a formula with astounding potential.

Think about it. Promise to resurrect what you have killed and tie the promise to action in the future only if you are elected. Mid-term, if elected. Mid-T-if-e? Midtife? Midtify? Word possibilities are endless. But what is also endless is the supply of Harper victims – potential resurrees. (If resurree wasn‛t a word, it is now.)

Think of it. Over the years Mr. Harper has cut the Long Form Census, Old Age Security at 65, Fisheries Protection, Health Care Funding, Libraries, the Court Challenges Program, Peacekeeping, National Honour, Transparency, Fiscal Responsibility, the CBC, Corporate Taxes, Truth, the Law Commission, the Experimental Lakes Laboratory, the Voices of Science, Waterway Protection – etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. The list can go on and on and on.

Actually, the list does go on and on and you only have to click here to find yourself in the midst of it on a web called Harper Chips. As this goes to press the Chip list contains 180 potential resurrees for the Resurrection Game. If you do go there don‛t ignore the “Action” page and “Links” page, but shucks, spend a few minutes watching the U-Tube slide show of Harper cuts – set to Ravel‛s Bolero.

To do justice to Harper and his games , turn up the volume. You will soon see what a mother lode of material Harper has created for himself to exploit if he carries on with the Resurrection Game.

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The Good Ship Earth, refloated.

 In honour of Earth Day I am refloating a blog item from April 22nd, 2013.

The following is verbatim from two years ago and, as you will see, its roots go far deeper than that.


A casual premise of this blog has been to take a look, every now and then, at current conditions and to ask ourselves whether any progress has been made in the last quarter century or so.   Earth Day 2013 is upon us and so in keeping with the cycling of Days and seasons I‛m recycling a bit of doggerel entitled The Good Ship.   Because the ship in the story sinks it is not being recyclyed as much as refloated – temporarily.

I wrote the  ditty in honour of Earth Day, 1988, and then posted it here about a year and half ago at the time of the unrewarding UN Durban Conference on Climate Change.  It is  somewhat odd to say “in honour” of Earth Day.  A more accurate dedication would have been “a lament for Earth Day”.  And our boreal forest is still being destroyed, lakes polluted, rivers poisoned, while political wars are simmering over whether or not Corporate Creatures will be allowed to continue ravaging nature on behalf of  Profit while their minions fly the false flags of “The Economy” and “Jobs”.

But hey, read this again and see if you notice what I see.  By now a theme running through this 1988 offering has quite changed – evaporated – gone into limbo.

The Good Ship
She was booming along with her sails full spread,
Her cargo snug and her crew well fed
When a seam up forward opened wide
And was sucking water on the starboard side.

The First Mate answered the Captain’s call
And offered a guess at the cause of it all.
“A keg of acid has sprung a leak
And eaten a hole through the forward peak.”

“Perhaps,” said the Captain, “but let’s be sure.
Go study the cause before the cure.
She might have ripped on a jagged reef
Or rammed a shark with saw edged teeth.”

“Could be,” said the Mate with a little frown,
“But I’d say by her tilt she’s going down.”
The Captain growled, ignoring tact,
“No guessing here! Go gather fact!”

Along came the carpenter, bless his soul,
Said, “Use the mains’l to plug the hole.
We lower it smoothly over the rail.
Sucked in like a cork it cannot fail.”

“That sail,” said the Captain, “makes her go.
Without it we’re drifting to and fro –
The owner goes bust — we lose our pay –
We’re all on pogey by the end of day.”

As news from the bow got worser and worser
A report from the stern came in from the purser.
“I’m happy to say we ride higher and higher,
The air is much clearer the nearer the sky we are.
I really don’t see why all the suspense –
My ledgers are dry and the view is immense.”

“You see?’ said the Captain to quavering Mate,
“The more we learn the safer our fate.
A loss at the bow but a rise at the rear
All averages out, we’ve nothing to fear.
We’ve heard from a man who floats loans and debentures,
And mortgages, bonds and similar ventures.
The least we can do is have faith in his skill.
Your mariner’s instincts are worth less than nil.”

An hour or so later the ship was at rest,
Her keel on the bottom her flag at the crest,
And up where the mast is so skinny it wiggles
The Captain was sending out semaphore signals:
“She’s steady and level, I’m certain at last
She’s no longer leaking, the danger is past.
She’s firm as a rock, remarkably stable,
I’ll bring her on in as soon as I’m able
Because, I assure you, I’m ready to act –
I’ve studied the case and a fact is a fact.” 

Now, 25 years later, did you spot the Captain‛s obsolescent lines?  “No guessing here! Go gather fact! …  The more we learn the safer our fate… I’ve studied the case and a fact is a fact” — those words in the Captain’s mouth were b.s. then and it‛s almost a relief not to hear them any more.  However, from the abolition of the Long Form Census to the muzzling of federal scientists to the closing down of the Experimental Lakes research facility to the PM‛s recent statement disparaging  “root causes” it is obvious that The Good Ship Canada, a massive part of the Earthly fleet, is being captained by a skipper no longer interested in even pretending to respect fact.


Now, in 2015, it appears that the Skipper who at an earlier time was all for a specific anti-carbon action is now totally against the same action, calling it a “job killer” —  meaning of course that it is construed as a vote killer.  The same Skipper who has been claiming the need to sail a companion course to that of  Flagship USA seems unaware that the Admiral of that ship has apparently found his bearings and is on another course.  In the meantime our Skipper is waiting to see where the Captains of the smaller ships of the Provincial flotilla are planning to sail so he can follow in the pull of their wakes while hoisting the flag of leadership.

In addition, not only is the Environment missing from the current plotted route but, while climate chaos escalates along with participation in foreign conflicts, the Skipper has raided the national rainy day fund in order to offer bribes to the crew to keep them from abandoning his personal ship.

Interesting way to captain the Ship of State.

                                                       The Good Ship
From: Down Paradox Lane
Lindsay This Week, April 25,1988
[Copyright © Munroe Scott]

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