From the category archives:

Canada eh

Yesterday’s shocking “Orange Crush” sweep for the NDP in Alberta wasn’t supposed to happen.

Rachel Notley Alberta NDP

After 44 years of Conservative rule, the province much-maligned for being “Canada’s Redneck Zone” or “Texas North” surprised pundits — but not pollsters — when it turfed Jim Prentice to elect Rachel Notley as premier. The Tories only managed a third place finish, behind the right-wing Wildrose party.

So what happened? Did the land of cowboy boots and oil wells suddenly decide that the NDP’s brand of social democracy was preferable to the Tory blue brand of pro-wealthy, pro-corporate policies? Was this a protest vote or an indication of real change?

And, most importantly, does this spell bad news for Stephen Harper and the Federal Conservatives in the upcoming October election?

Eh, maybe. But probably not as much as you might think. Here’s why:

[click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

Shots were fired on Parliament Hill this morning. A soldier guarding the National War Memorial was shot. The gunman then seized a car and drove to Parliament, after which there were shots reportedly fired inside the Parliament Buildings. The Globe and Mail has some dramatic video footage:

There were also shots reportedly fired by another gunman at or near the Rideau Centre shopping mall, and/or near the Chateau Laurier. It’s still unclear whether there are two or more shooters.

Downtown Ottawa is on lockdown, with the RCMP advising people to stay indoors and away from windows and rooftops.

I know it’s trite to say this, but this kind of thing is not supposed to happen in Ottawa, of all places. There’s not much information yet to go on, but Ottawa is the sort of place where you’re usually more likely to get bored out of your mind than shot. And I mean that as a compliment.

CBC has an updated live news coverage feed here.

Stay safe, folks!

Update: 3:45pm: What we know right now is that the soldier who was guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is dead, having succumbed to his injuries in hospital. He was a young reservist from Hamilton who was serving on guard duty this week. His name has not yet been released pending notification of next of kin, who are definitely in my thoughts today.

We also know that the gunman who then entered Parliament and started firing shots is dead, taken down by Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers, who reportedly showed incredible courage in preventing further injuries or deaths.

Beyond that, nothing else is hard evidence. Everything else is speculation. Initial reports of a possible second shooter appear to be false (as they usually are) and the police have been very careful about releasing information, as the investigation is ongoing.

In times like this, I think it’s worth noting that finger-pointing, blaming politicians, speculating, advancing conspiracy theories, or otherwise wreaking havoc and inciting panic is a very, very bad idea. Please, everyone, take a breath. We don’t know what we don’t know. This isn’t about ISIS, Stephen Harper, Justin Trudeau, Thomas Mulcair, Pierre-Karl Peladeau, Rene Levesque, Barack Obama, George Bush, or your mom. This isn’t about the media making wild leaps and assumptions in order to fill air time and gain viewers. Please, think before you hit retweet!

{ 0 comments }

The war in Europe is over. Now, to turn our attention to the Pacific.

04.08.2014

“We may allow ourselves a brief period of rejoicing; but let us not forget for a moment the toil and efforts that lie ahead.” — Winston Churchill. For the past 18 months, it’s felt a bit to me like we’ve been fighting a war on two fronts: On the one hand, against Pauline Marois and [...]

Read more →

CRTC’s new wireless rules don’t go far enough

06.03.2013

We Canadians pay the highest mobile rates in the world, thanks to the entrenched Bell-Rogers-Telus oligopoly that for years has been gouging customers with impunity. The CRTC, the regulatory body that has generally been in the pocket of the wireless companies, has been taking some baby steps towards actually protecting consumers in recent years, thanks [...]

Read more →

Penny idioms on their way out in Canada

02.04.2013

Today was the official end of the penny in Canada, as the Royal Canadian Mint halted production and went into collection mode. While pennies will continue to be legal tender indefinitely, retailers as of today will begin rounding to the nearest nickel for cash purposes. It occurs to me that the end of the penny [...]

Read more →

Bell’s purchase of Astral: CRTC says Non

10.18.2012

The CRTC has actually momentarily remembered that its job isn’t to rubber-stamp requests from the big telecoms: It has squashed Bell’s plan to buy Astral and thus control a massive share of the telecom market: “BCE failed to persuade us the deal would benefit Canadians,” said chairman Jean-Pierre Blais, who took over the post earlier [...]

Read more →

“I’m too rich: Tax me more, please!”

12.06.2011

That’s the theory behind this site: We are the 1 percent. It contains manifestos of a bunch of people who claim to be part of the American super-rich, but who feel that it’s unfair that they aren’t taxed their fair share. Now, admittedly, this concept might be better if more of the people in the [...]

Read more →

Ontarians give McGuinty a third term; avoid triple-whammy

10.07.2011

Ontario voters avoided the threat of a triple-whammy conservative blowhard government – Ford in Toronto, Harper in Ottawa, and Hudak challenging at the provincial level – by rewarding incumbent Liberal premier Dalton McGuinty with a third term in office. But with only 53 seats, down from 72 in the previous government, the Liberals will be [...]

Read more →

Jack Layton loses his battle with cancer

08.22.2011

The longtime leader of the NDP and official opposition leader of Canada, Jack Layton, lost his battle with cancer this morning at age 61: “We deeply regret to inform you that the Honourable Jack Layton, leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada, passed away at 4:45 am today, Monday August 22. He passed away [...]

Read more →

By the numbers: Canada’s debt load

08.02.2011

As the eyes of the world have been on our American neighbours and their efforts to make a deal childish grandstanding and petty squabbling to avert a default on the national debt, it’s understandable that many of us Canadians have been feeling pretty smug. After all, we may have problems, but not problems to the [...]

Read more →