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Clayton Kershaw

Clayton Kershaw

Play ball! It’s time for my annual baseball pitching and prediction column.

I’m a bit late this year because I got off to a late start. I’m not quite sure why that happened.

I think it had something to do with the early games being the same old same old as the year before. Newcomers to this annual gripe won’t know that I am an old (very old) reconstructed Dodger fan. I am more than that really because I am a National League fan especially after the American League brought in the ridiculous designated hitter rule. Continue Reading »

Prime MInister Justin Trudeau (Canada 2020/Flickr CC Licence)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (Canada 2020/Flickr CC Licence)

My Nova Scotia pen pal, the voice of common sense in this country, Silver Donald Cameron, is fond of saying “laws are made by those who have the power to enforce them.” My own variation is that the people who make the laws are the ones that use them and you can judge that from how fair they are.

How long?

In the 1960s and 70s, the buzz words were “pourquoi pas?” or “why not?”. It signalled the end of the State in the bedroom and a whole new morality developed, ironically under the current Prime Minister’s father.

As of today, I put Justin Trudeau and Christy Clark on notice that the buzzwords are how long?”

My remarks today will be basically from a British Columbian, for the simple reason that’s what I happen to be. I expect that my colleague Damien Gillis and I will have much more to say about this as time goes on. Read full article at The Common Sense Canadian

Premier Christy Clark at a recent conference, working hard to build an LNG industry for BC (Flickr CC Licence / BC Govt)

Premier Christy Clark at a recent conference, working hard to build an LNG industry for BC (Flickr CC Licence / BC Govt)

Richard Zussman is B.C. provincial affairs reporter for the CBC based in Victoria, and he’s predicted that Premier Clark will win the election in a year’s time. For what it’s worth, I think he’s right and readers will know I’ve been saying that for sometime, although certainly without any enthusiasm.

The economy and nothing else

Mike McDonald, Liberal campaign chairman in 2009, says, “The strategy for us has never really changed. The program of the government is building a strong economy to ensure we have the resources to deliver, health care, education, social programs. We always put economic discipline as a high priority. We have to make it front and centre and not lose our focus”.

The Liberals won’t be talking about things like missing and redacted emails, freedom of information, scandals and death in the Health ministry, incompetence, death and despair in Children and Families, neglect sufficient for a decent minister to resign in the Ministry of Energy and Mines, economic policy built around a non-existent LNG market which has become a worldwide embarrassment, an environmental policy which takes us back to the 1890’s, the premier’s own corrupt ethics, or any other matters. She and her government will simply tell all who will listen that they have handled the economy brilliantly and that British Columbia is prospering because of that. Read full article at The Common Sense Canadian

Premier Christy Clark at her government’s LNG conference (Province of BC/Flickr)

Premier Christy Clark at her government’s LNG conference (Province of BC/Flickr)

The term “conflict of interest” poses difficulties for many people. That’s because lawyers make money by confusing simple things. If one has a public duty and private interest in the same area as that public duty, it’s a conflict, plain and simple. It does not mean that this person is a crook or making illegal profits, although they’re not excused if they do, just that they mustn’t be in a position where they can do so. There is no presumption of innocence involved – just conflicting interests.

Quid Pro Quo

Martyn Brown, former aide to both Premiers Christy Clark and Campbell, recently stated:

No corporation, no industry, no union gives the level of money that they give to politicians without expecting special consideration in return, and they do get it…For the Liberals, the housing industry, construction industry, real estate, the liquor industry, energy industry, certainly the mining industry, big forest industry — all gave exceptional amounts of money, and they got exceptional attention.
Read full article at The Common Sense Canadian
Outgoing NDP Leader Tom Mulcair at the party’s 2016 convention in Edmonton (USW/Flickr)

Outgoing NDP Leader Tom Mulcair at the party’s 2016 convention in Edmonton (USW/Flickr)

I’ve watched the NDP with considerable interest since its foundation in 1961 as an amalgamation of organized labour and other left-wing groups. I thought that it would form government within a decade because  the Conservative Party would fold and go away, the Liberals would move to the right, leaving the NDP on the centre-left in position to win the big prize. Not for the first time, I was dead wrong. There were times, however, as after the Mulroney romp of 1984 and the Tory wipeout in 1993 that the time seemed right – but it was not to be.

Why?

It’s not that the NDP haven’t had influence – they have, especially during the Liberal minority of the 70s. The problem is that the NDP, like most political parties, has power as its raison d’être.

Why hasn’t that victory happened? Read full article at The Common Sense Canadian

Former Conservative Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and outgoing Governor General David Johnston (Canada 2020/Flickr cc licence)

Former Conservative Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and outgoing Governor General David Johnston (Canada 2020/Flickr cc licence)

This is not a new story – it goes back to 2008.

In that year, the quintessential Toronto, true blue lawyer, David Johnston, received a call asking if he would write the terms of reference for a public inquiry.

Prime Minister Harper had, with considerable reluctance, committed himself to an investigation into allegations that his Conservative predecessor, Brian Mulroney, had taken illegal payments from the German lobbyist Karlheinz Schreiber and the investigation threatened to turn into a media circus. Johnston, the careful lawyer and quiet compromiser, agreed to define the inquiry’s parameters: what questions should be asked, and which issues were out of bounds? Read full article at The Common Sense Canadian

BCNDP Leader John Horgan touring Lynnterm docks in 2014 (BCNDP/Flickr cc licence)

BCNDP Leader John Horgan touring Lynnterm docks in 2014 (BCNDP/Flickr cc licence)

I  have a question or two for NDP leader John Horgan, given recent developments.

Let me be clear: I have no animosity towards Mr. Horgan – we only met once and just by accident. At that time, several years ago, Mr. Horgan stated that he favoured LNG because “the NDP couldn’t be against everything”. This illogical nonsense guides him still.

Still searching

I’m doing as many British Columbians are doing – looking for someone to support in 2017.

I certainly can’t vote for the incompetent, destructive, featherbrain in power; I thought I had a home with the Greens until I learned that their leader supports the Liberals’ IPPs policy, which destroys rivers and is bankrupting BC Hydro, so I had reconciled myself to the notion that this old Socred could vote NDP…but they lost me by uncritically supporting LNG and by the obvious political naiveté of its leader.

Mr. Horgan, how could you get this far and not understand basic politics? Continue Reading »

Apparently, according to Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and BC NDP leader John Horgan, we have a new doctrine in Canada which essentially says that Jobs Come Ahead Of Crisis When A Powerful Union Leader Says So.

Any free society, as part of its basic philosophy, permits citizens to better themselves, legally, and to withhold their labour. At the same time, no society can permit those rights to endanger society as a whole. Moreover, it can hardly be permitted because society hasn’t been able to control some of its segments, like the bastards exposed by the Panama Scandal. That behaviour exposes the weakness of people, not of the philosophy.

Horgan’s about-face shows humiliating weakness

Having once been a cabinet minister in a Socred government, I risk being called anti-union if I offer any criticism of a union. There’s a distinct odour of Senator Joseph McCarthy in an allegation that because one belonged to a certain group, they therefore can be assumed to have certain beliefs. I support unions, have been a member of three, had formal election endorsements from two, and I couldn’t have been elected, twice, in Kamloops, a union town, if I was anti-union. Continue Reading »

Vin Scully

Vin Scully

I ask, nay beg all sports announcers to catch one of Scully’s games before he goes and see how it’s done – anecdotes of considerable interest, not mindless statistics; the ability at 88 to carry the ballgame himself, and real knowledge, not notes passed by a kid with a laptop. I, a devoted baseball fan since that turkey, Mickey Owen, dropped that third strike in 1941, have trouble watching now, what with three in the booth, each trying to dominate, none worth listening to, and frequent interviews with someone in the dugout in the middle of play.

Baseball is as good as ever, if not better. The players are in better shape. Sadly, the announcing is terrible, the “homerism” nauseating and the knowledge mostly irrelevant drivel picked off a computer by a football fan.

There is, you see, no need for an old man like me to say “you should have heard announcers in the good old days” when for a while longer you can still hear the very best of those “good old days”, Vince (Vin) Scully.
Article by Tyler Kepner in the New York Times: A Few Words About Vin Scully, a Storyteller Who Has Seen It All

Nine-year-old newsie and his 7-year-old brother ‘Red’ – 1915 (Photo: Lewis Wickes Hine/Shorpy)

Nine-year-old newsie and his 7-year-old brother ‘Red’ – 1915 (Photo: Lewis Wickes Hine/Shorpy)

When I was born, well, quite a while ago, R.B. Bennett was Prime Minister of Canada, Herbert Hoover was President of the US, Ramsay Macdonald was Prime Minister of the UK, Simon Fraser Tolmie was Premier of BC, and Louis Taylor was Mayor of Vancouver, my natal city. From then until March 28, 2016 the Vancouver Sun and Province were in our house and, when it was alive, from 1933-53, the News Herald as well. I delivered the Province as a boy, was a proud member of their Tillicum Club and sneered at members on the Sun’s Sun Ray Club with Uncle Ben.

I am not going to spend much time today complaining about the newspapers’ inability to deliver quality. That’s a given and I’m not sure that they would deny that. There’s not enough money, they say, and, not being in the business, I can’t argue with them.

I do know that some very bad things have happened in recent years. At the time I was in government in the 70s and right to the end of the 20th century newspapers held politicians tightly to account and by and large they were pretty even-handed. Continue Reading »

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