It’s A Wonder Canada Survives

Kelly McParland, the very learned columnist from the National Post, was kind enough this morning to remind me of a modern-day wonder – and that is, “social media can only handle one outburst of moral fervour at a time”.

McParland’s point, with which I am in full agreement, is that the country is enamoured with the Jodi Wilson-Raybould saga, which is Ottawa focused and concerns an infamous Quebec engineering firm whose business practices are so well known most Canadians know them by name. As an average-Joe, I will be the first to admit that I am hard pressed to name even one other engineering firm that is Canadian based/owned, but I can name SNC-Lavalin and even spell it correctly.

Never mind the many legal, ethical or social implications of what the Liberals are doing in the Wilson-Raybould affair. We have an election coming in October of this year, and electoral seats are at stake in Quebec. It all makes for great drama, and Upper and Lower Canada are mentally occupied with possible outcomes. What could possibly be more important outside Ontario and Quebec?

Well, to McParland’s point, the most important thing to happen in Canada in the last week has hardly been noticed by the media or any other persons having even a passing interest in public affairs.

As it happens, the National Energy Board’s “Reconsideration” of its ruling on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion was released late last week, and it has gone mostly un-noticed in the centre of the country.

This, I might remind you, is the same pipeline that Trudeau’s Liberals paid a hefty $4.5 Billion of taxpayers’ money to acquire. In essence, this is Canada’s pipeline, and the only people who seem to give a hoot about it live in Western Canada where Liberal seats are a rarity. Go figure! You can bet your last dollar that the Liberals didn’t buy the Trans Mountain because it was being generous on behalf of Western Canadians.  And never mind that Western Canada’s resource-based economy (meaning, mostly oil and gas) remains the economic engine of the country.

So, let’s add insult to injury and throw in Bill C-69, the great Liberal defender of all things “climate change’ related.  Disguised as a carbon tax but in reality another Liberal scheme for wealth distribution (the subject of another blog to come), Bill C-69 will add yet another layer of regulatory restraint on natural resource development in Western Canada and other provinces where manufacturing and service sector jobs are not an option. I’m sure if we look hard enough, we can find even more roadblocks to development that we can throw in the mix, because God forbid, Central Canada becomes concerned about jobs and economic development in a province other than Ontario or Quebec.

As regards the SNC-Lavalin saga, Trudeau and the Liberals (which now includes the Clerk of the Privy Council, Michael Wernick) were willing to do whatever it takes to protect the 10,000 or so jobs that are tied to that company.

In 2017, SNC-Lavalin had revenues in the order of $9 Billion, 15% of which concerned government. If SNC-Lavalin were denied government contracts, that would still leave a healthy revenue stream for the company even if they were denied federal government contracts.

In the case of the Trans Mountain Pipeline, for which Canadian taxpayers paid $4.5 Billion, and which will generate an estimated 8,000 jobs during the expansion construction period, Western Canadians are given Bill C-69 (more regulation) and more consultation and negotiation with indigenous and environmental groups – all designed to slow approvals and actual construction.

Who is speaking for Western Canada in all of this? Ralph Goodall, our Minister of Public Safety and Saskatchewan’s representative in the Federal Cabinet, is silent. Amarjeet Sohi, our Minister of Natural Resources of all things, is Alberta’s representative in the Federal Cabinet. Where is the outrage?

I long for the days of Brian Peckford, Peter Lougheed, Bill Bennet and Bill Davis. You could have agreed with them, or not, or supported them, or not, but the one thing neither of those gentlemen would have given you was their silence in defense of their provinces. If Peter Lougheed were still Premier of Alberta, we would at least be entertained with his political outrage. Instead, we are forced to listen to Rachel Notley’s kitten like ‘meow’ as she tries to explain here disappointment with the Trans Mountain Pipeline ‘reconsideration’.

This is one hell of a way to run a country. The Federal Government has the constitutional power to ensure the construction and completion of the pipeline that they own, and which could and would ensure the economic prosperity of the country. However, the Feds refuse to use that power because doing so, or not, will not change the electoral landscape.

At the same time, Trudeau and the Liberals are willing to do whatever it takes to protect SNC-Lavalin while protecting Liberal seats in Quebec. And that story is more important to the country??????

And Upper and Lower Canada are as silent as our Western Canadian representatives in the Federal Cabinet.

How have we survived as a country for the past 152 years?

I Have Chosen Life As We Now Know It

The Internet is a wonderful thing. But like most 67 year old, white, middle class male Canadians, I have had an irrational fear of that which I don’t really understand – meaning, 98% of all things Web related.

I think I use social media. I do have a smart phone that I use for phone calls and texting, and I admit to using the mysterious device for an occasional visit to my Gmail. I do have Facebook and Messenger apps on my smart phone, but again I hardly use them. For me, email, Facebook and Messenger are better accessed using my laptop, and occasionally my tablet. Which only goes to prove that my smart phone is much smarter than I am, or else I’d be smart enough to have all of my “web related” activities confined to one device.

I’m sure you’re getting the picture here. I mostly pretend that I’m familiar with the workings of these mysterious devices, and I love to think that I’m hip enough to keep up with the young crowd by using Facebook to keep in touch with family and friends. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that I could actually reconnect with friends from forty and fifty years ago, and have a conversation as if I had seen those people only yesterday.

So here I am. A mostly retired white, privileged, middle class, fairly educated and moderately successful Canadian male. Like most Canadians of my vintage, I have had a number of distinct careers; in law enforcement, in sales, in politics as both an organizer and as a political staffer at the federal and provincial levels, and finally as a “cog in a wheel ” at a major multi-national pharmaceutical company operating in Canada. Throughout these careers I have enjoyed many, many successes, and like most people in life, as many failures along the way. As we say in politics, “I’ve been to the top of the greasy pole. But the slide down to the bottom of the pole is much quicker than the climb to the top”.

In all of this personal confusion of not really knowing how to use social media and the various high tech devices that are at my disposal, I’ve decided that I do have a story to tell, and opinions to share. I’ve decided to start this blog with two goals in mind.

First, like others of my mindset, I’ve decided that I do have opinions that I want to share, and a blog is the perfect forum to give those who have no voice a platform to find a voice.

And secondly, this blog will be very educational in that it will teach me how to use social media. I want to understand the power of social media in a meaning and positive way.

I cannot promise that all of my thoughts and opinions will be original, but where I draw upon other peoples’ work, thoughts and prayers, I will give credit where credit is due.

To you, dear readers (assuming you are outside my normal very small circle of friends and family) I wish you well. Please accept my ramblings for what they are meant to be – some serious opinions being throwns out into the wilderness of the internet, and an occasion attempt at humour (of which I’ve often been accused of having little).

Let’s wish each other well as I embark on this literary journey.