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Babel-on-the-Bay: “And deliver us from evil.”

That line from the Anglican version of the Lord’s Prayer is a simple request to God to keep us from being beset by that which is evil in society. Were we to leave that job to those we choose to govern our country, we could be in serious trouble. Politicians seem to overreact. They go after malefactors with a zeal that puts the Lord of Hosts to shame.

Take the Hair and his friends in Ottawa. For years now they have been building new prisons for evil doers. It does little good to tell them that statistically crime is decreasing (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Canadians are waiting for the Hair.

The lights are on late in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). The price of crude oil is less than $50 a barrel. The Canadian dollar is trading just under 80 cents American. The surplus promised in the 2014-15 fiscal year is gone. The federal budget that was expected in March is being put off until April or May, or later. The Bank of Canada prime lending rate has been dropped to 0.75 per cent to stabilize the currency. What is the Hair to do?

Part of the problem is that the Hair has foolishly decided to try for a (Read more…)

reeves report: Contentious Rouge Park Bill Passes Third Reading

Despite united opposition against the proposed National Urban Park, Conservative Bill C-40 passed third reading Monday. The legislation is now on its way to the Tory-dominated Senate for further review.

Orchard Trail in Rouge Park.

The passage of Bill C-40 in Ottawa earlier this week, creating the country’s first National Urban Park in Toronto’s Rouge Valley, is not the cause for celebration a large number of its proponents hoped it would be.

Many of the countries leading environmental groups — including Ontario Nature, Environmental Defence, the David Suzuki Foundation and Friends of the Rouge Watershed — lamented the fact that in (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Oh sure, let’s blame Question Period.

The Prime Minister must be smiling. You can tell because his make-up is a bit askew. Someone told him that his favourite newspaper wants to get rid of Question Period in the House of Commons. As he explained to an aide, “Without Question Period, I would never have to show up in that damn place except for budgets and Throne Speeches.”

He does like to look prime ministerial and periodically, when he sees the time is right, he will rise in the House to allay the concerns of the overly curious Opposition. While sometimes his answers bear little relationship (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Lord Cross-the-Pond still ponders.

Finding another commentary by Lord Cross-the-Pond, Conrad Black, in this past weekend’s National Post only proves that he really needs something serious to do. And we can assure him that his friend Paul Godfrey needs no help in running the National Post and Sun Media newspapers into the ground until the American money lenders are satisfied. It is heart-warming to see that Lord Connie still thinks of people like us as lumpen-left. It is too bad that he cannot find something he knows about to write about.

And hopefully Paul Godfrey is not paying Connie anything for those overly long (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Is Canada racist? No. Is there racism in Canada? Yes.

The announcements of the concern about racism the other day in Winnipeg came as no surprise. That part of this country has been trying to stuff the racism genie back in the bottle since the confluence of the Assiniboine and Red Rivers was the site of an early trading post. Give the city the credit it deserves though, the racism is now exposed and the city has a chance to work on the problems. It is just too bad that Montreal does not do the same. It continues as the most racist city in Canada.

And we are not talking (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: If there is Will, he will find a way.

Not being a regular reader of the Washington Post, we might not have read many columns by George F. Will. It was only when Toronto’s National Post picked up one of his commentaries last weekend that we had the fun of trying to figure out how his mind works—or maybe does not. What appeared to start out as a mindless Republican tarring of America’s first black President, was found to include some mindless repetition of TransCanada Pipelines’ news releases.

This guy Will must be a staunch anti-environmentalist. Yet he has the temerity to say about President Obama that “his mind (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: The Hair regrets his fixed voting dates.

The best laid schemes of mice and Hair often go for nought. (Robbie Burns said that much better.) Fixed election dates for Canada were an easy promise to keep back in 2006 but they have never really worked well for the Hair. With a looming election date of October 19 for this year, the Hair must want to call the whole thing off.

And he had such lovely plans. He had everything dovetailed so nicely. He started with all those ambitious goodies to use the planned surplus this year. He announced them last November. Finance Minister Joe Oliver would (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Bobbsey twin booed by Bedouins.

They are displeased with Canada in Ramallah. Palestinians threw eggs, shoes and insults at Canada’s foreign minister the other day in the acting capital of the Palestinian State in the West Bank. And this Bobbsey twin deserved every curse, epithet and derisive comment that he received. And he should get the same treatment in Canada for the damage he is doing to Canada’s reputation.

Foreign Minister John Baird along with his boss Prime Minister Stephen Harper has brought shame on Canada. By pandering to the Israelis to win votes from Jews in Canada, they have only angered the Muslim world (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Oh, to be middle class again.

Are you old enough to remember when being middle class was the place to be? That was back when you had a detached house in the suburbs with a two-car garage (full of bicycles), two kids and three televisions. You lived from paycheque to paycheque but you could still go to the Caribbean or Europe for a couple weeks at the right time of year. Well, now you are a senior, you are finding out how the poor people live.

And it is not just the upset of being called ‘Dearie’ by middle-aged cashiers but the fact that half your (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: What a difference a day makes in a Tory budget.

Did you see Finance Minister Joe Oliver’s dance of the seven veils last week? This guy is right in his element playing Peek-a-Boo. At least it makes more sense than his budgets—if we even get one this year?

When last heard from the other day, he said he might have a budget for us in April—or maybe May. Or did we just come up with a reason for the Prime Minister to call the federal election this year in April?

While nobody gives the federal Finance Minister much credit for intelligence or wit or anything else for that matter, Mr. (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Justin Trudeau, it’s time for statesmanship.

The handwriting on the wall is clear and unequivocal. It says “Justin Trudeau, you have been tried and found wanting.” Both the Conservatives and New Democrats are going to attack down that street. And they will give no quarter. Their claims will be that as Liberal Leader, Justin has no direction, experience, knowledge, nor purpose nor training in leading our country.

And he is running out of time to correct the perception of Canadians that his detractors might be right. One of the major arguments for Mr. Harper to call the election in April is that he can use (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: A friendly note to the American Congress.

Hey you jerks, please do not do that for us. We do not want the Keystone XL pipeline either. Canadians who care are firmly against any pipelines that try to pump bitumen to the sea. That tar sands stuff is three times as polluting as West Texas crude oil. Why in hell would you want to promote faster global warming?

We hate to tell you this but President Obama is right. There is no profit for America to allow that atrocity by TransCanada Pipelines across the United States. There are no long term jobs. There are some royalties to landowners (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Can the Hair win whenever?

No matter when the Prime Minister decides to call the election (we will still give odds on October), the only important question is: Can he be beaten? We would advise all you pundits, pollsters and politicos to hold off your bets until the writ comes down. That is when Babel-on-the-Bay will publish its much awaited Morning Line.

And who knows? The election at that point might be an easy ramble for one of the three parties. It could also look like a dead heat. We just do not know at this time. There is ground to cover.

Coming from the (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Raising a glass to Sir John Eh?

Never try to compare the mausoleums and monuments of Washington to the pathetic honours of Ottawa. Today might or might not be the 200th anniversary of Sir John A. Macdonald’s birth in Scotland. (The records are confused.) He deserves our remembrance, our thanks and our criticisms. Creating our wonderful country is no minor credit on the plus side.

Sure the old bugger was a drunk and a scoundrel and a racist but probably no more or less than others of his time. He was no saint. How was he to know better? We are suffused with knowing and (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Wynne is destroying democracy in Ontario.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne does not seem to know much about democracy. She got her present job because of a corrupted controlled convention. She thinks she can just appoint whichever candidate she wants in by-elections. She really does not understand that her attitude is what is helping destroy democracy in Ontario and in Canada.

Wynne does not seem to understand that the Liberal Party needs internal democracy to survive. To stifle democracy is to encourage corruption. The current corruption leads to encouraging people who want to manipulate the party to their advantage. It establishes the party as uninterested in attracting (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: That was another good year.

The New Year came and went and it was such a busy time for political comment that we missed commenting on the past year. And that year needs a look. Babel-on-the-Bay set some records. Readership is up. In 365 days, there were 365 commentaries. Other sites are asking for our commentaries. Others send us readers. The numbers are confusing because so many of you are frequent flyers. This blog is fun but on the occasional cold day, it can also be onerous.

But the record continues. Babel-on-the-Bay called the shots on every election of interest to us last year. The (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Some of us just wanted to see good hockey.

That certainly was a great international junior hockey game between Canada and Russia the other evening. The teams were highly charged and competitive as they went for the gold medal and the hockey was fast and furious. It had you enthralled from beginning to end. It was no time for politics.

But the Hair had to be there. He took off his tie and put on a Team Canada jersey. It was his time to be with Canada’s common people. There is an election in the air.

His day started well. He removed the embarrassing Minister Julian Fantino from his (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: The Bobbsey Twin and the flying machine.

The gimmick was solid. Tom Clark of Global News’ West Block show was offering a flight in his little single engine airplane to the three party leaders. All they had to agree to was an on-camera interview in the air. Both Liberal Justin Trudeau and New Democrat Tom Mulcair accepted and the interviews were aired. Nobody expected a control freak like the Prime Minister to accept and we thought that covered it.

But we forgot about the wannabes. Just because the Prime Minister said ‘no’ that hardly means that those potentially vying for his party leadership would not want coverage. (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: The Hair’s ‘crazy’ care of our environment.

If no environmental regulations are required when times are good in the tar sands, why is it ‘crazy’ to impose them when times are bad? Yet that was what the Prime Minister told the House of Commons early in December. The country has been aghast since then.

The main problem with what the Hair told the House of Commons was that there was an immediate assumption that regulation would include penalties to the oil and gas sector of the economy. What he said exactly was “it would be crazy economic policy—to do unilateral penalties on that sector.”

What the (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: And the parties need you now.

There is a warm feeling to being needed. And judging by the carefully crafted e-mails from the political parties these days you know that it is really your money that is needed. It is a sign of the times. The end of subsidies to political parties and the anticipated election called by act of parliament for October this year, are the reasons.

The end of public subsidies to political parties was a bravado act by Canada’s Conservative Party to gain advantage over the Liberals and New Democrats. They had little realization that the other two parties would quickly learn the (Read more…)

reeves report: 2014 — Canada’s Year of the Pipeline

Keystone XL wasn’t the only pipeline project to rankle Canadians in 2014.

WIDESPREAD PUBLIC DEBATE on building vast networks of snaking energy pipelines throughout Canada dominated the country’s environmental newsreel in 2014, and will continue making headlines in the year ahead.

A collection of Canada’s top environmental NGOs told Reeves Report the climate change file — particularly an uptick in news stories, op-eds, consultations and street-level protests over whether and where oil and gas pipelines could be situated — was the environmental story of the year.

Devon Page, head of environmental legal group Ecojustice, said there has been more conversation (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Determining a direction for the Dauphin.

If you are assuming that sometime in the next eight to ten months, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau will leave off the platitudes and say something substantive, you could be disillusioned. If you were hoping that the Liberal Party’s plan for Canada is the road to Nirvana, you are just kidding yourself. And the real problem is that to win the election, all the Liberal Party has to do is be there.

Did you think that Prime Minister Stephen Harper was finally going to let his hair down and be honest with Canadians? Did you think that New Democrat Leader Thomas (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Planning for Fortress America.

Watching Tom Clark’s West Block program on Global the other day sent a severe chill up the back. The show had two American guests General David Petraeous, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency and Robert Zoellick, former head of the World Bank. The two gentlemen were promoting their study for the United States Council on Foreign Relations entitled, North America: Time for a New Focus. It sounded very much like a blueprint for the takeover of America’s two neighbours.

The study makes the point forcefully that while a great deal of attention is paid to Europe and China, the (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: The difference was in knowing Thumper.

If you thought of Thumper back in his political days, they were not always warm and fuzzy thoughts. Thumper was better known at that time as Donald S. Macdonald, M.P. for Toronto Rosedale. He always had an itch back then to be the replacement for Pierre Trudeau and those of us on the left of the Liberal Party said, “Over our dead bodies.”

Don had reached his level of incompetence back then as Prime Minister Trudeau’s Minister of Finance. He was hardly a mover and shaker in the role but was a sop to the Toronto elite who (Read more…)