#189 – Fuck Manitoba

You know your province sucks when your major city is used for a throwaway joke on an episode of the Simpsons:

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(S) A major newspaper printed this article. Read it and cringe.
Winnipeg gets another reference in the show, this time as a threat to keep children in line. To be honest I’d be a little concerned by the threat of being sent to Winnipeg. One reason? An underclass of segregated, impoverished Indigneous people. Shockingly, the great Canadian air hasn’t magically given desperate people with nothing to do a sudden impulse to garden and sing O Canada into the sunrise – gangs run rampant. 10% of the population don’t know where their next meal is coming from. There’s a housing bubble there too, because why not fuck up some more. The people have spoken about public transit being akin to Satan’s puckered asshole have some evidence to their claim. Like how they deferred maintenance for so long that they had to cut services suddenly. Here’s a lady saying that she literally might as well have walked.

Sound like shit? Well, it’s all downhill from there folks! Yes, Manitoba’s best offering is a sloppy slapping of shit on a plate, a place that Canada would almost rather forget was there. This may be because it used to be an important rail hub for extractive industry until those industries inevitably buckled or moved. Shockingly there were no plans for Winnipeg after that, and man does it show. Remember how I said that Canada throws places away after they’ve served their purpose? This is probably the biggest instance of that – a whole province tossed away.

How bad is it? Well, faith in Winnipeg outside of Winnipeg is so high that municipalities are trying to take the construction of vital services into their own hands. The wait-times in Manitoba’s hospitals were the dubious winners of the Longest Wait Time Award for 2015. Provincial transit infrastructure is so poor that paramedics can’t do their jobs. Manitoba scored a bitchin’ D on Canada’s education report card. I’d like to especially point at this chart:

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Translation: onlly loosers wory bout skool!

Before we move on to the ultimate expression of Manitoba misery let’s take a moment to talk about CFB Shilo. One of the largest caker-bases in the country, Shilo has an engrained culture of racism so powerful that it broke the spirit of an Inuk woman who tragically believed in the velvet lies of the Canadian state. And don’t worry – mental health on base is as good as you’d expect. This is a pervasive problem in Manitoba’s small towns. Here’s a lady alleging that racism ran her and her business out of town. And it just wouldn’t be extra-tolerant tee-hee Canada without gay people having every chance to also get run out of town by bigots!

The Canadian military certainly has its problems, but Manitoba takes even that misery and cranks it up like a mad scientist. When the mad province cranks the vile dial as far as it’ll go the ultimate manifestation of misery is born. Enter Manitoba’s Indigenous Reserves, stage left. Manitoba’s reserves are, to be simple about it, the worst in the country. Housing is failing, poverty is rampant, 76% of children on reserves are impoverished, and desperation is the norm – often to tragic result that police can’t be bothered to follow up on. Relations are further strained between Manitoba and the Indigenous because – suprise! – Manitoba may have reneged on its treaty obligations. And I suspect the pollution and contamination doesn’t help relations much either.

And that’s Manitoba – a boring hellhole managing a range of boring, reactionary towns and housing some of the most shameful conditions in Canada. A province built on the bilingual lie which pushed the French away and helped to create the schism between French and English that serves as just one more crack in the caker facade of unity. I thought P.E.I. would be a hard province to top in terms of shittiness. Boy, was I wrong.

#188 – Anne of Grim Gables

I haven’t beaten up yet on Canada’s tiniest and most useless province – Prince Edward Island. How bad is it? Well, it sucked harder at providing a solid quality-of-life than two of the three territories in 2012. Given how unthinkably fucked the North is, this does not bode well for PEI. Coincidentally, people are leaving the island in droves, citing reasons like the place being boring, cultureless, and filled with noxious dudebros. One in six children on PEI live in poverty and the issue hasn’t received attention in at least 25 years. An island that seriously brands itself on its potato crop has a 25% incidence of childhood food insecurity. How do you fuck up this badly and how can anyone fix this mess?

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(s) The world’s largest egg-beater probably won’t help.

Prince Edward Island, like British Columbia only joined Confederation because of debt. This is rather funny considering that Charlottetown is hailed as the “Cradle of Confederation”. Revisionism starts as soon as the island is forced into the Canadian fold. Never mind that Canada took on the island’s debt or that Prince Edward Island was also seriously considering joining the United States. Better not think about the fact that 20% of Canada’s provinces effectively joined the union out of debt bondage, because that isn’t shucks-golly approved! That the Canada connection is a central part of Prince Edward Island’s self-branding is a fascinating display of caker doublethink and revisionism in action. It’s almost impressive how quickly and ably Canadians erase their pasts.

When all the Anne of Green Gables crap is scraped off of the place PEI reveals itself to be rather less wistful and rather more unhealthful. Here’s a letter to the editor decrying the obscene difficulty associated with finding a doctor on the island. Prince Edward Island is dealing with both a crippling shortage of nurses and a debilitating lack of doctors. Six year ago there were problems associated with getting prescriptions filled, too. And just like in the North doctors and frontline care are being ground to dust without adequate support. Speaking of not having any support, Prince Edward Island has a critical lack of foster parents. Wonder if that has anything to do with PEI’s longstanding policy of not having abortions on the island, a policy which only ended this year?

Anyways, PEI is also full of hicks and idiots. And food prices have gone up nearly 40% in eight years, which doesn’t exactly scream successful policy-making. It also doesn’t seem like planning is a priority for the island, seeing as how they couldn’t be bothered to keep their provincial legislative building structurally sound. Who knew that a Maritime island gets rained on or that buildings require protection ftom rain? Similar planning acumen can be seen in PEI’s lobster fishery, which apparently is benefitting from climate change and high prices only to suffer a bad season because of weather. It’s almost like mindless extraction isn’t the way to prosperity. Not like Canada will figure that out this century.

Like most provinces in Canada Prince Edward Island is dependent on seasonal production, tourism from people who don’t know any better, and extractive industry. Shitty frozen French fries and potato chips were made on the island, though the McCains (another loathsome Canadian family that will definitely get its time in court here on Shit about Canada) have closed their fry-making slop-shop up. The other operator in the frozen food business, the one that’s still around, is called Cavendish Farms and is owned by – wait for it! – the Irvings! Yes, nothing says Canada quite like caker business. Amazing how caker business always seems to turn up in regions that have no hope of attracting anything less parasitic.

And there it is. Prince Edward Island is dangerously unprepared, reliant on unpredictable industries headed by cakers with a proven track record of being shitwands, doesn’t plan properly, and uses an edited version of itself to sell Canadians on a trip to the middle of nowhere. Its social indicators are poor, its people are fleeing in droves to the rest of Canada, and Canadians are busy not giving a shit about tiny, tiny PEI.

I think the islanders would have been better off with the Yankees. Just saying.

 

 

 

#187 – Moving Displays of Uselessness

The governments of Canada and the provinces have long enjoyed the concept of relocation. Relocating people in theory may have made sense in some contexts; there are always apologists waiting in the wings to paint Canada as an altruistic, loving figure. But the methods behind the madness, including cutting services and leaving people with no support in their new “home”, make apologies die in any reasonable person’s throat. Shockingly, Canada has a record of doing forced relocations in a hap-hazard, painful way. I can’t possibly fathom how that could be. Canada? Being evil towards its own people? No way!

Naturally, Canada needed to get the more brutal displays of evil down before it could get to the real meat and potatoes of malice like splitting families and using the disparate parts as human flagpoles. Given Canada’s long, ignoble track record of shitting on brown people the Indigenous were stop number one on Canada’s Tour of Sadness. Here are the Cree charging Canada both with having forced relocations of their people (with severe negative repercussions) in the past and with neglecting this point in modern Indigenous negotiation. And if you think that’s a new phenomenon check out this paper on the savagery inflicted upon the Sayisi Dene, who were evacuated in the span of hours in the name of stopping a claimed decline in caribou populations…that ended up not existing. The Sayisi Dene were shipped to Northern Manitoba and promptly ignored until half of their population died in 20 years, two-thirds of whom were killed violently. There are concentration camps with lower kill rates, guys.

But what would Canada be without its multiculturalism? That’s right, friends. Canada was ready to bring the prospect of forced, uncoordinated relocation to people of all stripes! Of course, Canada saved its most sadistic cruelty for the Indigenous, because that’s what Canada does when it isn’t either ignoring the Indigenous or trying to tokenize their existence into history-baubles. There’s still that time Canada wanted to experiment with integrating the Inuit into the wage economy and to that end closed a Moravian settlement named Hebron without the slightest bit of information or planning time given to the Inuit. Not like Canada having plans gave the relocated any reason to smile – ask Japanese-Canadians. On the other side of the spectrum we have Canada’s “ah, fuck it” method of beinging the pain to communities on full display with Africville, which suffered decades of neglect from the governments of Halifax and Nova Scotia and was torn down as onlookers looked on in horror! Even white people got to lose under Canadian relocation projects – Newfoundlanders who abandoned their untenable fishing villages found themselves without work in the “designated growth areas” that planners had suggested. See? Multiculturalism: anyone of any race can get fucked with the long salty dong of Canadian incompetence and then be told to forget that it happened. I bet the Cadets don’t teach this stuff either.

Before we close up here, I need to put some basics down to close out my argument. My problem is not that Canada relocated people; there are cases, like in Newfoundland, where communities had been built for single-resource extraction that simply no longer worked. But between Canada moving people for selfish reasons (the Inuit “human flagpoles” and the Cree), Canada misreading evidence and in the process nearly slaughtering an entire people (the Sayisi Dene), Canada simply not bothering to tell people that their homes were to be moved (Hebron), Canada’s incredible lapse in moral judgement (which is often revised out of Canada’s hoo-rah war stories), Canada neglecting segments of the population until they are simply forced to move (Africville and, come to think of it most of these examples), and Canada inventing systems and infrastructure that just didn’t work (Newfoundland), Canada has definitely shit the bed on the file. If I were to give Canada an award for its efforts it would look like this:

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(S)

 

 

 

 

 

#186 – Cadet Corps(e)

Of the many tendrils of the Canadian Armed Forces, one of the least-examined is the Royal Canadian Army Cadets, or “Cadets”. Cadets is a military-sponsored program that immediately devolves into creepiness on its about pages. Read this quote below and tell me this isn’t scary shit:

Army Cadets get involved in ceremonial military events and citizenship activities that allow them to connect to their Canadian heritage. They develop a great sense of pride and discipline through their involvement in a hierarchical system…

After reading promises of glacier climbs and parachuting hoo-rah Canadiana in childrens’ ears on the public dime, it’s no surprise that I went digging a bit deeper. And the truth regarding the Cadets is a shade different from visions of summer camp and unmatched glee. As in, the Canadian Cadet program is bloated, ridiculously jingoistic, and is under fire for sexual harrassment. Remember that this is a group designed for children here. And just think – if your lucky child can dodge Lt. Col. Stalker one day they too can look forward to reciting lines about veterans while parading in the cold to amuse cakers.

While we’re at it, we should add some asterisks to the parts where the program promises events and training. Some of the program’s requirements, like the requirement to stop cold-weather training after the temperature goes below -30C, aren’t even possible in the North. If you don’t have money to go to mandatory training sessions you can expect to have your ass penalized. The ass penalties presumably arise if you actually go to training; seriously, this looks like a pervasive problem here. Anyways, the weird combination of form-fit rules that don’t make sense and a system that claims equality while actually penalizing the poor? Hell, sounds like Canada to me!

If you happen to not live in an area “serviced” by the Cadets your little Timmy can instead join the Junior Canadian Rangers, who are also bloated and shitty but are quite frankly probably the only thing to do that isn’t drugs. Get ready to experience a lack of coherent policy-making and fundamentally unequal access to the full scope of the program, Timmy! Who needs performance metrics anyways, right? Just make shit up as you go along!

But the weirdest and nastiest part of the Cadets is how they indoctrinate children with Canadiana. I don’t know how else to say that it’s fucking creepy as shit that it advertises this as a good thing:

The Cadet Program is also about national unity. Youth from across Canada have an equal opportunity to participate in the Cadet Program and to develop their sense of Canadian identity. Cadets are highly visible ambassadors of Canada. Because the Government of Canada has invested in them while they are still young, Cadets are taught the skills and knowledge required to become knowledgeable and capable representatives of their country.

So, the goal of your program is to train children to be “knowledgeable” and note that the young age at which Cadets starts is a positive to that end. One of the stated goals of the program is to turn your Timmy into part of Brand Canada! Oh, sure – there’s discipline and knots and Boy Scout shit and whatever, but what the fuck guys?! The promises of fun and adventure are locked behind a strategic objective from the government to affirm and implant an approved Canadian script into the minds of children. Yeah, pretty sure Cadets doesn’t talk about the RCMP trying to kill off the Qimmiq or the atrocities in Somalia or the chronic disparity between access and quality to and of public infrastructure.

I don’t know what’s scarier about the Cadets, the constant stream of sexual assaults or the fact that jingoistic revisionism is the cost of entry for a program whose promises aren’t even regularly fulfilled for much of the membership. Ï mean, the very first requirement for most of the stars (think Scout badges) is a “Canadian” contextualization of the issue at hand! Doesn’t get much more Canadian than that – indoctrination in hopes of making connections and kissing ass begets a lifetime of apologizing for a country that routinely fails to serve the basic needs of the population.

 

 

#185 – Heavy Metal Blunder

Let me ask you a question. Suppose that you owned a plot of forest bifurcated by a river in the middle of ass-fuck nowhere. Then suppose that forty or so years ago your grandpappy permitted a bunch of people to lug toxic waste all over your property in the name of profits. Grandpappy is gone and the forest is yours; when do you think you might get around to checking that, you know, the toxic waste party was properly cleaned up?

If you’re Ontario and “touched by the angels”, the answer is 35 years. That’s how long the rivers and land around the now-infamous Grassy Narrows have gone untested by the provincial government. Never mind that there was a fucking sawmill openly using mercury as part of their production. Forget Robert Sharpe’s alarming discovery that the court system was unable to dispense justice for the people who lost lives and livelihoods after the Ontario government practically banned fishing in the area. Obviously Ontario doesn’t need to seriously inspect the area anymore, because the “ah, fuck it, it’ll fix itself” method of…well, doing anything really is Canada’s preferred method. I’m half-convinced that some caker will unironically suggest duct tape.

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(s) Rivers are like ducts. Close enough, eh?

The first amazing part of this story is how many times it has come up without any meaningful action. Like a cat turd in a toilet bowl stories of malfeasance and stupidity bob into and out of public awareness. Most recently I was inspired by Kas Glowacki recalling his time literally dumping barrels of toxic waste in the wilderness with the awesome protective power of a plastic sheet to prevent seepage. We still have no information about the extent of the pollution around Grassy Narrows despite it being in the news now, in 2015, and in 2012. Research on the impacts of poisoning people has been ongoing since the 1970s, and the Canadian government continues to do what it does best – nothing of consequence. I suspect that if this was happening in a new suburban development we wouldn’t be waiting generations to start fixing the problem; where Japan set up a hefty repayment program for the lives that their experiences with mercury ruined Canada unleashed a half-assed system that couldn’t even be assed to send so much as a sympathy card. What’s this? We ruined your food supply and livelihoods? Here’s ~$18 million in a single lump sum to split for the rest of your lives. Debilitating mental and physical harm has never been less lucrative.

But wait, there’s more! Remember that bit about Kas Glowacki and the who-cares approach to poison? For a while it was practically policy – Ontario doubled its imports of American toxic waste in the 1990s because of how lax regulations on the stuff were. And that’s not including the disaster that is consumer habits dumping small quantities of crap over time. And even better? Ensuring compliance with waste dispsoal regimes is still a problem! Yes, people of the Internet – in the year 2015 Canadians were still dumping toxic waste in random spots and hoping for the best. Given how sloppy Canada is at managing even obvious pollution in heavily-populated areas the probability of Canada giving a shit about stuff that most people don’t see is frankly miniscule. This is especially true when municipalities are the ones often holding the fiscal bag as regards disposal sites. If anyone has the money to properly police toxic waste it sure as shit isn’t your average cash-strapped Canadian municipality.

Tracking would-be miscreant dumpers is a tough thing to mandate because there’s frankly a lot of space for a would-be illegal dumper to offload some toxic shit. But proper, constant environmental scanning is both possible and doesn’t require Orwellian surveillance. Actually looking proactively for problems instead of fumbling like a quarterback with a greased football allows us to hopefully find problems and their sources before they become massive, crippling problems. Sadly, when Canadians can’t even be bothered to properly screen the water they drink daily there is little chance that they’ll consider planning to test water that they aren’t regularly in contact with.

#184 – Incredulous Canada

Cakers love talking about immigration. Whether it’s the unique blend of garbage and idiocy that usually comes after the words “this isn’t politically correct, but” or the shameless self-promotion of Laurentian fucks looking to get a booster shot of caker mythology while finding more people to fleece, immigration is one of Canada’s stupidest talking points. One of myriad manifestations of ersatz compromise between the stupid and the slippery is Canada’s interest in taking professional immigrants with degrees and accreditations, promising them steady work and a better life in Canada, and then immediately bailing on the recent migrant by denying the validity of their degrees and certifications. Cakers don’t even accept caker accreditations; how likely are they to understand the merits of foreign degrees?

The beauty of this shafting mechanism is that it allows for both the red-meat racism of the kind that really gets the “swills beer while standing in garage” demographic and the mythological “faire Canada” of the shameless Laurentian to stand in the same place. See? There’s totally work in Canada! Migrants are coming from all over with all sorts of skills and talents! And when the migrant either can’t find work at all or join the ranks of the underemployed masses like the 53% of migrant cabbies with degrees Marty the Beer-Swilling Moron can have his go at the “dem dam migrents arr takeing our JOBS!!!!”. Cakers win, education loses. Just another day in Canada.

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(s) The loftiest dreams start here and end in a cab dodging caker puke

It doesn’t help that Canada has a nightmarishly complicated screening process and migrants are frequently not told of the complexities awaiting them. And it’s not like the government is helping; take a look at the website for the Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials. Are you not fluent in English or French yet? Hope you can read this in one of those languages because the fuck if Canada’s gonna put this information in languages that migrants are more likely to understand! Nothing says “welcome to Canada, where we will help you towards a new life” like a wall of complex instructions laden with exceptions and requirements.

The result? Stressed-out, pissed-off people who bail at the first chance and leave with the battle scars associated with trying to exist in Cakertown. One-third of male immigrants to Canada leave after fewer than 20 years; of those, most will bail out within the first year. And in so doing they affirm the two-headed hypocrisy of Canadian thinking about migrants. They came seeking hope to satisfy the Laurentian twit; they “couldn’t tough it out” and “didn’t keep their sticks on the ice” to satisfy the Below-Average Hockeymans Caker-Brigades. Even better, we can slam the door on people who are waiting without a lick of transparency for God-knows-what forms to be filled. Want to go home and visit family? Well, fuck you – if you leave, you’re not coming back. Even if you were educated in Canada on a student visa, confusion and complication end up sending people away. We’ll take you money, folks, but Canada doesn’t exactly have a track record of holding up its end of a bargain. Ask the Indigenous.

This has a sad, personal dimension that I want to hammer in before I sign off. Canada isn’t just ruining the lives of abstracted individuals. These are human beings, people with goals and hopes and dreams who were duped and ended up as cabbies, cashiers, temporary help – dreck-work that in no way meshes with the visions and promises they were given. I got shit out of the caker university system grizzled and pissy enough; Lord knows the pain of people who came so far for so little. Want to see some victims, people who were duped and deceived into leaving friends and family to come to a concrete bog? Here’s a big ol’ list of ’em, each one a stark reminder of the human costs associated with caker mythology not even remotely meshing with Canadian reality.

And as you flip through the link just remember – cakers are proud of their concept of multiculturalism.

 

 

#183 – #RealChange Muzzles the Past (for Make Good People of Greatest Canada)

All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary.” – Not a good government (actually, this line is from Nineteen-Eighty Four)

Today in cartoonishly-idiotic activities by our one and only Senor Hairpiece we have the erasure of history. Wait, that’s basically all Canada does. Well, here’s an example of Justin doing what Canada does best: erasing its past to ensure gearning smiles for the future. Remember Stephen Harper? Well, Google doesn’t anymore. Wanna learn about why Harper was a hated Prime Minister through first-hand evidence? Well, fuck you. Who needs evidence when you have Justin and that magical, magical hair?

The hilarity of the new government erasing history after (rightfully) accusing the last government of doing just that leads to the darker realisation that this is the modus operandi of the country. Consider this remarkable piece of caker commentary:

Yeah, that’s it! The last guy didn’t save data, so it’s totally normal for this guy to do the same! Except that both instances are bad, Skeezix. Remember the whole “hooray for unmuzzled scientists” theater that we got? The one that culminated in Trudeau playing My Little Dear Leader at an embarrassingly scripted Q&A in Waterloo? See, the shit that the government is “archiving” (and that a professor at Waterloo can only find parts of) is the research material for the social sciences. I’m trained as a political scientist; I need to see what the old government did to look for changes and new patterns of thought emerging from the new regime. In removing the previous government’s data so hap-hazardly we are effectively being muzzled.

And people are pretty okay with that:

Hey, asshole – “partisan PR stuff” is the bread and butter of political science in Canada. You’re basically saying that it’s okay to not have a grasp of political history in Canada because…because why again? And speaking of, why do people have a problem with Stephen Harper’s communications existing on the Internet? Is it because cakers fear any recognition of Stephen Harper, as if the man is some sort of political Beetlejuice? mean, here’s my Google Search for a list of news releases by Stephen Harper while he was Prime Minister:

Note that none of these are about Stephen Harper. Indeed, the only press release I could find on the first page of search results that had anything to do with Harper’s reign was a bit about investing in a memorial to the Irish. Not exactly the kind of stuff most people need, but potentially useful information for someone writing on, say, Irish-Canadian relations or the preservation of Irish-Canadian history. And you’re okay with that disappearing, cakers? “Durr, it’s standard practice” – no shit, and that’s part of why we’re flying blind!

We live in an age where the single most powerful referencing source for most people is Google. Google is like the Yellow Pages of the Internet; without it, the best you can do is blindly grope about a bunch of sites hoping to find things. This stuff can’t just disappear; what more, Library and Archives Canada shockingly kind of sucks. The Internet is already notoriously poor at archiving in a readily-searchable way. Making data less visible through a Google search and blindly assuming that Library and Archives Canada hasn’t dropped the ball is at best laughable. And it’s not like Canada is known for having any kind of coherent digitization strategy.

Think Justin’s any different than Harper as regards leaving the government pantsless while the rest of the world computerizes and digitizes? He’s overseeing Shared Services Canada, a disasterous abomination, actively putting police lives at risk with their uselessness. You know, one that seeks to ask the private sector to do its job for it at a no-doubt inflated price? When Trudeau’s not busy claiming that veterans aren’t owed government assistance he’s busily humming O Canada while Shared Services takes a solid wafting shit all over the Department of Defense and pretending that Canada’s worthless Internet infrastructure will make Canada into My Little San Francisco.

What I’m saying is, this is not a guy anyone should trust with understanding Canada’s digital failures. Canada’s understanding of the Internet, of the need for research information, of how dangerous simply allowing a government to define the policies of the one prior while eradicating any sources that could offer a different perspective – that shit don’t fit in 140 characters. Having to read any more than that is just too much for #RealChange and the band of cakers his fetid fans epitomize.