#201 – Shit City, Part One: Introduction + Winnipeg, Manitoba

It’s time to introduce a new series to the blog! Canadian cities are banal, awful places full of boredom and misery. Residents of cities having a rough go of unaffordability, poor transit, and limited opportunities have all been addressed generally by this blog before. Shit City is my chance to highlight the specific failures afflicted on the residents of each and every major Canadian center. We’re going to get into transit timing using Google Maps, discuss a lot of ratios of income to pricing of all sorts of local goods, and read some opinions and reviews from tourists and locals alike about the local “attractions”. Shit City will follow a framework, which is going to work thus for the moment:

  1. Introduction
  2. Ratios and numbers:
    Income to housing prices
    Income to food prices
    Poverty rates/food bank use/homelessness (whatever I can find)
  3. Access to transit
  4. Reviews of local “attractions”

Right, let’s get started then with our first Shit City, and what a Shit City it is. We’re talking about Winnipeg, the discarded rail-town that was left to rot on the banks of the Red River. The legendary tragedy of Winnipeg, home to Indigenous gangs and a group that fishes bodies out of the Red River is well-established. On top of being the home of one of Canada’s most brutal police actions, Winnipeg’s role in Canadian city lore is to serve as the Oakland of Canada – scrappy, mean, poor, and influential in pop culture. Winnipeg got all but the last one right, which is a shame because the combination of Indigenous heritage and urban cataclysm produces some dope raps.

Instead of dope raps, Winnipeg is epitomized by the Weakerthans’ “One Great City“. When Can-Con is mocking a place in Canada you know it sucks. The first two lines of the song might as well be my entire post. “Late afternoon, another day is nearly done/a darker gray is breaking through a lighter one”. This is truly a remarkable song, by the way. It takes some kind of balls to be this honest. See? Canada can’t suck the life out of every artistic endeavor taking place within its wretched walls – only most of them!

Here’s how Winnipeg stacks up by the numbers:

Median total monthly income, family: $81,880/year (2015 figure) / 12 = $6823/month
Monthly income for two full-time minimum-wage earners: $3675 (2017 figure)
Cost of property: $288,500 (2016 figure)
Average rent for 2-bedroom apartment: $1068/month
Average food costs: $819.95 (2011 figure)

This means that the food costs about 12% of median monthly income and that rent will set you back 15.6% of your median family income. That’s actually not all that terrible…but when you’re working minimum wage, it gets ugly. In that case rent is 29% of your monthly income and food is 22%. That means you get $1837.50 to spend on utilities, transportation, debt repayments – everything else.

Criminality and poverty in Winnipeg are concentrated in the city’s notorious North End, which looks like this:

The unemployment rate in the neighborhood of Point Douglas is 9.5% in 2011, and male life expectancy in Point Douglas South was 66.7 years. Which is roughly on par with West Timor, a country that was ravaged by military occupation until 1999. Did you not see the part above where I talked about people fundraising to drag nets along the Red River to look for corpses? Yeah, this place is a total shitheap.

Did I mention that Winnipeg is infamous for gang-related violence? Because we got all kinds of gang violence to talk about, friends! It’s enough of a problem that gangs are pulling the kids of recent migrants into their groups, with upstart gangs forming constantly even as the city pretends to have “resolved” the problem over and over again. Street gangs like the Manitoba Warriors have grown increasingly sophisticated; even worse, police are failing to keep up with their crime sprees. Rivalries between Indigenous gangs and classic Canadian criminal offerings like the Hell’s Angels present all kinds of thrilling chances to see the roiling poverty of Canada’s cities (and imagination) on overdrive.

Winnipeg features classic elements of poor transit planning. An overfixation on suburban routes, cutting services while raising fares, and failure to properly operate critical lines on the route has seen Winnipeg’s transit system hobbled. The city failed at the implementation of electronic fares so badly that the bus drivers’ union demanded that the system be scrapped. During critically important times for transit like New Years’ Eve the Winnipeg transit system simply shits the bed. The impoverished North End features pathetic bus infrastructure, including a pitiful 22% incidence of bus stops with shelters and few routes going anywhere important. Having never taken this transit system the best I can do is to say that the hallmarks of mediocre North American transit are alive and well in Winnipeg.

And you’ll be leaning on that transit something fierce if you don’t have a car, because Christ on a unicycle does the weather in Winnipeg suck. My greatest annoyance with “Peggers” (as nobody should call them) was how, during the hellish depths of the Ottawa winter they would pull that caker conversational classic: “you think this is cold?” Hey, numbnuts – living in a place where the average low temperature in January is -20C isn’t something to be proud of. And don’t forget the muggy, sweaty summers complete with a Biblical plague of random bugs and shit! Even Mother Nature is trying to tell you to clear the fuck out of Winterpeg.

But what of Winnipeg’s tourist attractions, such as they are? Certainly among the more…ostentatious? Hypocritical? Whatever. Canada’s Human Rights Museum is a $300 million testament to vague concepts of human rights in a neighborhood where $300 million could have fixed a whole whack of societal problems. And the reviews are in!

Human Rights Museum Review 1Human Rights Museum Review 2

Unfinished, sloppy exhibits? Fucking sold! The San Jose Sharks declared Winnipeg the most awful place that they have to visit, which is stupid-sad considering that the Sharks also have to visit the ass-end of Fort Lauderdale, Edmonton, and Buffalo. Speaking of hockey, here are some hot takes on the recently-constructed MTS Place, home of the Winnipeg Jets:

Hockey Arena Review 1Hockey Arena Review 2

Poor signage, inadequate transit integration, and a lack of washrooms? That almost sounds like a lack of planning! How could this be? Beyond this, I have found…not much. A shopping mall full of drunks? Some boring outdoor skating? Museums in the middle of nowhere that cost a fortune? Oh…boy?

#200 – The Genocide Appreciation Day Post

One-hundred and fifty years ago today, a motley collection of toadies led by a drunken, genocidal doofus were forced by their colonial overlord to unify a bunch of uncertain, tenuously-related colonies into a single colonial governing apparatus which would be cheaper to run. Three of these colonies were so unimpressed that they had to be bribed in; another was tricked into Confederation and had no way to reverse the trickery. Since this impossibly auspicious start, Canada has evolved from an unsteady collection of self-loathing economic has-beens to a larger collective of self-loathing economic has-beens. Truly, nothing could be more worthy of celebration!

For shit’s sake, King Tim Himself has deigned to bestow another Roll up the Rim upon the land! When you roll up that rim and discover that you won nothing, the rim reads “Happy Canada 150th”. Which is a great launching point, because 150 is all about idle expenditure and Potemkin displays of grandeur that leave Canada ultimately with nothing except the bill. Why use the opportunity to build lasting projects with celebration funds, thus enshrining the significance of the event for decades to come, right?

Believe it or not, Canada once used an arbitrary event to procure funds for useful projects. Coincidentally, Centennial ’67 remains a pivotal point of Canadian national identity. Canada’s cultural bankruptcy is even more apparent when you look at how shamelessly the (admittedly pretty kickass) Centennial logo has been aped for Canada 150. It’s not even a try at anything new, leaning instead on revisionistic nostalgia to appeal to cakers.


Where do I see the lingerings of Canada’s Centennial in Canada today? Ottawa’s high arts scene, largely esconced in the halls of the National Arts Center, was a gift from the federal government. Indeed, Ottawa was spending $100 million as of 1964 investing in concrete manifestations Canada’s cultural and social fabric. As per the above-linked report, there were over 2000 projects completed. Most Canadians don’t even realize how prevalent Centennial buildings are – if there’s a major arts center in your city, it’s probably a gift from Ottawa back when the federal government recognized that it has a semblance of responsibilty and isn’t simply an exercise in sock-wearing and selfie-tweeting.

The unique funding model for these developments saw a dollar per person given to every municipality and federal funds matching provincial dollars going towards needed public infrastructure. Montreal’s Metro system grew as it did because of the pressures stemming from Expo ’67. In a rare instance of valuing literacy and public availability of knowledge Canada even deigned to create boom of library funding. Dare I say that these kinds of investments are the investments of…a civilized people?

Alas, in cakertown all turns to mediocrity, and the goals and missions espoused by Centennial (which was itself largely the brainchild of John Diefenbaker, who was again buried out of caker history by way of revisionistic make-believe as to the merits of a caker business project) were no exception to the rot. Where once Canada used milestones to build libraries and to create major public infrastructure, Canada now uses shittons of money to fund.

1) Counterfeit, huge-ass rubber duckies!

(S) Duck and a battleship – perfect selfie-mates!

Of course, nothing could ever leave Canada with the lasting benefits of public betterment quite like a large rubber ducky! The oversized bath toy was inexplicably dragged into Toronto Harbor (did I mention that Toronto’s Waterfront was a Centennial project?) at a cost of…wait for it…$200,000. What a large bath toy has to do with Canada is beyond me, but in the article I linked there the justification provided is that it has lots of selfie-potential and is “fun”. That rumbling you feel is Diefenbaker rolling in his grave.

And that’s not even the whole story! See, this giant-ass, unrelated novelty project is apparently a counterfeit. You can’t make this shit up, folks. Even better – the counterfeiter is a profiteer, as the Dutch firm responsible for the original duck has stated that their giant rubber duckie was not-for-profit and was effectively stolen by the guy Ontario chose to do business with. Even though I personally think that a giant rubber duck is a silly investment in the first place I respect the vision of the original designer. Immediately gravitating to the most corrupt option is quintessential Queens’ Park, though.

2) Basic maintenance that any reasonable government would have dealt with ages ago!

One of the key elements of the Centennial projects is that they were major civic improvements undertaken for the sake of lasting legacy. Instead of trying to make Canada’s squalid cities slightly more interesting by way of major public works, Ottawa for Canada 150 is selling basic maintenance like “re-roofing hockey arenas and resurfacing trails”. Problem with that, though: you’re supposed to maintain your shit as a matter of course. Here’s one pivotal, memorable Canada 150 project – fixing broken roofs and floors in a community center! Because in Cakerstan doing the bare minimum required to avoid having your infrastructure overtly collapse is only achieveable during celebrations.

Credit to P.E.I, though – a bunch of tall ships is a much cooler harbor addition than a fucking rubber duck. Oh, and what’s with Pravda refering to 1 July as Canada’s birthday? What vagina did Canada come out of again? At least call it an anniversary, guys.

3) The biggest Canada flag for Greatest Canada on Greatest Canada Day!

(S) Cracked stroad, massive flag. Says it all, really


Windsor, Ontario is jokingly referred to as “south Detroit” by cakers wishing that their worthless suburban sadsack shithole of a city had even a sliver of the pride and ferocious commitment to self-improvement found in Detroit proper. The place could use some fucking help, a marquee project that isn’t a casino that might contribute to the city being known for more than a mediocre university and a casino that still thinks Dadcore from the 70s is worth putting on stage. What does Ottawa agree to give Windsor money for but…the largest Canadian flag ever.

I think I’ll just leave this quote from Nineteen Eighty-Four here and move on:

“About a quarter of one’s salary had to be earmarked for voluntary subscriptions, which were so numerous that it was difficult to keep track of them. ‘For Hate Week. You know–the house-by-house fund. I’m treasurer for our block. We’re making an all-out effort–going to put on a tremendous show. I tell you, it won’t be my fault if Victory Mansions doesn’t have the biggest outift of flags on the whole street!'” (pg. 59)

4) Providing space for a U2 Concert!

Who the fuck wants to listen to U2 in this decade? Seriously – they couldn’t even give an album away for free, and you’ve decided that a group of self-important Irishmen are worth hosting front-and-center on Canada 150? They aren’t getting paid to be there, but the opportunity cost – having an actual, novel Canadian act perform – is a telling one. Apparently #RealChange doesn’t think a Canadian act is worthy of taking the timeslot. Then again I can imagine few people getting on with Justin better than Bono, an egoistical fruitcake with nothing to bring to the table trying to squeeze himself into the center of attention. So I guess Bono does represent the spirit of 150 even if it isn’t exactly the kind of spirit Canada wants promoted.

5) Endless fucking chances to “tell the world” what Canada means to you!

(S) Come, comrade! Speak of how much you love best country Canada!

Nothing is creepier about Canada than its insistence on having people speak on camera as to how much they love Canada. Naturally, these useless recordings are valuable only as propaganda; the factors that made the filmed caker love Canada are transient and subject to change over time, but we never see that kind of longitudinality in these surveys.

It’s also really creepy when adoration is demanded from not one, not two, not three, but four separate entities on Canada’s “signature projects” page. Give it a fucking rest, people! We get it, you’re desperate for people to like you and unable to put in the kind of effort that would actually get people to like you. During Centennial “signature project” referred to major infrastructure investments (which as we’ve seen have been replaced by basic maintenance, reflecting Canada’s squalor and the low bars which Canada sets for its own self-validation). Here, a signature project is a means of inflating the Canadian ego through digital recording in a way that is designed to be transient and pointless.

Oh, and here’s my #Wish150


Legit, though. It’s not just me – this is all really sketchy in the “would be a huge red flag if this were an interpersonal relationship” way to you too, right?

6) Junk historical research from a junky institution!

(S) Costume budget: $0.15 and the mudpit outside the parking lot where this was filmed

Oh, Pravda. Wouldn’t be a Canadian Canada Celebration of Canada without the CBC stepping into some kind of cowpie. And indeed they did, launching the epic (and ahistorical) television series “Canada: the Story of Us”. No less than #RealChange himself gave assent to this project, which has been decried as being written with “alternative facts” that cast an English pall over the entire story. Vollmann, the fiction author, has written a better, more nuanced take on Canada’s history with the Ice Shirt than the CBC did with the resources of the entire Canadian government.

What kinds of inconsistencies are present, you ask? Well, it portrayed the Quebecois as shabby turdmunchers who don’t even speak their own language properly because Pravda failed to hire native Francophones (which is an incredible oversight), ignored the province of Nova Scotia entirely while underplaying the significance of Indigenous Peoples and glorifying the English colonizers who, I remind you, ultimately would culminate in a drunken retard trying at genocide by kidnapping children and starving whole populations. The entire affair, which I remind you was headlined by the Prime Minister, has the feel and pomp of an African dictatorship trying to justify itself in cinema.

No take-backs! No corrections! No refunds! #SavetheCBC

Well, that’s a smattering of the stupidity that is Canada 150. Fuck this whole project, fuck the concept of a Canada 150, fuck Canadian revisionism, fuck cakers, and fucking fuck does it suck living in a real-life version of the Nineteen Eighty-Four Victory Parade. I think I’m going to keep working on editing the old shit for a while. Progress is still happening, but you’ll have to follow the Table of Contents to see it. Don’t you worry – posts #201+ are coming on up! Expect to learn about the RCMP’s terrifying “fruit machine”, some more comments about poorly-built buildings, maybe a major-city focused shitshow extravaganza?

Shit about Canada wishes you and yours a critical, tolerable Genocide Appreciation Day!

(S) Fuck yeah.

#199 – Confederation was a Crock of Shit

The story of Confederation is not an easy one to tell, and because of this caker logic has filled the narrative gaps in Canada’s formation with revisionistic mortar and a solemn promise to not delve any further into the topic. The make-believe surrounding Confederation is so absurd that I couldn’t help but cite this crystal-clear instance of caker doublethink. I want to direct your attention to these two lines within the above-linked piece:

The historical moment we will commemorate next Saturday is Confederation — a bunch of old white guys signing a document that bound a loose collection of provinces controlled by the British Empire into a vague and discontented unity without the slightest consideration of or participation by the First Peoples…

Confederation was an attempt at compromise between peoples within a unified political framework.

Problem, Stephen: the “compromising” parties are making compromises on occupied land. Hitler and Stalin compromised on the partitioning of Poland. And instead of acknowledging foundational problems like segregation of blacks in the Maritimes and, y’know, the Indian Act, this guy decides to try and sneak the word “peoples” into the notion of compromise while noting directly that Indigenous peoples had no input and imputing that they were the victims of this “compromise” is a wonderful way to pay the white-guilt penance while trying to gloss over its implications.

So that’s the kind of doublethink we have to contend with – a bunch of unsubtle attempts to brush Canada’s unsavory past under a polite, mundane little rug. Let’s list off some of the actual stories of Confederation:

  • Nova Scotia elected an anti-Confederation government and appealed for the reversal of Confederation
  • Despite Canada’s interest in them Newfoundland and P.E.I would resist attempts at annexation
  • Quebec was practically held hostage with the prospect of greater local authority
  • The British were sick of supporting a bunch of useless podunk colonies whose useful purpose (the fur trade) had been expended and hoped that amalgamation would provide cost savings

First up, Nova Scotia. In September of 1867 there was an election in Nova Scotia, wherein 36 of the 38 elected to the lower house were against Confederation. Joseph Howe even went so far as to appeal to the Throne to reverse Confederation. Even better – Charles Tupper, the useless sack of shit I wrote about long ago? Yeah, that asshole was the leader of the legislative assembly and approved Nova Scotia’s annexation immediately before that election result where his ideas and shitty plan were rejected wholesale by the people of the province. Because London said “no takebacks lol”, Nova Scotia was dragged by sleight of hand into Canada. Such a lovely compromise – the obvious will of the people subverted by a guy who would gain personally from the Confederated project.

As a side-note, the phrasing of the government-written link I listed above there is kind of odd: “After failing to secure a repeal of Confederation in 1868, Howe recognized the futility of further protests”, it reads. Protest is futile. You will be assimilated.

Next, Newfoundland. It’s worth noting that Macdingus the Drunk and his motley synod of synchophants, sadsacks, jesters, fools, and profiteers sought more than just the four provinces they managed to absorb into their shitty idea. Indeed, Newfoundland has always taken to Canadian identity tenuously, and despite electing a pro-Confederation government led by Frederick Carter in 1865 the Anti-Confederation Party of Newfoundland under Charles Fox Bennett would win in 1869, and the issue died on its feet.

Another swing and a miss for Confederation came from Prince Edward Island (in fact, the only province in Atlantic Canada to willingly cotton to Confederation the first time was New Brunswick, and even they’re saying that they’ve gotten a raw deal), whose Premier James Colledge Pope basically called Canada’s bluff and demanded more money while also holding (ultimately pointless, because P.E.I would need royal assent in order to do again; the Crown straitjacketing her colonies into line is a common theme to Confederation, you see) negotiations with the United States that ultimately scared more funding out of Ottawa. It was ultimately a failed railroad project that would force P.E.I to take Ottawa’s money and sell itself into mendacious mediocrity.

On to Quebec, a province which was forced into Confederation by way of that most classic point of Canadiana, failing civic governance caused by civic failure. This piece from Claude Bélanger at Marianopolis College speaks to the hostage-taking that transpired in Quebec. With the previous mechanisms shackling Quebec to Ontario collapsing and increasingly unable to function, the terms of a new union had to be made. Indeed, there were elements overtly supporting annexation into the United States, like the Parti Rouge. And despite Quebec’s powerful landed English elites and having few alternatives, 40% of the population still voted against Confederation. At some point the rational calculus of the Quebecois voter turned to “turds all around me, and I’d rather faceplant into any other cowpie than the caker cowpie”. Fantastic compromising skills, Stephen!

And finally, the big ugly truth rumbling underneath the entire Confederate project. This is the point cakers hate to be reminded of, in no small part because Canada becomes a lot less romantic when it is revealed to be a child of accounting more than anything else. I’ve been pointing to several instances of the English royalty effectively enforcing Confederation, and the reason for that is simple – the British didn’t want to pay for the defense of Canada. The British too brought their finest Mafioso techniques: Ged Martin writes of the bind that the erstwhile Confederates found themselves in, writing that there would be “a question mark” over British committment to Canada should the union not succeed.

All this is to say that this week’s narratives, complete with bait-and-switch white-guilt tithes and eager to forget how fractuous, non-consenting, and unsatisfying Confederation has been for all of its members save Ontario. Fully 30% of the provinces were bribed into union; with Nova Scotia being hoodwinked and Quebec choosing out of desperation, at least half of Canada had serious doubts about the very idea of Canada. Be sure to remember that when some mouthbreathing caker claims that “Canada was built on orderly negotiation”, because it fucking wasn’t.

Fuck John Macdonald, and fuck Canada.


#158 – A Leap of Bullshit

The last political party with a brain in Canada just opted for a lobotomy because feels. With that Canada’s entire political system at current is dominated by Parties of Feels: the Butthurt Reactionary Feels Party, the Caker Feels Appreciation Party, and now the Party of nu-Left Feels, which apparently seeks to build itself on solar panels and cam-girls as per the Leap Manifesto. This document, not unlike the embarrassing “manifestos” written by angsty teenagers either in name or content represents what can only be called the most slack-jawed of leftism. Featuring calls to shut down entire industry towns and retrain rural bumpkins to the tee-hee carbon free school of making money for doing…something related to caring, I guess, the document’s implications would be Orwellian if they weren’t so hilarious.

This is going to be a bit different from usual postings. We’re doing what all the hip youths do and making a listicle, so here we go with the 6 stupidest lines in the Leap Manifesto!


so we need to leap.

Fuck you and fuck your Wordart. How do you shit this up in the first paragraph? It’s not like much of importance was said in the first paragraph – basically imagine the Jetsons but with more people of ambiguous racial background – but you can’t expect to be taken seriously when you think angling letters helps to make your case. Did Marx sign off with

Rendered Image


No? He didn’t? Maybe that’s because the content he was actually writing was more important to him than making a cheap visual metaphor after a paragraph of flowery nothingness, you mental midget. You just told me that you’re going to design jobs – that’s the quote: “jobs and opportunities of this transition are designed to systematically eliminate racial and gender inequality” – and your explanation for how to do this is WordArt. Fun fact – nearly 1 million people live in one-industry extractive towns in Canada. Hope you can create 1 million jo-oh, wait. Didn’t Ontario elect Evil Orville Redenbacher again (see?) because one guy promised to make 1 million jobs and sounded like an idiot? Now do that but this time only create work in low carbon settings: “caregiving, teaching, social work, the arts and public-interest media”. Yeah. Good luck with creating teaching jobs.

Well, if you wanna pay me Shit About Canada has been proudly low-carbon since inception. I’m too poor to even own a car, guys – I’m basically Jesus over here! The new economy: screaming into the digital void and hoping some chuckles come out. There’s a basis for a global economy right there. That’s why Sweden calls Pewdiepie a national resource, right? And why America set up a strategic Game Grumps reserve? How about being a little more specific as opposed to suggesting that we can swap mining for being a let’s-player?


There is no longer an excuse for building new infrastructure projects that lock us into increased extraction decades into the future. The new iron law of energy development must be: if you wouldn’t want it in your backyard, then it doesn’t belong in anyone’s backyard.

So we can’t upgrade this aging pipeline under the Great Lakes because it locks us into increased extraction decades into the future. Obviously waiting until there’s a critical failure is wiser than deigning to acknowledge that we may still be needing pipelines in the future.

Pipelines aside, it’s very obvious that this hasn’t been thought through when we take an example like power lines. That’s new infrastructure, and it locks us into increased extraction even if they’re moving power from solar panels. Should we not put any new lines up then? What about upgrading power stations in the face of rising usage? I don’t want overhead power lines in an urban environment where burying them (called “undergrounding” because planning is sometimes kind of metal) is practical and desirable. Does that mean the guy living in the house below needs his lines undergrounded too?

“Yeah, slap some solar panels on there and you’re #21stcenturyready!”


Of course not. Context is important and absolute statements like the one above just make you look and sound stupid. Highways increase consumption, as does our ancient freight rail network. How do we intend to move goods if we can’t update infrastructure because it induces increased extraction through both the need to consume (i.e.: you need a car to drive) and through product availability (i.e.: I’ll buy more if the product can travel more cheaply, which is something trains are good at)? Is this how you’re employing the 1 million you turfed from resource-towns – as rowers and pack mules?


We want a universal program to build energy efficient homes, and retrofit existing housing, ensuring that the lowest income communities and neighbourhoods will benefit first

So you want to solidify shitty low-density housing and poor neighborhood design, both incumbent to poverty? That’s awesome! Why recognize that our urban spaces are promoting poverty by isolating and alienating pedestrians and social gatherings through car-centric design? It’s worth noting that the words pedestrian and cycling appear nowhere in this document despite both being exactly the kind of low-emission transportation method you’ve been crowing about having. Urban planning? Why do that? Planning is for chumps! Magic public transit for everyone!!

Now, I do get the logic from an environmental standpoint – the poor have less access to Priuses and other consumer goods that wash away the guilt of consumption-addled morons, so this is a “dramatic step”. Too bad it’s also an idiotic step because it entrenches exactly the design choices that leave people impoverished and in the situation where they either have to *gasp* consume inefficient goods or go without. Fuck off, poor person – consumption is for the middle class! Your comfort and well-being are secondary to you living and dying without impacting the world for the rest of us.

Let’s take this awesome neighborhood:


This is Jane and Finch, the armpit of the city of Toronto. It’s a food desert. It has nothing interesting to anchor the neighborhood, unless you think petrol storage is worth making a trip for. It suffers from overloaded transit as people try to scrape a living from the city. The tower-as-housing model of the early 60s, a disaster of a plan that leaves people alienated and stressed, is on full display. And to fix this we…make it green. And do it really fast. Recognizing the complexities of neighborhood design affects the nu-left’s ability to use feels like a battering ram so out with that shit and in with the greenwashing!


Since so much of the labour of caretaking – whether of people or the planet – is currently unpaid, we call for a vigorous debate about the introduction of a universal basic annual income

I like how the words universal basic annual income are bolded but the bit about “vigorous debate” isn’t. This is especially sneaky because by their own admission caretaking doesn’t pay. But are they prepared to step in and fund the kind of jobs that they said that they’d design so us country bumpkin-types can understand your book-learnin’, crazy city-slicking ways? Well, they’ll debate it. At the riding level there’s going to be a debate over debating the concept of a universal income, which sounds almost like homeopathic “medicine” in how diluted and useless it is.

Do these people not realize what a dagger to their own hearts this is? The private sector clearly isn’t paying, and the public really might for realsies think about it. So the income needed right now for these folks to live on comes from…where? NGOs? YouTube AdSense revenues? Carnival games? Way to incentivize a shift to a feels-economy, guys! I can only assume that if you’re debating paying for the new economy we can debate about the merits of paying inflated rent costs on retrofitted turd-stacks.

But don’t worry – we’ll debate paying rent vigorously.


High-speed rail powered by renewables and affordable public transit can unite every community in this country

Only the caker-left could take a project I love and pile-drive it into the ground with stupid. This is an atomic suplex of idiocy. Every community, guys? You know that high-speed rail needs a certain density to work, right? Canada absolutely has this kind of density in some areas and there’s no reason save typical Canadian whinging that Canada doesn’t have a bullet line from Windsor to Quebec City, which is *ahem* by and away the densest part of the country. But Thunder Bay doesn’t have that kind of connectivity. And “affordable” public transit won’t do shit to change driving habits if that transit takes a fucking epoch to get from A to B because it’s busy stopping at Goosefuk and Ass Lake on the way to civilization. Awareness of these issues? Nah. The bullet train is green so no other commuting causes pollution anymore. Never mind that buses can actually be less efficient than carpooling if few people use the route.

Your stated goal of connecting everywhere is kneecapping your ability to provide a comparable service to a motorcar; so long as you continue that you won’t get people out of their cars. If a trip takes less time by car than by transit and the person can park their car reliably, three guesses what people are going to be doing. And the poor? Well, fuck them. They’d better enjoy scenic tours of nowhere on their way to work because a near-empty bus (i.e.: what happens when you run routes with few stops) is stupidly inefficient and subsidizing that motherfucker is political Kryptonite in Cakertown.

Affordability is one part of a functioning system, and speed is another. You’ve listed both separately and pretended that they can Fusion Dance their way into a coherent transit policy while ignoring tiny considerations like reliability, frequency of service, or connectivity to other networks – all of which also determine whether a system can convince people to use transit or not. OC Transpo runs right near my friend’s house and stops right at his workplace – he still drives to work because he can’t rely on the bus showing up on time.

And then there’s the greenwash. Solar panel production is toxic; wind turbine wastes ends up in a lovely spot in Inner Mongolia described by this reporter as “the worst place on Earth”; dams in Canada have a fun tendency to fuck over the Indigenous and piss off environmentalists. Transit in the near future will require extaction, pollution, and waste both to build and operate. The equipment needed to build the bullet line doesn’t teleport and runs on more than the good vibes of the operator. The pollution-free bus fleet and planning infrastructure and administration that doesn’t fleece its customers has yet to be invented in Canada.


Moving to a far more localized and ecologically-based agricultural system would reduce reliance on fossil fuels, capture carbon in the soil, and absorb sudden shocks in the global supply – as well as produce healthier and more affordable food for everyone.

Ever had fresh Saskatoon produce in January? Of course not, because Saskatoon looks like this in January:

The car run-off crop is coming in brilliantly!

This is where the patchouli stench really gets to be too much for me. Much of the whole “eat local” movement is populated by useless hipsters who like local food but aren’t prepared to acknowledge some ugly truths: local production can actually be less environmentally-friendly than massive farming operations because of economies of scale, and to feed the world with the locavore’s techniques would require an asston more land and pesticide use. Of course, there’s the water draw from evermore polluted sources that we’ll need to use, presumably being cleared of pollutants by magic alongside the marginal left-over soils in urban centers that would have to be used.

Local food does taste better – I’ve had the joys of local corn growing up for decades and there truly is nothing like a cob of Southern Ontarian corn in the dead heat of late summer and early fall. Few fruits are more divine than Northern Ontario’s blueberries when they’re in season. Fuck – Ontario should be a global powerhouse on the culinary scene because frankly it kicks ass at growing shit. But I’m not going to pretend that Dawson, YK or Dildo, NL has a similar growing potential to Southern Ontario. To pretend that magic-science can make the above scene feed 222,000 year-round is the height of folly.

Not to mention that your cooking habits impact how much your dinner pollutes, too. And guess what? That organic rutabaga and turnip in your #localfoodbox doesn’t cook easily or quickly. And the gas range you’re using to boil that fucking thing until the Second Coming of Christ so it doesn’t shatter your teeth on contact? Yeah, that’s pollution. Whipping up a sweet potato pie with those yams, I see? Your oven isn’t exactly a paragon of power-sipping. And if you want to smoke that brisket you’re a fucking monster pumping the acrid screams of dying lumber into the sky.

The common theme to my complaints, if you haven’t noticed, is that these are all middle-class fever dreams, the kind of semi-thought-out leftism that grinds conversations to an awkward halt at the kinds of dinner parties I’m not invited to. Whether it’s magical free power or magical economies, the externalities of these policies are ignored or shoved onto the poor or out of the country while the massive complexities and indeed contradictions of the stated plans are sanded off. It’s dishonest, badly-written, and imaginary. And I have a better, more realistic solution – we can all grow wings and develop the ability to photosynthesize. Do I know how to do that? No, but these guys are just as clueless and it doesn’t seem to stop them.

The Leap Manifesto thus represents the most Canadian left imaginable. Imaginary radicalism for a country built on make-believe – flawless.

#156 – Feels Nation

Rob Ford is worm food, and with his corpulence his corpse will be feeding worms to the Second Coming. Cakers this week went all-out in their worship of a guy who smoked crack in office. Because Marion Barry was totally the shit, right?

Yeah. AmeriKKKa had a mayor like this too (and in Washington, DC no less) – one who voted against gay rights, did drugs, had most of his power stripped by regional authority (in Toronto, Queen’s Park did it; in Washington, the District of Columbia Financial Control Board, which is I think Congress), and generally was known more for panache than thinking skills.

But here’s where some comparisons stop. See, Barry was a scientist – he actually trained as an organic chemist (the more you know, I guess) and scored his Masters in the field. His turn to politics came after his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement. In fact, he left academia because as a doctoral student he was forbidden from tutoring white kids. Now, Marion has a checkered legacy that I as an outsider dare not cast judgement upon, but from his background Barry seems to be a genuinely intelligent man who had clear reasons to take up politics. How well that went isn’t for me to judge, but it’s miles above Rob Ford’s story.

Rob Ford was the son of a caker businessman named Doug Ford. Doug Senior was a crazy fucking goat of a man who kept money hidden in a tin hidden within a wall and upon losing track of said tin forced his children to take lie detector tests. In typical caker fashion he drove his partner out of their shared business and thus was born Deco Labels and Tags, a caker business caking it up with the best of them. From this we get the latest bundle of Ford fuck-ups – suburban wealth with awesome business-crashing powers and the kind of impulsiveness associated with drugged-out…oh, right.

The Ford family is fucking weird, and I could write an entire post simply linking to weird shit I’ve found while looking for a reason to believe that Ford came to politics for the right reasons. Instead, what I found was an angry Daddy’s boy who could never be bothered to read reports about issues and who ran from a meeting to slap magnets on cars. He thought improving walkability constituted a “war on cars“, tried to use caker nationalism to justify needlessly riling the nu-left, and provided a shocking interpretation of the Jamaican accent. Ford, in short, planned as well as most Canadians do and was as much a caker as any. Apple didn’t fall far from the tree on this one, folks.

How do you bury a man who loved being angry but hated learning anything about the source of his anger or planning?An alcoholic, drug-addled mess of a Mayor who made Toronto the laughingstock of the world, set transit back decades, and prioritzed minor tweaks over major repairs because he lacked the patience and foresight to do anything else?

Apparently with an honor guard and repose at City Hall…?

Obviously, losing someone who doesn’t plan is a tragedy for Canada, a country that relies on not-planning because reasons, so cakers predictably went fucking nuts. Rob Ford is the Mayor of Heaven now, which presumably means that the chorus of angels will now have to cross a 70-lane superfreeway to get to practice. His brother valiantly held the torch of the “ME ANGRY GRRR” movement that Rob started.

Even Mike Harris, who should know better than to appear in public in Ontario (Dalton “Guilty” McGuinty fled to America because that’s what anyone with the money to does) came aboard to tell us what truly motivated Rob. I doubt it was struggles with racism on campus and the very real fear of getting drafted that Barry endured. So shoot, Mike – what was Robbie’s calling?

[T]hose who are most successful at it never let politics change who they were in the first place. This was certainly true for Rob. He came into politics with a strong sense of putting the people he represented first.

…Right. Putting the people first. Harris continued to proudly proclaim that poor kids got sports equipment thanks to Rob. They can’t get anywhere because Toronto transit is a joke and car-centric design is dangerous for humans, let alone kids, but ah fuck it, right? Typical caker prioritizing – why do something useful when you can do something cheap?  “Putting the people first” is fine until you realize that “the people” aren’t exactly filled with foresight or expertise, least of all Canadians and the very least of that least the GTA, the wood splinters at the bottom of the barrel of caker mediocrity.

But what’s really precious about this is the staggering amount of love poured into this guy by suburban cakers and the whispers of conspiracy that developed whenever this guy revealed his idiocy, which was always. Yeah, he didn’t achieve anything – but he made Toronto interesting so it’s all good! America is laughing at us as they watch our city spiral out of control but at least they’re watching!! Lookit meeee! He fought against unions that contributed to a decent working culture in Toronto because he really cared about the people!! Presumably not the ones getting the shit end of the stick but those guys are losers and conspirators against the Great Ford Nation.

And oh, the conspiracies. The media was out to get Ford by reporting on a guy who made the world about himself and thus should have known that he’d attract attention from profit-seeking news agencies. The police were conspiring against Ford’s driver by following the law and arresting people who break the law. Fucking Martians were probably in on it too. Interestingly enough, the cabal-forming, fuck-ethics-make-money stylings of the caker business class that the Fords come from wasn’t a part of the make-believe conspiracies.

What’s even worse is that people clearly like this “show-up-and-fiddle” method of government. In a way Ford and Trudeau share a lineage – hell, Ford and #RealChange were taking selfies at Jim Flaherty’s funeral. Justin is hardly leaning on the same hard-drinking hoo-rah football marketing campaign that Ford used but they come from the same silver-spoon Laurentian stock and employ personal mythologies (Ford as “man of the people” and Trudeau as “bringing Canada back”) and the appearance of doing things as a way to justify using their offices to boost themselves. This is what passes for politics in Canada, folks.

When both the “left” and the “right” of the country (I put those in quotes because either implies thinking and neither Ford nor Trudeau are known for their skills in that regard) believe in the same manner of governing something went very, very wrong. In Washington Mr. Barry may have had a similar trajectory to Mr. Ford but at the very least Marion was motivated by reasons beyond himself and demonstrated academic acumen. He didn’t look like a trainwreck from the start.

By contrast Ford was a typical son of caker oligarchy, with more feels than sense and a political job to fall into (Daddy was an MPP) bestowed by endless finances and a family name. His legacy is the kind of idiotic populism, a  vision of the soft aristocracy that dominates Canada today and will for the forseeable future with #RealChange in Ottawa. As long as Canada encourages this type of look-at-me politics it will never have the honesty or foresight to do much of anything except continue trying to draw attention with props and stunts.



#152 – Caker Airways, Amateur Hour: #Canadaisback

So, I went off to visit civilization for a week. It was fucking awesome. Leaving Toronto on Lufthansa was a pleasant, professional experience. Announcements were correctly done in five languages and the flight, while crowded with moronic cakers and undoubtedly traumatized Europeans desperately fleeing back to tolerable space and people, did exactly as on the tin. In a form of transaction inconceivable to Canadians, the service listed was provided without shortcuts and with an eye to best practice. Even more unreal was the flight onwards from Germany. Quality? Decency? Passengers who can comprehend such complex notions as shutting the fuck up, presenting your passport without hearing some version of ‘tee-hee I’m Canadian’ and waiting patiently to land? Sign me the fuck up, son!

Sadly, my stay in a decent and civilized place where pedestrians aren’t considered icky and where food is seen as a perfectable art rather than a way to mine money from morons came to an end. My connection to Germany was safe because Caker Airways had nothing to do with it. I foolishly made the assumption that my connecting flight to Toronto would also be handled with the staid efficiency of the German people and, after several cringeworthy iterations of cakers explaining their trips to uninterested border police from the people in front of me I was at the gate.

And there I saw a portal to madness.


There it was, waiting for its cargo of high-school children wielding their caker-papers and boarding passes as if they were deeds to the universe. I overhear the phrase “gotta get my Timmies” at the gate and consider applying for refugee status. Please, Europe, I say to myself. Take me. I’ll learn the language; I’ll mop floors or do dishes or clean streets if only you’d save me from these wretched jingling fuckmonkeys! I won’t even ask you to accomodate some primitive religious beliefs!

Naturally, Caker Airways demonstrates an immediate lack of any kind of foresight by allowing idiots to pile in front of the departure gate without any sort of organizing principle. They have something called “zones” – on Lufthansa, your “zone” is defined by your seat assignment and they ask you to line up in accordance with your zone. This keeps lines clear and allows normal people (i.e.: not cakers, who act without regard for anyone or anything around them ) to navigate without confusion. The Caker Airways equivalent is to have zones but not to tell anyone what they mean or what one should do with this information. Absolute genius, I know.

The aneurysm of cakers clotting the gate is finally cleared by the brute-force who-gives-a-shit method, a Canadian staple. Semi-literate caker high-schoolers and hockey squires wrestle at the gate with other cakers as Europeans and more evolved sorts stay back from the fray. The whole thing looks and feels like a hockeymans game, which is probably because the only thing these rockheads understand instinctively is ramming into people and swinging whatever they have in hand about. In this carnival of venereal disease we finally get seated and strapped in.

And here comes a whole new avalanche of shit.

First off, we have a cabin crew that can’t read. We know this because they forget to mention the emergency procedure for cabin depressurization during the safety primer. Don’t you worry though – while Caker Airways can’t be bothered with properly advising passengers on how to survive a malfunctioning aluminium tube screaming through the air, they did make sure to ask us to applaud for the Peterborough Quacks Junior-Something Hockeymans team for “showcasing Canadian sportsmanship and talent abroad”.

I’m not joking. They asked us to applaud a minor-league hockey team named the Quacks but they couldn’t be arsed to read the safety card. My growing fear of looming death was compounded by a discovery over the British Isles that the overhead reading lights wouldn’t turn off. Why would anyone inspect a plane for issues like that before it takes off into the sky, right? Gotta make sure we get the hockeymans’ nod in but fuck if we can understand and troubleshoot a fucking light bulb before screaming into the sky. The lights are connected to the “entertainment” (which features ads at every possible corner, pressable options that haven’t been available ever in my history of flying Caker Airways, and an unsubtle display of Canadiana-through-film that I’ve never seen noted or advertised outside of a plane), so fuck you that’s out too. Not like you missed much save for a faceful of caker nonsense and half-baked humor long past its best-before date.

Nothing is more reassuring that having the crew fail to note a fault before takeoff and following up with failing to read the safety pamphlet. Attempts to fix the fault with the “turn-off-and-on-again” technique fail and keenly demonstrate the acumen and preparedness of the airline. Recall that this is at 33000 feet in the air somewhere over the Atlantic for extra laughs. An endless parade of hockey squires and high-schools laugh and bark and squeal and wander about the plane as the crew tries and fails to control them. That’s also a good sign, right? Crowd control on a tube filled with pressurized recycled farts is for chumps. Nothing could go wrong with this!

Did I mention that the only crew member who spoke German on the flight wasn’t fluent and couldn’t speak to the Germans behind us? Sheepishly asking if Germans flying from Frankfurt speak English because the designated German can’t handle their accent is a comsummate signal of professionalism. If a caker was misunderstood and ask to speak another language they’d flip; apparently linguistic courtesy only extends to two languages in Canada.

Somewhat surprisingly we land in Toronto. Our connection on Caker Airways was delayed an hour because reasons and we navigated Canada’s desperate attempt to croupier-or-tax whatever tolerable food and alcohol you might have brought back (i.e.: customs) while dodging flailing children and mentally delayed cakers. After that it was an unclear mystery-walk to the connecting gate. Just in case we wanted to go quickly the hockey squires opted to demonstrate their Canadian sportsmanship and talents by walking backwards on the moving walks. Ever walk on a treadmill really slowly, children? That’s roughly equivalent to what you’re being amused by except on a treadmill you aren’t dodging people trying to get by. You sure do represent Canada, you worthless cretins, but I don’t think you understand how damning that is.

Special thanks to the caker-child sitting on the handrail with her feet out on the moving walk. When I barked at you to “do something useful for a change and get the fuck out of my way” and you sulked your way to the “standing” side of the moving walk as I was trying to lug overpriced dinner and a suitcase back to the gate, I forgot to mention that you should also never leave Canada again if your feeble mind can’t handle the prospect that people trying to move quickly might want unobstructed access to the means by which people move quickly. Caker Airways would be wise to similarly wise-up but frankly with the prices Other Russia’s sadsack Aeroflot also-ran charges and service that wouldn’t look out of place in a comedy routine I know it’s a more honest representation of Canada (and thus a warning to civilized peoples) than anything else a would-be tourist will see here.

#138 – Channel Surfing, Special Edition: nu-leftism, the CBC, and the Ersatz Nation

If there is a single body I hate more than English Canadians, it’s the nu-left. Usurpers, heretics, idiots, clods – the commercialized, professionalized camel-splooge that constitutes modern political action on the left. The Left proper offers an incredible collection of deep, thoughtful contemplations of the relationships between people in every possible subdivision and structures that dominate our daily lives. It is the job of political life to my mind to collect and compile the genius around and apply it to current conditions. One of my favorite lines from any book ever comes from Fahrenheit 451. In the scene, Faber (the elder-teacher figure to main character Montag; also the name of a pencil-maker, now called Faber-Castell) “Man, when I was young I shoved my ignorance in people’s faces. They beat me with sticks. By the time I was forty my blunt instrument had been honed to a fine cutting point for me”. This, alongside Zizek’s “don’t act; just think”, form a core of the mental environment that I live in to critique and expose.

The nu-left took these adages and shat on them. A banner reading “don’t think; just act” should be hung up in every student union office and meeting hall in North America. Rather than accepting the numerous humiliating defeats that comes with this sort of contestation and gleaning new empirical knowledge, reading more about the topic – the sort of stuff an academic Rocky film would put to “the Eye of the Tiger” in a montage – the nu-left chooses to clot about itself in an intellectual human centipede by bleating “oppression” and “patriarchy” without understanding what shades or forms of the concept they mean to employ. They hide in insulated Internet communities and rely on mass media and market power to make their point. By boycotting “offensive” material and denying the “right to forget” on the one hand and providing unlimited free marketing and hype through shitty social media on the other, the nu-left traded thought and contemplation for the ability to wield a monetary cattle prod.

This is to me unforgivable, blasphemous, sloppy, and dangerous. The purpose of meetings and social gatherings and intellectual discourse is to share observations and to spar. Sometimes I take contrary opinions up just to practice my trade and hone my skills; even if you don’t, the purpose of these conversations is to share knowledge and form new theories and models, not to raise money for yet another #endsomethingorother campaign and a pile of glossy posters slapped onto power lines. This is a subversive lumpenproletariat, not a genuine expression of forward-thinking. It fits nicely with the New Right in the United States in that both are fully monetized weapons employing a totemic and unquestioned market as the means to bring vague, unspecified “change”. Empirical research is unwelcome to the nu-left because feels are more important and empirical data is hard to come by. Bastardizing the process of knowledge transfer itself for the sake of sales figures and e-mail signups and “sticking it to” the other guy – this is my version of the money-changers in the temple.

How does this link to the CBC? Well, the CBC is riddled with nu-leftism. It’s actually one of the major reasons I hate nu-leftism; I figured out just how dangerous the thing can be when I saw the CBC picking it up. The CBC has plenty of incentive to adopt nu-leftism for two repulsive reasons: one, it’s a good way to hide the Apartheid state of affairs while pretending to care about race relations; two, it fits the company’s history of culture-saving bullshit. The former is done through a make-believe environment of openness towards immigrants (thus making Canada “multicultural”), and the latter through bad reporting. Both are arms of the nu-left’s way of doing business.

First, the race thing. The CBC’s report on equality (remember when I mentioned that?) holds this up as a testament to its greatness:

The representation rate for women in CBC/Radio-Canada’s permanent workforce has increased by 5% over the past decade (46.9% from 42.1%). There were 105 (1.4%) Aboriginal Peoples; 111 (1.5%) persons with disabilities; and 552 (7.6%) members of visible minorities occupying permanent positions in 2013. This is the first time that the number of visible minorities has surpassed the 550 mark. (are you brutal enough to read this tripe?)

But notes an essential limitation:

 With the help of our cultural census, we are expecting to achieve a higher response rate for employment equity. However, work remains to be done as self-identification information in our HR database still proves challenging to use: at the end of 2013, approximately 23% of our workforce had not completed the cultural census. (fuck off, it’s the same source as above)

And here our troubles begin. You see those numbers there? They aren’t the same across Canada or even across neighborhoods. Where I grew up I’d expect the reverse for visible minorities and Indians. I would use the census to find out but the most recent one is less than useless, so. At any rate, rural Canada is still predominantly white and Indian, and it doesn’t care what the Malaysian community thinks because to them Malaysia is a type of noodle dish. Being told that it’s normal to see a bunch of Somalis along the road is a falsehood to much of English Canada because the Somalis aren’t walking along the road in tiny shit-towns. Now, I don’t blame the Somalis or anyone else for not living in suburban sidewalk abortions – I suspect if I knew the full extent of how bad my options were between Somalia or small-town Ontario the one I’d pick is a bullet to the braincage. That and not speaking fluid English, which is required in anti-intellectual rural Canada because fuck getting better at anything.

So ramming immigrants into CBC viewers’ faceholes doesn’t help to do much because most people possess the amazing ability to look out their window and see that the thing on television isn’t true. But even when it doesn’t wholly work at culture-creation it does create an illusion of multi-culturalism which in turn provides perfect cover for long-festering racism against Indians. The logic goes thus: we spend so much on taking care of Somalis and Burmese and other migrants, so we obviously fund the Indians! Sadly, this is patently untrue. Pedestalizing brown skin and pretending that all of Canada is some sort of olive-toned wonderland allows everyone to comfortably ignore the Indian problem. We treat Chinese too well – therefore we treat Injins too well too! Thus we hear endlessly about whether we’re racists or what Canada did this week to fight racism while the instruments of Apartheid are put down and picked up every day in office buildings across this festering stink-pit.

In turn, the CBC pumps multi-kulti and nu-left crap because it came from – you guessed it – a fear that Canadians were accessing American radio content. The CBC was born specifically to be Canadian; it comes from a cultural project, like it or not. This has infected the CBC ever since, from Hockey Night in Canada producing caker hockey culture by glorifying contractors giving each other concussions for huge sums of money to meaningless TV dramas about small-town cakerdom (of course, with wildly inaccurate presentions of small-towns). The stuff is unappealing because it’s fake, but the falsehood is essential to maintaining the doublethink that keeps English Canadians thinking that they live in a real country so it continues.

This is the CBC’s treadmill for life. Because it can’t report honestly for fear of unravelling its useless Canadiana project, it is destined to be managed like a shitty Canadian business and to put out shitty Canadian programming. What started as a good idea simply got Canada’d – and the ironic thing is that it’s backfiring. By demonstrating falsehood the CBC does nothing but foster more suspicion and disdain. Small towns are idiotic, but if there’s one thing small towns know it’s their own town’s history. Seeing the national broadcast displaying what to that population is immediately apparent as fakery and lies about the condition the town itself conjures images of conspiracies and federal interference in their lives, meaning that dark assumptions are born and discussed through local channels. Thus they solidify, becoming ever-more insular and cliquish. forming another body upon which meaningless nu-left activism can feed off of.

The circle of Canadian life, ladies and gentlemen. Honesty? Inquiry? Fuck that! Dual make-believe! Urban centers can buy the nonsense about small towns being tolerant and polite, and small towns can entrench in their bad habits and reactionary sentiments for fear that the untrue presentation of themselves on the national broadcaster constitutes an agenda from those urban centers to change them. Meanwhile, the country fails and sparks and slowly creeps towards collapse while the CBC fiddles about with Tahitian sock-puppet presenters in an attempt to exchange needed conversations about Canada for idiotic flavor-of-the-week non-troversy.

Fuck, I hate it here.

#137 – Channel Surfing, Special Edition: the Penultimate Post

I want to talk about whatever the flying fuck these are showing up in Inuit tap water. But shitty CBC crap is holding me down. I’ve made a promise to you people to talk about the nu-left at the CBC and believe me, there is a lot of it involved in the CBC’s narrative construction projects. But I want to highlight something very wrong with the nerve center of the CBC.

If you haven’t noticed, I’m both pedantic and a glutton for self-inflicted punishment. I also don’t mind getting my hands dirty and looking through the CVs of a whole whack of people. And that means that I dug through the entire senior staff at the CBC (well, those that I could find, at any rate) to see what their backgrounds are. The results…? Well, corporate shitheads. Yeah, because a media and news outlet is the same thing as a law firm or IBM or some impossibly shitty marketing firm. Only one person on this fucking list here even has journalism experience!

Instead, you have a mix of lifers on the business side of CBC (i.e.: not the content) and corporate executives, demonstrating that Canada has no fucking clue what a public broadcaster even is. Yeah, clearly business mergers are something that the CBC is going to have to perform regularly. I skipped Heather Conway because she got a whole post to how worthless she is.

Hubert T. Lacroix:

Just prior [to joining the CBC], Mr. Lacroix held the position of Senior Advisor with the Montréal office of Stikeman Elliott, a law firm recognized nationally and internationally for its business law practice. From 2000 to 2005, he acted as Executive Chairman of Telemedia Corporation and of the other boards of directors of the various companies in the Telemedia corporate structure.

Before joining Telemedia Corporation, Mr. Lacroix was a Senior Partner at McCarthy Tétrault, another major Canadian law firm, for 20 years. His practice was concentrated in business law, mostly in mergers and acquisitions of public companies, and securities.

Mr. Lacroix received his Bachelor of Civil Law (1976) and his Master’s degree in Business Administration (1981) from McGill University. He has been a member of the Quebec Bar since 1977. (source)

Translation: this guy is a business lawyer in a business that doesn’t work like any other business he has ever worked at. Good pick for CEO, chumps!

William B. Chambers:

William B. Chambers was appointed CBC/Radio-Canada’s Vice-President, Brand, Communications and Corporate Affairs, on September 15, 2008. Previous to that, he had been appointed Vice-President, Communications, on January 15, 2003…

Prior to joining CBC/Radio-Canada, Mr. Chambers was based in London, where he was Managing Director, Europe, for Goldfarb Consultants. Mr. Chambers held senior positions with Molson Companies Limited, first as Director, Public Affairs, then as Vice-President, Corporate Affairs. He also occupied several positions within the Office of the Secretary of State for External Affairs, including Chief of Staff, Press Secretary and Official Spokesperson. (source)

Translation: worked for a company reliant on marketing because the quality of the product is terrible, then worked for a marketing firm that worked with De Beers (i.e.: the people who created the “overpriced diamond rings for marriage” racket) and is headed by a Liberal pollster.

Sylvie Gadoury:

Before joining the Senior Executive Team, Ms. Gadoury held the position of Associate General Counsel, Media Law, and Access to Information and Privacy Coordinator, from 2009 to 2015. She had previously served as Senior Legal Counsel, Media Law, since 1998. Prior to working for CBC/Radio-Canada, Ms. Gadoury practised law for a few years in a private firm, and later went on to work for the Canadian Department of Justice’s general litigation team. (source)

Translation: government hack who couldn’t deal with the private sektor and hurried back to government work. Interestingly, her team has offices in Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal – but there’s no mention of her having been called to the Ontario Bar. In Canada, 1/3 is amazing!

Steven Guiton:

Before becoming Vice-President Technology and Chief Regulatory Officer, Mr. Guiton was Vice-President and Chief Regulatory Officer, Media Technology Services, responsible for moving content across the Corporation’s national, regional, and local networks. Prior to that, Mr. Guiton was CBC/Radio-Canada’s Executive Director, Strategy and Government Relations. In his other previous positions, he had been Vice-President, Regulatory Affairs, at the Canadian Cable Television Association, and Regulatory Vice-President at Unitel Communications Inc. (formerly AT&T Canada and now Allstream). (source)

Mr. Guiton holds an M.A. in Economics from Simon Fraser University and a B.A. in Economics and Commerce from the University of Toronto; he also attended the University of British Columbia for doctoral studies in Economics.

Translation: CBC lifer with connections to the telecom industry that has so effectively shafted Canada for decades. Also, I love the “doctoral studies” minus the doctorate at the end. Next.

Louis Lalande:

Mr. Lalande has been in the news business for 25 years, mainly at Radio-Canada. Before joining CBC/Radio-Canada’s Senior Executive Team, he was Executive Director of Regional Services, which comprise television, radio and web services. Prior to that, he helped establish the Centre de l’information de Radio-Canada in Montreal where he was the News and Current Affairs Director for ICI Radio-Canada Télé and ICI RDI for more than two years, after having been Executive Director of Technical Production. Mr. Lalande stopped working for the national public broadcaster for a few years during which he notably created LCN, TVA’s all-news television channel. (source)

Translation: is it…someone appropriate for the job? Holy shit, folks! It’s someone with relevant experience!! Maybe this is why the French-language CBC is so vastly superior to the English one.

Monique Marcotte:

As of May 2015, Monique Marcotte, Executive Director, Corporate Human Resources Services and Strategic Planning, is serving as Acting Vice-President, People and Culture. (source)

Uh…what? Bless you, I think? By the way, that’s it on her page. Who needs any more information than that? Her Linkedin page says she’s been there since 2009. Yeah, I’m going to go ahead and call suspicious on this one.

Judith Purves:

Before joining CBC/Radio-Canada, Ms. Purves was a Finance Executive with IBM, holding a number of progressively more senior positions, most recently based in New York as VP and CFO IBM Global Financing. Other significant positions held include CFO of IBM Canada Ltd, IBM Global Services Pricing Executive and Chief Accountant IBM Canada. She has led a number of significant organizational transformations. (source)

“Global Services Pricing Executive”. On something that’s free to the public. Someone remind me again – what does IBM have in common with a public broadcaster? Oh, right. Nothing.

So there you have it – the nerve center of the CBC. With a list of corporate hacks and unrelated experience dominating the entirity of the CBC’s English contingent and most of the French one, nothing can possibly go wrong!  With this lot at the helm, the probability that Canada will right anything with its public broadcaster is comfortably low. Who needs reform when ignorance is cheaper and easier to put together?

Except Louis Lalande – that guy, if the content on French-language CBC is any indicator, is a goddamn boss. The music is absolutely appropriate for Mr. Lalande. Skill! Talent! Proven ability to plan and create! An angelic choir sings to the glory of the CBC getting one hire right. Obviously, he is French and therefore unacceptable to caker-logic, but I know better than that. Manage on, you elderly, silver haired Quebecois man. Manage like the wind.

#132 – Channel Surfing, Special Edition: Qui Custodiet CBC.ca?

The CBC’s website is one of the few things about the English Canadian CBC that doesn’t make my skin crawl. Sure, it’s filled with tripe and prepacked articles from real news agencies but that’s basically the CBC anyways. It looks okay, the integration with CBC-Radio makes the one remotely useful part of the CBC’s Armada of Bullshit accessible to my Internet-wielding ass, and its comment sections are a reliable car-wreck of English Canadian inanity (honestly, I could just redirect you there and close shop; sooner or later that infinite monkeys flinging poo at infinite typewriters will fumigate the well of Canada’s sins and thus exorcise its fell demons). It’s a website – good job. Here’s a cookie.

But who in the evershitting hell manages that website? I Googled around to look for information about who manages, runs, and maintains the CBC’s family of websites. Since I couldn’t find that there, let’s go look at the sitemap, shall we?

And you know what I did for you? I went to go look around by clicking on every one of those fucking links there that could have a chance of housing the very basic information that I’m looking for. I clicked on them all with one very simple question in mind: “who is the head of the website design team?” If anywhere, you’d sign your own work, no? After looking at the toll for the e-troll under this collection, labelled “Image Research Library & Still Photos”, of “thousands of subject and biography files and books selected for their visual content…also [featuring] an historic serials collection, including the Eaton’s catalogue back to 1910” and whatever the fuck redirect site this was hiding behind the “Ad & Sponsorship Sales”, I set to looking under Corporate Info. Start from the top of that, I suppose. Like fuck if I want to see another redsplosion like “Ad & Sponsorship Sales”.

Right. Here’s where you go when you click “About“: a page using the same cascading icon diarrhea that Windows 8 was so loved for blindsiding people with. Our people, maybe? Let’s try ther..holy fuck you dolts I don’t want to see your maplewashed selfies Jesus fucking Christ have some respect. Every day brings something new, indeed. If I wanted cutesy pictures of twentysomethings pretending that the world is a glorious place I’d people-watch in a mall. Next click!

CBC Media Center“? Holy shit, that’s my main well of material for making fun of Canada’s mediocre television offerings! This is one of my favorite barrels on the whole of the Internet! And there’s a contact page on there! Sweet giggity, we’re in busin-oh. By “contact us”, you meant contact your brand managers? I want to talk to a brand manager as much as I do a bran muffin. I do like how news and current affairs got relegated to someone pulling double duty though. Good to know where the branding priorities are.

The link “CBC Museum” rushes me to a page that implores me to take a #museumselfie with Mr. Dressup’s Tickle Truck. I cannot express my combination of granite-shattering disinterest in complying with this and the deep, core-raking disgust I feel at the fact that this request was even made of me in the first place. Just, fuck you CBC Museum. I’ll stick to Mr. Rogers, who was a fantastic human being and who didn’t instruct me to take #museumselfies with an old microphone. Next.

Glenn Gould Studio“, you say? Well, sure – I can do Gould…aaand you’re trying to sell me tickets to a concert in Toronto. Amazing. Obviously this is important corporate info.

This section of the links to nowhere is getting dull, so let me slide down to the Contact Us page. I had forgotten that I tried this because it worked exactly as I thought it would. Foolish me, assuming that “contact us” would contain contact information. Here is my query:

And here are the results of said:

Amazing! And yes, I know how a search engine works. I tried every combination of CBC.ca, website, webmaster, manages, runs, hosts – everything I could think of. And it was awesome because:

Jesus Fucking Christ. Okay – after that torture, let’s get this other fucking heading over with. I’m already way over my usual word count here. And I was trying to write about the CBC.ca webpage and how it was basically not the worst. Too bad I don’t know who to thank save for Canada and I suppose the Instagram-bunch over in the “About” section.

Jobs“: I’m surprised this doesn’t just redirect to the EI office for your province. Went to their “contact us” and found nothing. Not the first place I’d look either but I said I would look everywhere and by fuck I’m going to.

This, by the way, is the “Contact Us” page I’m getting most often. I like Ombudsmen as a rule – they’re pedantic and probably hate what they discover about the world they live in just like me – but I don’t want to talk to their offices.  Both the “Corporate Info” (which is a redirect to the main page of CBC Radio-Canada because reasons) and the “Transparency & Accountability” page dump me here. Though the latter did direct me to a whole pile of CBC-made reports that I’m sure I’ll glean plenty of ammo from. Look forward to the “Equity Reports” comments where I get to shred the nu-left again!

CBC: Get the Facts” – that’s what I’m trying to do you asscheese! This is a context-less drop-down list of events that apparently have one thing in common – they make the CBC sad. Thrilling. You can’t even plead for your fiscal lives properly. I mean, when you’ve got logic like “[every] Canadian has access to one, if not all, of the broadcast consortiums’ stations” as a justification for the current model of scheduling leadership debates, you’re kind of forgetting the people who don’t have any access to television broadcasting and instead rely on the Internet.

Oh, and before we go, don’t forget this doozy: “[our management team] is guided only by the desire to offer a wide variety of quality Canadian programs, and we’re doing a very successful job of that.” Ask Jian Ghomeshi’s victims about the pure and noble intent of CBC management; when even the CBC admits that his handsy, “really get to know you” style was basically condoned by management you may want to avoid referencing the pure and noble intent of a whack of political appointees and lifers at the CBC.

Right, back to it. “Public Appearances” is one of those too-much-to-know things. Without a search function, what’s the fucking point? I don’t care that Mark Connolly was the host of the Kids With Cancer Leg Shaker Fundraiser on 30 May – I want to know what the fuck these people do and who runs the bloody website! I also want to mention that one of the reasons I hate endless babble about transparency is that it creates Rube Goldbergs like this – unwieldy spreadsheets with at once too much and not enough data. We’ve got everyone’s trips to the Canadian Fart Museum logged but dear Lord help us if we want to find, you know, useful data.

“CBC Shop”? Fuck no. I don’t wanna shop, and if I did I wouldn’t be looking at the bottom of the page for the store. “Help”? God-fucking-dammit it’s the same shitty search engine from last time! That’s not help, you fucks – that’s abuse! “Doing Business With Us” apparently means cringeworthy pseudobusiness-diagram with pictures of office chairs on them. Contact us? Are you here, website design dudes? Oh, you motherfucker!!

Holy shit! All I wanted to do was say that whoever’s running that show is doing an okay job and I ended up hating the CBC’s website and the stupid loop-de-loop gobbledegook that it seems to entail. Fuck you, CBC website design people! But I have one more button. And that button has the most beautiful word of all on it:


Sweet lords above. Thank God it’s you, middle-aged lady with wavy hair and Quebecois mullet-suit dude! No Canadian flag surprises? No fucking useless search engines that work as well as a Ford Pinto? Your Contact Us form is for the right people and you taught me that you’ve contracted out raking through the gunk that is the CBC’s comments section. Marry me, red pant-suit lady! Hear my pleas and answer my simple question!

Will I ever find out who runs the place? Tune in next time! I’m off to go make fun of equality reports.