#192 – the Wreck of the HMS Nova Scotia

On the face of it Nova Scotia is in a better spot than the rest of Atlantic Canada. First, it has a (relatively) sizeable city in Halifax that hasn’t been rendered carcinogenic by the Irvings. Second, Nova Scotia is exporting cakers at lightning speed – in 2013 it and Newfoundland had the dubious honors of being the only provinces where the death rate exceeded the birth rate and where emigration outpaced immigration. Fewer cakers and not being poisoned to death by a soulless caker business? If you can get past the totally absurd condo bubble the place might be inhabitable!

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(S) Though this headline caught Halifax at its best

But that assessment must be tempered by the fact that Atlantic Canada isn’t worth anything, because Atlantic Canada is a failed shitstain on the face of a failed country. We’ll start with the basics – Nova Scotia is fucking broke and what money it does have it doesn’t know how to spend. The province can’t even afford to provide that substandard healthcare cakers love to brag about without federal transfer payments. The province pays out $870M a year in interest payments on its debt; what money it does have it spends on cozy deals for ferry services that leave people stranded for days in the winter because the Coast Guard sucks ass and can’t do its job. Oh, and if you complain about said cozy deal you’re “bad for business“, which is something only a caker business would whinge about. Because why should government care about providing meaningful services for its people with the resources it has when it can support caker business because reasons?

The population of the province is struggling with an above-average rate of bankruptcy, which may have something to do with $200 monthly bills for fucking heating oil. On Cape Breton, 32% of children are living below the poverty line. I can’t express to you enough how pitiful a province we’re talking about here. Like most of Canada this shithole can’t feed itself because of high prices and terrible work prospects, and it’s got the same bizarre affinity for enforcing car dependency on its population by way of terrible transit services. There’s literally nothing in this waste heap that isn’t trying to savage your fiscal – or for that matter actual – health.

This is the part where I talk about substandard healthcare. And oh boy, do I have a story for you. Enter Victoria General Hospital, a shoddy abomination that manages to make one of Medicine sans Frontiere’s emergency clinics look like a top-of-the-line facility. Say what you will about primitive medical facilities – at least the person getting operated on a tent doesn’t have to worry about Legionnaire’s Disease laying unresolved in the OR for 27 fucking years and counting. The water at Victoria General isn’t even potable, which is kind of a fucking problem in a hospital. I’d rather risk having open-heart surgery on a table at McDonald’s. I’d almost rather experience healthcare in northern Canada than risk Halifax’s Victoria General. When Pravda is telling you that the place is a disaster, the place is a fucking disaster. And if that sounds like enough to drive you crazy, I’ve got some more bad news – the mental healthcare system is as failure-ridden as the physical one.

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(S) Nurse Googly-Eyed Hamburger, get me 3cc of ketchup stat!

And that’s Nova Sovietska, a province that is desperate for your tourism dollars and equally desperate that you won’t look at it too hard and see the staggering consequences of rancid, constant caker failure. A province practically owned and operated by the Irvings and the Canadian Navy isn’t going to be much to write home about in the best of times; add to that a culture of chronic desperation and want and an economy whose failure nearly 30 years ago remains unaddressed and disregarded and you have a recipe for the kind of disaster that only Canada can pretend is something to celebrate.

Reviewing Canada’s provinces is yet more evidence that the worst thing that happened to this podunk pile of shit was when it started pretending to be a country instead of a repository for unbridled horror and unrepentant idiocy.

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#191 – Saskatchewan, Canada’s ‘Special’ Child

Oh, fucking Saskatchewan. Even within cakerdom this miserable rectangle of reactionary fuckery is regarded as the rural asscrack of the country. What other province has a tradition of wearing fucking watermelons on their heads?

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(s) Captioning this with the word durr is an insult to the letters d, u, and r.

When they aren’t busy putting more intelligent melons on their own melons, what does Saskatchewan do? Among such other activities as waiting for porn to load and setting all five of their remaining neurons to pondering how they became the laughingstock of Canada, a country that for all intents and purposes is the laughingstock of civilization, Saskatchewan likes to give local Indigenous tours. Tours of the “fuck you, now freeze to death” variety. Saskatchewan’s “finest” (if you define “fine” by way of soldier-sniffing knuckle-dragging) are also fans of (theoretically) non-lethally racist policing and prison practices; if you’re Indigenous in the Rancid Rectangle you’re 33 times more likely to get thrown in the slammer. And the rest of Saskatchewan is a fan of racism too, to the point where Premier Brad Wall had to plead on national media for Saskatchewan to go back to using its limited bandwidth and brain cells to look for bad porn and watermelons, respectively.

But hey, you say. Canada’s rural bits are basically Wyoming with shit healthcare and a smug attitude. We demand Saskatchewan’s special brand of suck! But the thing is, Saskatchesuck is such a piece of shit that even its problems aren’t interesting or unique. Let’s go through Saskatchewan’s caker credentials. Shitty hospitals? Check! A fixation on mindless extraction regardless of economic merits? Ding! Hideously expensive produce in a province fabled for its agricultural output? You know it! A runaway housing market that in no way reflects the economic merits of the areas being overbuilt? Chronic gang-related violence coupled with police inaction? A lack of capacity for basic, modern waste disposal? It all checks out, folks. The Wretched Rectangle is a piece of a caker shit!

Saskatchewan’s problems are mostly related to its economic output. Saskatchewan is flat and grows a shit-ton of wheat. The problem with leaning an economy on extraction, as we’ve talked about before, is that shit like this happens and the whole thing goes belly-up. And then, when you try to hide your extractive failure in other festering economic buttcracks, like, say, mindless sprawl, your lack of planning for this new stupid idea comes to firmly bite you in the ass. Saskatchewan is also known for mining potash. It is not, however, known for having anything else to do that isn’t speculative or extractive, meaning that entire towns can get knocked flat off their asses by market forces far beyond their control or understanding. You may recognize this as being Canada’s modus operandi, but somehow even stupider than usual.

Speaking of stupid things beyond reasoned understanding, who the fuck thought a giant metal statue of wheat was going to do anything besides rust and be mocked by cruel people like me? In a province with reams of people claiming that there’s nothing to do, the best thought people had is to build random giant shit and hope that someone cares enough about it to get out of their fucking car for two seconds? Who does that?

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(s) Answer: Cakers.

Seriously – here’s Pravda’s list of things to do in the entire province on a holiday Monday. Please note that this exciting spread of activities is typically found in literally any community that isn’t a fucking hole in the ground. You know you suck when taking a train that’s somehow even slower than VIA Rail’s subpar service is considered an activity. Though this does help to explain the watermelon thing – maybe Saskatchewan’s bored population is so numbed by the mindless miles of absolutely nothing that wearing fruit on their empty skulls like a retarded version of the Chiquita Banana lady is the closest thing to feeling that they have left.

It’s also probably the only unique thing they have going for them, which I think says all that needs to be said about the Wretched Rectangle.

#62 – AmeriKKKa, Part Six: Pro-Choice, Anti-Access

People like Rick Mercer love to use abortion access as a way to highlight differences between Canada and the United States. According to these special souls women in the United States live in a state of being not unlike the Handmaid’s Tale. Without any knowledge of their own history regarding abortion, cakers will point to (ridiculous) new anti-abortion legislation in a backwards American state as evidence that the next generation of American women will all be named Offred. Typically, the American judiciary will do what it is constitutionally charged with doing and block stupid legislation from stupid places. But cakers ignore the finely-tuned instrumentation of the American system in favor of screeching like apes so as to mask their own ignorance of their own systems. Having said all of that, let’s take a walk through Canadian history to talk about how abortion access works in Canada, shall we?

We start with a woman named Emily Stowe, who was the first case I could find of Canada bringing the hammer down on an abortion provider. Stowe, who was Canada’s first (not-really but it’s complicated) licensed female doctor couldn’t even get into medical school in Canada, so she had to be trained in New York. In 1879, Stowe provided a minute quantity of a drug that could cause a miscarriage to an “annoying” 19-year old. By minute quantity, I mean “too little to actually do anything” minute. The result was a raucous trial which eventually saw her acquitted on the basis of her prescription being too small to do anything. Abortions would remain illegal under Section #251 of the Criminal Code of Canada until 1969.

It was in that year that the Great Liberator of Canada, Pierre Trudeau would take steps to decriminalize abortion pursuant to the recommendations of the Royal Commission on the Status of Women. Only a year before Hawai’i legalized abortion on request, California and ten other states legalized access to abortion by writ and Washington state held a public vote legalizing abortion access, Canada finally passed some kind of “permissive legislation” regarding abortion access. The “permissions” required for a Canadian woman to have an abortion performed were strict, to say the least. Remember that Commission that recommended legalizing abortion? Yeah, that was only up to the first twelve weeks of pregnancy. By contrast the “stupid legislation” I pointed to from Mississippi is a ban after fifteen weeks.

And the horror of Canada’s “legalization” doesn’t stop there. In order to access abortion legally under Pierre Trudeau’s regime, you had to get approval from a Therapeutic Abortion Committee, or TAC. The role of the TAC was to effectively judge whether a woman could bypass the existing criminal prohibitions on abortion. TACs were given tons of wiggle room because of the wording of the legislation, meaning that decisions were often arbitrarily in the negative. A TAC that was too lenient was often shuttered and replaced by the hospital in question with one that was harsher. This cockamamie system would remain in place until 1988, which you might recognize as really not that fucking long ago and also recognize as 15 years after the permissive ruling of Roe v. Wade (we’ll get into the difference between permissive and non-permissive rulings in a bit) To this day, hospitals are still notoriously shy about the provision of a service cakers pretend is elementary and regularly available.

The province that actually forced Canada to confront its Victorian attitudes regarding abortion was of course Quebec, the only province in this shithole with the stones to stand up to obscene regulation. Enter Henry Morgentaler, who actually served jail time and endured a firebombing of his clinic in Toronto in this country of unending tolerance and respect for women’s rights. Morgentaler’s tireless work providing abortions where hospitals refused (and still refuse) to earned him unending legal troubles until the infamous R v. Morgentaler ruled that the arcane insanity of the TAC was unconstitutional.

After that, we get an attempt from Brian Mulroney to pass new legislation regarding abortion which would entrench restrictive bureaucracy and penalize women who are so desperate that they seek to self-abort. A tie vote in the Senate killed that first and last attempt to legislate abortion in Canada. And here’s where I talk about the difference between permissive rulings and the Wild West that Canada lives in. Roe v. Wade sets in law the right to have an abortion; R v. Morgentaler merely cancels Canada’s abortion legislation. Since then, Canada hasn’t bothered trying to pass any kind of ruling on the issue.

The problem with this is that the Wild West mentality tends to restrict abortion access. New Brunswick doesn’t allow for abortions broadly speaking, and there’s not a goddamn thing Canada can do about it. Outside of Ontario barriers and restrictions to abortion are common, especially in rural areas. Even with rule changes the lack of ultrasound machines coupled with a non-medically-necessary requirement to have an ultrasound before medication inducing abortion can be provided still hampers access in rural Canada. Without legalized abortion in Canada training for abortions is still haphazard and often wanting. If #RealChange gave a shit he could fix this mess, but he won’t because that’s hard…and because Canadians on the whole aren’t particularly liberal on the matter themselves.