#161 – Good Things Grow in Ontario*

*if you consider power costs a good thing, that is.

Indeed, good things could grow in Ontario soil, at least if the farmland wasn’t instead built over so as to grow shitty Milennials in boring suburban tract housing. But instead of being useful Ontario elected the walking victim complex Kathleen Wynne to the Premiership and ensured that their government would be shit. After overbuilding the power grid and forbidding cities to speak out against the hare-brained idea, Wynne then opted to sell Hydro One to reduce the debt that they just can’t seem to stop adding to.

In effect, Wynne has spent Ontario’s money to encourage the overproduction of power in Ontario, then sold the utility that collects that money and expected things to be fine. Of course, they aren’t fine – Ontarians are now in a position where they’re paying more for less power. The stated reason? We aren’t using enough power. I wish I was joking. Nothing to do with overproduction, nothing to do with privatization, nothing to do with mismanagement, nothing to do with the above-market prices that weren’t watched properly, and certainly nothing to do with subsidizing non-starter caker business. No, friends. It’s your fault for not buying enough overpriced power.

The attitudes of this are absolutely incredible. The government is closing reviews of energy projects, the whole power system was described in December as “broken” by the Auditor-General, and we’ve been eating higher power costs seemingly by the month as various confounding subsidies and rate mechanisms appear and disappear. Oh, and did I mention that a worthless caker is getting $4 million a year to “control” this disaster? Obviously the solution to this political thorn was to privatize and thus to stop listing Hydro One salaries! Disclosure laws on perhaps the single most price-inelastic item most consumers buy as delivered through a virtual monopoly aren’t needed, right?

That’s not even beginning to explore the hideous disaster that was the smart meter, a shambolic excuse for a program that effectively masks the amount of power a user has actually consumed. In exchange for this lack of transparency, you’ll get some amazing deals! Like fire risks, which forced the Liberals to disconnect 45,000 of the damnable things. Just think of all you can do with a box that dictates how broke you are this month by way of an unreliable signal that forces yet more to go offline! And you could get hacked, which could damage the entire grid! All this for a system that cost $2 billion and that didn’t work for 1 in 6 on its first go-round.

That Canada’s shitty Internet impinges on implementing a shitty, shady system is raw comedy, but it’s far from the icing on the caker Liberal’s make-believe green dream. Think of all of the money handed to shitty caker businesses – make-work solar farms like Eclipsall Energy paid their workers just 20% more than minimum wage in 2011, shitty crony companies taking 90% of the provided subsidies for wind turbine production, violating international trade law, paying anywhere from two to four times the market price for solar and wind power, converting a coal plant to a biomass facility that apparently needs Norwegian wood chips despite Northern Ontario being fairly well-known for being near a small tract of land called the Boreal Forest (I bet those wood chips magic their way here – no way is shipping biomass a source of pollution!), and on it goes. Endless handouts and handups to ineffective and shitty business – that’s the Queen’s Park way.

But we’re supposed to cheer because it’s green energy you guys! Feels trump thought! Don’t think about it! In no way does this colossal fuckup make people less willing to accept and agree to future ecological reform, no way. People tend to dislike getting burned twice; the logic on Ontario’s streets is not “when Ontario tried this the power bills got jacked faster than a roids-riddled hockeymans – let’s do it again!” No sir, the endless and mindless construction of turbines is creating nothing but fans of green energy out of the Ontarian populace.

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“(s) And they’ve scored another rate increase! We’re at 17.5 cents/kWh on-peak here at halftime! The crowd goes wild!!”

I can’t wait for #RealChange to follow Evil Orville’s crackling, brimstone-stinking footsteps!

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#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!

6.

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?


5.

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?


4.

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:

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Source

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!


3.

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.


2.

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.


1.

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.

#154 – AmeriKKKa, Part 10: Housing Goes up the River

As the Victoria-area housing market heats up, their small-character houses are coming down due to the demand for bigger, newer houses. Developers and incoming buyers, flush with money, are targeting the historic municipality of Oak Bay, which has not protected its homes as rigorously as adjacent Victoria has protected much of its original housing stock.

Our old houses, considered rubbish to many, have become American treasure.

But an American community is turning the old houses into part of the solution to their affordability problem. A group in San Juan Island, Wash., has purchased seven Oak Bay houses and once they’ve raised enough funds, they are planning to purchase five more.

yes, this is actually real.

This story will make your blood boil if you have any modicum of interest in Canadian housing markets. The housing market in Canada is of course absolutely full of shit, with Vancouver pricing itself to a point where only senior executives will be able to afford the place by 2025. This of course would be bad for the labor market because the executive-types both rely on low-wage workers (who else will clean their houses, raise their children, or drive their cars?) and don’t seem interested in paying attention to the problem at hand. This is a slow-moving glacier of a problem; it will utterly crush Vancouver but it’s moving at a rate where a coherent plan could help.

Naturally, caker-business and Chinese wealth develop hives upon even hearing the word “plan” and thus have no interest in civic or indeed self-preservation. Meanwhile, in Evil AmeriKKKa, wealthy businessmen are spearheading the movement of houses from Victoria for the sake of affordable housing. You see, AmeriKKKa has taken some time in between cackling evilly at the full moon and kicking puppies in shelters to think about the prospect of cities pricing their low-wage workers literally out of their cities. They have come to the conclusion that they -*GASP*- might actually need those baristas and students if they want their city to work.

In Washington, one of the worst-hit victims of the affordability crisis, the solution is to take some of Canada’s old housing. You know, the kind of charactered, interesting housing that creates desirable neighborhoods and achieves many of the goals promised by the federal Liberals? Yeah, fuck having any of that – what Victoria and its insane housing market need is less efficient, soulless McMansions in suburbs. Because in a contest between long-term civic health and short-term profiteering, it’s obvious which Canada will go for. In fact, that’s even the reason cited by Heritage Vancouver in the first article: “There aren’t enough financial incentives to save them. They have to have their own initiative to save a house.” Because obviously the only thing that matters is making money.

Unlike those Wicked No-Good AmeriKKKans and their plan to have the barged-over houses available to people making the median wage in the are, Canadians are making sure that the poor are well-off by bartering and fucking about with one of the most critical and expensive parts of urban life in the name of short-term profits.

#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.

air-canada-boeing-767-300er-aircraft-cropped
Fuck.

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.

#150 – Refu-Jesus Christ

Refugees are coming! Hooray! Hooray!

Yes, #RealChange went and did another thing #becauseits2015 and started a full-steam ahead program to bring 25,000 refugees from the fucknucklry of the Middle East. Congrats! You’ve moved up a whole world – from physical siege to psychiatric siege!

I won’t pretend that Canada isn’t a better place than Syria or Iraq or indeed any state with a majority-Muslim population (though it’s worth noting that two – Indonesia and Saudi Arabia – have a higher GDP by PPP than Canada). I accept that there is a powerful moral argument for taking in the desperate and the lost. Indeed, the French recognize this even after a horrific attack was committed against them and have accepted more refugees than Canada.

Meanwhile, some folks who know how Ottawa works with regards to minor concerns like housing and food security have questioned the morality of accepting and building a support system for newcomers fleeing war when those who can’t flee the fell hand of Ottawa are in obvious and desperate need. If we could have mobilized this kind of response anyways why hadn’t we when it was apparent that reserves were failing?

This is indeed a salient and fair point, which means that #RealChange naturally pratfalled into a nasty critique of Canada. The argument we’re apparently getting (which is totally non-partisan you guys even though the Liberals have actively  worked their nu-left magic and de facto control of the media and civil service to stand in front of the affair) is that this is a national project. And there, my friends, the wheels come right the fuck off.

Remind me, Justin – what is the significance of the Levant to Canadian nationalism? I don’t seem to recall Macdingus writing a Levantine Restriction Act (though I have no doubt the drunken thug would implement such a thing). Go figure – it’s almost like this “national project” involves a whole lot of Canada circle-jerking and stuffing people in barracks until the federal government gets its act together.

I mean, perhaps the concept of internment and isolation is Canadian – after all, that’s the logic behind the reserves. But then we see this, the goal behind the stunt: “to demonstrate Canada’s compassionate values and re-affirm our global leading role in refugee resettlement.” Which translates as “don’t look at our other problem isn’t Canada great you guys? Guys?”

Let’s recap – our “nation-building exercise” excludes a substantial part of the national heritage of Canada and overrules their legitimate grievances about being cut in line. The nearly $1.2B that appeared for refugees because Canada wants to look like it matters could nearly halve the education budget shortfalls in the Indian education system. But that would require putting the mapledong back in Canada’s ironic blue-jeans and addressing problems that could hurt the Canadian ego, so fuck that. In short, the whole project is a demonstration of how simple and defective Canadian nationalism is. If this is “nation-building” and getting a part of the Canadian federation out of the third-world isn’t I frankly think this “nation” needs to be aborted with every clothes hanger in the closet.

Then again, the current “plan” involves dumping people in barracks in rural Central Canada after airlifting them from Jordan and then trusting an unexplained protocol from CSIS and the RCMP with the rest. I would be surprised but I know better, really.

 

 

 

 

#148 – Seein’ Towers (of Bullshit)

The CN Tower. Truly an iconic Canadian building – grey, overpriced, and built on bullshit. I could probably sign off by saying that, as the name suggests, its history is tied into Canada’s rail interests. But it’s fun to shed some light on the thing, so here goes. We begin with a question that nobody really asks – who owns the CN Tower?

It isn’t CN – it’s a little-known body called the Canada Lands Company. The CLC is a Crown Corporation which handles the real estate arm of the Canadian government. It’s a sort of caretaker for shit that the Canadian government is either selling off or can’t give away to anyone because either nobody wants it or the bodies that do want the land are poo-flinging baboons who can’t manage a SimTown.

Speaking of stupidity, did I mention that the CN Tower was built in the middle of a wasteland of post-industrial infrastructure (CN moved to Vaughan because why not) and that the mega-project-cum-neighborhood that was built around it failed once and is a classic example of mashing suburban knuckle-dragging into urban space? Of course I didn’t – I have to frame the critique of the CN Tower first. It’s an undoubtedly fascinating and iconic building, designed both to stroke CN’s throbbing erection (it’s kind of apparent when you look at the thing, really) and to provide communications through a burgeoning scene of skyscrapers. It comes from an iffy heritage and it isn’t exactly affordable to get to the top more than once in your life, but the real story of the failure of the CN Tower is the abomination called CityPlace.

That was what the home of the CN Tower looked like as it was going up. You’ll notice a distinct lack of pedestrian access, diners, housing, or indeed liveable space anywhere near the thing. From the completion of the CN Tower to the building of the Metro Convention Center that whole area was a butt-turkey of nuthin’. Considering that I remember this place because it had a Planet Hollywood in it and my extra-suburban parents loved the place, I don’t expect much greatness out of that thing. Then the SkyDome went in, the economy went south and the place spluttered, and in 1997 the Air Canada Center was started up.

Sports and tourism? You know what goes well with that? You’ll notice that we left the neighborhood in the early noughts, which means condo-time. And with Canada’s noble and valiant tradition of slap-dashedly building shit badly and with no coherent plan for the area that, as you’ll recall looked rather profoundly detached from the rest of the city. When neighborhoods that are cut off from the rest of the city lose their money, they tend to become ghettos. At least this guy seems to think so, and to be honest I’ve seen nothing but bad news about shoddy building and cultureless morass.

Y’know, I was originally going to slam on CLC, but looking at the neighborhood I changed my mind. Yeah – I’d trust the Crown before the numbnuts behind this soulless shit-heap. Does this look inviting to you?

If it does, enjoy living in a half-assed civic scab taking up what could be remarkably useful space next to a genuinely interesting bundle of buildings (and the shitty Metro Convention Center). But be mindful of falling glass.

#144: Louis St. Laurent and the Patchwork Canada

Fuck Louis St. Laurent.

This guy is a double-dinger of sloppy bullshittery. In a way, he’s the prototype for future Liberal fuckery throughout the rest of Canada’s history – manage the economy to the benefit of business interests that eventually get too cozy with Ottawa for the polity’s comfort. He was also an anti-Semite – Diefenbaker recalls his posting the first Jew to run the Bank of Canada, Louis Rasminsky, in part to spite St. Laurent. The fact that St. Laurent like King before him could barely contain his disdain for Western Canada probably didn’t help affairs much.

St. Laurent also oversaw Newfoundland. Holy shit, Newfoundland. See, here’s the thing – the Rock wasn’t too keen on joining Canada. In the first referendum of 1948 Newfoundland wisely voted to steer clear of the foul-smelling dumpster fire that is Canada but failed to hit 50%, triggering a run-off that managed to pull Newfoundland into the Vortex of Suck by a whopping 52.3%. There are of course folk allegations of fuckery in the ballot boxes, and there were movements calling for annexation by the United States expressly to avoid Canada’s Francophones.

Joey Smallwood’s role is obviously paramount to the whole thing. But, see, St. Laurent’s annexation of Newfoundland was definitely assisted by British/Canadian propaganda efforts and those folktales about fraud are a testament to the lack of legitimacy Canada suffers on the Rock. Danny Williams ordered the Canadian flags taken down over Newfoundland’s government buildings over fiscal disputes. Clearly, Newfoundland has some (likely pickled – the place has a drunken reputation) national sentiment. Which St. Laurent ignores because 52% close enough. Can’t leave with 52%, but you can join with it. Hotel California much?

He also oversaw the creation of the Trans-Canada Highway, a road which is so useful that it doesn’t go to the most populous part of the country it’s claiming to be ‘trans’-ing. His other brilliant mega-projects, the now obsolete Saint Lawrence Seaway (which is due for expansion in 2030) and the Trans-Canada Pipeline both continued to demonstrate Canadian planning skills by being entirely obsolete and in the latter case prone to leaking and exploding because why the fuck not.

Louis ran a fairly tight ship save for the typical Canadian patronages, but there’s no real way to praise a guy whose legacy is useless to a sizeable portion of the population, in her mega-projectiness rendered moot by global trade patterns, and prone to egg-farting your house to oblivion. When you build shit, you should also build in protocols to maintain the thing you just built.

Or you can be a Liberal and promise a brave new world in just a few megaprojects that happen to assist their business and dynastic interests. Just as how building huge highways with no funds to repair them was a solid idea to the Canadian mind, the caker is blinded by the prospect of someone noticing it for some kind of feat only to discover that said feat is indistinguishable in modernity from the pipelines built by Khrushchev.

Oh, and taking in a province willy-nilly without addressing seriously the protocols for entry and exit from Canada. That would have been helpful.