#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.

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(S)

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

ks0hqdp

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!

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(S) Fuck yeah.

#196 – The Greyer Toronto Area

Back on track.

Fuck the GTA.

In the preliminary research for this post, I asked a friend of mine for examples of particularly atrocious development in the Greyer Toronto Area. The places he tossed my way – Sherway Gardens, Upper Canada Mall, and Erin Mills Town Center, among others – looked like my interpretation of purgatory. As we were chatting in dawned on me that the places he cited were often malls. Why malls, I thought?

Then it hit me – the names of the malls are literally the only distinguishing features of these formless hellscapes. The areas around these places are horrifying. Here’s a fun activity – go to Street View and go see the sights. Oh, and by fun I meant deadening. There’s a reason Toronto has been described as “Vienna surrounded by Phoenix”. Having actually visited Phoenix before I can confirm the sentiment, only in the GTA (which is unworthy of being written out properly) you also get to deal with the shittiness of Canada. Hoo-fucking-ray.

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(S) Above: the sum of available activity within walking distance at a given point in the GTA

I want to showcase some of the worst architecture and design in the GTA to highlight what I mean about the place sucking harder than a shop-vac. I’ve taken to calling these things CAD-fapping because they look like they were designed by someone trying to compensate for their perceived sexual inadequacies. There are also some charming (read: terrifying) piles of housing dreck, thrilling lands of neglect and inaccessibility, and large roadways. So many large roadways. So without further ado, time to look at some horror!

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(S)  Absolute World, Mississauga

First up on the mockery block is this piece of shit. 60 Absolute is called “Marilyn Monroe”, because apparently looking at random skewers of glass and metal plopped in the middle of fucking nowhere reminded someone of an iconic sex figure. Sexy this is not – just check out this website. Scroll down to the review section at the bottom of the page and have a laugh as people alternatively lament their idiotic purchase and attempt to puff the place up because they bought the condo as an “investment”.

Whoever bought into this quackery clearly doesn’t want to walk anywhere. Look at this garbage urban form – these towers literally loom over an entire shitty suburb! It’s a fitting metaphor, the image of the old shitty land use planning being cast into darkness by a new, even worse urban form. These things are a fucking blight. They inspire a sense of pity, not one of awe.

Oh, and a quick search reveals that this bizarre and wildly inappropriately-placed development was designed by the architectural firm MAD Studio. MAD indeed.

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(S) Rain & Senses, Oakville

What’s with that name? And for that matter, why does this look like a glassblowing titan just took a massive dump on a boring office building from the 70s which was itself the apparent result of a giant squatting on a couple of suburban houses?  These two glitchy-looking shits start at a mere $400,000! And look at what you get to live near! At least one side of the building literally faces a parking lot, which is not what I see in this mock-up sketch.

Now that I think of it, none of the surroundings look like this. Which makes the call to experience the “neighborhood” of Oakville (Oakville is not a neighborhood, it’s a town.  A suburban shithole town, sure. But it’s what passes for a town in Cakerstan) even funnier. Here’s the text: “The Oakville lifestyle is one without comparison, and residents can attest that there’s no neighbourhood quite like it.”

I wonder if these developers understand how stupid the phrase “Oakville lifestyle” sounds, unless they mean driving while scowling.

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(S) New York Towers, North York

Oh, do I fucking hate these things. When I’m forced to experience the extreme displease that is driving through Toronto these fucking abominations are always there to greet me. The sadsack attempt at the Empire State building and the fact that this piece of shit isn’t exactly in Manhattan reminds me of something that one of those Chinese ghost cities would do so as to attract “investment”. Let’s be perfectly clear – surrounded by sprawl and highways, these pitiful attempts at mimicry offer a living experience that has nothing in common with the image of Manhattan that this clump is trying so hard and failing to evoke. Unless your idea of Manhattan is a bunch of curvilinear road networks beside a bevy of highways. Really, the big thing I hate about these shitty fuckbeasts is that they look derivative and stupid.

Oh, and the architects behind that Potemkin squatling also wanted to build this. I would call it a victory, but that implies that any of this nonsense is even worth saving.

ward5ps
(S) Malton, ON. The Whole Fucking Thing

The first result for this place on a Google image search is this picture:

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In case you don’t believe me

According to this map, Malton (postal code L4T, for anyone using the map I’m about to link to) is making less than the provincial average in terms of income. And with such productive land uses as this, who could possibly expect otherwise? This is a classic example of a community that was simply left to its own devices. Which in 2008 included murder. But seriously, this wasteland of untenable urban form is right by Pearson International Airport and is practically lassoed by highways. For those children unfortunate enough to grow up in this soulless wasteland there is a one-in-five chance that theirs is a life of poverty. Yikes.

And while we’re in the “neighborhood” (a term that ought only be used loosely in this context), let’s talk about the GTA’s single worst “urbanity” – the decrepit, car-dependent shithole that is Brampton.

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(S) Brampton, Ontario.

 

You know how I recently bought the domain name for this website? I did it because I’m pretty passionate about exposing Shit About Canada. But that’s a whole country – here’s a guy who bought a domain just to shit on Brampton. My hat goes off to you, author of Brampton Sucks. Brampton sucks on an almost-unthinkable scale. Look at the sprawl I linked to you up there, and then take a gander at Brampton’s automobile insurance rates, which are the highest in the province. Brampton is also largely non-white, though for a majority non-white city there is only one non-white city councillor (though the author of the cited piece here laughably suggests that walking places is a possibility in Brampton). The whole place is less-educated than the rest of the Peel Region and rocks a 9.5% unemployment rate.

You know what happens when a racial underclass is consigned to live in one place with failing prospects, poor transit connectivity, massive costs associated with living, a government that does not meaningfully represent them, and a pile of non-stop temp work in a city where decent jobs are quickly becoming an endangered species? The word that comes to mind first is ghetto – not a good label for a place of 500,000 people. Is Toronto simply hiding its poor in and among its prior tries at atrociously-failed suburban experimentation? I think we know the answer to that.

 

#185 – Heavy Metal Blunder

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

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

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

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

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

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

#179 – Getting a Gauge on Toronto

Given the impossibly shitty transit scenario that dominates much of Canada Toronto’s subway system should be a breath of fresh air. Toronto’s subway system is certainly an imperative piece of transit infrastructure for a city that suffers the worst traffic in Canada (this despite cakers fearing Montreal’s traffic as though every car in Quebec is rigged to explode at the slightest glance). And Toronto’s subway has maintained a proud Canadian tradition of eschewing maintenance and standardization in favor of the “ah, fuck it” we all know and loathe. How bad is it, you ask? How about this – the Toronto metro’s subway and streetcar systems run on a totally unique rail gauge whose origins come from horse-drawn carriages in 1861.

Want more than that? How about the now-infamous boondoggle that is the restoration of Union Station, home to a crucial transit hub? How about regular complaints about chronic filth in critical points of the subway? Or the severe overcrowding on the Yonge line caused by decades of dithering and doing nothing while the place sprawled like a suburban caker’s waistline? These blows are only the smaller turds in the TTC toilet bowl; the city’s subway and streetcars are built by caker-business extraordinaire, Bombardier. Which the city is in the process of suing for fucking up so spectacularly that even caker business couldn’t shove it under the rug.

Canada’s largest city has as history of fucking up miserably at expanding transit. This is, I remind you, the city that Jane Jacobs took refuge in as Robert Moses was busy ruining New York City with freeways and concrete sadness. I can’t fathom her picking Toronto anymore, a city that recently opted to rebuild a Soviet abomination of a highway to appease suburban knuckledraggers and that has increasingly been taken over by sprawling suburban bullshit. It’s worth noting that one of the subway expansions that has long been sitting in the planning equivalent of development hell is a route to a place called Scarberia by honest people and liveable by people who don’t know any better.

Among the projects that Toronto has kicked around and around instead of doing anything about are some incredible stories. Back in 1995 Mike “Get the Fuck Outta My Park” Harris abandoned the Eglinton West line and filled the hole in; the project has since been restarted…nearly 15 years later and in a different form. Never mind that the need for infrastructure was first noted in 1985 and that it only came through from recognition of need to approval (not even completion) after 29 years. 29 years?! The Americans got a man to the fucking Moon in less than that timeframe!

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(s) That said the Moon is probably cheaper than Toronto

And who could forget the time when a single failure in the electrical system caused massive shutdowns? Or when the communications systems failed, leaving people stranded for over an hour? And who could forget Canada’s most deadly transit accident, the result of shitty safety systems and training? Or the time that the original 1954 signalling system shockingly gave out 60 years after it was made? Flooding subway stations and streetcars that can’t handle the cold are just par for the particularly shitty course of Toronto’s transit future.

Shockingly, places where people regularly spend hours of their days commuting should probably not look like shit if you want people to have any faith in your infrastructure. And while it might be wise to mobilize resources to not suck when the ability for people to get from one place to another is on the line, Toronto’s shitway and terrible transit woes are at least an honest reflection of how lazy and uncoordinated Canada’s largest city is. And how incredibly inert cakers are, but that’s pretty obviously understood by now. Why plan when you can mindlessly sprawl and use the power of massively-delayed, massively over-budget mega-projects to play at solving the problem?

To do anything else would simply not be the caker way.

#170 – DNDark: A Soviet Repair Tale

The Ottawa headquarters of the Department of National Defense looks like the government buildings in a particularly podunk post-Soviet region. It’s a dreary brown slab of shit sandwiched between a shitty shopping mall, a shitty university, a shitty “park” full of drunks and hoboes, and the spectacular shitshow of meep-meepery that is Elgin Street. A regular hangout spot for drooling morons and tuff-guy skateboard punks, this unassuming Soviet piece of shit is going to be scarring a lot more than the Ottawa landscape when its ventiliation, plumbing, or fire suppression are taken offline. While people are working. Well, at least the building and the policy are meshed because that’s some fucking bush-league third-world bullshit that further demonstrates how divorced from reality the Ottawa Caker Crew really is.

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(s) In Cakergrad, building designs you! Seriously though, this thing is total wank

The government has taken to advising employees trapped on the 11th floor without elevators and practically working by candlelight that the chance of fire is minimal, which is totally reasonable and not at all a ridiculous cop-out after basically telling your employees to eat shit. We’ll just ask potentially-combustible material to please stay sans fire and we’re golden! Backup plans? Nah. We’ve never had that problem before, especially not during renovations. This is also in the context of DND leaving this heaving hulk of a shit-campus in favor of a suburban shit-campus in the middle of fucking nowhere, which has been going about as well as Soviet Cakerstan can manage. Which is of course fucking not at all because these people can’t even take their own national defense buildings seriously.

This particular Soviet abortion of a building has a long, turgid history as the equivalent of a perfectly-coiled dog turd in a public park. Officially called the Major-General George R. Pearkes Building, the design was conceived by a deeply confused human being named Jacques Greber who thought highways were the future and who hated density and trains. This particular building consequently contributed to the loss of Ottawa’s downtown train station. So if you’re wondering why Ottawa got the name Cakergrad it’s basically shit like this building that did it. Rob Campeau would be proud – Greber took a dump on the city and contributed to it being the lifeless, low-density hole of a city that Rob would later take his own dumps on. Greber was a member of the City Beautiful Movement, but you wouldn’t know it from this piece of shit because all it can possibly inspire is snide commentary like mine.

So not only is it a horrible building (which was actually initially meant for the Department of Transportation, because those two departments have exactly the same building needs), but it contributed in its own shitty way to the ruin of Ottawa (if there ever was anything good there, which I frankly doubt). And now that the government is planning on moving out of that nasty place (ironically fleeing to the suburbs exactly as Jacques Greber encouraged Ottawa’s public serice buildings to do), they’re not able to figure themselves out to do that either. The whole building is a history of slap-dash whoopsie-doodles.

And that shitty pile of flaccid failure now squirts a stinking load, as necessary systems are now required to stay open despite have no water, refrigeration, fire protection, lighting (headlamps don’t exactly cut it), or toilet. It’s not like you can just say to an overseas mission “yeah, Canada shit the bed again, so we’re gonna leave you to it and we’ll catch up with you Tuesday”. People have to be there. They could have been in a proper campus where this Chernobyl sarcophagus wannabe’s maintenance schedule wouldn’t be a problem. But they aren’t so they’re stuck holding their shits in and praying the place doesn’t catch fire.

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(s) At least this place could possibly fucking glow or something.

Remember kids – safety first! Unless, you know, safety requires competence or expense, whereupon fuck that noise.

 

#164 – Paid in Feels

The federal government has been doing a shit job of dealing with paying employees for a hilarious number of reasons. Federal prison guards braced for failure as their pay system shifts onto a government office in New Brunswick that has already pled for mercy. Members of the Coast Guard have found themselves coming home to cut utilities and urgent fuck-you-pay-us notices as their pay became a veritable Nor’easter of bullshit. Reliable pay? Fuck no – you’re paid in feels, you useless cretins!

Bitching about bureaucracy is easy, but the sheer magnitude of stupidity associated with pay can’t be making their lives any easier. Workers have a right to expect that the pay they agreed to will arrive at a regular time and in an easily-accessed form. We all make financial decisions with future income in mind; indeed, we’re punished with overdraft fees, bad credit scores, and all sorts of frustrations if we aren’t able to keep up with our expenses. So how fair is it that someone working for the government finds themselves on the sharp end of the Canadian banks’ bullshit stick.

Consider this readily-plausible scenario: a single-income family makes its required income through the Coast Guard. The breadwinner gets sent to a posting and writes out checks for the family’s utility and other bills. There’s not enough in the account now to do job, but with incoming paychecks this arrangement is doable. All is well, all is good.

And then the checks don’t come in. Panicked calls become emergency loans with high interest rates and other debt traps; bounced checks add even more financial strain on the family. Word gets around the posting that others aren’t getting paid. Can you imagine what that would do to your mental health and to the cohesion of the workplace? It doesn’t matter if you think bureaucrats are poopieheads – there is a basic obligation which was not met by the Canadian government and its consequences are fucking with the fundamentals of peoples’ lives. The irony of Canada’s civil service making the mental health of employees a stated priority while it continues forward with a system that so obviously causes harm is somewhere between predictable and obscene.

The story here is very simple – for once the government found a problem and made a plan to fix it. The only problem there was the tiny point where they caused exactly the failure in the pay system that they warned about. Oh, and pro-tip: when the people you’re trusting with paying a crucial part of your government have a website that looks like it came straight from 2004 it might be a bit of a red flag.

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Bad website design you can believe in

At any rate, Canadians are suffering at the hands of our government and the way that our social order is structured means that a loss of pay entirely unrelated to their performance compounds suffering and stress during the reign of a government that says that it really cares about civil servants. The workers in Miramichi are stressed, the employees not getting paid are stressed, and inevitably quality of service (such as it is) will plummet even further.

And in the face of the complaints, the difficulties, the clear and obvious failure of Public Works to properly staff with trained people (I suspect that a lot of new folks are at the helm; it would cost a hell of a lot to convince me to live in a tiny shit-shack town in the middle of buttfuck nowhere) – with all that on board, what’s the plan? Why, expanding the program that workers are begging you not to! Because Canada’s government stands with its employees, at least until they demand their pay.

And as for civil servants, well, they can get fucked. Who needs a paycheck – isn’t the joy and satisfaction of living in Canada enough?

 

#31 – The Magical World of Caker Papers

Immigration and its foibles are among some of Canada’s most closely-guarded revisionist histories. Canada’s governing traditions, which are closely associated to its pseudo-nobility couples with Canada’s extractive economic impetus to produce a nigh-constant need for fresh blood and talent. The upshot of this is that Canada has since inception encouraged an underclass to move to this country. Migrants are historically lied to, lured to this hellhole by promises of land or a chance to use one’s labor, and for their efforts receive not only physical pain but serious mental strain and depression.

What’s novel about immigration in Canada is that it serves as the host for so many revisionist defenses of Canada as a country. For those on the left, the misery and toil of the average migrant is relegated to mindless identity politics or ignored in favor of some good old fashioned self-aggrandizement on the basis of Canada being “accepting”. For the right, immigrants are the perfect scapegoats to blame declining services and a failing economy on. In both cases the sanctity of Canada is protected; the leftist sees the struggles of the engineer-cum-Tim-Horton’s cashier as merely one facet of a global conspiracy, and the right harkens to some imagined time when Canada wasn’t shit by claiming that immigrants somehow “changed” Canada for the worse.

The topic of immigration will come up often on this blog because of how wrapped in revisionism the concept is to the caker conception of Canada. To be blunt there is just so much to work with that one post would never cut it. To avoid this post being nothing more than an introduction to how shitty Canada is to migrants, let’s grab one of the right’s favorite memes about people suckered into moving here and use it to bludgeon Canada. Let’s call this trope the “Anchor-Caker Complex”.

ib_anchor3
(S) Here’s an anchor surrounded by cakers. Close enough.

At the core of the anchor-caker complex is the mythology that people who have no intention of living in Canada collect Canadian citizenship so as to have a means to evacuate the country that they actually live in should the shit hit the fan. The term “Canadians of convenience” was coined by MP Garth Turner, who was upset by his made-up number (fun fact, Garth – $85M divided by 15,000 comes to about $5,667 per evacuee, not $75,000) as to the costs associated with evacuating Canadian citizens from Lebanon in 2006. To make a side-note here, isn’t that just so polite and civil of Canada? We’re here to help the world…unless that costs money, in which case the world can fucking burn. Ain’t spending my Timmies money on icky foreigners.

My real upset isn’t that Garth doesn’t like how readily we hand out caker papers. I think fewer people should be exposed to this toxic cesspit, so naturally I’m all for fewer cakers and fewer caker papers. But the implicit undertone of Garth’s assertion (that is, that Canada is a competent country that foreigners would want to treat as little more than an insurance policy), is of course absolute nonsense. First off, actually getting caker papers is fucking expensive (the link here is just the amount of money that a migrant needs to have on-hand to even begin the application process; there are hundreds, if not thousands of dollars of attendant fees to be paid as the paperwork is shit through the gross organs of Citizenship and Immigration Canada). It also takes a fucking long-ass time and is ferociously annoying. Oh, and did I mention that you also have to actually live in Canada for two years to keep your residency status?

So obviously caker papers are not worth investing in unless you plan on making the life-changing mistake of actually moving here. And that’s not to mention that your “insurance country” is still going to charge you for evacuation and could very easily end up doing a piss-poor job. The thought that someone would opt for years of Brazil-esque bureaucratic fuckery in hopes of paying for a badly-managed evacuation is laughable. Passports aren’t Pokémon cards, shits-for-brains.