#187 – Moving Displays of Uselessness

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

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

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

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

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(S)

 

 

 

 

 

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#180 – We the North (Don’t have Healthcare)

Whenever I worry for a topic, I have only one direction I need look to find something to write on – north. Canada’s Arctic is an abject clusterfuck of a place where Ottawa’s ineptitude blossoms into a turgid display of abject third-world horror. Abject poverty, critically-failed housing that sees 31% of Inuit living in unacceptably crowded conditions, an inhumane prison, rampant hunger, ridiculous costs of living, and wild revisionism reign. For a blog like this the suffering of the North offers virtually unlimited content to slam Canada with. Indeed, the North is so dizzyingly shit that even keeping a steady aim at the cancerous behemoth that is Ottawa can be difficult – that’s why I opened with a shotgun blast of suck before taking aim at a more specific problem to the North – an incredible lack of healthcare.

Yeah, for a country that prides itself up and down on free healthcare Canada sure does a shit job of it. As of the day of writing Pond Inlet, Nunavut has a whooping cough outbreak that it can’t possibly contain with the resources they have on hand. Before that it was tuberculosis, a problem that has never really been gotten a handle on given that another TB outbreak came in 2014. Staff and facilities are in short supply and consequently some iffy people get promoted for want of anyone else while others are worked to dust. When ranked in terms of quality healthcare it’s no surprise that the Northern territories hang out together at the bottom of the pack.

What’s even more fun about the healthcare problems of the North is that they’re compounded by other shitty problems incumbent to Ottawa doing diddly-dicking nothing while the place burned. Remember that bit about poverty? It drills way deeper. For instance, here’s a piece about the North having shitty dental care. Guess what? That reflects elsewise in your overall health. When your food is nightmarishly expensive and you have to make your money last it makes (short-term) sense to eschew healthful food choices in favor of relatively cheaper junk food. Shockingly a diet of soda and sadness doesn’t lead to better health outcomes.

I adore this video. Fuck  you – watch it and have a lark.

You know what else doesn’t lead to good health outcomes? Severe mental illness! And you know what doesn’t help that? Severe linguistic barriers that prevent proper diagnosis and care in hospitals! Or not getting needed medications! There isn’t a single part of the system that appears to be functioning. And while I won’t pretend that the North doesn’t present challenges it is a hardly acceptable for a country that claims public healthcare as a national virtue to offer an endless bevy of suffering instead. As in Nunavut’s life expectancy is 10 years lower than the rest of Canada’s.

Like terrible hospitals? It’s one thing to have a shitty dilapidated mess of a hospital like Halifax’s infamous Victoria General; it’s quite another to have a hospital staffed with four doctors. This is a vicious cycle – as doctors are overworked the need for replacement becomes more urgent and the difficulties in attracting talent grow as the job looks more and more like a baffling mess of confusing kleptocracy and enormous barriers in both professional and personal life.

Like Newfoundland, the North disappears from the caker conception of Canada unless a topical, convenient facsimile of the place can be deployed to make-believe Canada into a liveable place. Nunavut and its myriad problems are simply nowhere on the radar in Canada and because of that things quickly fall to shit. I wanted to showcase some examples of pathetic healthcare indicators in Canada because of how important healthcare is to the caker identity. Except when, y’know, you do a piss-poor job of it and return to ignoring the problem as per usual.

 

 

 

#177 – No Hope for the Educated

Canada has a worrying trend that isn’t being talked about and that totally kneecaps #RealChange’s make-believe Fourth Industrial Revolution. It’s quite one thing to not have Internet access – in theory at least that could be addressed and fixed in a relatively short amount of time (that is, if this wasn’t Canada we were talking about). No, there’s a much deeper problem that takes a lot longer to fix in a way that provides noticeable upturn. That problem is wages for the highly-educated are roughly on par with those for a construction worker. This is not a demonstration of an intelligent economy or an intelligent workforce of the sort that we’re constantly told Canada has going for it. Whoops!

And the fun thing about education is that simply shouting into blank faces doesn’t cut it – you need a population that’s actually interested in learning and improving if you’re going to get anywhere. What you need are incentives to convince people that educations are a good idea or passionate people who are prepared to learn at any cost. Incentives like higher pay and a better work environment are a critical part of the rationale behind the education and labor choices that people make. When it’s easier to ride the wave of a resource boom than it is to make a concerted effort to get better at a skill it suggests that the employment market is too unstable for people to feel as if they have a shot at a better job after their training. This is demonstrated in our universities, which are attended more for “the experience” than because over any sort of hope for quality education.

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(s) “The experience” being drunkenness followed by underemployment

And indeed the labor landscape in Canada is to say the least profoundly precarious. Over half of Toronto’s employed are working in an unreliable way – contracts, temporary employment through a predatory agency (like the kind our current Finance Minister used to run), or part-time bit work. Having done plenty of this kind of work myself I can assure you that being a temp worker to try to make money for school is a thankless and emotional chore. In the context of ever-rising costs there’s an obvious incentive to go be a lunkhead wherever the going’s good and the income is both adequate and constant enough to try to form a life. It’s hard to blame the people of Canada for their desperation, but it is plenty easy to point to the structure of the Canadian economy and the perverse incentives that it produces.

The reason I say that these results are perverse is because education isn’t only useful for employment. Educated, literate people are a good in and of themselves. You want educated people – there’s a reason educational achievement is a development marker. With that in mind it’s a real shame that Canada’s private sector hires 4% of Ph.D students, a stunning ten times fewer than the evil idiot AmeriKKKans. So Canada’s prepared to pretend to have an interest and a need for educated people but in reality the trip to a doctorate is discouraged by limited job prospects and an economy that operates on the same principles and logic as the family dog during a game of catch.

I honestly do give #RealChange a bit of credit for acknowledging that our current situation is untenable. But then I take it right away again when he hallucinates visions of Silicon Valley Canada edition. Knowing that there’s a problem is one thing; actually understanding the problem is quite something else. With indicators like the ones I’ve shown you – the declining monetary value of more advanced education, the limited employment prospects and the iffy labor market that supports them, ever-rising costs – the Silicon Valley fever dream isn’t going to happen. What instead seems to be encouraged is a nomadic life of hunting for the latest instance of a resource bubble and riding it until it bursts.

 

 

 

#175 – Sinking Like a Rock

So Newfoundland and Labrador is totally fucked. In the caker media’s reporting of the oil market in Canada Alberta is really the only province that gets coverage. It’s easy to forget that Newfoundland also produces oil, also allowed itself to become dangerous dependent on oil revenues, and is finding itself in a pitiful position because of it. At one point one-third of the Rock’s budget came from oil revenues – that’s totally reasonable, right? And now that the government of Newfoundland is scoring one-fifth of the revenue it once did from oil, the resulting fiscal beatdown is forcing the newly-elected Liberal government of Dwight Ball to already break promises from his election this year. Yeah, because a guy having to make major policy shifts on the fly is a clear demonstration of that person’s merit.

Few Canadians either know or care about Newfoundland, meaning that it’s gone to total shit. A 19th century prison, Newfoundland’s largest, is crumbling; prisoners are regularly hiding shanks amongst exposed rebar. Their version of Ontario’s Liquor Control Board is somehow even worse than the LCBO’s price gouging ways. The province ate a lawsuit because moose are involved in 800 car crashes a year. The province stands accused of doing jack shit about the problem, which sight unseen I’m inclined to believe given that their advice is basically the same as the advice for how not to drive like a moron in general. Tee-hee! It’s being close to wildlife you guys! Never mind that a moose can easily weigh 1000lbs and can wreck your car like fucking Zangief. And don’t think your problems are over when they assemble what’s left of you post moose-smash and take you to the hospital – sterlization of medical tools is apparently a bridge too far for Newfoundland.

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(s) Pictured: less dangerous than the hospital, probably

But this year saw some of the most pathetic cuts in Newfoundland’s post-Canadian history. Like a book tax. Or dictating when diabetics should check their blood sugars. Or stopping 24-hour plowing of the major highway in the province. When cakers make cuts to mindless driving you know something went wrong. And while it’s pretty easy for cakers to ignore higher education the state of St. John’s Memorial University but that’s in pretty pathetic shape too. Oh, and did I mention that Newfoundland still has a crippling deficit – and that the government is banking on $74 oil to return the province to solvency? If Canada is like the Soviet Union Newfoundland and Labrador is the fucking Turkmenistan of the caker family of provinces. And why has the place been reduced to a cruel joke? Why, because Newfoundland and Labrador can’t think outside of digging shit out of the ground of course!

There’s a lot to dig into with Newfoundland’s history and we’ll be getting into it as I get into it. The Rock’s history in Canada though is one of rampant and constant failure. An overdependence on extraction was Newfoundland’s bread and butter just as it is in Canada, except that Newfoundland got one hell of a wake-up call as to why that isn’t a good idea when the Canadian government lied about the state of the cod fishery and thus oversaw its collapse. Unemployment in the province rocketed to near 17% and the population of the Rock actually declined as people fled what they felt was a hopeless situation. Leaning on extractive industry leaves the province deeply prone to unemployment (currently the stated figure is about 15%) and thus means that income increasingly comes from welfare and social assistance. The results of this in turn are the sort of shit that brings out the Canada-beating bastard brigade in full regalia.

But for now we stick to the present and the sagacity of the caker’s economic mindset. Having learned from the last time that Newfoundland and Labrador collapsed for want of extractive industry, the government at St. John’s immediately turned about to oversee a provincial economy dependent on yet another extractive industry. And we’re supposed to be *shocked* as to why the Rock is feeling the pain. Why diversify when you can leap right back into the pit that sank the province the first time, right?

 

#173 – Refu-Jesus Christ, Part 4 – A Mounting Problem

The RCMP is goddamn useless. This is a common theme on this thing and there’s a good reason for it. The RCMP has proudly failed to resolve cases involving missing and murdered Indigenous women. They failed during the shooting in Ottawa – and then tried to rewrite history to make themselves look less ridiculous. They enjoy putting on potentially PTSD-inducing spectacles at events that are billed as being for tourists and families. They fucking murdered puppies, for Christ sakes! If these chest-pounding idiots were capable they’d be terrifying; as it is, their make-believe Canadiana schlock and piss-poor policing is a combination of gratingly moronic and almost spitefully hilarious.

The RCMP is a timeless source for me because it fails regularly and reliably. It’s practically the only reliable thing about this place save for the turgid state of Soviet decay that permeates the country like a steaming stack of turds on a bedsheet. Sure enough, after a brief departure to make fun of some other points of this, a country whose Internet is shittier than Mongolia’s and whose national culture is consumptive fantasy, we return again to the RCMP.

And what are the Arses up to these days? How about not communicating with other departments! Or neglecting to update databases such that caker criminals could elude their criminal records for two years or more? Not enough for you? How about the RCMP missing the fact that 50 people used the same address at overlapping times for their citizenship documents – and it worked for seven of them? Like I said before – these fuckers fail like hurricane shelters made of Styrofoam. And this is on top of the pervasive problem that the Mounties have with low-level corruption and commissioner Bob Paulson still being in charge of the force despite being in charge as the Dudley Do-Wrongs got dinged with labor code violation…after three Mounties died.

Oh, you miserable bastards. Welcome back to Shit About Canada. We missed you.

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(s) I missed writing about you like you miss criminals

We have Michael Ferguson at the Office of the Auditor General to thank for this iteration of the Mountie Stomp. The connection to the Potemkin Refugees is through the agencies that the RCMP is failing to work with – agencies that recently had to coordinate amongst one another so as to deal with the intake. The RCMP and Citizenship and Immigration Canada are uncoordinated and failing to properly address fraudulent citizenship applications. Presumably the Syrians would like to get their caker-papers (though I have no idea why), and to do so they’re going to go through a system that doesn’t work. Amazing!

Now, there’s plenty of poo to fling there, and the RCMP isn’t alone on the firing line. There’s the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and Citizenship and Immigration Canada on the line too! The RCMP gets to eat a faceful of cowpie for their assertion that they and CSIS could handle the refugee intake only to then almost immediately be demonstrated shitting the bed on a related file (i.e.: this one). Their contributions to the Syrian refugee intake were decidedly hit-and-miss, and it’s not like CSIS is terribly skilled either. Yeah, guys – if you get caught while pulling Cold War-era tactics and can’t figure out when you should destroy critical documentation your institution may not be the most skilled. Two groups known for not following documentation policy are hardly compelling evidence for the two working even remotely competently together.

So to recap – the citizenship system is fucked and isn’t getting information, the RCMP is as useful as it always is, CSIS is allergic to keeping information and still lives in the world of Get Smart, Canada Border Services Agency isn’t getting information to such a pitifully comical degree that a 29-year old was able to play high-school basketball for over half of the school year before anyone (read: AmeriKKKa) noticed, and we’re supposed to trust this lot with screening 25,000 people from a warzone in neither official language. It’s a good thing Canada doesn’t matter because avoiding these folks sounds as easy as wearing a disguise out of Boris Badenov’s playbook.

And why did I specifically attack the RCMP when the Carnival of Mystery Migration has so many other attractions? Because fuck ’em, that’s why.

 

 

#165 – Duffing It

The Crown has once again flubbed a major case in recent memory, and just like last time this story has been spun in a direction that shields obviously failed systems from meaningful inquiry. That the “vindicated” beneficiaries in both Ghomeshi’s and Duffy’s trials happen to be bodies of Laurentian patronage is rather interesting, but hey – why question the CBC’s human resource team or the assembly of failures that produced this verdict when you can blame misogyny and Harperites instead? If we’re honest about Canadian institutions they could be sad and we could be forced to admit that Canada’s elite are not in fact übermensch and that its institutions beget corruption and vice. Don’t the rich and connected sacrifice enough to make this place the miserable den of lunacy that cakers know and love?

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(s) Truly, this is the face of altruism

In the case of Duffy, the innocent verdict came with calls to stop trials against other members of the Senate, namely Patrick Brazeau and Marc Harb. Pamela Walin, who was also in question but never charged despite the RCMP handing files to the Crown is already back to doing what the Senate does best – getting paid. Don’t think for a second that I’m giving the RCMP an all-clear – those losers didn’t exactly search high and low and even Pravda in a rare case of solid journalism notes the failure of the RCMP to do their job in between piles of the ponderous “Harper is le Hitler you guyz” swill that is apparently the only vein of thought allowed within the Canadian media. The single most critical piece I’ve seen on the Duffy Debacle (by Terry Milowski) goes to the point of calling the Senate “embarrassing” but even he makes the problem out to be the Senate’s staffers and lawyers as opposed to a failure of governance and institutions or Canada’s inability to revise its own shitty Constitution.

The RCMP failed because that’s what they do. The Senate is a failure of a chamber crawling with failures; at least thirty Senators were flagged as owing money to the government after filing inappropriate expenses. I get that the rules are vague and that they aren’t often followed, but when 35% of the 85 Senators in June 2015 are suspected of having improper claims the next step would typically be, you know, changing them. Is it not outrageous that for so long such a valueless body was costing so much with so little public oversight? Nah, that would suggest that there’s a problem in the way Canada governs itself. Can’t have that! And certainly can’t do anything about it even if we do note that it’s bad, because doing is hard.

I am not exonerating Harper or his staff here, let’s be sure. But let’s not pretend that the myriad exposed screwups – from the RCMP’s ponderous review of Pamela Wallin’s expenses to the Crown’s inability to put together a coherent case to the fact that a staffer in the Prime Minister’s Office can exercise so much power, Duffy’s trial reveals a sea of stupidity in which even the Senate itself is but one part – are somehow resolved only within the Senate or better off viewed in isolation to one another. This is indicative of an entire culture of slack-jawed laziness and lack of clarity shot throughout Canadian civics. Whinging about the Senate being useless without calling for it and the culture that birthed these problems to be fundamentally changed (if not outright eliminated) is both taking only one part of the problem to account and even then doing it badly.

And it’s not like Trudwater’s solution, the brilliant idea to jettison Senators from the Liberal Party (and thus clearly removing them entirely from the social circles and elite institutions where high-powered Liberals would lurk) did much of anything. Seriously – this is the plan to reform the Senate. This is all they’ve got put to paper. The solution to elites running roughshod with a badly-designed, extraneous, aristocratic body with little in the way of transparency and less in the way of excuses to exist? Why, put a gatekeeper body of more elites together to decide which elites are the most elite! Amazing!

 

#56 – Nigh-Lingualism

Wait a minute, I hear you say. Why the hell am I digging into English Canada’s inability to speak two languages when cakers seem barely capable of speaking one language? The answer to that is twofold: first, cakers refusing to learn speaks volumes to the reactionary culture of this Soviet heap, and second, there is a hypocrisy to cakers claiming French-Canadian cultural traits under the name of “Canada” while simultaneously refusing to do the absolute basics for trying to actually have any kind of meaningful cultural interchange. Where the French seem more than capable of figuring out the English language, cakers respond to the need for French by being their usual shitty, bratty selves.

For almost fifty years, the rate of French/English bilingualism has stayed at about 17%. Now that’s shameless, especially considering that this lack of literacy is apparently holding cakers back and helps to establish the kinds of political cadres that give us people like Prince Selfie. Two major problems could be solved just by actually giving a shit about a language that is an integral part of the actual, lived experiences of this landmass. But nah – let’s not try and improve ourselves because that would be hard and blaming the Quebecois for daring to not be as bland and useless as English Canadians is so much easier than acknowledging the development of a de-facto political class walled off by two languages!

(S) Problem solved!

Speaking of learning multiple languages, can we discuss how fucking beneficial it is to speak more than one language? Monolingualism is a straitjacket! English might be an important language, but the presence of both English and French in one national entity ought to make Canadians that much more capable to resolve differences and deal with the shifts in fundamental worldview associated with having a different mother tongue. And the more people who can attain this, the more likely it is that this country could actually start to take some kind of coherent national form. The same is true of Indigenous languages. Perhaps there could be some kind of reconciliation if English Canada at least pretended to care enough about the other aspects of Canada that they deigned to teach other languages property. We’ll be talking about this problem as it applies to Indigenous tongues later.

I would love to collect stories about French-language education in English Canada. Please leave a comment below about how English Canada attempted to teach you French. Highlights of my education included watching VHS tapes of English films with French subtitles and endless photocopied conjugation charts. And I know I’m not alone in taking issue with my slip-shod French education. Here’s a piece from the Tyee about people who take much more intensive French language education in English Canada…and still can’t speak the language. It’s not like teachers are any better. Despite rising demand, the quality of French-language instructors in English Canada is often wanting. What’s even more alarming about this that there is a class element to training in bilingualism in public schools, with richer parents putting their kids into French schooling in hopes that they might break through the de-facto bilingual barrier to political advancement. What’s that? You’d like perspectives from people who didn’t grow up loaded in caker Disneyland running your government? Eat shit, man!

Official bilingualism in this country seems to exist for two reasons: to protect the ultra-rich children of douchey cakers from any kind of meaningful competition in terms of political work prospects, and to provide English Canada with yet another annoying-ass thing to bitch about. Because if you can’t be assed to learn one language properly you sure as shit won’t bother to learn two!