#189 – Fuck Manitoba

You know your province sucks when your major city is used for a throwaway joke on an episode of the Simpsons:

(S) A major newspaper printed this article. Read it and cringe.
Winnipeg gets another reference in the show, this time as a threat to keep children in line. To be honest I’d be a little concerned by the threat of being sent to Winnipeg. One reason? An underclass of segregated, impoverished Indigneous people. Shockingly, the great Canadian air hasn’t magically given desperate people with nothing to do a sudden impulse to garden and sing O Canada into the sunrise – gangs run rampant. 10% of the population don’t know where their next meal is coming from. There’s a housing bubble there too, because why not fuck up some more. The people have spoken about public transit being akin to Satan’s puckered asshole have some evidence to their claim. Like how they deferred maintenance for so long that they had to cut services suddenly. Here’s a lady saying that she literally might as well have walked.

Sound like shit? Well, it’s all downhill from there folks! Yes, Manitoba’s best offering is a sloppy slapping of shit on a plate, a place that Canada would almost rather forget was there. This may be because it used to be an important rail hub for extractive industry until those industries inevitably buckled or moved. Shockingly there were no plans for Winnipeg after that, and man does it show. Remember how I said that Canada throws places away after they’ve served their purpose? This is probably the biggest instance of that – a whole province tossed away.

How bad is it? Well, faith in Winnipeg outside of Winnipeg is so high that municipalities are trying to take the construction of vital services into their own hands. The wait-times in Manitoba’s hospitals were the dubious winners of the Longest Wait Time Award for 2015. Provincial transit infrastructure is so poor that paramedics can’t do their jobs. Manitoba scored a bitchin’ D on Canada’s education report card. I’d like to especially point at this chart:

Translation: onlly loosers wory bout skool!

Before we move on to the ultimate expression of Manitoba misery let’s take a moment to talk about CFB Shilo. One of the largest caker-bases in the country, Shilo has an engrained culture of racism so powerful that it broke the spirit of an Inuk woman who tragically believed in the velvet lies of the Canadian state. And don’t worry – mental health on base is as good as you’d expect. This is a pervasive problem in Manitoba’s small towns. Here’s a lady alleging that racism ran her and her business out of town. And it just wouldn’t be extra-tolerant tee-hee Canada without gay people having every chance to also get run out of town by bigots!

The Canadian military certainly has its problems, but Manitoba takes even that misery and cranks it up like a mad scientist. When the mad province cranks the vile dial as far as it’ll go the ultimate manifestation of misery is born. Enter Manitoba’s Indigenous Reserves, stage left. Manitoba’s reserves are, to be simple about it, the worst in the country. Housing is failing, poverty is rampant, 76% of children on reserves are impoverished, and desperation is the norm – often to tragic result that police can’t be bothered to follow up on. Relations are further strained between Manitoba and the Indigenous because – suprise! – Manitoba may have reneged on its treaty obligations. And I suspect the pollution and contamination doesn’t help relations much either.

And that’s Manitoba – a boring hellhole managing a range of boring, reactionary towns and housing some of the most shameful conditions in Canada. A province built on the bilingual lie which pushed the French away and helped to create the schism between French and English that serves as just one more crack in the caker facade of unity. I thought P.E.I. would be a hard province to top in terms of shittiness. Boy, was I wrong.

#162 – The Failure (Not)Express

Via Rail is shitting the bed again! Apparently, despite the Windsor-Quebec City Corridor being the densest part of Canada we just can’t do high-speed rail. Never mind that of methods of intercity transit planes and cars contributed 98% of the greenhouse gas emissions. Forget the fact that three of the four largest cities in Canada are along the Corridor. Pay no attention to Canada’s shifty auto loan industry in a context where overall personal indebtedness is at a terrifying high. Nah – clearly Via’s head is speaking sense when he says that Via should contest the automobile with the same system that drivers have already evidently rejected, but more of it.

Yeah – only in Canada is the head of a public transit department basically telling you to drive more. Here’s the CBC:

But that plan [to build high-speed rail) no longer makes either economical or practical sense, said Desjardins-Siciliano, who sees Via competing with passenger cars rather than airlines to get people from city to city.

Except no, you goon. Parking costs in downtown Toronto are fucking nuts – why the shit would I drive there only to cruise about for God knows how long to find parking? I’d rather fly to Montreal than attempt its legendarily shit roads. I dread the commute along Ontario’s highways because the roadway is jammed, aging, full of shitty drivers, and seemingly always under construction. The trip is stressful and a crash can leave you stranded on the highway for God only knows how long. When a single fucking breakdown can cause travel snarls, you know that your system is probably shit. But flying costs an ungodly amount and getting to an airport is a fucking chore too. Given my options and the distance, I’d love to take a train as opposed to either option. Too bad that the trains in Canada do neither – they don’t stop often enough to make them competitive against cars, and they’re too slow to make them competitive against planes. It’s almost like you need two rail systems, one to take the place of  the car and the other to take the place of the plane.

“Thank fuck I’m not on a train. How could I miss this?”

But rather than recognizing that people use cars and planes for different reasons and that two different, interlinked types of train infrastructure can do the jobs of both car and plane, here we are doubling-down on inefficacy because reasons. This is a system that even Canadians will admit sucks goat scrotum (you know something’s really shit here when even the most ardent caker has to concede that it’s crap). And the argument is idiotic: high-speed and conventional-speed trains are supposed to work in tandem, not to be mutually-exclusive. Yves Desjardins-Siciliano is basically arguing that since it would be too difficult to hook small towns up to a system that isn’t designed to hook small towns together we might as well not bother properly connecting anywhere.

(s) Using both conventional and high-speed rail? Insanity!!

Do you see how in the French example high-speed and conventional rail work together? It doesn’t make sense to run high-speed through Normandy, but you can have a central hub connected to a high-speed network (here, it’s Rouen) and run regular lines from there. Madness, I say! Clearly it won’t work because evil AmeriKKKans are designing stations to work with both high-speed and conventional-speed regional rail.

What’s even funnier is that this is happening in a context where Metrolinx, a legendary fuck-up by its own right, is already working to expand its conventional-rail transit systems. How Yves missed the largest city in Canada demonstrating a keen interest in building exactly the kind of rail system that would ideally complement a high-speed rail system is beyond me but apparently he thinks I’d rather drive through bullshit than transfer from one system to the other. Just one more reason Canada is more betterer than France: we don’t have to transfer from one system to another. Clearly encouraging a mountain of hideous highway nonsense was a small price to pay.

And then we get to the point where I really squat a load on Yves corn flakes. I could attack the fact that young people are increasingly uninterested in driving. I could continue to mock Canada by noting that AmeriKKKa has high-speed rail. I could talk about how air transit is becoming ever-more shitty and that an alternative is increasingly desirable. But I think I want to slam this guy for this quote:

There’s a perfect alignment between this government’s desire to have generational, transformative projects that are a step-change in Canada’s modernization, with this project.

Please, tell me how pulling Via off of CN’s rails is a “generational change”? Is it because getting anything done in this useless bog of a country takes generations to complete? And how does the same shitty service we’ve suffered for decades constitute modernization? It’s great that we’re not running potentially-dangerous freight on the same lines as commuters; welcome to the 20th century, Canada! It’s one thing to oppose a project for stupid reasons but it’s quite another lofty whiff of stink when you’re telling me that moving a turd transforms it into a modern system.

#160 – Putting the FU in Fundraising


Oh, a fundraiser from the Minister of Justice! #RealChange and his useless provincial cronies have gotten themselves into hot water over their fundraising efforts. This one is a neat story because the Liberals made what can only be called the weakest excuse of all time for themselves. The story is this – Jody Wilson-Raybould charged $500/plate for lawyers to meet with her at a swanky Toronto law firm. This fairly obviously creates a perceived conflict of interest (which, from personal experience, is counted exactly the same way as an actual conflict of interest) – Liberal-friendly lawyers on Bay St. getting to meet the Justice Minister privately (i.e.: most of us aren’t throwing $500 as an entry fee) on Bay St doesn’t exactly smack of the kind of transparency the Liberals were promising.

Now, Jody and #RealChange had to stupid it up somehow, so they did it by claiming that Jody merely went as an MP and not a Minister. There’s a problem with that. Look up at the top again. See the wording on the invite? “Honourable” Jody Wilson-Raybould is the title used by the Minister. MPs aren’t “Honourable” (neither are Cabinet ministers for the most part, but that’s a side-joke and low-hanging fruit) – note who gets the title and who doesn’t on the role call. So yeah, MP Jody Wilson-Raybould wouldn’t be showing up wearing her “Honourable” tag. Y’know, because lying about that sort of thing and throwing an obvious dummy mistake is less-than-honorable by my books.

And then there’s the other lie. House Leader Dominic Leblanc, besides being a spectacular douchebag when pressed with legitimate questions also made a dishonest statement regarding the way that fundraising is reported. Let’s read what this limp-dicked loser threw down in Question Period:

The member knows full well all of those donations are disclosed, according to law, every quarter. The member can spend the whole evening searching the internet — good news it’s coming to a computer near him.

Except, here’s the thing – the website isn’t exactly clear on who spend what and what they got for it. Here’s the first page of the list of donors from last quarter who wasted more than $500 trying to buy favor from aristocratic asshats.

Thanks, Nancy, for your contribution towards making Canada even shittier.

I can’t exactly show you how useless the website I pulled this from is, but if you’d like to experience the joys of an almost-impressively shitty search system be my guest. And hey – who needs transparancy with a huge Canadian law firm?  Especially one with a history of helping the ultra-rich to the point where they get stucked with conflict-of-interest charges too! Oh, and it’s totally not suspicious that a lobbyist associated with Torys, John Tobin, gave up his lobbying connections to Justice Canada the day before the event. But as we all know Eastern English Canadians can do no wrong. That’s why #RealChange turned Canada into a utopia on 20 October 2015, right? Anything Conrad Black touches must not need any form of transparency whatsoever. Oh, and these guys worked with the Canadian government on Indigenous legal affairs, so I suspect Mrs. Wilson-Raybould may have been in some…unfortunate company. Just a hunch, mind, but the bullshit detector rails off the charts when it’s pointed towards Bay St., so there it is.

In fact, Gerald Butts’ first project, the Wynne government, got dinged by Democracy Watch for doing the same thing Jody is but on a scale more appropriate for the Wynnepire. Ontario Cabinet Ministers were expected to raise $500,000 a year for Evil Orville Redenbacher, mostly through face-time with ultra-rich people who can afford to pony up but not without a little electoral fuckery too. And to fix the problem, Wynne is going for the classic “pretend to change” method, another Liberal staple. BC went for a different approach, refusing to even make the pretense of reform that Toronto is despite being referred to as the “Wild West” of political money.

With Canadian regulation so weak the the loopholes are pages in listed length and Liberal governments completely addled by image, arrogance, self-aggrandizement, and the stupid belief that people ought to trust the Liberals it’s hard to see Canadian democracy being unbound from wealth anytime soon. The lameness of #RealChange’s excuse reflects a profound disinterest in being upfront despite his claims of “open and transparent government”. A budget full of holes and a Cabinet where a Minister’s ear can be had for costs that few can afford – thank God we replaced that evil Harperman with such a free, open, and honest government! No spin here, no sir.

#158 – A Leap of Bullshit

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

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


so we need to leap.

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

Rendered Image


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

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


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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

Let’s take this awesome neighborhood:


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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

The car run-off crop is coming in brilliantly!

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

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

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

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

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

#156 – Feels Nation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



#155 – Refu-Jesus Christ, Part Two: Brooking Resentment

So making sure that Garth Brooks and his concert plays out well is obviously a national objective that overwhelms the “national project” #RealChange instituted four long, painful months ago. So refugees settled in hotels for God knows how long are to be kicked out of Hamilton and sent away to St. Catharine’s, a soulless hellhole whose major features are the scenic 406 and the Wal-Mart. Which Wal-Mart is unimportant because cakers and their built environment have created a space in which nothing matters.

St. Catharine’s 406, a leading tourist attraction. Come for the shitty Soviet-looking bridge, stay because Garth Brooks needs you to!

But what’s really neat is the way that the Wesley Urban Ministries has declared that this isn’t a problem. On their website they say this:

Housing is a fundamental human right and one of the most essential elements in a household’s social, health and economic well-being. Housing that is unaffordable or of poor quality creates challenges that could have a negative impact on the wellness of individuals within the household.

But it’s totally fine to move people into a Days Inn because “many” of them have leases signed already! Hooray! It’s always a sign of trustworthiness when numbers can’t be provided. Especially on such a crucial step as finding housing. In fact I can’t find any modern numbers, but the ones from last month suggested that half of the imported refugees were semi-permanent guests of Wyndham Worldwide. And you know what? Half could be “many” to ask these people. At any rate these folks seem to think that a hotel room is a perfectly acceptable place to shunt people. Until Canada needs the space, at which point you can fuck off and go squat in another hut.

Wesley has one more piece of comedy. From a Days’ Inn in St. Catharines, some caker named Jeff Burch said, and I quote the article, “Who knows…[m]aybe the refugees will take a liking to the Niagara region and want to resettle there.” Yes, because the Days Inn is so awesome that no doubt Syrians will flood to the area! Learn about another worthless concrete hellscape, guys! One day you could be stuck in traffic in your own shitty rustbucket, just like the immigrant engineer-cum-cabbie who just dropped some drunken hockey squires at your hotel! Bet you can’t wait to clean milennial puke out of a metal box!

What more, Canadian hotels are inspiring. In a context where the federal government is paying huge corporate interests through the nose in exchange for ignoring its housing problem, there were “no serious problems” with the way that the intake was handled. In what universe is living in a hotel considered a successful transfer? Who needs a permanent address that could, oh, I don’t know, be used to communicate with friends and family abroad who may lack access to telephony or Internet. Not like being trapped in an anomic nowhere-land of concrete and people who speak a language you’re not fluent in would inspire a need to communicate with anyone else, no sir.

“Sick download speeds, man!”

So we see the folly of leaning on hotels and Canada’s insistence that doing so is okay because reasons. They seem to honestly think that dingy roadside motels are not only acceptable places for huge families to live but that they could inspire people to want to move somewhere. Obviously I have missed something because I’ve stayed in plenty of roadside motels in various places across Ontario and so far I couldn’t identify a single city by the motel I stayed in.

#152 – Caker Airways, Amateur Hour: #Canadaisback

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

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

And there I saw a portal to madness.


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

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

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

And here comes a whole new avalanche of shit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

#149 – Senseless

Trudeau restored the long-form census!!

Yeah, the long-form census! Probably one of the most important methods of adminstration, census data is imperative for researchers, businesses, government – basically everyone, in some form or another. It helps to know how many people live in a city over a period of time, for instance; if you can’t figure out why, maybe this blog isn’t the place for you. By some unthinkably-dense oversight the long-form census was reduced to this piece of shit. It’s about as basic as she gets, really – most of this is shit you could figure out by flipping through Facebook, which is what much of the civil service does anyways for want of direction or comprehension of exactly what’s happening. Statscan was scouring Kijiji for employment data, for fuck’s sake.

This shitty short-form census sucked for two reasons. The first was that it didn’t offer much information. The second is that the information was meaningless because people could opt-out with no penalty. This resulted in the predicted collapse of useful data. Planning cities without reliable statistics, trying to estimate taxation income, seeing if anything’s getting better – fuck no, better get rid of it! And it was $22m more expensive, to boot. Canada paid more for a useless census filled with data that by definition missed people. 2011’s census was littered with non-respondants, meaning that by definition the data that was collected doesn’t mean anything.

Recall getting your licence (with apologies for the flashbacks experienced by Ontarian readers). Stephen Harper’s census was akin to making the DriveTest a few true/false questions and then announcing that from now on police won’t check whether drivers have their licence at all. So far, this looks pretty Canadian. But then #RealChange came.

Oh, #RealChange came. Not as hard as the CBC did, but #RealChange delivered a swooping move in reinstating the paperwork of the long-form census. Trudeau posed! The Tweets magicked the form back into being! Statscan cheered! People cheered! The data is back! Planners can plan! Estimators can estimate! Hooray for Twodeau! Huz-

So, the long-form census is back, but that solves one of two problems. What about the mandatory nature of the old census – the part that makes the data useful by denying the chance for opt-out and thus ensuring the finest data available? You know, like Statscan did when it was the envy of the world?


But neither Mr. Bains nor Mr. Duclos could point to specific penalties that will be imposed under their government’s plan to reinstate the mandatory nature of the questionnaire. Instead, they said, the government would be relying on public education and the desire of Canadians to do what is right.

“If you speak to Canadians and you get them engaged in the process, they will fill out the information, and that’s what we are focusing on because we need good, reliable data,” said Mr. Bains. “The law is the law and that does not change.” (source)

You fucking idiots. You drooling Laurentian gorillas. You solved the dependent problem. That’s like if we restored the DriveTest system but told people that, although we still aren’t checking for your licence we’re going to make an ad campaign showing people how great having your licence is. The data is still worthless – you’re just collecting more shit. I can’t even imagine how they fucked this up so badly. Apparently the “evidence” that the Liberals needed is sub-par because Canada-magic makes anything work you guys!!

Holy shit. I’m actually stunned here. I legitimately cannot believe that Trudeau fucked this up so profoundly. You’re relying on public trust? Seriously? Do you think academic research cares about #RealChange? As someone who uses this data, the thought that an ad campaign can convince people to take the time and effort to fill the form out is ludicrous. How can I trust that data? How can anyone trust that data? It’s just more crap. Honestly – Canada can’t even get this right. You know another country that can’t do a census? Lebanon.

Good company to find yourself in, Canada. What a joke.

Edit: There is a penalty – $500 or 3 months in prison. If they catch you, which is another thing entirely.

#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.

#147: 24 Sucks-Shit Drive

The Prime Minister’s house is fucking falling apart and has been for decades.

If it wasn’t tucked in the crotch of a neighborhood called Rockcliffe, the nesting grounds of douchey fucklords either too poor to build manors in Toronto or too stupid to realize that living in Ottawa is like living in Novosibirsk if that Soviet shithole had recently been built over top of a much smaller, superior town, it would be a lovely addition to any neighborhood. It itself is a perfectly reasonable-looking nice-house, especially compared to garish shit like the Cowpland Mansion, which looks like a lame office building in an overwrought steampunk movie.

Anyways, let’s give the government a chance to speak on the matter:

“The house at 24 Sussex Drive was built at the very dawn of Canada’s life as a nation, in 1868. Its first three owners were all public men, prominent entrepreneurs but also members of Parliament, and all of them married to women with distinguished political pedigrees of their own. From its earliest days, therefore, 24 Sussex Drive has welcomed the political elite of Canada. Acquired by the government, and transformed into the official residence of the Prime Minister of Canada in 1950, the house continues to witness the making of history in Canada.”

Good stuff. If you’re good at shit-detection, you’ll immediately see why this is the most Canadian of government buildings – constructed through elitism by businessmen who got into politics and married into important families, this house was finally fused formally into the Canadian political machine by…the Liberals. Yes, our old friend Louis St. Laurent moved in after the last private owner, the lumber-baron-cum-Liberal MP Gordon Cameron Edwards, was evicted. Of course, the government didn’t know what to do with the place after this guy was booted in 1946 so ah, fuck it. Previous PMs had lived in rented apartments; clearly the agents of the Liberal machine deserved better. So the place became the Prime Minister’s residence in 1950. St. Laurent didn’t even really want the thing.

Now that it was in the hands of the Prime Ministers, the building was left to strange examples of corruption and general disrepair. Pierre Trudeau added an indoor pool that cost a cool quarter-million at the time and required an elaborate ruse because Pierre Trudeau refused to pay for it. Brain Mulroney caused a scandal by publicly revealing the costs he and his wife incurred in renovating the inside of the building. Kim Campbell didn’t even get to live in it. Jean Chretien was nearly assassinated in it. Paul Martin hated the heating in it. Stephen Harper refused to leave it.

And the whole fucking time, the building was rotting. The Auditor-General (thanks, Alexander Mackenzie!) reported this in 2008 but the building hadn’t been fixed in years and Steve wasn’t about to leave the castle for such tiny points as maintaining historic architecture or fixing critically-failing systems. Who needs the structural form of the past when you have the past make-believed into whatever shape is most convenient? Sure, the air-conditioning is fucked and foreigners are expected to have dinner in an unstable, unrenovated house whose most recent additions were the result of patronage and ill-planning (Jesus, Brian – at least consider the possibility that a 100+ year old house needs some external work too). But hey – it’s Canada, and there is nothing more Canadian than a simple, gorgeous home being turned into a century of fighting, patronage, and neglect.

Gorffwysfa (Welsh for “place of peace”), the formal name of the house because this is pseudo-Britain and of course we have to name houses, isn’t exactly my first choice of term for the thing.