#65 – The Myth of the Military, Part Three: Drowning is Fun!

English Canada doesn’t care about the Coast Guard, which is a problem given the amount of coast that Canada claims. And yes, I’m aware that the Canadian Coast Guard isn’t a military force. But it has the insignia and the structure and it gets shit on too, so I’m putting this here. Also, they are tasked with enforcing Canada’s control over the Arctic. Also also, fuck you. Where else am I going to write about the Coast Guard?

Now, before we begin, I need to shit on the Liberals. The Coast Guard started sputtering in 1995, under Jean “the Chokemaster” Chretien and his Finance Minister, Paul “Dithers” Martin, when the Dudnamic Duo decided to put the Coast Guard under the same heading as the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. That one of these organizations is devoting to protecting people and the other to protecting fish wasn’t really a problem in the minds of Jean et Paul, because cost savings overrode sense in those dark times. Which haven’t really left, come to think of it. But I digress.

Steve “the Chopper” Harper continued this valiant tradition of bleeding the Coast Guard dry by trying to cut lighthouse funding. They didn’t bother to check what the lighthouses were actually doing or whether the public wanted them (hint: they did) before announcing the cuts. It was stopped, surprisingly, by public outrage; but while the left hand returnith the right hand takith even mor…ith. Even if that morith doesn’t make any sense to be cutting from.

See, it’s easy to take things away from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans because a fuckton of English Canadians don’t live by an ocean and English Canadians have the foresight of an English muffin. The Coast Guard monitors foreign fishing activity to ensure enforcement of sustainability quotas? Better cut that shit and chuck the money at the Lower Taxes as an Offering to the Job Fairy Fund. Everyone knows that Canada is so polite that everyone automatically does no wrong. No need to worry about the Grand Banks, no sir!

So, we’ve gone from cutting by guesswork to cutting-because…magic? The Coast Guard had its bureaucracy dislocated and stuffed into an inappropriate ministry before finally getting some degree of autonomy. it suffered from an uncertain mandate with bits and pieces being added to and removed from it like the pieces of an idly-made LEGO spaceship. It is responsible for marine cleanup, which is somewhat important if you’re going to be flinging oil everywhere – but no. Who cares about fish, right?

And the worst part of this is that simply restoring funding doesn’t work. The Coast Guard has to actually have a clear idea as to what it’s supposed to be doing and how it fits into the broader plan for maritime monitoring and safeguarding. You see that word “plan” in there? That’s how you know that Canada will never figure this shit out.

#59 – Ugh, Canada Part Two: No, Seriously, this Anthem is Dumb

Right, we’ve talked about the history of the anthem and how it is ultimately a sad lifting of French nationalism to serve English Canadian needs. Now we’re going to make fun of the fucking thing, line by line. Because fuck it, why not?

Oh Canada/
Our home and native land

Aaaand hold up. Our native land, eh? 22% of the population is first-generation immigrants (meaning that they were born in another country and make the unfortunate mistake of moving here). This is a country that perpetually brays about “diversity” and how tolerant it is…and right out of the gate the anthem excludes almost one-quarter of the population. There’s the even more obvious dig that the whole “native land” thing and specifically our collective refusal to meaningfully address that fact is an existential flaw in the entire concept of Canada, but that seems almost cheap.

What am I saying? This is fucking Canada – the whole thing is cheap, tawdry crap anyways. Next!

True Patriot love/
In all our sons’ command (alternatively, in all of us command)

Aaaaaand objection! The original iteration of the anthem didn’t have this whole “sons'” line, which was added presumably because of the militarism of World War One and since has vexed Canada’s pearl-clutching do-nothing lefty-wank fest to no end. Mauril Belanger, the former MP for Vanier in Ottawa fought tooth and nail to right the egregious wrong of women not being given equal responsibility in the anthem for running this dumpster fire into the ground. In the meantime Vanier was both sicker and less able to access healthcare than the rest of Ottawa. Good thing Belanger had his priorities straight!

With glowing hearts/
We see thee rise/
The True North Strong and Free

Ahahahahahaha!! I know, I know – the “true north” line comes from Tennyson, but I can think of a better line from the same poem that more accurately describes Canada, and which seems to me to aptly describe the British attitudes towards this wasteland:

“that true North whereof we lately heard
“A strain to shame us – ‘Keep you to yourselves;
“‘So loyal is too costly! Friends, your love
“‘Is but a burthen; loose the band and go.'”

So, not exactly lines that scream out “strong and free” so much as “costly and burdensome”, but, y’know. Same idea, right?Anyways, back to the anthem:

From far and wide/
Oh Canada, we stand on guard for thee

Now this is where we start really steaming my fuckin’ beans. I mean, “from far and wide” is…generally true, in the sense that the land that was to be saddled with the name Canada was invaded from far and wide by a pile of profiteers and losers. But it’s the whole “we stand on guard for thee” bit that really irks me. First off, why is it my fucking job as a citizen of this place to protect it? Why doesn’t it protect me? I mean, it’s pretty obvious that Canada sucks at doing self-protection, but it still pisses me off that I’m expected to sing not once, not twice, but three times about how I’ll go and stand about “guarding” Canada. I mean, if Canada can’t be assed to guard itself why the shit should I? Or is this a reference to how the British were about ready to abandon Canada, thus requiring random cakers to defend the place?

And on that note, how the fuck are the morbidly-obese, retarded, reactionary fucksticks that join the fucking Army going to stand on guard for anything besides their turn at the mess hall?

https://i2.wp.com/wpmedia.nationalpost.com/2016/10/qmi_es20140509ik045.jpg
(S) Private Fatass here shows the “Guard Wall” tactic the anthem implores us to use

God keep our land/
Glorious and free/
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee/
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee

And there’s my answer regarding who and how we’re going to do any guarding with a moronic population of cakers. Apparently God’s gonna do it. At ease, Lt. Lovehandles! This section too has come into controversy over the years, but because Canada nothing has been done about it. And we end off as lazily as we began, continually demanding that caker defend Canada from unknown threats. I gotta say though, I love the sneaky transition from “native land” to “our land”. The only piece of honesty in this entire little ditty is this backhanded acknowledgement that this country stole Indigenous lands.

O, Canada indeed.

 

 

#58 – Ugh, Canada Part One: The Anthem is Dumb

The Canadian national anthem, brilliantly entitled O Canada, is a nesting family of metaphors for the failure of this heap. The song began life as a French national song. indeed, the Governor-General of Quebec, Théodore Robitaille commissioned the music and lyrics for Quebec’s own national holiday, le Jour de St. Jean-Baptiste. The lyrics of the original song are…kind of badass, actually:

O Canada!
Land of our ancestors
Glorious deeds circle your brow
For your arm knows how to wield the sword
Your arm knows how to carry the cross;
Your history is an epic
Of brilliant deeds
And your valour steeped in faith
Will protect our homes and our rights,
Will protect our homes and our rights.

What I love about the French version is that the song isn’t an admonishment of the individual to do something for Canada but rather a celebration of Canadian accomplishments. I mean, I take issue with “Your history is an epic of brilliant deeds”, given that Canada’s brilliant deeds consist of sitting like a puerile infant in its own waste, but it’s an anthem! It tells me why I should think that Canada is fucking badass instead of demanding that I come to the defense of this ruddy rank turd (which is, as we’ll see, what the English lyrics whinged their way into being). Thanks for the lyrics, Adolphe-Basile Routhier!

Though its origin in French is muddy and controversy swirls over exactly how the committee struck by Robitaille (which was struck only when it became apparent that there was not enough time for the Quebec-wide contest that Robitaille actually wanted) came to produce this piece of music, its reception in Quebec was almost immediately positive. The song came almost immediately into its own as a counterpoint to English Canada’s insistence on God Save the Queen and the even more insultingly British the Maple Leaf Forever, and the split of national anthems came to symbolize the schismic pile of puke that Canada was doomed to be even at the very beginning.

As English Canada heard this fancy new tune that actually reflected Canadian rather than British realities they slowly started coming around to the idea that maybe they should sing about Canada instead of singing about a rock 3000+ miles away that long since stopped caring about Canada. Various cakers had a crack at creating English lyrics to the song. Thomas Richardson tried, and his version was sung for some royals that I don’t care about in 1901, but it failed to catch on because it was a literal translation that didn’t fit the song very well.

Collier’s Weekly magazine was the next to try at finding English lyrics that don’t suck, and they settled on the phrasings of one Mrs. Mercy E. Powell McCulloch. When that failed to catch on Ewing Buchan wrote the most truly wretched version of the anthem I have ever seen, which once again fixated on the uncaring British with a kind of slavish love reminiscent of creepy horse girls in elementary school:

O Canada, our heritage, our love
Thy worth we praise all other lands above.
From sea to see throughout their length
From Pole to borderland,
At Britain’s side, whate’er betide
Unflinchingly we’ll stand
With hearts we sing, ‘God save the King.’
Guide then one Empire wide, do we implore,
And prosper Canada from shore to shore.

 

But it takes a Quebecker to have any kind of sizzle at national identity, and the Montreal municipal theorist (and later judge) Robert Weir would write the backbone of the contemporary English version of the song in 1908. While people objected to one of the many lines that I also find objectionable (the “stand on guard for thee” line, which as I alluded to earlier gives the song that whinging exhortative quality that so brilliantly reflects the shitty attitudes of English Canada writ large) from the get-go, revisions were instead made to add “in all our son’s command” and to make minor grammatical changes, the upshot of which being that the song grew into the ponderous, ill-fitting mish-mash that it is today.

Having found a generally, broadly-acceptable anthem by the 1920s, Canada would perform at her optimal speed by waiting for more than 60 years before making the anthem officially the anthem. And in our next post I’ll be riffing on the piece of shit line-by-line. Stay tuned!

#52 – The Quadriptych of Death, Part One: Infantile Mortality Prevention Plan

Welcome to the Quadriptych of Death, a revitalized effort to comment on some basic mortality statistics that cakers love to pretend don’t exist. The Quadriptych is an extension of the old Triptych of Death, which highlighted three ugly stats in an effort to prove that the numbers cakers love to cite as justification for their podunk infrastructure can just as easily paint a brutal picture of this heap. The goal here is twofold – talk about some truly dreadful stats and figures, and break the notion that numbers can speak a singular truth as to the merits of a society.

The first deadly exemplar that we’re going to talk about is Canada’s rather startling infant mortality rate. To cut to the chase, Canada has the second-highest day one infant mortality rate in the developed world with a genocidal bent (spoilers – Indigenous babies are four times more likely to die than non-natives), has consistently underperformed in terms of relative improvement of this problem and has an incredible variety of shitty problems with infants dying, from basic healthcare failures to almost-hilarious problems with bureaucratic paralysis. It is a common sentiment that the measure of a society’s decency is how it cares for its weakest members, and that idea is strongly supported by considering how Canada cares for its babies.

Before we carry forward – yes, the links I gave you are from 2013. And no, things haven’t gotten any better since. Having said that, let us now move on to the thrilling provincial and territorial options! How about we start with the worst of the worst – Nunavut, which has a stunning 18.2 infant deaths per thousand births, numbers which rank up there with those titans of childcare, Kyrgyzstan and Paraguay! The healthcare system in the North is so shoddy that it can’t even fire bad staffers who lead to the death of children! Hooray for slipshoddiness!

(S) Close enough!

On the east coast, Canada’s resident duncecap personal-union Newfoundland has done a fabulous job of shitting the bed, scoring an amazing D- for its health outcomes, citing the shitacular infant mortality results as part of the reason for getting a barely passing mark. Also, for some fucking reason Newfoundland just…didn’t publish mortality statistics between 1987 and 1990. Why? Fuck if I could find out! Nova Scotia, the worst of the Maritimes in terms of healthcare provision is experiencing a steady uptick in infant mortality rate, which if anything is a small mercy as it means fewer people have to be subjected to that wretched province.

Westwards, then, to Manitoba. You know you’re in good hands with this one when the province fobs off responsibility for its failure onto the federal government, with mortality rates reaching 10.2/1000 in parts of the province, which has it rolling with similar numbers to the African island state of Seychelles. Poor Manitobans experience an infant mortality rate that is twice as high as wealthier Manitobans, which is amusing to me because it suggests that anyone with money would choose to live in Manitoba.

And one more province before we get to Ontario’s laughable bureaucratic failure. I of course just had to bring the Wretched Rectangle Saskatchewan to the show, and boy does it look like a fat stack of stink. How bad does Saskatchesuck suck? To the tune of being worse at keeping babies alive than Panama, that’s how! The other reason I really wanted to bring this hellish province up is because it exhibits an alarming rate of infant mortality in urban cores, suggesting ghettoization and chronic poverty within Saskatchewan’s cities.

Last and least is the most laughable of all of the provinces, Ontario. While today Ontario satisfies its sick bloodlust by dick-snipping babies to death and trying to erase the language of discourse by which this information travels, Ontario for decades used its base incompetence at recording live births to keep the infant mortality rate down. Because some municipalities in this province are so cash-strapped that they introduced registration fees for newborns in the early 1990s, the rate of unreported births tripled from 1991 to 1997. Can’t count dead babies if you never counted them as born, right?

Of course, we know that these figures do not necessarily speak entirely as to the quality of Canada’s infant care. But by simply citing numbers we can cast Canada as a proto-African kleptocracy, which is a fun reversal of the usual tactic of throwing contextless numbers at critics to justify this fucking tottering shitheap.

#49 – Getting Schooled, Part Three: Get Stuffed, Kids!

As we’ve been going over, Canada is shitty when it comes to schooling. We’ve talked about the low quality of the material going into these institutions. We’ve talked about how professors are underpaid and subject to the perils of contract work. Now it’s time to add to this shit-kindling another peril coming to a caker university near you. In the face of falling government funding for institutions of higher learning and the increasingly-dubious value of postsecondary education, schools increasingly find themselves needing to find ways to more money. In other words, our colleges and universities are devolving into de-facto businesses, focused more on profit than on education. Oh, joy. It’s our old friend caker business.

(S) Seen here hard at work holding Canada back

Any good example of caker business simply has to involve the dislocation of peoples for the sake of profit, and in caker school this role is being filled by the international student, numbers of which are soaring in recent years. A worrying amount of university budgets now lean on the practice of government selling entry into this country in exchange for boatloads of money. Never mind the negative consequences of this cheap-ass attempt on the governments of Canada’s provinces to pass the buck on providing needed funding. Forget the fundamentally damaging impact of corporatizing education. Especially when you can do all of this while hiding behind a shield of diversity. What’s that? You don’t believe in randomly stuffing more foreign students into our schools? You must be a racist! Trump alert! Trump alert!

And of course, here’s the part where I try to piss on the right-wing moron brigade that is presently nodding along and hoping that I’ll throw some racist red meat at them. ‘Fraid that’s not going to happen. I happen to like the concept of international students a great deal, truth be told. But here’s the thing – I also like infrastructure that works, and one of the problems with treating foreigners like cash cows in the name of squeezing profits into an increasingly overcomplicated postsecondary landscape is that the basic concepts of education are forgotten. Oh, and that the education they got leaves with them, because I’m pretty sure most of them have realized after a few years how shit Canada is compared to where they came from.

I would consider the first building block to any postsecondary education to be literacy in the language of instruction. And Canada immediately fails at the gate on that one! Surprise! There’s something especially gross about the idea that Canada is prepared to sell its academic integrity so quickly that it doesn’t even bother ensuring that the ostensible student can even understand the language of so-called instruction before the caker croupier comes for their pocketbook. Then again, you, the student were probably recruited by a shady motherfucker in one of Canada’s favorite industries: shady, barely-regulated bullshit artistry.

Once you’ve been conned into coming here, caker business surely hasn’t given a shit about actually housing the influx of newly-fleeced foreigners.  But of course, there’s also that most awesome of caker business practices, drip pricing, here to fuck up the foreign student’s day! Oh, and here’s hoping you aren’t caught in a nightmare scenario where you end up hiding from Border Security in a Regina church! And since you are basically a fiscal piñata to school administration you won’t get a real education anyways, since you won’t be allowed to fail. And if you even wanted to stay in this dumpster fire of a country, good fucking luck!

And those are a smattering of the perils of the international student, fiscal crutch and victim of caker business and its unending quest to berid itself of responsibility by crushing the dreams and hopes of others.

 

#43 – The Myth of the Military, Part Two: Canada’s Magic Veterans

To the surprise of absolutely fucking nobody Canada is terrible at taking care of veterans. Before we go any further I want to make sure that I explain where my concerns regarding Veteran’s Affairs come from. I’m not exactly a soldier-sniffer; the military is effectively welfare for poor people in the same way that the basic units of government are welfare for the middle class. But soldiers are employees of the state, and as employees they deserve basic protections should they be injured on the job and should expect to receive those benefits and monies that were promised to them while they were federal employees. If we are going to demand that the private sector recognize and honor the agreements made with employees (which is a laughable proposition in Canada as it is, but anyways), it behooves the federal government to take care of its own employees so as to set an example.

Enter Paul Franklin. Paul Franklin was hired by the federal government to destroy people that the Canadian government doesn’t like very much in Afghanistan. In 2006, Mr. Franklin lost the use of his legs as a result of a suicide bombing. He trucked onwards with the military until 2009, when he quit the Forces to go do more useful things. By all accounts, Mr. Franklin is a fine, upstanding soul trying to make the world a better place despite losing his legs. He has been championing the causes of wounded vets who are like him being treated like a sack of sagging dogshit by their former employer, and for that reason alone I’m inclined to say that Mr. Franklin is doing better outside the Forces than in.

Unfortunately, Mr. Franklin still has to interact with the Canadian state after his retirement. As can only be expected with such an interaction, Mr. Franklin finds himself getting more and more frustrated with the federal government. In his position I would be too; once a year, from his retirement in 2009 until at least 2016 Mr. Franklin has been forced to file paperwork with Veteran’s Affairs proving that his legs are still, in fact, gone. And this gets even better, friends. The Canadian government took Mr. Franklin’s wheelchair away because they didn’t know which branch of the Canadian government was paying for it (and because they needed a doctor’s note – it’s not like lost limbs can be visually confirmed or anything, no sir). And they did this twice.

(S) “Once his legs grow back he won’t be needing this anyways!”

Caker doublethink surrounding the military has Canadians at once believing that their military is small, peace-minded, and polite while also holding to the idea that Canadians are among the world’s finest troops. And cakers are quick to umbrage whenever stories like these arise. But it’s not like the Canadian government does anything about the problem, and eventually cakers return to pretending that their soldiers are really polite ubermensch.  Indeed, within the military itself there is a never-ending war between a cold, flaccid, worthless caker corp of penny-pinching shitwands who don’t understand their moral, fiscal, and social obligations to the people who serve said corps and troops demanding that they get what they deserve as employees of the state. Liberal, Tory – it doesn’t matter. From the subhuman treatment of World World One veterans to the “cheap-o” approach to therapy for modern troopers, Canada’s history is one of brutal cruelty to those who served it.

Canada’s veterans are just one more example of why trusting the Canadian state with anything is a bad, awful, terrible, no good idea. And you better believe that we’ll be back on this topic, because hol-ee-shit does Canada treat human lives as nothing more than disposable grist.

 

#36 – Betterment made Bitter

Being a doctoral student in Canada is a sad, unrewarding enterprise. Well, being in Canada itself is a sad, unrewarding enterprise, but life is especially wretched for those driven to make as much of their lives as they possibly can. Note that I’m not saying that Canada discourages people from making money – if you’re an unscrupulous assbiscuit who wants to make money from mindlessly pulling shit out of the ground, you’re golden. I’m referring to personal improvement. When you attempt to improve yourself, know that Canada will pull you down.

Let’s start with education. The undergraduate degree in Canada is a defilement of the very concept of education. When people say that “you could get a job with just an undergraduate degree” they often think of credentialism as the problem. What often doesn’t get talked about is the absolute degeneration of the absolute value of an undergraduate degree. For one thing, undergraduates from times before were generally expected to be literate. Apparently that’s not the case in Canada today, where 27% of undergrads don’t pass basic literacy tests and 23% can’t do basic maths. Who wants to hire an illiterate for a complex job? I mean besides the federal government which frequently bridges people from a program called FSWEP. Come to think of it, that might explain a good deal as to why Ottawa runs as well as a tar-coated bag of rabid possums.

If you’re smart enough to actually manage to learn during (and perhaps despite) your undergraduate studies and masochistic enough to continue with your studies, get ready for a bad goddamn time. The act of learning is a valuable one and I know that even my feeble undergraduate degree made me a better and more knowledgeable person than I was before. But in Canada, working on bettering yourself means that you’re likely going to be broke. What a perverse fucking economy – it’s actually more valuable to not learn the fine arts than it is to do so. And heaven fucking help you if you’re interested enough in a topic to dare to learn more about it through a Masters/Ph.D. Doctorates may not even be worth the money here. Forget murdering academics – this is simply starving them out of existence. And this is assuming that these programs are run properly, which is in and of itself hardly a known quantity. Remind me how any of this is emblematic of a healthy society.

(S) My search results for “why encouraging less education is a good thing”

It isn’t just personal improvement through academic achievement that earns the scorn of the caker economy. Do you think that it would be cool to learn both English and French? Well, fuck you – despite Canada being ostensibly bi-lingual (which itself provides an ethical dilemma, what with all of the extinct and dying Indigenous languages that are dying precisely because Canada is ostensibly bi-lingual), English Canada sucks at teaching cakers French. Considering the myriad benefits to polylingualism this is a rather profound problem. From personal anecdotes French education was an absolute joke. We had worksheets and subtitled VHS tapes from grade 9 to grade 11 French. I’d have learned more from a cereal box.

Let’s be clear that not every avenue of self-improvement is perpetually sealed off from Canadians. This isn’t some overarching Illuminati shit. But there’s a lot discouraging the average person from pursuing knowledge which is socially valuable. We want more polyglots for the same reason that we want more critical evaluation of relevant topics. A more literate society is more prosperous (as a planet we would be $1.2 trillion USD more prosperous if we could all read and write) ; a more reflective society can undergo periods of meaningful social change. But social barriers and economic disincentivization prevent these benefits from coming to Canada. The basic university degree is a dummy prize, a purchased bauble that provides experience only in finding the path of least resistance for most disinterested students. Because really, fuck your success.

Of course, in the same country that has no time for academic success, there’s plenty of room for dodgy bullshit loan sharks, oligarchs, seedy middlemen guarding exploitative crap-work, and caker business of all stripes. Because priorities.

 

#30 – Tim Horton’s Brown Sludge Water™, Part Three: A Review of the Tim Horton’s K-Cup

For the last couple of years I have worked as a generic office drone, doing generic office drone things so as to be able to afford a tiny shithole of an apartment.

english
(S) Office drone is about all that this piece of shit paperwork gets you in Canada

Anyone familar with North American workplace tradition knows that one of the most important ways to avoid doing any work (or, more accurately, to avoid showing authority figures that you have no idea what, if anything you’re supposed to be doing) is to grab a cup of coffee and take it to your cubicle. Unfortunately, I work in Canada, which means that I am subject to the norms of urban design in Canada. Being subject to Canada’s atrocious urban form and insane car dependence and working in an office that is too small to justify an actual coffee maker, I am forced to use what is perhaps the most evil invention ever afflicted upon those who like coffee: the Keurig machine.

The Keurig is to coffee what personal motorcar is to the urban center – a dull, wasteful, and ultimately unsatisfying experience that would have been far more enjoyable with simpler tools. How bad are these fucking things? Their inventor, John Sylvan has in his way repudiated their existence, saying that he doesn’t get why people even use them. With that kind of ringing endorsement who wouldn’t be jumping up and down for the chance to permanently piss on any perception of their product as a quality one by putting out some branded Kontent?

Enter Tim Horton’s, a company that cares about the quality of its goods in the same way that a gorilla cares about taking a shit.

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(S) Even the cat on the mug looks desperate to get out of there

I have a confession to make. One morning at my office the only kind of Keurig coffee pod available was Tim Horton’s. Yes, reader – I tasted of the K-Tim Horton’s Brown Sludge Water™. And in doing so I have found a new low for branded Canadiana. Upon my first sip I was promptly slapped with the fused flavors of drywall-compound and the stale taste of week-old water trapped in a reservoir. The smell of coffee was there, but the coffee itself tasted watered-down. Which was in its way a mercy, seeing as how that collection of flavors ought to be classified as a war crime. The too-cool-to-be-hot, too-hot-to-be-lukewarm temperature and horrifying lingering stench of what honestly smelled like furniture polish mixed with glue invaded my face like Genghis Goddamn Khan. I don’t know what black magic invented plastic coffee, but a dark sorcery it is indeed.

It should be noted that I am pretty okay with all kinds of coffee. I am decidedly not a coffee snob – most mornings start with me, the cheapest coffee beans on the shelf, and my French press. But if ever this unholy monstrosity is offered to you, you run. Run, dammit. You don’t deserve that. You deserve better than Canada from the start, but that fucking coffee ruined my day. It tasted like Canada feels – cloying in all the wrong places. I cannot stress enough how unacceptable this product is. I actually took the expired K-Cup outside and booted it into the snow because of how much I hate that fucking Tim Horton’s Brown Sludge Water™ deviant.

Mercifully, McDonald’s coffee came to me this afternoon by way of coupon. Good God, have I never been more grateful for AmeriKKKa. That too-hot freedom scalding my throat because I was an idiot was a blessing. God bless America for its ability to provide coffee that isn’t wrapped in bullshit to its hapless neighbor.

Jesus Fuck, though. Fuck everything about that Tim Horton’s merchandise. Getting as far away as possible from that hot garbage is a damn good idea.

#25 – Totally Clueless (About Shopping)

Canada as a whole is terrible at shopping. We’ve sort of talked about this before with Tim Hortons and the Hudson’s Bay Company, and I think I’ve made a couple of allusions to the parking lagoons incumbent to the North American shopping mall too. What I haven’t talked about is how impossibly shitty Canadian shopping malls are. Selling a smaller bundle of goods than available in the United States for more than the costs of those same items in the United States, Canadian malls are monstrous concrete boxes of mediocrity. They are indeed manifestations of an almost Herculean boredom that rings through Canada and a profound lack of choice that permeates Canadian consumer culture. Lacking the thoughtfulness of the new American mall and the walkable urban design choices of many European malls, Canadians experience the ass-crack of mall shopping in a way that limits their consumer choice and ignores local needs.

The average Canadian shopping mall looks like a cross between a Soviet bunker and the capital of a shitty tween dystopian fiction novel. But that’s hardly the shittiest thing about them. Recall that Canada is run by oligarchic companies and shadowy figures – we have to look for the losers behind the tinsel if we’re going to find some guilty parties. Let’s take a look at this list of the most profitable malls in Canada. Do you see the “CF” in front of four of them? That stands for Cadillac Fairview, a company owned by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. Their major competition in Ontario, the Oxford Properties Group, is owned by the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System. Both companies are aiming at luxury brands that Canadians widely can’t afford as their future. Because actually being a part of the “community” that the drab mall in all likelihood destroyed is for squares. Stores that people can actually afford can get fucked – move over for more shit you can’t afford, plebian scum!

Because the shopping areas of Canada are built as investment vehicles rather than as parts of the communities that they actually inhabit and because the traditional main streets that typically house luxury brands are too shitty in most Canadian cities, the ultra-luxe are increasingly taking over malls. The problem with that is that in so doing they’re completely ignoring nearby neighborhoods. By way of example, take the Rideau Center. This hunk of shit is immediately next to the University of Ottawa, a 40,000+ student institution that both utterly sucks and has thousands of students living nearby. Obviously the Caddy-Company sees this and has responded with stores that totally reflect the nearby community. I know for my part that choosing from Canada’s many shitty university options was much easier when I filtered by access to Tiffany’s. Back in the day I worked in the Rideau Center, but I and most students simply aren’t qualified to sell luxury brands we’ve never heard of. So neither the potential labor nor the potential customer base appealed to Cadillac-Fairview because why care about local context, right?

image1
(s) The new classroom for ECO 1011: Introduction to Getting Fucked

Disconnected from their environments and often built in horrible, useless places the shopping mall is a classic case of short-term planning taking precedence over the needs of people nearby. And where this was a common theme in North America the Americans have recognized the problem, considered the nearby environment, and are acting in a big way to try to redesign the badly-built urban spaces of the shopping mall while Canada…tries desperately to upscale the problem and ignore the root of the problem. Dubai without shopping is boring as shit, and that’s where Canada’s oligarchic mall owners appear to think the future is. Put it this way – the folks at Cadillac-Fairview, RioCan, Oxford – they all think that the people living near malls are less economically useful and less deserving of nearby brick-and-mortar consumer choice than luxury shoppers from elsewhere. Just like Abu Dhabi does! Hooray!