Saturday, November 14, 2009

Most Canadians not worried about H1N1

In a recent survey conducted by Nanos Research(see their link), they discovered most Canadians are not concerned with the H1N1 virus. The attached PDF explains the results of the survey.

Are you concerned?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

What's Good For The Goose!

In his Nov. 12th, 2009 Blog Darryl Raymaker writes;

“It is time for Michael Ignatieff and his new chief of staff Peter Donolo, to take the gloves off. The country needs energetic engagement on the political battlefield. Politics is a tough and bloody sport with little place for a genteel Marquis of Queensbury rule book. This is particularly so when one’s opponent has no intention of engaging in the contest pursuant to any kind of a rule book.

Its time to fight and fight back – on the beaches, on the landing grounds, in the fields and in the streets, and in the hills,* not to mention the church basements, small town hockey arenas, barbecues, hockey tournaments, and anywhere else we do politics in this great country. It is time for some realpolitik! And there is not one moment to lose! (*with all due credit and apologies to the great Winston S. Churchill).

But in response to my similar call to arms for David Swann and the Alberta Liberal Party, I get the following response;

Alberta Liberal strategist admits: 'We're irrelevant'
By Jason Fekete, Calgary Herald - October 22nd, 2009

But Darryl Raymaker, who's co-chaired the party's last two general election campaigns, said he doesn't agree "one iota" with Lovett's analysis.

"Nobody could ever challenge (Swann's) qualifications to handle that job," Raymaker said. "He has shown that he is up on the issues."

I absolutely agree with his analysis of the federal scene but provincially it seems Darryl and I are in the same boat, oars in the water but rowing in opposite directions. I have always admired Darryl and I believe it doesn't take much for the oars to be turned, after all the boat moves much better that way.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Pay Attention, It’s All About the Numbers, and

“The Answer is 42”*

Swann, Stelmach or Smith, Albertans have a dilemma.

The numbers are in and the pundits are wildly sifting through the primordial ooze trying to predict the future.

Stelmach receives 77.4% support for his leadership from the people who live on his island. This means 1 of every 4 want him off the island.

Who cares; certainly the Tory Party doesn’t appear to.

Hell, I got
78% support in a recent Herald opinion poll from a similar number of responders and I’m still here.

But given recent poll information from Janet Brown of Environics Research Group, a woman this blogger has a tremendous respect for, the Tories should be more receptive to change when only
34% of decided voters agree they will vote for the Tories.

However, this Party, in one form or another has been in power in Alberta for more than
37 years and that in itself creates a thought process far removed from the hopes, dreams and needs of the people in the cities, towns and farms of this province.

Swann had a fundraising dinner Nov. 6th and 500 people showed up to gently place money in the coffers of the Alberta Liberal Party. The Party is jubilant and well they should be. Organizers suggest this is the largest turnout since the Decore era.

But what of the numbers given to the Liberals by decided voters,
20% as reported by the same pollster, Janet Brown, as recent as October of this year, good for third place.

A month before in the Calgary-Glenmore by-election decided voters gave them
34%. Yes we can make an argument that this was a by-election, blah, blah, blah.

The point is that the Party ran a candidate with a message from the political centre and came within a heartbeat of winning in what was considered an historic Tory stronghold.

Smith received 77% of the vote in her leadership victory in October and now the smug Ms. Smith believes she should be the Premier come the next election.

Already decided voters are placing her Party, the Wildrose Alliance, at
28%, second place to the leading Tories as reported by Brown in the same poll discussed earlier.

Opposition parties claim that as soon as Albertans discover the TC’s (True Conservatives) as the Wildrose describe themselves, they will turn and run from supporting the so-called religious right and neo-conservative platform of the Wildrose Alliance Party.

But let me paraphrase from one of my favourite movies and one of the important statements from that movie, “in the absence of real leadership people will follow anyone.”

Albertans are looking for leadership and they will take Smith in the absence of a change in Swann. We see Swann trying to change course but the people controlling the sails don’t know how to tack.

Stelmach in his speech in Red Deer claimed his messages are fine but the media cannot understand what he is saying.

The liberals appear to adhere to the same belief, if only they had more money, if only the media understood them, etc….

The facts are simple; the people of Alberta do not get the Liberals. They do not understand where they come from and who David Swann is, but with a change in direction, Swann could surprise everyone.

Why, because the issues that matter most to Albertans are Liberal issues.

Issue #1 - Health Care:
In a Nanos Research poll dated Nov. 4th,
90% of Canadians support public health care with no perceivable change by Region. They want to see it strengthened; they do not want to see it cut and destroyed.

I said in an earlier piece, the Tories will move to defend their right flank against the Wildrose and if the Liberals can manage to move to and hold the centre surprises will abound.

One of the most important numbers in all of this is
60%, those people in Alberta elections who choose not to vote because there is no one who represents them, discover a connection and the rest will be history.

second most important Ultimate Question; Can the Liberals do it?

The answer to
the Ultimate Question is 42.

* Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything (42) from ‘The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy’

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Preparing For The Future

With my apologies to Jenny Joseph and my advice to the Alberta Liberal Party

When I am old I shall wear purple, with a red hat which doesn't go and doesn't suit me.

And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves and satin sandals and say we've no money for butter.

I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired and gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells and run with my stick along public railings, and make up for the sobriety of my youth.

I shall go out in my slippers in the rain and pick flowers in other people's gardens and learn to spit!

You can wear terrible shirts and grow fatter and eat three pounds of sausages at ago, or only bread and pickles for a week, and hoard pens and pencils and beer mats and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry, and pay our rent and not swear in the street, and set a good example for the children.

We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

Maybe I ought to practice a little now?

So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised when suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Canada Is Not The Only Country With Loons!

Now that Vancouver is hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics, these are some questions people from all over the world are asking.

Believe it or not these questions about Canada were posted on an International Tourism Website.

Obviously the answers are a joke; but the questions were really asked!

Q: I have never seen it warm on Canadian TV, so how do the plants grow? (England)
A. We import all plants fully grown and then just sit around and watch them die.

Q: Will I be able to see Polar Bears in the street? (USA)
A: Depends on how much you've been drinking.

Q: I want to walk from Vancouver to Toronto - can I follow the railroad tracks? (Sweden)
A: Sure, it's only four thousand miles, take lots of water.

Q: Is it safe to run around in the bushes in Canada? (Sweden)
A: So it's true what they say about Swedes.

Q: Are there any ATM's (cash machines) in Canada? Can you send me a list of them in Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton and Halifax? (England)
A: No, better bring a few extra furs for trading purposes.

Q: Can you give me some information about hippo racing in Canada? (USA)
A: A fri ca is the big triangle shaped continent south of Europe, Ca-na-da is that big country to your North...oh forget it. Sure, the hippo racing is every Tuesday night in Calgary, come naked.

Q: Which direction is North in Canada? (USA)
A: Face south and then turn 180 degrees. Contact us when you get here and we'll send the rest of the directions.

Q: Can I bring cutlery into Canada? (England)
A: Why? Just use your fingers like we do.

Q: Can you send me the Vienna Boys' Choir schedule? (USA)
A: Aus-t ri-a is that quaint little country bordering Ger-man-y, which is...oh forget it. Sure, the Vienna Boys Choir plays every Tuesday night in Vancouver and Calgary, right after the hippo races, come naked.

Q: Do you have perfume in Canada? (Germany)
A: No, WE don't stink.

Q: I have developed a new product that is the fountain of youth. Where can I sell it in Canada? (USA)
A: Anywhere significant numbers of Americans gather.

Q: Can you tell me the regions in British Columbia where the female population is smaller than the male population? (Italy)
A: Yes, in the gay nightclubs.

Q: Do you celebrate Thanksgiving in Canada? (USA)
A: Only at Thanksgiving.

Q: Are there supermarkets in Toronto and is milk available all year round? (Germany)
A: No, we are a peaceful civilization of Vegan hunter/gatherers. Milk is illegal.

Q: I have a question about a famous animal in Canada, but I forget its name. It's a kind of big horse with horns. (USA)
A: It's called a Moose. They are tall and very violent. They eat the brains of anyone walking close to them. You can scare them off by spraying yourself with human urine before you go out walking.

Q: Will I be able to speak English most places I go? (USA)
A: Yes, but you will have to learn it first.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Vaccine Anyone?

So, you think the H1N1 debacle in Alberta can’t get any worse?

After the Flames got caught with their pants down, the Stelmach Government took a lot of pucks to the head.

Predictably, a mid-level manager in the Health Services Department got fired. That’s right, kill the messenger not the message. Is there any truth to a sighting of Health Minister Ron Liepert checking out the price of body armour at a Calgary gun shop?

Now PC Party faithful are joining the chorus trying to protect Premier Stelmach from the back lash over the Swine Flu mess with the looming leadership vote.

No less than Tory Caucus “heavies”, Wayne Cao and Moe Amery claim Stelmach should not be sent to his room over this Health Care controversy.

Wow, that should make Fast Eddie sleep a lot sounder leading up to the Shootout at the Red Deer Corral.

On the other hand the Premier could still suffer a nightmare or two with former party big shot, Marv Moore lashing out at the boss and his Health Care policies. Moore was not only an ex-Health Minister, but also a major Tory campaign strategist and rural Godfather from Peace River.

He called the H1N1 situation a…”blunder.”

Liberal Leader David Swann came out swinging shoving a needle in the PC rump attacking the clear perception of scarce vaccines for the privileged and demanded that Liepert take a hike to the nearest hospital for an extended stay in the padded ward.

The opposition is finally waking up and learning that it’s good strategy to pile on the least popular Provincial Premier since the quarterback… the forgettable Don Getty.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

How To Tell The Economy Is Still Struggling?

You know the economy is still in trouble when;

You order a burger at McDonald's and the kid behind the counter asks, "Can you afford fries with that?"

The bank returns your check marked "Insufficient Funds," you call them and ask if they meant you or them.

You buy a toaster oven and the free gift with the purchase is a bank.

The Middle East Traveller

For those of you who ask what I am doing in the Middle East, let me give some current details.

I am sitting in the Muscat airport preparing to board a flight to Abu Dhabi in the UAE. I have arranged a few days of intense meetings and then back to Muscat Nov. 7th.

Then it's on to Khartoum in Sudan for official meetings arranged through HE Jamal El Sheikh A. Osman, the Sudanese Ambassador to Oman. I hope to meet with HE Dr. Awad Ahmed Al Jazz Minister of Energy and Mining Sudan. The meetings will discuss a number of issues related to our Omani company cooperating with oil & gas activities. We also have an interest in mining in Sudan.

After that I am planning a trip to Basrah in Iraq to further discussions related to Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR). We believe Oman Energy Services LLC; our Omani company can assist Iraq with recovery.

This has delayed my return to Calgary until Nov. 28th.

See ya in time to start preparations for Christmas.

The Middle East Traveller