Sunday, February 28, 2010

Yeah Canada


Stolen From the Boston Globe - February 28th, 2010

Because it sums up what I think about the issue and remember theft (oops, imitation) is the sincerest form of flattery.

Celebration of equality
A good time to cross party lines

By Kevin Paul Dupont, Globe Staff | February 28, 2010

VANCOUVER, British Columbia - What, they play a game that not long ago was exclusively a man’s game, and now the women can’t party like the opposite sex? Call me a flaming feminist - please, just once, to make me fell all PC-like - but I have no problem with Team Canada’s women going totally man-cave here Thursday night after beating the United States for the Olympic hockey gold medal.

For those who missed it, most of the proud Canadians returned to the ice about a half-hour after the medal ceremony, and they soaked up the moment, literally, chugging bottles of champagne and cans of beer. A good number of them even went Total Papelbon and smoked cigars, though they had the decency to keep their pants on, thank goodness.

Boy, could the International Olympic Committee use a pint of the Dropkick Murphys.

Livers and lungs be damned, Team Canada’s women had themselves a great impromptu party, then were forced to issue a formal apology the next day after the IOC got its collective starched shorts in a bunch over the blatant display of unbridled masculinity. Actually, the IOC didn’t say anything about gender. It just didn’t like the look of, you know, Canadian Girls Gone Wild, what with all the pictures posted on the Internet that showed them holding cans of Molson Canadian and Coors Light and giving those cigars some serious chomp.

Now, I could get really sardonic here and suggest that the IOC’s chief beef was that Molson and Coors aren’t among the official $1 billion sponsors of the Games. But I’ll stick to the comment by Gilbert Felli, the IOC’s director of the Olympic Games, who said, “It is not what we want to see. I don’t think it is a good promotion of sports values. If they celebrate in the changing room, that’s one thing, but not in public. We will investigate what happened.’’

In other words, uh, ladies, this is the Olympics and not a sorority kegger.

Investigate? Please, spare us the “Casablanca’’-like roundup of “the usual suspects.’’ We know what happened. They won a gold medal, in front of a screaming full house at Canada Hockey Place, and they broke out the booze and had a ball. Then they had to apologize.

Because . . . why?

We’ve watched guys make alcohol- and tobacco-centered celebrations an art form, especially in recent years. Major league clubhouses mask players’ cubicles with thick sheets of plastic on potential party nights. The players come equipped with goggles for these not-so-spontaneous occasions.

Maybe it’s all a little too much, even juvenile, but no one is asking the guys to dial it down, hide it from the public, take it to the back room. They love doing it. Fans drink it up. Granted, watching all that champagne go to waste puts a little sting in my eye, not to mention a bump in the French economy, but c’est la vie.

All of us, including the goody-two-snowshoes who own the Five Rings, should have moved beyond this stuff long ago. Brandi Chastain, bless her sports bra, broke down this wall in 1999, when she yanked off her USA shirt in sheer glee when her goal, on a fifth penalty kick, won the Women’s World Cup of soccer.

When we all got over the shock and horror that Chastain had a chest, she explained, “I wasn’t thinking about anything. I thought, ‘This is the greatest moment of my life on the soccer field.’ ’’ Something scores upon scores of male soccer players had done for decades. In context, it made perfect sense, and only the most puritanical among us weren’t able to understand her mind-set.

The Canadian women (can we call them the Lady Lager Louts?) were in precisely the same place after their emotional win over the Yanks. It was their third gold medal.

They did it with much of their country watching on TV and in front of a crazed full house that included the likes of Wayne Gretzky, Michael J. Fox, and Donald Sutherland. Heady stuff. I was a little surprised, frankly, that none of them scaled the boards and glass and jumped into the crowd for hugs and kisses.

Much to their credit - easy to forget in the hullabaloo - Team Canada’s women won with dignity and grace and style. They did and said all the right things right through the ceremony when they were handed their gold medals and broccoli bouquets.

When the building was nearly empty, save for the cleanup crew, volunteer staff, and lingering writers and photographers, they returned to the ice and savored the moment the way the boys do. They drank. They puffed. They horsed around on the Zamboni. They stretched out on the ice, backs flat on the Olympic logo between the blue lines, and stared up at the arena roof as if peering into hockey heaven and they were the reflection of the stars.

If you get a chance, please, find the pictures online. If they offend your senses, then it might be time for you to send a résumé to the IOC, or maybe stop reading the sports pages.

Meanwhile, cheers to the world’s best female hockey players. Drink up, ladies, and smoke ’em if you got ’em. You’re the very best at playing a game that for decades was for men only. You’re every bit their equal and even better partiers.

Kevin Paul Dupont’s “On Second Thought’’ appears on Page 2 of the Sunday Globe Sports section. He can be reached at

Saturday, February 27, 2010

A Canada/US Perspective - Update

Sorry folks, the following now appears on the link to youtube;

This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by NBC Universal (Sports).

Canada's Gold Medal Women's Hockey Team

Celebrate the victory, savour your time and to hell with the critics!

You made me proud!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Canada/US Perspective

Here is a Canada/US perspective you won’t see every day.


For years we have complained that the majority of Americans don't know nearly enough about Canada. While I suspect this will still be true after the Olympic games, this piece (see link below) by Tom Brokaw on NBC puts our relationship in perspective.

The images are beautiful, the writing is outstanding and the feeling you are left with is uplifting.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Interesting Comments on Democracy

A citizen of America (Alberta) will cross the ocean to fight for democracy, but won't cross the street to vote in a national (provincial) election.
Bill Vaughan

Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve.
George Bernard Shaw

Apparently, a democracy is a place where numerous elections are held at great cost without issues and with interchangeable candidates.
Gore Vidal

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Message For A Few Party Leaders

Here is a quote that Oliver Cromwell used when he dissolved the rump parliament in 1653.

Leo Amery directed it at Chamberlain in 1940 after the German invasion of France.

"You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!"

Monday, February 22, 2010

Christopher Columbus Was The First Socialist

Christopher Columbus was the first socialist: he didn’t know where he was going, he didn’t know where he was… and he did it all at taxpayers expense.

So long as the people do not care to exercise their freedom, those who wish to tyrannize will do so; for tyrants are active and ardent, and will devote themselves in the name of any number of gods, religious and otherwise, to put shackles upon sleeping men.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Kent Hehr Challenges the Government to Live Up to Promises

In 2004 this government announced it would be building the Alberta police college in Fort Macleod. At that time the government indicated that it was necessary to build this complex in order to ensure that a well-trained police force was present in Alberta. To date the project has not been built. I assume there must be a reason for this.

Kent Hehr, Official Opposition Critic for Justice

See the following excerpt from Hansard.

Peace and Police Officer Training Centre

Mr. Hehr:
My question is to the Solicitor General. Does the government still believe that the building of an Alberta police college is necessary to improve the delivery of law enforcement services in this province, or can we get by with the status quo?

Mr. Oberle:
Thank you for the question. As the member correctly points out, we have not built the college in Fort Macleod. We’re reviewing the financial situation at the moment. As members opposite have pointed out, we are in fiscal difficulties right now. I’m reviewing the situation and will report back to this House when I’m ready.

Mr. Hehr:
Well, it sounds like we still sort of need a site; we’re just not sure when. That’s, I guess, fair. Is Fort Macleod, then, still the preferred site for this training centre?

Mr. Oberle:
Well, the member just made a bunch of assumptions that I never gave him in the first question, so I can’t really address it. I didn’t say that we absolutely needed it, nor did I say that we’re looking at Fort Macleod or any other centre. I said that I would report back to this House when I’m ready to do so.

Mr. Hehr:
Well, let me back up the bus. In 2004 I thought we were clear: you guys announced you were building a training centre. Is that on or off the table? Can you confirm to this community whether you are going to be building it and quit jerking around, then?

Mr. Oberle:
Might I refer the hon. member to answer 1(a).

Alberta Hansard, February 9, 2010

Could this be the beginning of the false promises, talk tough on crime and then do not deliver the services needed. Photo Ops with the Premier announcing more cops, but not providing the training centre needed to prepare them.

Back in Oman

Arrived in Oman late Thursday evening, February 11th.

We came through Frankfurt and a storm that closed a load of airports in the Netherlands and Russia. We were delayed 2 hours on our departure to Oman and had to de-ice the wings. The take-off was a little scary as the plane swerved on the runway during acceleration for the take-off.

Landed in Oman to 20 degree temp. at midnight, daytime temp. 25 degrees and bright blue sky.

I am able to pick up all the local media in Alberta so will stay in touch with politics in the Province. I just heard the sound of Neil and Tony saying "oh goood"!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa

Those of us properly educated by the Jesuits will understand the title.

I am of course including the scribe from my alma mater in Winnipeg, St. Paul’s College, the eminent Rick Bell.

It was Rick who got it right about the budget in his February 7th column, ‘Budget fear called scare tactics’

So now he deserves the right to gloat in today's column, ‘Tories pick from the magic money tree’.

However, let's not forgot some ultimate truths;
1. There is only one source of revenue in Alberta and that's the people of Alberta and all of the jiggery-pokery around the spending is buying us back with our money.
2. This Government has a revenue problem, created when they re-jigged the progressive tax structure and introduced a flat tax regime. That gave us a revenue short-fall of 5.6 billion dollars in revenue since it's introduction (supported by economists such as Greg Flanagan).
3. The majority of Albertans exist in the political centre and the Tories seem to have woken up to that fact. I have been stressing since October of last year for the opposition Liberals to find and play in the centre, it may be too late for them.
4. The Tories, with this budget, are saying to Danielle Smith, "bring it on".
5. Finally, I owe Joseph Lougheed a beer, his choice where and when.

Let the political games begin.

PS: Where's Guy Boutilier, did my sources let me down on this one? I think perhaps he's having to wait now that the budget confused everyone in Alberta.

PPS: I leave for Oman in the Gulf Region of the Middle East today, returning at the end of March. Next Blog from there!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Budget Day in Alberta

With apologies to the Groundhog,

"If Ted Morton remains the Finance Minister will we have 6 more years of financial mismanagement."

Today is budget day and as predicted by this Blogger it's cut, slash and burn day in Alberta.

This Government cannot manage our finances so we need to suffer, almost religious in nature wouldn't you say?

There are alternatives, for instance a scenario brought forth by Greg Flanagan, the eminent Alberta economist in the Edmonton Journal article , 'Revenue the real problem
Now's the time to dip into 'rainy-day' fund, avoid raising taxes', offers a solution, see the link below.

Others have offered solutions such as Dr. Avalon Roberts' initiative for a 'value for money audit' prior to any reduction of front line services, but I'm afraid it's all about cuts for this Minister and this Government.

Ted Morton sees Health Care, Education and Social Services as expense items on a balance sheet rather than investment in people. So when 2 + 2 needs to = 4 rather than look into the future for solutions they will revert to the past and fall back on 'the Klein Revolution' or as it was called 'the New Zealand Experiment". Incidentally, New Zealand considered the experiment a colossal failure.

And so it goes.....

PS: Budget Day is also Crossing Day for Guy Boutilier. Watch for Danielle Smith, the Wildrose Crossing Guard in action today.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

CBC The House Discusses Alberta Politics

A challenge to all the young Libs who called me this week to comment on positions I've taken in the past few months.

This is worth listening to;

CBC The House Goes to Alberta

Is the CBC wrong?

Am I wrong?

I welcome your comments.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Liberals Have Their Chance to Make it Right (sorry Centre)

I'm not ready to make nice
I'm not ready to back down
I'm still mad as hell and
I don't have time to go round and round and round
Courtesy of the Dixie Chicks

I've been asked to give the Liberals a chance and here it is;

However, as expressed in the Braid article, they need to get it correct this time. They need to talk to Albertans about issues Albertans want to talk about.

It can be done on Energy as we've seen recently with the Taylor release on a new direction for the Party. This was signed off by the Caucus.

Now we need to produce similar documents on Health Care, Education and Agriculture if we are to become relevant to ALbertans.