Monday, September 30, 2013

Some Thoughts on Election Season

It's pretty hard to miss all the election signs around town the past few days, a sure indication that we are now in the midst of a municipal election campaign.  I must admit I haven't really paid all that much attention to politics at the local level though I know I probably should.  I've spent much of my life in small towns and cities just seem a lot more complex with more competing issues.  Throw in fact that we face a great deal of infrastructure challenges here as the region continues to grow as well as the fact that this is, well, Fort McMurray (land of opportunity if you're looking for work or Satan if you're a rabid environmentalist) and that adds a whole other dimension to the mix.

Admittedly, I was initially planning not to vote in our upcoming election here.  A lot of attention has been focused on various re-development plans, the money for which I think would be better spent elsewhere.  That, plus I've just grown a bit cynical as time marches forward.  Does a politician really care what I think?  Or do they just want my vote so they can have a job?

Looking back at other elections I've voted in, however, I do see how my vote has helped shaped the political landscape at both the federal and provincial/territorial levels so all is not lost.  My cynicism hasn't fully taken hold.

In the first Ontario election I could vote in, I cast a ballot for a young up-and-comer named John Baird, who of course has now moved on to the federal level and, according to some sources I've read, could conceivably have a shot at being the next federal Tory leader and perhaps Prime Minister.  In the 2008 Nunavut election, I voted for Ron Elliot who is once again running for re-election.  There are no political parties in Nunavut at the territorial level (which is rather refreshing) but if re-elected, I know Ron plans to put his name forward for a cabinet position.  I'm thinking Education Minister (always a challenging position in Nunavut) would be a good fit given his background and time will tell.  Best of luck, too, Ron, if you happen to read this.

As a side note, I even briefly considered running myself in that 2008 election as I wasn't too fond of the incumbent, but concerns over siphoning off enough votes to allow the incumbent's re-election caused me to have second thoughts.

And I learned earlier this evening that back in my home province, the sitting MLA in Northumberland-Quinte West, Rob Milligan, has been elevated to critic for interprovincial trade.  It's been a number of years since I've lived in Ontario now but certainly I would have voted for Rob.  I've known him for quite a number of years as we were in the same army cadet corps as teens and by all accounts he is well-known and respected.  I know he will continue to serve the riding well in this new role.

So, perhaps my cynicism is a bit misplaced.  Sure, its a horrible cliche, but your vote really can make a difference.  Now, having said that, there are few politicians here I have a lot of time or respect for BUT I still plan to vote.  In the end, it is important and it does matter.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Neil Young is a Moron

Okay, okay......I promise I took a deep breath and walked away from the laptop for several minutes before typing this post, but I have to admit I still can't get over the stupidity that is Neil Young.  Apparently, he was in town over the long weekend to tour our city.  But really, like many other celebs, he only came here to garner publicity for himself and spout off about the oilsands.  And I mean, that's fine, everyone has their opinion and is entitled to it.  But I really have to draw a line in the sand when the guy then goes ahead and spouts off about Fort McMurray itself.  According to media reports from the National Post, the CBC and others, he had the audacity to refer to Fort McMurray as a "wasteland" and compared the city to Hiroshima of all places.

You know, Neil, if you actually engaged your brain in something called "critical thinking" you'd realize that you can't conflate Fort McMurray with what happened to Hiroshima in 1945.  You truly are a disgusting human being if you are going to dishonour the memory of all those who died in a nuclear holocaust with Fort McMuray, Alberta.   There are veterans and Hiroshima survivors today who suffered unbearably so you could have the luxury of travelling up here and spew your retarded crap.  (Really, the clown thinks he can masquerade as some sort of expert on the industry and yet he was completely clueless about extraction techniques like SAGD, which is completely different from how the oilsands are extracted at sites north of the city.)  Neil, if you're going to pretend to know something, at least do your homework.   Obviously your tour didn't start with the Oil Sands Discovery Centre.  Had you gone there, you would have learned about this.  And its not like you can miss the place as its write on the main highway into the city.  Really, Neil, I'm one of those musical types too.  Reading music isn't all that different from reading a map in many ways.

Neil Young I have to call you out.  Come up to Fort McMurray, look me up and I'll show you a side to this city I promise you haven't seen before, a side you are obviously very ignorant about.  Fort McMurray is not a wasteland and in no way can it be compared to Hiroshima.  Neil, earlier this spring we had a flood here and people faced hardship, were you up here doing a benefit concert?  For that matter, did you go to High River and do a concert there?  The flooding they faced there was much worse.  Of course not, you only wanted to get some cheap publicity by using our city for your own selfish means.

(And since I'm on the subject of concerts anyway, its not like we really need you up here.  We've had much better performers up here in recent years anyway......Kiss, Bare Naked Ladies and Simple Plan to name three.)

Did you check out MacDonald Island while you were here?  Walk the Birchwood Trails? check out our heritage park?, check out a musical?  visit our college or a school playground?  get to know people here?  talk to anyone from any one of our many diverse groups here who came to this city from another country to make a better life?  I suspect you did none of these things and your ignorance truly shows.

Yes, Neil all the animals are dying.  Funny that.  A young bear wandered into my work area a couple weeks ago and it looked pretty alive to me.  As did the deer, foxes, wolves, coyotes, moose, buffalo and all the other large animals I've seen here.  The "Indians", as you mistakenly call them are all dying?  I work with many First Nations people and even one of my tenants is Dene.  They all look pretty healthy to me.  Should all just "go back to the rez and forego the opportunity of a better life? Honestly, where DID you get your information from?  What the hell are you smoking?

Please don't spout nonsense about my city.  Really, when you're originally from Toronto, you should be among the LAST to do so.  Air quality advisories in the summer, beach closures, cars galore (using oil and gas too, I would presume).  Give me a break.

I really think you should stick to writing and singing songs (not that I listen to that noise) because believe you hypocritical hippy, you know are no expert on the oil sands and you know absolutely nothing about the place I call home.