260 business leaders and philanthropists this week lined up against Finance Minister Bill Morneau with a blunt message I chose to paraphrase as follows:  “If you don’t help us cheat, we’ll vote with our feet!”  Sorry, Guys.  Stephen Harper was your man.  Canadians voted him out.

On this issue I’m solidly on the Government’s side.  Going after tax cheats was my main condition for supporting Trudeau and company.  It takes guts to annoy accountants, lawyers, government contractors and the like, but I spent 32 years getting at best 58% of my salary while funding my own course work and home office, while the various people around me breezed through life with deductions or corporate funding for professional development sessions at family resorts, home offices, boats belonging to their corporations, and finding creative vacation deductions, protected from audit by their accountants.

If you read the petition, they even call themselves “job creators.”  That term was one of Harper’s most egregious assaults on the language, right up there with the time he called members of  an Opposition coalition “traitors.”

Stephen Lewis’s term for the same group Harper called “Job Creators?”  “Corporate Welfare Bums.”




Rehab progress so far

September 26, 2017

It’s been almost a month since the operation where Dr. Bisleri at Kingston General Hospital bypassed two arteries and replaced an aortic valve, so I guess it is time to see if my mind still works well enough to write a blog entry.

I’ll pick at the edges of the fog of anaesthesia and intensive care and further hospital time devoted to balancing hemoglobin and so on, the time when I became convinced that someone had made me a test subject without a will and planned to keep me forever incarcerated in a room in KGH.

But then they let me go home, and better still, my local GP let me quit the diuretics which were wrecking my sleep, and things improved.  For the last two weeks it’s been a boring regimen of careful eating and moderate walking — the only exercise I am allowed, as I must protect the severed muscles of my chest.  Bet has proven an effective and uncomplaining nurse and treatment manager, chef, dog handler, chauffeur and gardener.

With the return of sleep have come improvements to my mental acuity to where pulp fiction again appeals, and I have availed myself of the good Internet service on Young’s Hill for state-of-the-art TV, as well.

So things are looking up, notwithstanding the heat wave this week.  Travel by car requires a large pillow between my chest and the seat belt, and so far has been restricted to medical appointments.  Coughs are a pain, sneezes are sudden and excruciating, but generally my days are pain-free.  The most obvious injury on my body is the area on my left thigh where the team harvested the veins for the bypass.  It bruised badly, occasioning a couple of weeks of kill-or-cure diuretic therapy with the lamented side-effects above.

Anyway, the refurbished heart seems to work very well.  Hills and stairs which left me gasping before are pretty easy to climb now, by comparison.  At times parts of my left leg feel tender, but walking is unimpeded.  Because I can’t lift anything or squeeze my fingers together, my fingertips feel numb.  A few hours of seat time on a machine will likely take care of that, but not for another six weeks or so.

Hospital stay coming up

August 28, 2017

I’ve been waiting a month for Wednesday’s heart surgery at Kingston General Hospital, if it isn’t cancelled because of an emergency.  Looks like a triple bypass and an aortic valve.

Prospects are good, though I hear the recovery from the incisions is rough.

More later, I hope.

UPDATE:  4:25, 29 August, 2017

The call just came.  The operation is on for tomorrow.

The pleasing surprise is that the dystopian Mecca of the near future is Toronto.  In fact huge chunks of the novel play out across the Eastern Ontario landscape culminating in a final scene in, of all places, Joyceville.

Doctorow has written a speculative piece about what happens to those who leave society by walking away into the countryside in a future without scarcity, where “feedstock” can recycle through printers and produce prescription drugs, clothing to order, or foodstuffs and weapons.  These walkaways remain at the leading edge of technology, of course:  it seems the smartest are those most inclined to quit “default” society.

No doubt the dictionary will acquire a number of new terms from the book.   “Foof”, for example, is a derisive acronym to describe someone from a Fine Old Ontario Family.  Derivatives of this term, foofery and foofy are self-evident in their usage.  Doctorow has coined “beautiful child” to describe someone younger than oneself who surpasses one’s technical skills or even intellect, i.e.:  “Did you see the beautiful child who did the surgery on Uncle Alex?”

The novel’s thesis runs along lines that people walking away from default pose an existential threat to the defaults, even though they demand nothing from them, and choose regularly to move on rather than fight for land and possessions.  It’s fairly easy for the walkaways to do as they have unlimited material, youth, and health.

The construction of an elaborate camp (known as a B&B) is quite easy with the help of online information and a sic-fi-level salvage network of abandoned factories and warehouses from which materials may be liberated to recycle into the new building.

Of course it is easy for default — portrayed as shadowy corporate interests and embodied in one wealthy Toronto family — to turn its sense of abandonment into fear, and portray all walkaways as terrorists of the ISIL variety.

I’ll try not to spoil the book for you at this point.  If you like Neal Stephenson’s writing, or that of Douglas Coupland, Walkaway is a likely read.


High Water

July 29, 2017




Today we discovered that the road through Bedford Mills is cut off by flooding.

The Canadian government paid out a 10.5 million dollar settlement to Omar Khadr for the same reason they paid out for the Syrian engineer Arar: the security apparatus in Canada screwed up and they’ll do anything to cover that up. Canada’s relationship with the four other Sisters depends upon it.  That’s why they’ll sit still with the American military calling Khadr a murderer and an absurd lawsuit from a widow’s family.

You’ll never see a member of CSIS on trial for human rights abuses, and that certainly would have happened if the government had not paid out.

Justin Trudeau can spin this as the rule of law, but the rule of the Five Sisters takes precedence.

Wiley E. Conservative

July 20, 2017

Deja vu. All through the 2015 federal election campaign Stephen Harper’s Conservatives acted like Wiley E. Coyote, trying this gimmick and that to destroy the blasted Road Runner in the person of Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau. But the traps never quite worked. There were the four debates which pitted two veterans against the callow youngster.  JT won.  The Conservatives and NDP wore out the “Just Not Ready” ad. Then JT picked up the husk and with a deft judo flip, turned it into a pre sold, “I’m Ready” ad. Canadians, tired of the other ad’s overreach, agreed.

Newbie Andrew Scheer’s idea of leadership seems also to involve a lot of Acme Hardware purchases, and the 10.5 million dollar wedge is as hopeful a gadget as any Harper attempted. JT’s response today in the Globe and Mail simply involved driving the wedge back the other way. The Acme hammer of the talking points is the 71% disapproval figure from a single online survey by paid contributors. If even one new survey shows the opposite, Wiley E. Sheer will have black soot all over his face.