Sunday, 29 April 2012

A Smorgasbord of Things

I can't lie, I've always wanted to find a way to work the word "Smorgasboard" into one of my writings. This title seemed fitting as I don't have any thoughts to pontificate about at length. Instead, I offer you bite sized thoughts from my bite sized mind.

That House

This country and presumably others are filled with "that house". "That House" where many people have lived, and there's an entire friends circle that has either grown from or with the abode. In many cases "that house" was an apartment. The physical location was less important than the people that occupied it.

I was at a farewell party to one of those houses last night. People came with stories of the shenanigans which had gone down in the living room. They looked longingly for the table that was once danced upon with some regularity. At other places I've been, there was a fondness for the old McDonalds trash can that was drunkenly acquired one evening on a stumble home. Yet others some come back to wondering if the bong hidden away on the balcony upstairs still has its home in the corner (it did not).

These places are usually just some combination of brick, wood, steel and drywall, but they hold inside of them a connection to our youth that can't be unchained. The stories we tell in our advanced years will reference back to "that time on ___________ street" and those that were there will know exactly what we're talking about. Those that weren't, will think of their own communal locations. There will be other locations that act as touchstones in our lives, where you bring your first child home or the first home you buy for example. There's something about these first communal houses, though. They are places of community. Places where children learn together how to be adults.

Anyone who's lived in one of these houses knows that it's not all roses, as heads butt and personalities clash. However, there's little doubt in my mind that it's an invaluable life experience that everyone should have the chance to participate in during their formative years.

Conservatives on Abortion 

I must be feeling ill because I felt moved by something a prominent Conservative said in the House of Commons this week. It's a kick in the face for those Conservatives who vote as such for social reasons, which I'm certain is why the PMO didn't note if he was speaking on behalf of the government or himself. A copy of the Government WHIP's* statement can be found here, but it's this excerpt that I found myself especially agreeing with:

Abortion is a very serious and long-lasting decision for women, and I want all women to continue to live in a society in which decisions on abortion can be made, one way or the other, with advice from family and a medical doctor and without the threat of legal consequences. I do not want women to go back to the previous era where some were forced to obtain abortions from illegal and medically dangerous sources. This should never happen in a civilized society.
Whether one accepts it or not, abortion is and always will be part of society. There will always be dire situations in which some women may have to choose the option of abortion. No matter how many laws some people may want government to institute against abortion, abortion cannot be eliminated. It is part of the human condition.
I cannot understand why those who are adamantly opposed to abortion want to impose their beliefs on others by way of the Criminal Code. There is no law that says that a woman must have an abortion. No one is forcing those who oppose abortion to have one.
Within the free and democratic society of Canada, if one has a world view based on a personal moral code that is somewhat different from others, then live according to those views as long as they are within the current laws. On the other hand, citizens who are also living within the reasonable limits of our culture and who may not agree with another's particular moral principles should not be compelled to follow them by the force of a new law.
I am sure we all recognize that the issue of abortion raises strongly held and divergent views within and outside Parliament. However, I firmly believe that each of us should be able to pursue our lifestyle as long as it is within the boundaries of law and does not interfere with the actions of others... Society has moved on and I do not believe this proposal should proceed. 

If only an American conservative would have the courage to say the same thing now. 


The HST is coming to PEI and the Islanders are livid! I was unaware of many of the tax loopholes for the previous PST, and am completely unsurprised that a people who had such a sweet deal (and quickly ballooning deficit) are getting pissed off that their lollipop is being taken away. For example, there was no PST on Tobacco. Certainly there were other provincial taxes, but somehow not the sales tax. Nearly everything to do with a funeral had no PST, along with manicures, pedicures, and salon visits. Needless to say, I think the province was long overdue for a change. However, there's some parts where the government might of actually had it right in the first place.

  • The future of health care is in prevention. There's a ton of evidence to show that dollars spent in prevention of illness (i.e. promotion of healthy and active lifestyles) saves in future treatment costs. So when I saw that previously untaxed gym memberships or children's karate/ballet/hockey lessons will now be taxed - I was a little perplexed. It seemed like short term thinking. 
  • Heating Oil amuses me. If you have oil heating, you get a tax break. If you have a wood stove, or electric heating, you have to pay. The government should not be favoring one style of heating over another. Either tax it all the same, or don't tax it at all. 
  • I always thought it was interesting that PEI chose not to tax books. I don't really have a strong opinion on how important that was, but am certainly disappointed to see it go. It's an indirect tax hike on  post secondary students, which is not what they need. 

There's also sales tax on an item that makes absolutely no sense as far as I'm concerned: Feminine Hygiene Products. We don't charge sales tax on prescription drugs, glasses, hearing aids, or basically anything that it would be unreasonable to ask a person to go without if they need it. I feel pretty comfortable speaking for women when I say that they need feminine hygiene products. There's no reason this should be taxed, in fact it's incredibly sexist to do so. It's a tax on being a woman, and it's not right.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

The NDP Has A New Leader (Professor?)

I'll be honest. I haven't read the budget. It's 500 pages long, and I am not one of the fortunate people who get to participate in the lock up*. So I'm going to write about the NDP race in this blog, but I promise to read much of the budget and come back with my thoughts in the next week or two.

The NDP is 100% Committed to Losing the Next Election

As reported by Kady O'Malley, the NDP has stated they will not run attack ads. That's not how they work. The NDP also elected the man who publicly questioned if there really were Osama Bin Laden pictures. I don't feel like I need to make much more of a case than that for Mulcair not getting elected the Prime Minister of Canada. Just in case, I'll link you to his speech after having won the convention.

In reference to being attacked, Mulcair called it secondary school behavior and said that they have a different approach. When told it worked with Ignatieff, he said they can't do any worse than his brothers and sisters, something I could never imagine a secondary school child saying.

Here's the biggest problem: He looks like a professor. We tried that. Well, the Liberals tried that. Mulcair also tried to say that the way to win the election is to get the 67% of 18-25 demographic that didn't vote in the last election. Mr. Mulcair doesn't seem to understand just how distracted this generation is. To cut through the noise, Professor Mulcair will debate policy and not engage in personal attacks.

To rephrase, Mr.Mulcair's plan to become Prime Minister is to reach out to the demographic watching 16 and Pregnant, Jersey Shore, and Keeping Up With The Kardashians, by civilly discussing policy. I truly wish we lived in a society where this would be a realistic approach, but it's not. It's unrealistic, it's La La Land - in other words it's right in the wheelhouse of the NDP.

I look forward to the Liberal leadership race, because right now there is no reason to think there's a party capable of beating the Conservatives.

*One day in my life I WOULD like to be one of the people locked in a room with no cell phone for seven hours while going through a 500 page document. #thingsthatwouldonlyexciteme