Election update from the Swamp

Another short blog as I am on a work deadline…

Harper and his merry band of Con Artists

Stevie boy doesn’t know when to stop playing a broken record. Deb and I were in the car this morning and he was being asked about a one on one debate with Ignatieff. Apparently he agreed to this yesterday. Today he defined the traditional leaders debate[1] as: Michael Ignatieff and all of his ‘coalition pals.’ Harper keeps raising the specter of a coalition government. Doesn’t he realize that he killed that idea when he prorogued parliament?

Elizabeth May

Ok, seriously, why does the ‘consortium of broadcasters’ want to exclude her from the national debates particularly when there is a precedent allowing her in? Perhaps it is an underhanded and cheeky campaign by the ‘consortium of broadcasters’ to bring more publicity to the Green party. If so, it is a pretty brilliant plan. If not, there is really no excuse to keep the leader of the Green party out of the debates.

[1] I will get to that and Elizabeth May’s imposed absence in a minute.



After 2.5 weeks on Victoza, I have lost 12 pounds. I think that is pretty significant. I am not up to the full dose yet – one more step to go. I am really hoping that this drug will fix my severe insulin resistance. I have to say that some of the gastric side effects have been pretty bad. I am finding I am able to eat even less than I was before. I have very little appetite most of the time. At one point, I was both hungry and sick to my stomach. The late night diarrhea has abated at this point. I will go back to my doctor next week and see if I can go up to the highest dose. I am so hoping that this medication is the answer for me. Reducing the amount of insulin in my bloodstream and allowing me to lose weight will improve my overall level of health. I am sure this will also help with my ulcerative colitis.

Great News for the NDP & Bridge Tolls

Former MP John Cummins has confirmed he is seeking the leadership of the BC Conservative party. Any publicity and hopefully votes that go to the BC Conservative party will come at the expense of the BC Liberals. Hopefully this means that the right of centre vote in BC will be split which can only help the NDP. All I have to say is go John!

Since the Golden Ears Bridge went in we have used it fairly regularly. Well today we found out just how regularly. Deb had to get a new license plate about a year ago and we did not know that she had a new account. When we finally called to try to sort out the $500 bill we had received we found out just how much Deb goes over the bridge! I feel so bad for the people in Surrey who will have to pay tolls each day on the new Port Mann bridge once it is finished. This bridge is the only way for them to get out (unless they want to go the other way and pay the Golden Ears bridge toll which is longer anyway) of Surrey. It is certainly going to hit people hard!


Well, my hemoglobin has risen to an amazing 131! My white blood cell counts were also higher. It may mean that the Imuran is not working as well. It may also be that I am a little healthier with some of the insulin reduced in my blood stream. I have to say that the Victoza side effects are quite strong. It has pretty much killed my appetite. This afternoon I was both nauseous and hungry. I am a little leery about going up to the full dose but I think it will be necessary in order to reduce my insulin levels.

I am working from home for the next 2 days so that will be great so that I can catch up on a bit of rest and get a lot of work done. Once I get out from underneath a big looming deadline I will be far less stressed. Hopefully I can get it all done over the next 2 days.


I hate getting my haircut. I am not sure why but I resent having to find the time to go and do it. I put it off as long as I can. I like to have my hair cut short. Breaking in a new stylist is hell for me. I have a good one but she was not available today. The other thing I really hate is in engaging in the discussion that happens when your hair is being cut. I seem to have a talent for finding hair stylists who manage to offend me in some way or another. Here are a few examples from just one salon:

1.     My regular stylist – all was going well until she told me she bred her pug and wanted to know if I wanted a puppy because she knows I am a dog lover. The woman has scissors to my hair so I really didn’t think it was appropriate to lecture her about breeding dogs and adding to the numbers of unwanted dogs in the world etc. Instead I tried to give her information to make sure that her dog and puppies were healthy. I also talked about the mammary cancer statistic and encouraged her to get the dog spayed.

2.     The stylist I had today decided it was important to tell me that she couldn’t drive as she lost her license. Guess why she lost her license? Driving under the influence of course. She then went on to tell me how her lawyer could have gotten her off but the laws had just changed. She then told me about her accident. Luckily she only killed a meridian and not a person. Then she was complaining about how she could have gotten her license back but she has to take a course and it will cost her $1000. She did assure me she learned her lesson.

Does anyone else have this problem? Or do you just ignore what your stylist has to say? How can I find one whose values might be in sync with mine? Or I am just being too picky?

The 2011 Federal Election

I have a confession to make: I love politics[1] and I love elections! Ever since I was a child I was engaged in politics. When my stepfather came into my life, I had a worthy opponent to debate politics. He was a staunch conservative[2] who voted Progressive Conservative[3] and then Reform. I always loved the NDP. I remember hearing Dave Barrett speak at a leadership convention and what he said resonated with me. As a person who has always had an overly developed sense of fairness the NDP just made sense to me. At least 3-4 times a week dinner was a political debate between us. My mother and sister would complain very loudly as they hated it. My sister really didn’t get it and my mother would get emotional. I thrived on it.

When I started university and changed my original goal of going into psychology[4], I fell back to my first passion, which was political science. After a semester of taking 2 political science courses I realized that history[5] was extremely important in understanding where we are at politically. So the natural fit for me at school was political history. I love just about any kind of politics.

I was watching the news earlier today and they were talking to people to about their thoughts on the election. What struck me was that everyone single person was complaining about the upcoming election.[6] This is the wonderful thing about parliamentary democracy and in particular a minority parliament. The Opposition parties did not table a motion of non-confidence without major issues. Or in other words, the motion of non-confidence was not frivolous. The Harper government has been found in contempt of parliament for not supplying proper documentation on the cost of the proposed crime legislation, the cost of F-35 fighter jets and corporate tax cuts. This is the first time any government in the Commonwealth has been found in contempt of parliament. In addition to the contempt of parliament charge is the odious acts of disrespect of Bev Oda. If the government cannot provide basic information on such important issues how can we expect full information on the budget?

This is the beauty of a minority parliament, the opposition parties can hold the government accountable for their behaviour. Nothing like this process exists in the American system. Americans are stuck with whomever they elect for 2 or 4 or 6 years depending on the position.[7] In the absence of majority governments, the threat of frequent elections is always there. However, I would argue that minority government is better government. The constant threat of votes of non-confidence ensures that the government has to be more aware and cognizant of the policy directions of other parties. When you get a prime minister like Harper how does not work and play well with others you have to expect a lot of problems.

I think we should be grateful for the upcoming election. It gives us a chance to try move forward. If we are to look at history, the closest time period that resembles the current federal situation was the Diefenbaker-Pearson years. There were several elections starting in the late 1950s up until Trudeau was elected in 1968. What finally broke that cycle of minority parliaments was a new, charismatic leader in Pierre Trudeau. Given that we have not seen a change in leadership in any of the parties to galvanize support for one party over another.

Barring any major gaffes or game-changing moments we will likely have another minority parliament. I am not going to predict party at this point, as it is far too early in the election. One of the things that is going to come up is strategic voting. I will likely post more about this option, as we get closer to voting day. My only wish is that people would be more grateful for the right to vote in real democratic elections. Just look at the events in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya if you have any question about what having a franchise means. Just remember voting is a right and an obligation.

[1] In Alberta we used to have 2 days of school for the ‘Teachers’ Convention.’ I remember watching the Watergate hearings at about age 7 glued to the TV. Can you say GEEK?!?

[2] Not to be confused with the Conservative party.

[3] Again, not to be confused with the Stephen Harper Conservatives, which is a conglomerate of the former, Progressive Conservative Party and the Canadian Alliance (which was born of the Reform Party).

[4] I wanted to get a doctorate in psychology except for one minor problem: I hated it! Seriously, hated it. Twenty minutes into the first lecture, I realized how much I hated it.

[5] When I sat through my first history class, I had the opposite reaction to the one I had with psychology. I felt completely at home.

[6] My suspicion was that they must have been in a Conservative riding.

[7] Members of the House of Representatives are elected every 2 years, presidents every 4 years and senators every 6 years. Interestingly, as the head of both the executive and legislative parts of governments, prime ministers have more power than American presidents.

I ask Questions…

1.     This is a serious question. I was driving home the other night and I came upon an RCMP officer attempting to get someone out of his truck. I couldn’t tell if the guy was intoxicated and was falling over as the officer was supporting his torso while his legs were still in the pedal area. It seemed to me that at any moment this guy could begin to fight back and the officer might be thrown into oncoming traffic. I immediately slowed down to a crawl but I wondered if I should have stopped to prevent him potentially being struck? Or assist him by calling 911 for more help? Does anyone know what a motorist should do in a situation like this? Does anyone know? What would you do?

2.     Are you a disappointed Canadian? I have been asking this questions all day and most people look at my like I am in idiot. Those of you who are politically aware or who happened to catch a newscast today would understand that question.[1] So, I have yet to find a disappointed Canadian. I ask: are you a disappointed Canadian?

3.     Was today ‘no signal light’ day? I have to say, I must have seen about 8 vehicles today weaving in and out of traffic and not signaling. It was absolutely craziness! Did anyone else notice this?

[1] When the federal government today Stephen Harper said he was disappointed and he knew that many Canadians are too.

Conversations with my Mother

As I can’t blog about what I really want to blog about (I am working on a fix for that), I decided instead to bring you the conversation I had with mother tonight. She and my sister, apparently, have decided that my mother should join Match.com. She needs to upload a picture, which my sister sent to her already. This picture is a picture of another picture. Which is very bizarre as both of them own scanners and my sister has a kick-ass one. I guess she has not yet figured out how to use it. Here goes the conversation:

Mom: I need to get the picture of a picture of a picture that Kathy sent me. It is on my iPad.

Me: You need to do it from your computer.

Mom: But it is all on my iPad not on my computer.

Me: Mom, just because you used your iPad to set it up doesn’t mean it is only on your iPad. Match.com is on the Internet. Go to your computer and open up the email. (I will save you the play by play of this activity)

Mom: Ok.

Me: Download the picture to your desktop so you know where it is.

Mom: How do I do that?

Me: Open the picture

Mom: (lots of fumbling and muttering) I have it open. It is called DSC … Bmp.

Me: (I start to open up Parallels and Windows as I fear I will have to remote in). What is the name of the program that opened the picture? Maybe MS Paint?

Mom: Google Chrome?

Me: Let’s connect the computers ok? Open up MS Live Messenger.

Mom: Is that in the control panel?

Me: No. You need to press the start button and go to all programs. Scroll down until you see the Windows Live folder and open Windows live messenger.

Mom: Ok, I see it. Should I open it?

Me: Yes, open it and sign in.

Mom: It’s wrong?

Me: What’s wrong?

Mom: It has my Cecelia2@redacted.com

Me: That is just the address you used to set it up. It is now like your user name.

Mom: Ok, I have it opened.

Me: Hang on. I am trying to get into windows. It is very slow.

Mom: Are you in yet?

Me: Yes, I have sent a message. Do you see it flashing at the bottom of your screen?

Mom: Yes.

Me: Good. Now, look at the top right-hand corner for the drop down arrow that lets you select Actions and then Request Remote Assistance.

Mom: Do you want me to hit the X?

Me: No! Look underneath for the drop down arrow under the X. We just did this on the weekend.

Mom: It’s not there. Let me open it again. I need to sign in again.

Me: No you don’t. You are already signed in.

Mom: No I’m not.

Me: I can see you. I just sent you another message. Can you see it?

Mom: It says ‘I can see you.’

Me: Right. Now go to the upper right hand corner and hit the drop-down arrow.

Mom: It’s not there…

We went through this loop several more times with no success.

Me: Send me the picture and your login and password for match.com

Mom: I can’t it is on my iPad …

Me: *head*desk*head*desk*head*desk

I think computer companies should reward adult children of seniors for assisting their senior parents adopt technology! Being tech support for my 75-year old mother is getting to be very, very, very trying! She does love her iPad though!

Dispatches from the Swamp – the ‘oh my god let the election begin already’

  • I am so sick of all the election stuff. The leadership races in BC have several different candidates calling on almost a daily basis. We are not members of the BC Liberal party yet all of the candidates called us more than once. Now the NDP leadership candidates are calling and emailing everyday. Now, with yet another threat of a federal election the candidates are calling. It wouldn’t be so bad if there was an actual real person on the other end of the phone except there isn’t – they are mostly just recordings.
  • We had a very interesting presentation today from the BC Human Rights Coalition. I learned a great deal about how human rights work. Like for example the only rights we have are those that are enshrined in legislation. Another interesting factoid is that human rights do not extend to private spaces i.e. golf courses with male only rooms. Another great thing is that BC’s system is direct access and all claims are accepted. It was a great presentation and I would recommend that every work place contact them for a presentation.
  • Apparently WordPress was down today for some time. As a result, they opted to give all of us daily bloggers a pass for today. Well, I choose not to take the pass. I am hopeful that they are back up now so that I can post this blog. Apparently they have been having some server issues lately. I guess they are not solved yet.
  • And now for some fun news. All of the dogs are doing well. Deb has a new plan called ‘Operation 2nd fat Shihtzu.’ The goal is to get some weight on Clio. We have never been able to get any weight on her. She doesn’t eat a lot at any one time and if she eats food that is too rich she gets diarrhea. So the plan is several small meals per day of cooked food that is easy to eat. She will still get her raw although it may be more ground with bone. Part of her condition is difficulty breathing which might make it too hard for her to chew for any length of time. Hopefully this will help to get some weight on her because at this point if she were to get some kind of respiratory infection she really has nothing to fight with.