Dispatches from the Swamp – the ‘Good-bye Jack’ Edition

  • Today was Jack Layton’s State Funeral. I couldn’t watch it. I would have cried to hard. At some point, I may be able to watch it but no time soon. I am still shocked and saddened by his death. I wish Olivia and his family well. It is going to be a long hard road for them.
  • Piper goes into Can-West for her soft palate resection on Monday. To say that we are petrified is an understatement. She has had a difficult time with just the anesthetic earlier this week. She has been a sad sack, walking around with her tail down. She has also taken to lying outside in the heat, which of course is the last thing she should be doing. We take her in at 10:15 am, they will do the surgery that day, she will stay over night and come home the next day. I am concerned about her recovery. Hopefully it will go well.
  • After almost 5 years of living in Maple Ridge we have finally arranged for garbage pickup. Deb has been taking everything to the dump. We have a great recycling centre set up and we are recycling absolutely everything we can. We are also going to change some purchasing decisions based on whether the packing is recyclable. We won’t be buying eggs in Styrofoam anymore. It really surprises us that really good, free-range eggs are sold in non-recyclable container. We are hoping to keep the garbage down to 2 cans a week.
The side view.
Cans and Bottles
Plastics Bin
  • My mother appears to have quit smoking with Champix. She has had the odd drag here and there from my sister but she has not had any more. I am very proud of her! I think the last couple of months when she was smoking have really opened her eyes. I am very proud of her!
  • Oh, and to the Smart Tax Alliance – just because the voters didn’t agree with you does not mean they did not understand the issue.

Dispatches from the Swamp – the ‘whew she is ok’ edition

  • We have begun the testing for Piper to see what is wrong with her breathing. We are operating under the assumption that she has too much tissue in her soft palate, which is blocking her airway. In preparation for her going under anesthetic tomorrow so they can get a good look at her throat we had blood work done yesterday. Today we found out that some of her liver enzymes were elevated. We did an additional test and the vet thinks that her liver was likely dealing with some toxin. Her liver is functioning fine. So tomorrow we should know the extent of her soft palate and throat issues.
  • It shocks me the depths some people will go. Christie Blatchford[1] wrote the most negative column yesterday about the media’s handling of Jack Layton’s death. However she didn’t just criticize the media, she denigrated the man himself. She even criticized his last letter to Canadians writing “Who seriously writes of himself, “All my life I have worked to make things better”?” I don’t know any other politician who could say that about himself. Is Blatchford that disillusioned that she needed to chastise a dead man’s view of his life? Jack Layton had a reputation to fight for underdog causes whether it was better treatment for people with HIV/AIDS or fighting for ordinary families on the campaign trail recently. I only hope Olivia Chow and Jack’s children Michael and Sarah do not read it. Blatchford should be ashamed of herself.
  • Speaking of Jack Layton, I encourage everyone I know, who supports the NDP, to donate monthly. Would you really miss $10 per month? I know I won’t.
  • I found a great new show on the Oprah network.[2] It is a documentary show called “Our America.’ The host is Lisa Ling and she is fabulous. I have seen two episodes so far one on sex offenders and the other was on internet brides.  I think show will do very well.
  • My ulcerative colitis has really been causing me a lot of pain lately. I have had several days where my pain levels have been through the roof. I fear I may have to lay off the grilled veggies and Holy Crap cereal for a bit.

[1] I am not inserting a ling here because I do not want to send traffic her way.

[2] I swore I wouldn’t watch it but we had it and I am weak.

Jack Layton

I was incredibly saddened to hear the news about Jack Layton this morning from Deb. She had been saying she thought he was going to die. I wished it wasn’t true. Clearly he knew he was going to die. Why else would he have appointed an interim leader over the summer when not much is supposed to happen? He wanted to make sure the party was not leaderless during this time of crisis.

I have always loved Jack Layton. Ever since he became the leader of the NDP in 2003. As he fought in elections once couldn’t help but think he was a little delusional when he would say he was running for Prime Minister. During his last election campaign he came closer than any other leader of the NDP. Sadly, we will not know what he might have accomplished during the next election.

Fuck Cancer is all I have to say. It cuts short the lives of some amazing people. Fuck Cancer.

The New Leader of the Opposition

I heard some of Jack Layton’s remarks today and he gives me hope. He said that he is going to enforce discipline on his side of the house to bring an end to the snarky comments and heckling each other. He states he wants calm debate of the issues. I hope he is successful as it will definitely mark a change in Canada’s Parliament.

Dispatches from the Swamp – the ‘I have a wish edition’

    • Seriously, I have a wish. I wish that I could immediately send people to driver rehabilitation by just pointing my finger. Today was a banner day on our roads people. I watched 2 trucks occupy both lanes on the #1. There was maybe a difference of 2 or 3 km per hour, which meant it was interminably, slow to get past the slowest truck. By the time another truck got by, he was so impatient that he almost took out a car making a lane change. I think they both forgot the incontrovertible law that 2 masses cannot occupy the same space at the same time. Then there was the asshole who cut me off, just before 1st avenue where they have to yield and only 1 in 100 actually do it.
    • I can’t believe how late the cherry blossoms are this year. Usually this is what our driveway looks like in April. We get to walk on a lovely carpet of cherry blossoms!
Cherry Blossoms
A shot of the trees
  • Jack Layton said something quite funny today on CBC’s ‘As it Happens.’ He seems to be charging the women, who were elected for the NDP, to make the House of Commons more civil. I really cannot stand that kind of stereotyping. I am not sure if he thinks it will be more civil because the elected men folk won’t use such bad language and swing insults or he thinks women are not capable of insulting others. Either way, it’s an insult to women. Just like men, women can be insulting and use bad language. It is really up to individuals to behave more civilly rather than putting the onus on one gender.
  • Jack Layton said something I liked. He was asked about how he managed the campaign with so much energy given that he is recovering from cancer and a broken hip. He said that he drew inspiration from all the Canadians who are working with chronic diseases. I really liked that acknowledgement because it is not easy to get up and do it every day when you need a nap after your shower. There are days when it takes everything I have to go to work. My ulcerative colitis and Deb’s MS really knock us out.
  • Why does the cat get mats when we go away? It never fails. She gets to stay home with someone she knows so I really don’t get it. She hates when I remove her mats. It is a serious negotiation. She tried to bite me tonight too.

Swampy Rant – things that are getting on my nerves

I think I just started a new series!

OK, here we go:

  1. I am not looking forward to seeing my mother. My weight is fluctuating and I feel fat. She will say something mean and I will be hurt. In my mind, I see myself asking her why she would say such hurtful things to me. I hope I can do it. I really wish she would just piss off about my weight. I do not say mean things about her smoking.
  2. The NDP “orange crush” – it was not a ‘crush’ that indicates overall support for the NDP. Like everyone who has voted NDP my entire life, I was thrilled with the seat count and the Official Opposition status. However, this is not real and meaningful change. This is one fickle province changing party en masse. Yes, Jack Layton has done a great job but we need to be mindful of what the election results really mean. The NDP is not going to win the next election.
  3. Trucks – has anyone noticed that big trucks seem to be blocking 2 lanes all the time? Seriously, it is becoming a huge problem on the Pitt River Bridge and the Maryhill Bypass. I can’t stand it. There is no way to get around them; they just travel side-by-side like motorcyclists! Isn’t there a law against this?
  4. Back on to the election – I am so freaking afraid of what Stephen Harper is going to do! I heard he is already making noise about going after In-Site – which is horrible*. Why on earth would you want to close down a place that saves the government money? If an addict ODs on bad heroin (hmmm, don’t we have some of that going around right now??) and a nurse gives her/him something to counteract it – the person does not die nor do they need extensive hospitalization. In-Site is compassion in action and Stephen Harper must ferret that out wherever it lives.

*Edited May 10, 2011 – I used a word in this post that was offensive. I have changed the word and I apologize to anyone I offended. I will make best efforts to not do this again.

Federal Election 2008: Thank you Quebec

Thank you Quebec. We have you to thank for preventing a Conservative majority government. Thank you for saving us from 4 (or perhaps more depending on whether Stevie decides to follow his own law) years of an arrogant, right-wing dickwad running roughshod over our rights. Stephen Harper has proven that he has the ability to control his candidates – no one really said anything too nutty. This time the gaffes were left to his Highness and his staff.

So, what did we learn? Well, we confirmed that Stephen Harper really is a control freak. How else do you keep the rabid right-wing nutbars from saying something stupid other than keeping them under your thumb? The CBC was reporting earlier that many of the Cons candidates were very hard to talk to at anytime. They singled out Dona Cadman as one of the most elusive candidates. Clearly the Conservative candidates were kept on tight leashes and party ‘stalwarts’ were trotted out to spew the doctrine according to Stephen. Lucky for us he made some key mistakes in Quebec particularly around funding for the arts.

What did we learn about Stephane Dion? Sadly, nothing. He can’t lead. He is a policy wonk who cannot speak perfect English. Someone pundit pointed out that it is acceptable in Canadian politics for English speaking leaders to get away with bad French but not the other way around. It is too bad that Stephane cannot express himself better in English and that we English speakers are not patient enough to listen. I suspect he has great things to say but his message is lost in the delivery. The backroom henchpeople are no doubt sharpening the knives to a very fine point even as we speak.

If there is one bright spot it is Jack Layton. The man is charismatic and he has something to say. He is passionate about Canada returning to a peace-keeping role, strengthening families, medicare and pharmacare. The NDP has increased their number of seats and are now within striking distance of the 43 won by Ed Broadbent at the NDP’s height. This is the best showing for the NDP in many, many years. I am buoyed by this result.

So, at the end of this very costly election what has changed? Not much. Just as I predicted we still have a Conservative minority government (I bow down to Quebec in gratitude) and the NDP made gains. The Cons made some gains too but not enough to put them in majority land. Merci bien Province de Quebec!

PS: Thank you Vancouver Central for re-electing Hedy Fry and sending Lorne Mayencourt packing back to his hell hole. Plus, to make Hedy’s victory even sweeter, Mayencourt had to resign his provincial seat to run!!