Maxime Bernier’s Defamation Lawsuit Dismissed

This is a quick follow-up to a post I wrote in May about the lawsuit. Without going into much detail into that one, I found the whole affair to be quite amusing (failed candidate Maxine tarnishing the PC brand on his rapid descent back into obscurity). The affair also served as a vehicle for exploring the issue that is people’s previously publicly shared bad takes coming back to haunt them long after.

In terms of the lawsuit, I had this to say:

In closing, I’d be surprised if this goes anywhere.

As it turns out, I was right (you didn’t need to be a lawyer to figure that out). One can’t help wondering why Bernier’s legal team wouldn’t have advised him of this and saved the court costs. Unless the goal was less about a legal victory than it was tarnishing the Progressive Conservative brand (with the help of the national media) with a giant brown stain.

If that was the case, mission accomplished.

Either way, we will now read from the CBC News coverage of this affair.


A defamation lawsuit launched by People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier against an outspoken political commentator and strategist has been dismissed by an Ontario court.

Bernier had been attempting to sue Warren Kinsella over comments that painted the PPC leader as a racist, misogynist and antisemitic prior to the 2019 federal election.

Bernier says those descriptions damaged his reputation and subjected him to public scandal and embarrassment.

In a ruling published on Wednesday, Ontario Superior Court Justice Calum MacLeod dismissed the lawsuit because he said Kinsella would likely have been able to mount a valid defence for his criticisms.

The judge also said any harm caused to Bernier did not outweigh the importance of freedom of expression when discussing politicians and political parties in the public sphere.


That is an interesting ruling. It sounds like the fact that this was a political race was the factor that tipped the scale (in my opinion, rightly). It raises the question of what may happen in such a scenario outside the realm of politics. For example, if a person’s controversial views (or something else that is damaging to their reputation) are openly publicized without their knowledge, can the ramifications of that constitute harm?

While I am aware of the notion that most people’s censorship problems are less about censorship than they are the consequences of one’s speech, this judgement strikes me as potentially muddying the waters legally.

But I’m not a lawyer. Feel free to share your view in the comments if you wish.


Kinsella celebrated the lawsuit’s dismissal on Twitter.

In an interview with CBC News in October, Bernier expressed confidence that his case would succeed.

“Kinsella said that I said that I was a racist and a Nazi and I’m suing him for discrimination. And I will have that decision and I can tell you that it will be positive in our favour,” he said on Oct. 6.

Kinsella’s consulting firm Daisy Group was hired to “seek and destroy” the PPC in the run-up to the 2019 federal election, according to documents seen by CBC News.

A source with knowledge about the project said Kinsella was hired by the Conservative Party of Canada, which wanted to discredit the PPC before its first election as a registered party. Kinsella has not confirmed any direct involvement with the Conservatives and says instead that he was hired by CPC sympathizers.

The PPC failed to win a seat in the 2019 election, capturing 1.6 per cent of the national vote. The party also did not win a seat in the 2021 election, though its share of the popular vote grew to 4.9 per cent.


That the share of the PPC popular vote is slowly growing isn’t great (following a pattern of fascist tendencies worldwide). But it’s hard to not consider the party as being a joke. Frankly, a cheap clone of the brand sold by Donald down south.

This is obviously no joke to the Progressive Conservative party, however. After all, it won’t be the left-wing vote that the party will be potentially splitting. Otherwise known as, this isn’t going to be as easy as absorbing the Canadian Alliance Party back in the day. 


MacLeod also noted that Bernier and the PPC were being widely criticized within Canadian political discourse during the 2019 election.

“Widespread characterization of Mr. Bernier and the PPC as racist and xenophobic or at least as pandering to those elements of the political spectrum was rife in the media. Comparisons with Donald Trump, [pro-Brexit politician] Nigel Farage or [far-right French politician] Marine LePen were widespread,” MacLeod wrote.

“Mr. Kinsella may have approached his task with particular caustic enthusiasm, but, at worst, Mr. Kinsella’s postings can be seen as a drop of vitriol in a sea of criticism.”

He’s certainly not wrong (I just did it). Not without precedent, however. After all, if the whole thing couldn’t have been backed up, Benier would have lost the suit!

Either way, as a leftist, this can only be a good thing. If the Progressive Conservatives keep being dragged into the PPC dumpster fire, running against them from the left will be a breeze.

Should Canada Day Celebrations Be Cancelled?

Today, I will tackle an interesting question that has come up in the public discourse within Canada recently. Given the recent discovery of yet more mass graves containing hundreds of unidentified murdered indigenous children, is it a time to be celebrating a nation built on genocide?

Though I know full well what the reactionary response to this question will be (let the latest Cancel Culture hysteria begin!), there is an interesting case to be made when it comes to those of us unconcerned with blindly protecting mindless patriotic tradition and pageantry. Do proponents of cancellation of the holiday for this year have a point?

Though there are no doubt hundreds (if not more) of articles covering this subject available, I will focus on 1 from CTV Winnipeg for the sake of simplicity. This is an opinion piece, after all.

But, let us begin.


Movement calls for cancellation of Canada Day celebrations in Manitoba

WINNIPEG — A movement is calling for the cancellation of all Canada Day celebrations in the wake of the discoveries of unmarked graves at former residential school sites.

Gerry Shingoose, a residential school survivor, took to Twitter to call out the celebrations earlier in June.

“I’m asking that you wake up,” Shingoose, who was wearing a shirt reading ‘CancelCanadaDay,’ said in a video posted to social media.

“I’m going to be wearing it on Canada Day. It’s Cancel Canada (Day) and no pride in genocide.”

With the discovery of hundreds of unmarked children’s graves at former residential schools in B.C. and Saskatchewan, some communities are not celebrating Canada Day.

Cities in New Brunswick have cancelled plans and earlier this month Victoria did the same.

In Manitoba, the Shamattawa First Nation is going one step further.

“I don’t think this year is a year to celebrate,” said Shamattawa Chief Eric Redhead.

Redhead said his community will not celebrate Canada Day, as a way to honour the children who never made it home from the residential schools. All Canadian flags in the community have been taken down.

“Those flags that we’ve taken down will not go back up as long as I’m Chief—until the government recognizes the residential school system as an act of genocide.”


The first thing I will note from this is its nature as a request. No one is demanding that Canadians do anything. It is more of a “please consider this before. . . ” situation. This sentence being for the patriotic hysterics that will no doubt latch onto this for all the wrong reasons.

As for my own opinion on the matter, I am not in disagreement with the sentiment. I find the concept of patriotism and absolute pride in one’s nation as problematic, to begin with, so frankly I can go either way. While I am in favour of communities making their own decisions on this matter, I don’t feel negatively toward communities that go ahead with celebrations regardless.  I feel this way because people have the right to boycott or protest such celebrations. And I feel this way because the Canadian Government is not the only responsible party in this genocide (though it was certainly the enabler).

Lacking in this CTV article is any mention of the role of the Catholic Church in these murders and cover-ups. Not only has the Catholic Church gotten away with its crimes nearly in their entirety (only having to issue a toothless apology), but they have not had to pay a penny towards victims of their abuse. Unlike the Canadian Government. Indeed, Canada has been WAY too slow in dealing with this dark legacy, but unlike the Catholic Church, they have at least started down the road.

I used to jokingly say that the Catholic Church was the biggest organized crime organization on the face of the earth. Back then, it was based on the ease in which the hierarchy made pedophiles in their ranks disappear like the cash in the collection plates (Sometimes right into sovereign diplomatic protection of Vatican City!).
Though I once called the Catholic Church the biggest organized crime organization on earth, I missed the fact that they are also both the worst AND the most legally sanctioned. Say what you will about mafias, gangs, syndicates and triad’s spanning the globe. . . all of these eventually have setbacks and fall. Quite the contrast to the Catholic Church (an organization that I will now call Big Catholic), which has naved faced any pushback from any governing body.

Hence, I say Invade The Vatican (#InvadeTheVatican).  If they won’t pay up and/or fess up, then let’s use the world’s military might for a good cause for once.


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke about Canada Day Friday.

“I think all of us need to aspire and work hard to get to the point where everyone across this country will be able to celebrate fully,” said Trudeau.


Dare I say it . . . what the FUCK are you talking about?!

Granted, I suppose that answer was a lose-lose no matter how you slice it. I can only imagine how the PC’s and the Trudeau-haters would react to him denouncing Canada Day celebrations (even if just for this year). I don’t think I could handle the sheer volume of stupid.


Premier Brian Pallister said people should dedicate themselves to reconciliation, but not by stopping Canada Day festivities.

“I don’t think denying Canada Day celebrations is a respectful way for us to move forward,” Pallister said. “I think we should celebrate our country but celebrate it with its warts too.”

Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman said he will celebrate Canada Day with his family, but not without reflection.

“I’ll also be taking a moment to pause and reflect on how we can strengthen our community and live up to those ideals that we all hold dear,” said Bowman.


Yet compared to those 2 replies, Trudeau’s seems not half bad.

1.) To Brian Pallister (Manitoba’s Premier):

I’m not sure that even I approve of viewing a cultural genocide as a wart to be celebrated. Oy vey.

Let’s acknowledge this dark past and push for solutions to help make things right for everyone affected. There is a time and a place for noting celebrations, but this isn’t it.

2.) To Brian Bowman (Winnipeg’s Mayor):

Frankly, what does that even mean? We will celebrate Canada day, but not without reflection?

I suppose I should extend the same consideration to these 2 that I gave Trudeau. Though I suspect Brian Bowman would likely be more apt to cancelling Canada Day festivities than our conservative Premier, I can also imagine the backlash that such a decision would cause. With everyone already being on edge about the province being in code red since last October . . . oh boy!

Nonetheless, the 3 takes still instill disappointment.

This concludes the CTV article, and my take on this really.

Having no interest in patriotism, to begin with, I am open to whatever decision my (and any) community comes to in regards to this matter. If celebrations (Covid regulations permitting of course) are to go forward, fine by me. If it is decided that the opposite should occur, also fine by me. After all, no one can stop individuals and families that want to celebrate from doing so. And no one can stop people from protesting the celebration of Canada Day at this time.




Racism In The Peoples Party Of Canada? You Don’t Say . . .

Today’s post is, by my standards, low-hanging fruit. If I told you that writing this didn’t bring about a healthy dose of joy to my day, I would be lying. It would be like seeing live footage of Jason Kenny or Donald Trump slipping on a banana peel and falling on their ass.

If you ain’t laughing, you’re either delusional or full of shit (probably both). But anyway, on with the show.

Just as Justin Trudeau seems to have finally gotten the national vaccination program onto a similar trajectory as Joe Biden’s (as evidenced by my recent retrieval of my first Pfizer shot a week ago), the 2 factions of the Canadian Conservative political sphere appear to be embroiled in a spat of sorts.
Andrew told the teacher that Max was being a naughty boy. Or as it were, the Progressive Conservatives told the media that the Peoples Party were being racist jackasses.

Oh, I know. It’s about as surprising as burning one’s tongue after a forgotten refill of hot tea.


People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier once discounted NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s chances of winning a seat in the House of Commons by saying he’d “never get elected with that rag on his head,” according to an affidavit filed recently in an Ottawa court case.

In a separate affidavit, however, Bernier says that he’s not a racist and that the affidavit is the only eyewitness account of him “supposedly saying something racist” filed by the lawyer for political strategist Warren Kinsella.


And, we’re off to a great start.

Damn that fake news media for spinning this into a story that it isn’t! I’m not actually racist! I just happened to say something that sounds incredibly racist and only that one time!

What the hell, bro?!

For the sake of argument, I have to acknowledge that it is possible to say something incredibly offensive yet NOT intend it to be offensive. For example, if I were to decide to start publicly rapping almost any song by Lil Uzi Vert or Lil Tjay, it’s safe to say that AT BEST, most of the audience would be horrified. Should someone happen to be recording and passing it off to social media, my ass is cancelled. Something that is rather interesting to think about considering how much hip-hop culture crosses cultural divides.
After all, I would not have a CLUE who either Lil Uzi OR Lil Tjay were without non-black zoomer influences. It has never been my scene, but who am I to dictate taste. After all, this music may well do more to enlighten teenagers on black cultural issues than any educational program could ever hope to. Indeed, despite all the instances of Bitches and the N-word with an A.

Another character that comes to mind in such a context is no stranger to notoriety. That is comedic legend, Doug Stanhope. Though I came to love the man on account of his complete destruction of Dr. Drew Pinsky back in the day (they have since buried the hatchet), he mentions in a bit wherein he came into some hot water for saying quote “I hate the Jews”.

Okay . . . maybe not the best example for this context LOL. There is no denial coming from Doug about what he has said in the past. He owns his speech with far more integrity than pretty much any person that I can think of. Despite drawing many cues from the likes of Stanhope, Carlin and other comedians like them, even I can’t claim the kind of integrity that comes from pretty much complete disconnection from the social structure. As much as I value my freedoms of speech and expression more than the average right-wing jackass who is just looking out for self-preservation (if you think they care about liberal ideals, you are delusional), I still have to work. 

While I am indeed envious of the people who make full use of their free-range societal status (for lack of a better way to describe it), and I wish I had such power, it is what it is.

Either way, whether the example is rapping lyrics on a hot mic or having something you said taken out of context, neither is the case when it comes to Maxime Bernier. He said EXACTLY what he said, and there is no denying the context. Sounds to me like another jackass trying to hide their bigotry behind the Cancel Culture movement.

Going back to the CBC article:


Bernier said Kinsella was hired to paint him and the People’s Party of Canada as racist to draw support away from his fledgling party during the last election.


And I bet uncovering the source of that smoke was much easier than he thought it would be!


The allegations and counter-allegations are part of hundreds of pages of affidavits and exhibits filed recently in Ontario Superior Court in an acrimonious defamation suit that pits Bernier against Kinsella.

In October 2019, it was reported that Kinsella’s Daisy Group had been hired in the months prior to the 2019 federal election to mount Project Cactus, a campaign to draw attention to xenophobic or racist comments made by People’s Party of Canada (PPC) candidates or their supporters.

At the time, a source said that Daisy Group had been hired by the Conservative Party of Canada. In a recent affidavit, however, Kinsella said the client was a lawyer who was a member of the Conservative Party — not the party itself.


Of course, Andrew had absolutely no knowledge of this incredibly convenient plan by a member of the ranks to spend their own money in the interest of the party. Sure, no party funding ever changed hands, because that would look really bad. I mean . . . be highly unethical!

I would laugh if someone happened to snap a photo of a stuffed envelope being exchanged at a Taco Bell or 7/11. Either way, the CPC has a brown smudge on its shoes.


In February 2020, Bernier sued Kinsella and Daisy Group for defamation, alleging that the campaign damaged his reputation.

In an affidavit filed by Kinsella’s lawyer dated April 15, former Conservative communications adviser Matthew Conway describes what he said was an incident involving Bernier in February 2018, when Bernier was still a Conservative Party critic.

Conway said he was standing with Bernier in the House of Commons’ foyer, waiting for him to go on television to comment on the budget, when Singh walked by.

“When Mr. Singh entered the foyer, Mr. Bernier said, referring to Mr. Singh, ‘Il ne se fera jamais élire avec ce torchon sur sa tête,'” wrote Conway. He translated the phrase into English as, “He’ll never get elected with that rag on his head.”

The affidavit claims that, a few minutes later, Bernier asked what Singh was “doing with that knife,” referring to Singh’s kirpan — the sacred ceremonial dagger that observant Sikhs are supposed to wear at all times.

“Both of these comments made me nervous,” Conway wrote in his affidavit. “Not only did I consider them to be offensive and racist, but I was concerned, in my role as a communications adviser, that members of the press who were nearby may have overheard the comments.”


Forget a mere smudge. They are knee-deep in it now!


In an affidavit dated May 3, Bernier calls into question Conway’s account.

“This is the only eyewitness account of me supposedly saying something racist ever offered by Mr. Kinsella, and it comes from someone connected to the party that paid Kinsella for ‘Project Cactus’ and stands to benefit if Mr. Kinsella is vindicated,” Bernier wrote. “It is the only eyewitness claim of me making a racist statement that Kinsella has included in his motion material.”


While I agree that this comment is certainly an inconvenient truth for Maxime and a convenient truth for the CPC, Max didn’t have to say what he did. he allegedly did, however. Thus, good luck.

One thing we should remember, however, is how Maxime came to leave the Conservative Party. He was not ejected because of this incident. The incident in question occurred in February 2018, and he would not resign from the CPC (and found the Peoples Party) until August. That was despite THIS happening in the meantime. 


Winnipeggers are condemning Conservative MP Maxime Bernier for using the naming of a community park in South Pointeas a way to criticize “extreme multiculturalism.”

In a tweet, the former party leadership contender suggested it was an odd dichotomy that Victoria recently removed a statue of Canada’s founder, and Winnipeg recently dedicated a park to Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of the modern state of Pakistan.

Bernier also argued the partition of India, which led to the creation of Pakistan in 1947, killed nearly one million people.

His remarks came Tuesday night, after Bernier’s initial series of tweets on the weekend were roundly disparaged for stoking racist and xenophobic tensions.

* * *

Scheer said in a statement late Wednesday that Bernier doesn’t speak for his party on any issue.

“I disagree with politicians on the left and the right when they use identity politics to divide Canadians. I will not engage in this type of politics.”

Scheer did not elaborate specifically on the tweet. A request from CBC News to both Scheer and Bernier about the Winnipeg tweet was not returned.


While I can on one hand understand why Scheer didn’t want to Cancel Bernier based merely on this opinion (however divisive), this takes on a very different tone knowing what went down in February. This was not a surprise. And arguably, had the February incident been used as a reason to purge Bernier from the party, I doubt that any but the delusional hysterics would mount the case of cancel culture run amuck.

That is not what happened though. This was inconvenient information then, and it was also safely under wraps.

Now that this lawsuit has exposed the incident, however, the lack of action by the CPC leaves them just as stained as Bernier’s PPC. Because unlike the cohort of the People’s Party (of which knew exactly what they were getting into), The Conservatives would like you to think that they are better than that. They are not the party of Donald Trump! 

Yet, here they are, covered in it.


The statements made by both sides in the dispute have not yet been tested in a court of law.

While Bernier went on to lose his seat in the Quebec riding of Beauce in the 2019 election, Singh won the British Columbia riding of Burnaby South.


On the bright side, there is nothing like a healthy dose of reality to shut down the rhetoric of a bigot.



At the time, a source told CBC News that the campaign was funded by the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) — something that then-Conservative leader Andrew Scheer refused to confirm or deny.

In his affidavit dated April 15, however, Kinsella said that “Daisy was not hired by the CPC.”

“Rather, for a six-week period ending June 29, 2019, a lawyer who was a member of the CPC paid Daisy to supplement work Daisy was already doing about the PPC,” Kinsella wrote. “Daisy did not take direction from the lawyer or submit any work for his review or comment.”

By wrapping up the work by June 29 — the date after which pre-election spending would have to be declared — the money spent to hire Daisy Group did not have to be reported to Elections Canada.

In a recording of a Daisy Group meeting — which was leaked to CBC News in November 2019 by a source who attended the meeting and asked not to be named — Kinsella said “Hamish and Walsh” would start to ask what Daisy Group was delivering if they don’t start “spilling some blood.”

Hamish Marshall, who was the Conservatives’ 2019 federal election campaign manager, has a background in marketing. John Walsh, a former president of the Conservative Party who was co-chair of the 2019 election campaign, is a lawyer.

At the time, Walsh refused to comment on Daisy Group’s work on Project Cactus. Walsh did not return a phone call from CBC News this week.

Bernier’s defamation suit is seeking $325,000 in damages. In his affidavit, he encourages the court to “curb dirty political tricks.”

“My reputation suffered serious harm,” Bernier wrote, adding he needed a chance to clear his name in court so that voters will know he has “been a target of paid defamation and dirty tricks.”

Kinsella has applied to have Bernier’s defamation lawsuit thrown out, arguing it is a “strategic lawsuit against public participation” (SLAPP) suit. SLAPP suits are those used to intimidate or silence critics.

The motion to dismiss the case is scheduled to be heard by the court in June.


Frankly, it would not surprise me to find out that some amount of this stuff goes on when it comes to every party (certainly with the main 2 Canadian contenders with the vast majority of the cash to fund such expeditions). While this is likely common practice, it enters us into an interesting area of both politics and life in general. Is it right to hold people of pretty much any age to account for their words or actions of years (if not decades) previous?

This is a particularly sticky issue in the age of the internet, where 2 generations now have a lifetime’s worth of both publicly and privately shared information and media (photos and videos), all of which is essentially immortal. Kids and teenagers grow up and forget about old social media accounts, platforms are bought and sold and change names. But much of the information remains somewhere (often just a search engine query away) and will likely remain as long as humanity keeps the lights on.

In our various stages of life and maturity, many of us go through many phases of existence. We all likely said, did and believed things when we were young that were dumb, questionable, embarrassing or possibly even socially detrimental (whatever the standard we are using (be it today’s or any). Thus, assuming you have changed your ways since college, how much weight should those words or actions have in regards to 30 or 40 years old you?

It’s an interesting question to ponder because while it may well keep otherwise great candidates out of positions of power (right when we need them most), it can also pose career limitations. It is becoming common practice for managers and Human Resources personnel to inspect the social media feeds of potential candidates as part of the screening process.

However, privacy hardly seems to be the issue when it comes to the Maxime Bernier lawsuit. If anything, this information would seem to be far more detrimental to the Conservative Party given that they sat on it for all this time. Not to mention that the language is not only on-brand for Bernier but also within his previously demonstrated character (given the previous publicly available tweets). I’d be shocked if you couldn’t find more people with which he has shared these views.

In closing, I’d be surprised if this goes anywhere. While I like the idea of doing something to keep past mistakes in judgement from bringing hindrance to future endeavours, I sense this isn’t the case. The pattern of behaviour has already been established.

A far more interesting example would be the blackface photograph of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that earned him a place in notoriety alongside Rudi Juliani in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.

On The Eve Of Inaguration, Some Good News

As we wind through the final day of the first (and hopefully, LAST!) term of the Donald Trump Presidency, I have come across some good news from President-Elect Biden’s campaign. Despite the Trump agenda of the past 3 years (basically a fire sale on the commons for the purpose of drilling. A fitting metaphor with much of the commons either on fire, or already burned up) AND Biden’s past corporate affiliations, his administration plans on cancelling the permit of the Keystone XL pipeline.

To put it another way, it looks like the protests at Standing Rock may not have been a waste of time & energy for all attendees, after all. To be fair, they already won a legal victory in 2018 after a federal judge ordered a new sweeping environmental assessment of the project. Nonetheless, cancelling the permit to built makes the protests a success.


President-elect Joe Biden is planning to cancel the controversial Keystone XL pipeline on the first day of his administration, a document reported by CBC on Sunday suggests.

The words “Rescind Keystone XL pipeline permit” were reportedly listed on a briefing note shared by the Biden transition team with U.S. stakeholders as part of a roundup of Biden’s planned day one executive actions. CTV News also reviewed the briefing documents, and a source familiar with Biden’s thinking told Reuters that the President-elect is planning to cancel the pipeline as one of his first acts.

“The Biden administration halting the Keystone XL pipeline is a momentous sign that he is listening, taking action and making good on his promises to people and the planet,” Kendall Mackey, Keep It In the Ground campaign manager, said in response to the news. “This decision to halt the Keystone XL pipeline on day one in office sets a precedent that all permitting decisions must pass a climate test and respect Indigenous rights.”

Mackey expressed hope that Biden would also end the equally controversial Dakota Access and Line 3 pipelines.


It appears that I was mistaken in my initial assumption of Keystone XL = Dakota Access. In which case, yes . . . keep up the opposition. Because your pleas are no longer falling on deaf ears.


The Keystone XL pipeline was first announced in 2005, CBC News reported. The pipeline is being built to carry 830,000 barrels of crude oil a day, stretching about 1,200 miles from Alberta, Canada to Nebraska. From there it would connect with the original Keystone pipeline that carries oil to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries.

The pipeline has long been opposed by environmental and Indigenous groups, who are concerned about its climate impacts and the potential for leaks to harm wildlife and pollute drinking water, CTV News reported. Protests prompted the Obama administration to rescind the permit in 2015, but President Donald Trump reversed this decision with an executive order in early 2017.

Biden’s decision to once again rescind the permit is not surprising. His advisers have said in the past that he would move to block it again, according to HuffPost. Biden’s campaign has vocally opposed the pipeline since May, according to CTV News.


Even if this is a move to solidify the Obama/Biden presidential legacies in the eyes of voters, I’ll take it. It’s an opening for leverage on the other 2 (and future) pipeline projects!

Though this is generally considered to be good news by many, it’s rattling cages in areas of Canada that stood to benefit from the pipeline. To no one’s surprise, really.


The news has sparked opposition in Canada.

“I am deeply concerned by reports that the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden may repeal the Presidential permit for the Keystone XL border crossing next week,” Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said in a Twitter statement. “Doing so would kill jobs on both sides of the border, weaken the critically important Canada-U.S. relationship and undermine U.S. national security by making the United States more dependent on OPEC oil imports in the future.”

Kirsten Hillman, Canada’s ambassador to the U.S., said the country still stood behind the pipeline and that it fit within Canada’s climate plans, CBC News reported.

“The Government of Canada continues to support the Keystone XL project and the benefits that it will bring to both Canada and the United States,” Hillman said.


Naturally, Jason Kenny was caught flat-footed by this proposed re-instated action by the US. However, this reaction is something that Canadians outside of the bitumen delusion bubble (which is rampant in the western provinces) have come to expect. Alberta, in particular, has always hedged most of its economic bets on its petroleum sector. This HAS been a successful strategy when the global price for a barrel of oil was high enough to offset the costs of processing the bitumen into something usable. However, the dark side of the strategy always reared its head with the dive of global oil prices. People would be thrown out of work, and the most vulnerable in the oil royalty dependant provinces suffered budget cuts in areas like healthcare and education. The problem often only being made worse by conservative governments attempting to reverse the decline by offering tax incentives for corporations to come to Alberta.

While I have written my predictions for the Alberta oil sector before, what matters more here is the lacking of benefits that Keystone XL (and any pipeline) would bring to anyone outside of its construction crew, and (later) it’s suppliers and owners. Though the pipeline indeed provides temporary construction jobs, it will only create 35 permanent jobs after construction is completed.


A State Department report on the pipeline that was issued under the Obama administration found that there would be 3,900 direct construction jobs if it was built over one year, or 1,950 if the work was spread over two years.

Once the pipeline opens it would require only 35 full-time permanent jobs to run it, and 15 full-time temporary jobs, according to the state department report. TransCanada, the company seeking to build the pipeline, does not dispute those numbers.

The company and other supporters argue that the pipeline would create jobs indirectly for companies that sell products and services used to build the pipeline. The State Department report estimates that there would be a total of 42,000 indirect jobs created, with a total of $2 billion in wages. That comes to an average of about about $47,000 in wages per job.

TransCanada also pointed out that there would be benefits beyond the jobs and wages, including “significant property tax revenues, as well as sales and use and other tax revenues, to counties and states along the proposed project route.”


Notice that most of the sweet selling numbers involve the construction of the pipeline. There is a temporary gold rush, but once it’s over, the only beneficiaries seem to be the local governments that will be collecting taxation from the footprint of the pipeline.

Leaving little thought to the farmers, water users and anyone else downstream of a future potential breach in the pipeline. Given how companies are stingy with maintenance and replacement of ageing infrastructure as it is (and we have not even seen a large dive in the price of oil yet!), a completed Keystone XL isn’t something to look forward to for anyone that likes benzene free waterways.


Keith Stewart, a senior energy strategist with Greenpeace Canada, urged Canadians to follow suit and move away from the pipeline, which he likened to “beating [a] dead horse,” CBC News reported.

“The Biden administration offers us a fresh start on addressing the climate crisis with a willing partner, so let’s not blow it by pushing pipelines,” Stewart said.


I agree.

We now live in an era where even the oil barons of old can not ignore the direction of both public sentiment and innovation. To quote Elizabeth May, the former leader of Canada’s Green Party, Oil is Dead. While the overall future of petroleum is infinite (since few substances can, or will, replace it for things like plastics and other everyday needs), petroleum as an energy source has numbered days. Though the status quo of today’s daily oil usage may have 2 or 3 decades left, that’s hardly a long-term bet for a region. And if all this region can produce is sub-standard tar which needs to be cooked into a usable product, the tarsands will come to its day of reckoning long before the rest of the oil industry eventually stabilizes into a new normal.

So, again, I agree. Assuming Biden follows his word, this is a good chance for Canada to try something outside of the box of obsolete resource extraction. While dwellers of the Western provinces won’t want to accept that their easy way of life is gone (and never was sustainable, to begin with!), we HAVE to find a new way. Before it’s too late.

A Canada In Disarray

My country is becoming an ever-growing disappointment for me of late. I say now, of late. But I can’t even really put my finger on when this divisiveness really started becoming stark.

Certainly, after Justin Trudeau was elected. Among some I know, suddenly the main problem was no longer Obama setting up FEMA camps in Headingly, Manitoba. FEMA, not a Canadian thing? I know. The regurgitators of this information fail to grasp such nuances.
There must have been a bit of a lull in the crazy because nothing sticks out overtly. Then Potus #45 comes storming into the worldwide political scene. For the previously mentioned crazy, the man may as well have been the second coming of Jesus. Though they are blatantly homophobic in typical prairie fashion, they would likely give the Donald a hummer if presented with the opportunity. And I ain’t talking about the GM gas guzzler, either.

In this country (or at least on the prairies), Trudeau didn’t have to do anything to earn the ire of the prairie provinces. Even before SNC Lavalin, the simple act of being born was all it took for many of these people. A generation that grew up with parents that hated Pierre, therefore, fuck JT.
Many of these people (when asked why they hate Trudeau so much) could invariably only spit out Facebook memes.
He’s letting in too many immigrants. The carbon tax. Veterans. All the typical talking points one expects to find in a foreign created toxic meme meant for our ageing Boomer populace. People ill-equipped to deal with the misinformation cesspool that is the internet.
Another sign of the times . . . I have never heard so many people casually call for the assassination of a political leader before. I never heard it for Chretien (though I was quite young). Not For Harper. Only Justin Trudeau seems worthy of this horrifying badge of honour on the part of whiny ageing conservatives.
And amusingly enough . . . the SAME people that casually drop this shit (even openly in public) also complain about censorship. You can’t say anything anymore without SOMEONE getting offended.

Uh . . . the power of privilege to shove heads up keesters.

Getting back to the state of the nation overall, however, we come to Canada’s petulant child. Alberta.I don’t recall when this province first started losing it’s fucking shit, but now, the dung is flying in all directions.

Alberta want pipeline, Alberta better get pipeline or else EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Whilst not everyone from the province is driving a coal roller or Jason Kenny, it’s hard to speak to even a smart Albertan who hasn’t had this mental disease warp their faculties. If Alberta isn’t the center of the Canadian universe now (and forevermore!), then there is no getting around getting the oil flowing. To Asia, to the east coast, to the US (but not optimally, even though they have the infrastructure to cook the bitumen). We just need to build the pipeline and they will come.

I suppose much of this lies from the accidental election of an NDP government for one term. Another case of a leader being damned no matter what she did.

Either way, no matter what, we now find ourselves in quite a situation. A growing contingent of the prairie provinces wants to separate from Canada. Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and BC want to go migtow. I’m not sure about the territories since the pictures of future Canada #2 often don’t make that explicit. I’m not sure if it’s an oversight (some guy in St. Petersberg forgot Canada had 3 territories?), but it seems a mighty important detail to work out. Then there is the matter of Indian reservations and North American treaty rights.

Still wanna Brexit Canada?

But enough ranting. Time to deliver the bitter truth.

Alberta is an economic powerhouse in era with high oil prices and insatiable demands. Even as short a time ago as 5 years ago, this would seem to guarantee Alberta (and the Western Canadian Select class of petroleum in general) a bright future. But times are changing. And so too are economic trends.

I sunk my teeth into this topic before, so I encourage all to take a gander. Since I have already done the work before ^^^, ill make it fairly brief.

Alberta is indeed an economic powerhouse currently. However, Alberta is also essentially operating a single-industry economy. All the eggs are in the same volatile basket. And if that basket tips over, there go all the eggs.
Not too long ago, OPEC tipped the basket over. American shale production is also giving it a good kick. And even if the price does come back up, you still have the matter of increasingly usable and long-range alternatives to fossil fuel-driven transportation.
You won’t see the elimination of all 50 to 60% of the share of oil consumption that makes up the transportation sector (including lubricants). However, even the retirement of a quarter to half of the current fossil fuel-driven fleet will make a huge difference in the overall price of oil. Which is bad for bitumen and WCS because of its heavy nature. If Canadian’s want to sell finished gasoline or diesel fuel, then we’re paying to crack it out of the bitumen. Or we sell it for dirt cheap and let someone else eat the growing cost.

It’s an unforgiving and vicious cycle that we are NOT going to win. The only solution is to follow the likes of such other oil economies as Norway and the UAE. Diversify and find a new solution.

I explored some of the long term ramifications in the paper I linked earlier. In there, I also took a stab at understanding what the future of work was going to look like. If memory serves, I was mostly thinking in a post work context. As it turns out, the post-oil sands era makes for a great time to experiment with how to deal with the post-employment era.

But, here we are. Living in 2019, after the federal government has just bailed out Canada’s fledgling energy industry to the tune of 1.6 Billion dollars. Another interesting quote from the global news article above:

The package is rolling out as pressure mounts on Canada to fulfill its promise to end all subsidies to fossil-fuel producers, and as European banks flee the sector altogether.

Sweden’s central bank said Wednesday it had sold its Alberta-government issued bonds because it will no longer invest in assets held by governments or companies with large climate footprints. A day later, the European Investment Bank, the non-profit lending institution of the European Union, announced it will not invest in fossil-fuel projects after 2021.

Both decisions followed a warning from Norway’s central bank on Nov. 5 that climate risk must be considered in all assessments before investments are made.

These are not the words of some hippy-dippy environmentalists (to quote an Albertan I know). These are the biggest financiers of industry in the world.

Consider this as well:

Canada’s energy industry is reeling from the departure of massive amounts of capital, with $30 billion divested in the last three years, even as global demand for oil is forecast to grow. The International Energy Agency said this week that global demand will grow by about one million barrels a day over the next five years, but plateau by 2030 as the use of more efficient vehicles and electric cars begins to take hold.

Both the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers and the Alberta government said this week investors need to know that Canadian oil and gas are produced more sustainably and with tougher environmental standards than similar products almost anywhere else in the world, and remain a good investment.

2030 is a hair from less than a decade from now. How is more oilsands investment a GOOD investment?!

Play the “We have better social and ecological standards” card all you want. From a pragmatic standpoint, Oilsands is done. The Betamax of the energy world.

Are there political and humanitarian problems when it comes to the mining of rare earth minerals like Cobalt and Lithium?
Yes. Recent news out of Bolivia is a great example of what can happen when a small sovereign geography wins the resource lottery. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

I do consider these things. But one should also consider that anyone that makes use of any technology of today (from a smartphone or laptop, to the infotainment system in any post-2010’s era vehicle) also has blood on their hands.
Thus if you are criticizing my stance on electrics based on a faux-humanitarian stance on twitter, you are full of shit.

One more quote:

What might be most concerning to Canada’s energy workers and the economy as a whole is that natural gas is also on the Europeans’ chopping block. Liquefied natural gas, which produces fewer emissions than coal when burned for electricity, has been held up as an alternative fuel and Canada is responsible for more than one-third of new global gas projects now in development.What might be most concerning to Canada’s energy workers and the economy as a whole is that natural gas is also on the Europeans’ chopping block. Liquefied natural gas, which produces fewer emissions than coal when burned for electricity, has been held up as an alternative fuel and Canada is responsible for more than one-third of new global gas projects now in development.

Europe does not even want natural gas anymore. As for Asia (the market that Alberta wants to reach with its second pipeline to the west coast), consider the case of China. The nation has been battling to (and slowly making progress toward) reining in air pollution caused by burning fossil fuels.

And now, the ante has just been raised significantly. This air pollution is not just bad for health and economy in the sense we already understand, it’s also undermining new energy solar investments.

I now ask every Albertan to consider, where in this picture does heavy crude stand?

Why would a market that is already dealing with horrific air quality want to import more low-end fuel which will only add to it?

And if Canadian’s do pull off a miracle of finance and secure the funding for a high volume heavy crude refinery somewhere in Canada (remember that as of TODAY, it’s profitability lifespan is maybe 10 years), what of it?
China is a Paris agreement signee. Sure, it’s easy to look the other way when the emissions are dumped into the air in Canada (as opposed to mainland China). But either way, the footprint is the same.

I didn’t intend on writing about this topic, AGAIN. And after this, I am likely done. I took the time to stick my head out of the bubble to take stock of the situation, and if people stuck in the bubble can’t be bothered . . . suit yourself. The future will be filled with much less hardship if you confront it head-on (as opposed to putting one’s head up one’s ass), but suit yourself.

It looks like 2030 is a fairly key timeframe here. But whilst it seems to represent the plateau of future growth in oil and gas production, I sense that the Canadian energy sector has already crossed this threshold. In an era of dropping prices for easier to obtain streams (such as WTI), heavy streams will lose all viability much sooner.

Though there seems to be infrastructure for such fuels on the west coast, getting it there is a problem. No matter why Quebec is taking the stance that it is, I doubt it will change anytime soon. Particularly if residents and politicians are reading from the same economic tea leaves as me and the rest of the world.
As for trans-mountain . . . I think it is only a matter of time before that is greenlighted. I was not happy with the federal government wasting that amount of money on a future stranded asset, but it is what it is. I’m just hoping the fucker doesn’t burst somewhere ecologically sensitive before the world renders it obsolete.

Ah, yes. Ecological damage. That is all that Canada is going to be left with after this orgy of tarsands driven capitalism inevitably folds under the weight of its own arrogance.

Forgot the carbon time bomb that is represented by the extraction of all the tar sands oil that is available. Consider the giant scar that is represented by the now-abandoned open-pit mines. Consider all of the infrastructure that will be left to rot. The millions of litres of toxic fluids left to fester in ponds which are perilously close to waterways. Waterways which feed and water countless creatures and indigenous peoples.

Consider this carefully, Wexit’ers. Make a break for it, and this is what you are left within the not so distant future. As for Canadian’s in general, this is what WE are stuck with if this continues. When these companies start to go belly up, they are not on the hook for their toxic legacies.
Consider THAT price tag the next time you hear Jason Kenny (or anyone else on the pro-delusion bandwagon) griping about Alberta energy keeping Canada afloat with its equalization payments. If the bill that follows is less than what has been paid out, i’ll be shocked.

In Conclusion

Speaking for myself (I have made my argument heard already), I will first address one obvious potential critique of this piece. In an era of division, throwing gasoline on the flames (as I just have) is likely not to be seen as helpful. Particularly when it plays into the whole delusional dynamic that is the problem.

Alberta is in trouble, and the rest of Canada just does not GET it.

I understand the sentiment. I also understand that many people may well have been too inflamed by my earlier unfiltered rantings to bother reading this far. It is unfortunate, but frankly . . . tough shit.

1.) Whilst I took the time to back most of my statements with outside sources, this was still an exercise in venting. I’ve been hearing the so-called unheard populace spewing this garbage for years, now. If I was a bottle of cola in a paint shaker, this is the result of the bottle finally losing the battle with the forces therein.

2.) We are all adults. This is politics, and frankly, this is how the world works.

As the so-called myth of human progress continues to move forward, there are always people left behind in its wake. Whether this result is unnecessary (such as outsourcing based on corporate greed) or inevitable (new technologies replacing previous breakthroughs), the result is the same.

People end up without a job. More pertinently though, they lose their sense of purpose. This inevitably leads to increases in all manner of self-destructive attempts to fill this gap.

As adults living in this evolving world, you have a choice. You can continue to be triggered when the cold hard truth is spelled out for you clear as day. The transportation sector is changing, and Alberta bitumen is OUT.
Or alternatively, you can continue playing the current hand. Crying and moaning about your needs not being understood whilst simultaneously thumbing your noses in the face of provinces that benefit from the fruits of your labour.

Considering how receptive this populace has proven to be to all but emotional manipulation attempts, I admit that I don’t have much hope for them waking up anytime soon. I suspect that we will have to learn the hard way. After which the rest of us provinces will be there to help ease the burden. Such is the guarantee of Canadian Federation status.

For me, living in the prairies, this backwards mentality has always bothered me. I live in a city which always votes Conservative, no matter how little of value that the party (or it’s candidate) brings to our community. It’s what you get when baby boomers still make up the vast majority of the voters. Familiarly bland pablum.

I work for an organization that suffers from similar issues. Founded by, catering too, and primarily controlled by baby boomers at all it’s hierarchical levels, I fear that it will also fall victim to its leader’s vast blindspots.
A household name based on the Canadian prairies, it is a brand that everyone between Winnipeg and the Rockies will know and recognize. And it is a brand that will likely invoke a highly positive reaction amongst pretty much all prairie residents. Companies pay marketing firms millions of dollars to attempt to garner the type of reputation that my employer has in its market.

This was one of the reason’s I tried to get on there in the first place. Unlike every other corporate cog that I have ever found myself employed in, I thought it was more than just a job. In the first few months, people I worked with treating it as a typical workplace baffled the mind.
Of course, time goes on and novaltie wears off. Work becomes work, and boredom sets in. Then comes management changes, with all the issues that come with that. But such is par for the course of any place.

What bugs me though, is not the small picture. My little cog in the machine is indeed misfiring on account to COMPLETLY OBVIOUS NON-SENSE (if only those at the top bothered to look), but again, par for the course.
Where my concern comes in, is looking to the future. Looking down the road 10,15,20 years. When it comes to this outlook, I don’t have high hopes for the companies long term longevity.

The brass in the offices in Saskatoon do. At their brand self-promotion seminar that every employee was forced to attend last year (featuring a brilliant speaker that was WASTED on them, frankly), they ended the pageantry by celebrating 100 years of the company and looking forward to 100 more years of the company.

And here we come back AGAIN to the cancer of western Canadian business, oil. This company has millions of dollars invested in both petroleum reserves and petroleum infrastructure. Such is the number that the price of oil directly affects the end of year gross, and all other holdings don’t even come close.
It’s a place that is known as a good place to work. It’s a place that does indeed try to make this happen by way of good employee pension and benefit plans. If you stick around for the long haul, you will be set for retirement, they say. And considering how many 20, 30, 40-year retirings I’ve seen, it’s not hard to understand why they say that. They do live up to the promise.

But, for how long?

Up until maybe 4 or 5 years ago, the profitability and continued feasibility of fossil fuels of all kinds was not even an afterthought. It just was. But those days are gone.

When I look at my employer and what it stands for, I see big dreams. But what I also see is a petrochemical company equivalent to Leeman brothers. Outside of the anchor that is it’s oil holdings, I also see no cohesive future planning strategies. All I see coming from the top is more doubling down on what has always worked, and careful following of the industry wherein changes have become standard. Though the organization has the power to set standards using its substantial western Canadian base of operations, it chooses to be a follower.

This organization has been the best employer out of all that I have ever worked at so far. They do indeed have excellent benefits and retirement packages (compared to many others). However, what good does that do a young worker if substantial downsizing AT A MINIMUM becomes an inevitability in as little as a decade or 2?

My employer is an interesting marker since it’s current existence mirrors the bigger issues at play here in Western Canada. Its existence is so entangled with that of Western Canada that it can’t help but be a mirror to the big picture. It could potentially even serve as a canary in the proverbial coal mine.

I could play nice and talk about rainbows and pipedreams (pipelines!) that will solve every problem and make this Neverland once more (though hopefully not MJ’s interpretation). But I prefer to stick to reality and, forgive the cliche, swallow the red pill.

The time for childish antics is over. Let’s see some fucking action.

Harper : “Marijuana Infinitely Worse Than Tobacco, Should Be Discouraged”

So it is election season. Though the American election is getting the most coverage world wide, things are starting to heat up on this side of the boarder as well.

Election day for us Canadians is October 19th, about 2 weeks from now. All the candidates will be stepping up their game in the hopes of getting you in the voting both, and ticking their name off on the ballot. Which means that I can expect to see a whole lot of junk mail in the coming days.

And in keeping to this profile of scaring the electorate by smearing the opposition, Stephan Harper has taken on marijuana at a recent (and the last) leaders debate. In a move made to throw a blow at his biggest opposition, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, he has attacked him on one of his most popular stances, marijuana legalisation. Stating (as noted in the title of this piece) that the substance is infinitely more harmful than tobacco, and should be discouraged.

I have some stuff to say about this rhetoric. But lets save my opinion for later. First, I will check into the claim. That marijuana is infinitely worse than tobacco.

Oh REALLY? Let us explore this hypothesis.

Here we have one study, from Mark Pletcher of the University Of California (at San Francisco, or UCSF).

A large-scale national study suggests low to moderate use of marijuana is less harmful to users’ lungs than exposure to tobacco, even though the two substances contain many of the same components.

This comprehensive study, led by UCSF and University of Alabama at Birmingham, collected data from more than 5,000 U.S. adults for more than 20 years.

Smoking cigarettes can cause significant lung damage, including respiratory symptoms, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer. It accounts for an estimated 443,000 deaths, or nearly one in every five deaths, each year in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Data for the long-term effects of marijuana use on the pulmonary system has been scarce until now.

“We found exactly what we thought we would find in relation to tobacco exposure: a consistent loss of lung function with increasing exposure,” said the paper’s lead author, Mark Pletcher, MD, MPH, associate professor in the Division of Clinical Epidemiology at UCSF. “We were, however, surprised that we found such a different pattern of association with marijuana exposure.”

But there is a bit of a caviot that must be taken into consideration. That being, most of the marijuana smokers were recreational users, as opposed to the regular usage of the tobacco smokers.

“An important factor that helps explain the difference in effects from these two substances is the amount of each that is typically smoked,” Pletcher said. “Tobacco users typically smoke ten to 20 cigarettes/day, and some smoke much more than that. Marijuana users, on average, smoke only two to three times a month, so the typical exposure to marijuana is much lower than for tobacco.”

“And marijuana is one where a lot of people dabble with it in their late teens and 20s, and some people continue with relatively low levels for a long period of time,” Kertesz added.

That is extremely recreational usage, I would have thought. Or, maybe not. If the average recreational user lights up once a week, with 4 weeks in a month, 3 times would be a foreseeable average.

As for effects of heavy usage on the body, those results were inconclusive due to the rarity of such users in the test population.

Researchers believe the results can supplement the growing body of knowledge about beneficial aspects of low to moderate marijuana use in controlling pain, stimulating appetite, elevating mood and managing other chronic symptoms.

“Our findings suggest that occasional use of marijuana for these or other purposes may not be associated with adverse consequences on pulmonary function,” Pletcher said. “On the other hand, our findings do suggest an accelerated decline in pulmonary function with heavier use – either very frequent use or frequent use over many years – and a resulting need for caution and moderation when marijuana use is considered.”

Otherwise known as, a combination of everything the pro-marijuana side has ever said, combined with a dash of common sense. Even water can be dangerous if you consume it in large quantities. In fact, water can be DEADLY when consumed in to great an amount.

Water intoxication provokes disturbances in electrolyte balance, resulting in a rapid decrease in serum sodium concentration and eventual death.The development of acute dilutional hyponatraemia causes neurological symptoms because of the movement of water into the brain cells, in response to the fall in extracellular osmolality. Symptoms can become apparent when the serum sodium falls below 120 mmol/litre, but are usually associated with concentrations below 110 mmol/litre. Severe symptoms occur with very low sodium concentrations of 90–105 mmol/litre. As the sodium concentration falls, the symptoms progress from confusion to drowsiness and eventually coma.

Water . . . infinitely more dangerous than marijuana! You heard it here first!

But to be fair, this is not the only study that has been done on marijuana use recently. There was another that made headlines not long ago. Lets see if we can dig that puppy up for study.

The research team studied 48 adult marijuana users and 62 gender- and age-matched non-users, accounting for potential biases such as gender, age and ethnicity. The authors also controlled for tobacco and alcohol use. On average, the marijuana users who participated in the study consumed the drug three times per day. Cognitive tests show that chronic marijuana users had lower IQ compared to age-and gender-matched controls but the differences do not seem to be related to the brain abnormalities as no direct correlation can be drawn between IQ deficits and OFC volume decrease.

“What’s unique about this work is that it combines three different MRI techniques to evaluate different brain characteristics,” said Dr. Sina Aslan, founder and president of Advance MRI, LLC and adjunct assistant professor at The University of Texas at Dallas. “The results suggest increases in connectivity, both structural and functional that may be compensating for gray matter losses. Eventually, however, the structural connectivity or ‘wiring’ of the brain starts degrading with prolonged marijuana use.”

Tests reveal that earlier onset of regular marijuana use induces greater structural and functional connectivity. Greatest increases in connectivity appear as an individual begins using marijuana. Findings show severity of use is directly correlated to greater connectivity.

Although increased structural wiring declines after six to eight years of continued chronic use, marijuana users continue to display more intense connectivity than healthy non-users, which may explain why chronic, long-term users “seem to be doing just fine” despite smaller OFC brain volumes, Filbey explained.

“To date, existing studies on the long-term effects of marijuana on brain structures have been largely inconclusive due to limitations in methodologies,” said Dr. Filbey. “While our study does not conclusively address whether any or all of the brain changes are a direct consequence of marijuana use, these effects do suggest that these changes are related to age of onset and duration of use.”

I remember this study because I recall calling bullshit on it at the time on Facebook (and possibly in an entry here). I called bullshit, because the focus was only on the very heaviest of users (up to 3 times daily, for years at a time).

But now that we have seen both studies and now that I the layman can put them up side by side, I can make a judgement. A judgement that seemed obvious already, but a judgement that the data now seems to back. That judgement being, marijuana is a relatively benign and harmless drug.

Both the studies I utilized were missing some crucial data, but both also filled in for the others voids.
Recreational and prolonged usage of weed is not likely to cause harm. However, heavy and prolonged usage can have detrimental effects. In context, as does heavy and prolonged usage of ANY other drug, legal or illegal.

But one of the most glaring (and my favorite) stats . . . water (by way of overconsumption) has more deaths attributed to it than marijuana.

Otherwise known as, Stephan Harper is infinitely full of shit. SUCH a surprise.

I suspect that he knows this. But he also knows who his demographic is. It is plainly obvious in the city I live in. The CPC could likely run a monkey and still get a victory in the Brandon–Souris riding. Though to be fair, the current candidate is a LOT less comparable to a monkey than his precursor Also, I do not think of Nixon’s quote (“I am not a crook!”) every time I see his picture somewhere.

But at the same time, I can not call out Harper and the Conservatives for pandering to their base (which has a large percentage that are anti-marijuana, likely due to ignorance of the substance) without calling out the Liberals for doing the same thing. Using the marijuana legalization issue, Justin Trudeau is doing exactly the same thing.
Since the younger demographic tends to lean towards the left and are quite progressive (and often not politicly active), this makes him a great candidate for many people.

Don’t get me wrong, its great to have candidates that inspire people to participate in the electoral system (even Donald Trump has managed to do this). But I also hesitate if these people are voting on largely one issue alone (marijuana) without seeing what else comes with the package.

And therein lies some issues I have to overcome before I cast my ballot in approximately 2 weeks time.

First of all, it is great to have a choice in candidates (as contrasted to the R and D of the US choices). But it presents some challenges in choice, if your a person like me (has no inherent political allegiances).

It goes without saying that Steven Harper and his conservatives are NOT getting my vote. Though his candidate (Larry Maguire) seems like a fairly likable guy in his own right, his allegiances are misaligned. Not only is there all the various scandals of the CPC in the last few years, but also the financial irresponsibility demonstrated on the local level with our local CPC candidates.
We had to have a by-election around 2 years ago because of conservative candidates that decided to cut short political careers to chase their own ambitions.
Merv Tweed (then our representative) accepted a position in the private sector, thus leaving a vacancy in the Brandon–Souris riding. And on top of that, Larry Maguire (then MLA of the Arthur–Virden riding) decided to vacate his seat there and run in the Brandon–Souris campaign. Decisions that not just left the taxpayers with a bill for the by-election itself, but also a bill for 2 different severance buy outs (though Maguire says that he donated his to charity).

Not that I care much about how I am perceived by others, but that is why I do not like the Conservative candidates, local or federal.image

If in opposition to many people politicly (or otherwise differing to whatever ideological box they place themselves into), many will default to “Well, your obviously Liberal/NDP supporter!”, using the stance as a pejorative. And to be fair, they may be right in many cases. Woefully lacking in self awareness, but none the less correct.

I am not against the conservatives, just because they are of opposing views to me. I am against conservatives, because their party leader is a shady individual that mirrors a GOP republican more and more with each passing year, and their local candidate has proven himself irresponsible of the taxpayer dime if it gets in the way of forwarding his ambitions.

This leaves us with 3 other parties, them being the Liberals, New Democrats and the Greens.

Justin Trudeau’s Liberals are going to be the major contender to the Harpers Conservatives. His scrappy nature and seemingly progressive platform (or at least young voter friendly platform) is going to be a a major selling point. And he will also have the many scandals of the Conservative party working in his favor.

But at the same time, one does not want to count out the other 2 (The NDP and the Greens) due to the gains they made last time around. Though Tom Mulcair is certainly not on the level of his precursor, I acknowledge that as an unfair comparison. One should not be judged on how they compare to another’s legacy, but more on what they do for the party moving forward.
Back in 2012, the NDP did very good. And being the world seems to be riding a wave of progressive liberalism as of late (they took Alberta!), the future may be bright for the NDP.

Another party that could ride the wave of popularity, is the Green Party. Last election, the Greens also made big gains. And locally, the candidate is familiar because he is an old high school teacher.

So I will have to spend some time studying the candidates, figuring out where to best put my X.

When it comes to having many parties to choose from, it can get difficult if your side of the spectrum becomes fragmented. The right figured that out 20 years ago when they disbanded the Progressive Conservative Party and the Canadian Alliance (formerly the Reform Party) to form the current Conservative Party of Canada.

One choice of the left is the Liberal Party. Some equate it as the Canadian version of the Democrats. To these peoples credit, both parties currently have a dynasty parallel. But whatever issues one may find, they are still the most likely to boot the Conservatives of all the available choices (some would even call a vote for the NDP or green party wasted).

But one has to be careful with that logic. Had everyone listened to that last election, the NDP would not have made official opposition, and the Green Party would not have earned their first seat EVER. The status quo parties would still reign. And not be either brushed aside, or win with but a minority status.

Its sure to be an interesting 2 weeks. I can not wait to see what exciting stuff will show up in the mail (and in the media!) in these last days of Canadian Election 2015.

Justin Trudeau – Canada’s Elizabeth Warren?

The Canadian political scene have gotten more interesting recently.

The first notable change is it is apparently possible that the NDP may be able to break the decades long conservative hold on the province of Alberta. Im thinking that the world wide slide in oil prices (and the shit kicking that has caused on that provinces biggest industry) has a lot to do with that.
Frankly, good. Such a situation affects many, but that is what happens when you throw all your economic eggs into one volatile basket. Either way, we will see by tonight how that turns out.

But the most recent news to make the Canadian political landscape a whole lot more interesting, came from the Liberal party today. Justin Trudeau has openly declared that he is running on a platform of cutting taxes on the middle and lower classes, and raising taxes on the highest earners in the nation, Canada’s 1%. In truth, apparently they number to a little less then 1%, but the result is the same.

The current tax rate of 22-per-cent for those with taxable annual income totaling between $44,701 and $89,401, would be cut to 20.5 per cent. A new tax bracket of 33 per cent would apply to those with taxable incomes over $200,000 a year. The current top bracket of 29 per cent would continue to apply to those earning between $138,586 and $200,000.

Along with this, there will be restructuring of the current system of child tax benefits. All families with children under the age of 18 with an annual income of below $150,000 (or 90 per cent of Canadian families) would receive more then they currently receive. This is in direct contrast to the current Harper scheme of parental income splitting, which many say only benefits maybe 15% (likely less) of families in Canada. And most of those fall into the higher taxation brackets.

It is certainly an ambitious plan. But considering that economic inequality is in worse shape in Canada then even in the US, this is also a good counter measure.
In fact, the Democratic Party should take a note from this play book. Do not alienate your progressive heavy weights like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. SHOWCASE THEM!

We will see what interesting things come along for this upcoming election cycle. If the Liberals under the leadership of Justin Trudeau keep taking very ballsy stances on topics of importance to most Canadians (such as their economic well being and the legalization of marijuana) they will become a force to be reckoned with.

Even with the soon to start bombardment of anti-liberal tax payer funded propaganda from the Conservative party. My recycling bin awaits.

Justin Trudeau To Remove Liberal Party Sentaors From Party Caucus

Justin Trudeau To Remove Liberal Party Sentaors From Party Caucus

In a move that came out of seemingly nowhere, Liberal party leader Justin Trudeau has pledged to remove all of his parties senators from the party caucus, and force them to sit as independents. Trudeau’s explanation for the bold proposal, being that the senate is broken, and this is as far as his party can go (its its current position) to attempt to fix the problem.

“These proposals, while bold and concrete, are not the final word. They represent our judgment of how far we can go without guidance from the Supreme Court,” he said.

“If the Supreme Court says more can be done, we are open to doing more.”

This move came as a surprise to all the parties, including his own party members, as he made the media  announcement before he even told his own party. He gave further explanation during a news conference just after breaking the news to his party and senators:

“The Senate is broken and needs to be fixed,” he said.

“The Senate was once referred to as a place of sober, second thought. A place that allows for reflective deliberation on legislation, in-depth studies into issues of import to the country, and, to a certain extent, provide a check and balance on the politically-driven House of Commons.

“It has become obvious that the party structure within the Senate interferes with these responsibilities.”

Trudeau made a proposition that the senate become more non-partisan , in order to better serve the interests of Canadians. He sees the prime ministers ability to appoint senators, as a big part of the problem.

“Instead of being separate from political, or electoral concerns, Senators now must consider not just what’s best for their country, or their regions, but what’s best for their party,” Trudeau said.

“At best, this renders the Senate redundant. At worst — and under Mr Harper we have seen it at its worst — it amplifies the prime minister’s power.” 

“We are all poorly served by the way in which senators are appointed. Canadians especially, yes, but also members of the House of Commons, even senators themselves are discredited by the antiquated convention that sees senators appointed by one person, and one person only,” he said.

Trudeau also suggested that Prime Minister Harper has abused the system, by appointing 59 different senators during his tenure in the prime ministers office.

“All of these people share one characteristic,” he said. “The prime minister, and the prime minister alone, judged them to be useful to himself, and to his party. Mike Duffy, Pam Wallin, Patrick Brazeau, Irving Gerstein are particularly egregious examples of where that leads.” 

Scandals surrounding the senate have been making news since early last year, when the investigation started getting public attention. While the investigation into the affected senators (Duffy, Wallin, Brazeau and Gerstein) begun back between November 21st and December 6th 2012, it only “blew up” in November 2013 after senators Duffy, Wallin and Brazeau were suspended. The affair got much media attention, after being (seemingly) traced all the way up to the prime ministers office, despite its previous claims of ignorance to the affair.

The scandal even crosses the aisle, involving Liberal Senator Mike Harb. He was ordered by the senate investigation committee to repay $230,000 in ineligible expenses, and retired shortly after.
Some speculate the move to distance the Liberal Party from the senate might be a way of distancing the party from future scandals involving its caucus members. However, Trudeau denies such an agenda.

While the motivation for this bold move remains unclear, its certainly  a good way to bring attention to senate reform. And it is sure to make the Liberals a good contender for the up and coming 2015 federal election.        

The above is written in bold and italic (to easier separate the quotes) , in order to keep it separate from this part of the piece. Some have suggested that journalism might be an optimal career path for me, so I decided to take a stab at writing an article, from as unbiased a viewpoint as possible.
The above (whether good, bad, or somewhere in the middle), is the result of my very first “article”.

My sources for the article are both the link attached to this piece and the senate scandal Wikipedia page.


I understand that some will raise an eyebrow on the sourcing of a Wikipedia article on this topic. I understand your criticism.
However, I had learned a great amount about the senate scandal from a legitamite national TV news source (the 11pm CTV national news) late last year, when the whole affair was making many headlines. Since one can not source a television broadcast from the past, I had to find one online.

I knew the information. I just needed a place to back it up.

Brandon/Souris By-Election

Its the 14th of November, meaning that the bi-election to replace my areas acting MP is but a little over 2 weeks away, on the 25th (exactly a month before Christmas! Great timing). In filling the position, we will have the same 4 main options as we usually have, along with possibly more lesser known options (such as Christian heritage).




Green party logo

These elections almost always sneak up on me, but I am happy to admit that I have not missed one yet since turning the voting age of 18. But ever since then, my political affiliations have changed a bit, from as far back as I can remember, to now.

I grew up with a parent that was a fairly strict NDP supporter (as was his father), so as with most people, I took the political stances of my parents (at least initially in my participation in the political process). I know that the first vote that I ever cast, was for the NDP (big surprise 🙂 ). But my 2ed and 3ed votes consecutively,  went to the green party. The first time, I will admit, was mostly because I know the candidate (but I also agree with his platform). The 2ed time, was because I felt that despite what people say about the 2 underdog parties, they will ALWAYS remain that way if people vote with that assumption (especially the Green Party).

To my surprise, many must have also come to the same conclusion, as  both the NDP and the Green party made historical gains. The NDP became the official opposition party, and the Greens got one seat in parliament. And on top of that, the Brandon municipal election ended up booting the previously longstanding  mayor out, and voting in a city first (first Women AND Jewish mayor of the city).

When it comes to my personal politics, it seems to me that I have 3 possible choices this time around(yet another personal metamorphosis).

One thing that has not changed about me, is my dislike for the Conservative Party. I admit that I always had these feelings (being somewhat of a mirror to my parent), but recent events and policies have given me a reason of my own, to not like nor trust them.

Not the least of  which is the environmental and energy policies being mandated by the party. Canada could be a leader in the path to cleaner energy sources, we don’t have to be the Arabia of the North. Ripping up, fracking and otherwise polluting large swaths of land all over the place, in the search of short term profits (not to mention the disregard for the biggest  long term cost of the plan, rapidly erratic climate change for our kids to live with.

Then there are those “Canada’s Action Plan” advertisements that are everywhere I look. Like cigarette ads of the past, and the packaging for a certain “Canadian” cigarette brand, they have utilized clean, pretty, natural imagery to sell something that is dirty, disgusting and horribly UNNATURAL. The big selling point for Canadians being  jobs, jobs, jobs. Were helping Canadians get jobs.
Combined with the ads of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (were creating jobs, coast to coast!), its enough to make a person vomit.

A green-based economy, would create SO many more job opportunities. People point a finger at the flaws of green energy technology of today. Yeah, that is why we need more and more minds studying it then ever before. Technical advances are possible, but not if the best minds to possibly tweek them, are hard at work for an oil co with a self interest (profit above ALL).

And this distaste has a bit of a personal bias to it as well.

Over a year ago (I don’t remember absolutely when), I hand-wrote a letter to our then member of Parliament Merv Tweed. It was regarding a despicable experience that my father had with The Workman’s Compensation Board Of Manitoba.  A hard worker all his life, my dad ended up permanently injuring himself IN the process of being a hard worker, and found himself basically thrown out with the trash by his employer, his union and the board.
His employer basically refused to acknowledge the existence of the condition (even cleverly defying a doctors note), his union looked the other way (it was known that the local was much closer to the employer then the employees it was supposed to represent), and the WCB found a way to weasel their way out of paying the claim.

That is not to say that the story did not initially have a rosy beginning. My father HAD received a letter from the WCB, informing him that his claim was approved (and I guess pending). However, a representative from the WCB came to our home one night, and took the paper with him, telling my father that he needed a photo-copy but that he would get it back. We now know that he was a liar (oh, if hindsight were foresight!). And only when my father got the run around upon calling the guy back, did he realize what had just happened.

It may sound like I am telling a story of a man dropping by, but I still have the event in my memory. The nice guy with the combination locking brief case. A wolf in sheep’s clouting.

I had written this letter to Mr.Tweed, mainly for the purposes of informing. I didn’t know if there was anything that he could even do about it, but one can never know if they don’t try. And the reason why I hand-wrote the letter, was for the purpose of authenticity. I could have just as easily typed up an email, but like this blog entry, its not as personal as the physically written word (and harder to disregard, when the delete button is not available).

I was not expecting much in return, when it came to a reply. Even just a form letter, to tell me that it was received, would have been good enough. But no answer at all, the reply that I got, was a bit disheartening and insulting. Its understandable if your powerless to do anything about it. But to not say anything at all, sent me an unspoken message that said, I don’t care.

If that was the message, it has been received loud and clear.

The fact that Mr.Tweed could not wait until 2015 to leave his post and go to the private sector (costing taxpayers more then would otherwise have been necessary), confirms my suspicion of his uncaring attitude towards the residents of his riding (and the province as a whole, since we all foot the bill).

Then there is the new conservative candidate Larry Maguire, leaving his previous post  as MLA for Arthur-Virden, to run in Brandon-Souris.

Both men are paid out hefty severances, even though both are basically quiting their jobs. Then there are the costs of the 2 by-elections, required to fill both the newly empty MLA positions.

Already, were getting a lesson from 2 conservatives in terms of  personal accountability, when it comes to public funds.

And then I got the first piece of mail, from the conservatives on behalf of the new candidate (Larry). A piece that was obviously tailored to the hardcore old conservatives of the city, being it focused more on smearing Justin Trudeau’s pro-marijuana stance (with one part that could be considered a bold faced lie), then on the Conservative party’s post election platform.

Though the conservative brand certainly did not represent honesty before, it most certainly does not now.

Though I used to think the same way of the Liberal party (again, mostly remnants of my parent coming out), Justin Trudeau is striking me as having some interesting, and likable, views.

However, it seems that the views of the party leaders  should be more of a priority  during a federal election then a municipal one. Knowing this, it seems that the conservatives are grasping at straws in their attempts to  downplay their liberal opposition.

This election may end up with Brandon-Souris keeping the blue stripes that it has always had (this is known to be one of the “safest” conservative ridings in the whole country). But the scandals of recent, may present a threat to this previously safe riding. And it seems that the party knows this, considering that almost every single web address I visit has an advertisement for conservative candidate Larry Maguire, and I have yet to see online ads from any other candidates (who is paying for all of those ad placements?).

At the moment, I am undecided. It would be nice to have the riding go orange, or even Green. But that seems like a wishful pipe dream. In which case, even having a liberal candidate, would be a change of pace (that vote, if I end up casting it, will certainly be a step out of my comfort zone).

We will see.