It is Official, Jack Layton Has Lost His Mind

I have always supported Jack Layton even when my friends were getting more than a bit fed up with his strutting around like a bantam rooster. Jack wants to be Prime Minister so bad he can taste it but, he just doesn't seem to realize that it isn't going to happen. Most of us here in this camp accept the fact that our role is to add weight to the left side of the fulcrum so it can't tip too far to the right. In these days, that is as good as it gets.

So, I could hardly believe my ears when I heard that the NDP is taking out radio ads slamming Ignatieff for supporting the new Harper budget. I know that Jack wanted to make the Liberal/NDP/Bloc deal work but the adventure in coalition government wasn't so much blown out of the water by Iggy as it was stymied by the Governor General's short sightedness. Why not take out adds slamming her.

I am not much pleased by the Liberal support for this budget either but, polling tells us that Canadians don't want a coalition government or an election. Let Harper dig is own grave. He is half way there anyway. Nothing is gained by exacerbating the differences amongst the majority of us who do not support this government and who should wait for the right time to bring them down.

The Mighty Popo Wows Regina

I think the first time I have ever seen a skirt get a round of applause was last night in Regina’s Exchange. As the Mighty Popo walked on stage with his group the crowd noticed his vocalist was wearing a wrap around, African style skirt with Obama’s face on the back. A spontaneous round of applause erupted. To be honest, I thought that was a bit weird. Exchange audiences are usually a bit more cynical than that.

As a displaced Rwandan growing up in Burundi, Popo whose real name is Jacques Murigande, grew up listening to the African rhythms in his neighbourhood as well as the R&B in his parents' record collection. He emigrated to Canada, to Ottawa really in 1987 as a refugee and started to concentrate on is music.

He put everything together into a kind of world blues, a collective that includes soukous, West African juju and highlife, South African township jive, Caribbean reggae, zouk, calypso and soca, and American blues and R&B.

He and his band were in town as a part of the Regina Folk Festival’s Concert Series and they put on a great show last night. The theme running through the evening was, “life is a celebration” which to an old cynic like me would usually be a bit over the top. It was not. I am not sure when I have seen a band have more fun and the crown lapped it up.

People were just caught up in the musical energy, so much so that former NDP Cabinet Minister and drummer, Joanne Crawford at some point just walked on stage and moved in behind the African drum set and started to play. The band wasn’t sure what to make of it for a bit but soon realized that she is pretty good. They even gave her a solo. The crowd and the band loved it.

The evening has a funny kind of ending too. As the crowd was just starting to work up for an encore request the percussionist moved to one of the mics and said the band should do an encore, just because the crowd deserved one.


Anything that gets Andrew Coyne this riled up can’t be all bad.

I confess that I don’t know a hell of a lot about economics but you do have to wonder how this government, which was saying just weeks ago that they would not go into deficit could have got it so wrong. I’d have to say, so much for Stephen Harper’s skills as an Economist. Today before a penny is spent on stimulus the Department of Finance was saying we have already accumulated a $15 billion deficit.

These guys made a big deal about tax cuts although I never understood the logic in planning to bring in less money as you are substantially increasing spending. Tax cuts? I am not sure what the government gave us back in tax cuts amounts to much more than a fiddlers fart.

This budget is supposed to be all about stimulus yet I am not sure they have done the right things. So much is so complicated that most people, even the economic pundits can figure most of it out. Cities will have to go through more hoops before any money flows for infrastructure projects and really we need to get some of these projects moving as soon as we can.

Even the Saskatchewan Party is complaining about this budget and believe me that is something almost unheard of. Evidently Saskatchewan didn’t get access to nearly enough of the money they need and expected. Brad Wall has always told us his new cuddly relationship with Harper will pay off for Saskatchewan. Apparently he was wrong.

The Conservatives are boasting that they added another five weeks to the Employment Insurance payments at a cost of $1 Billion. Before they pat themselves on the back too hard, we have to remember that there is something like a $65 Billion surplus in the fund, paid for by employees and employers. They could have done a lot better.

So what have we got?

  • A political budget?
  • A liberal Budget?
  • An attempt to please everyone?

I’m not sure what it is but, I expect that we are going to be paying for it for years. Frankly, I hope I am wrong but don’t think this budget will do what this government hopes it will. I hope Canadians remember some of these last few months come Election Day, although I doubt they will.

For people looking for a silver lining however, anything that gets Andrew Coyne this riled up can’t be all bad.


Playing for Change

Playing for Change is a foundation made up of inspired people, artists and musicians who want to work towards connecting the world through music.
There are a few music videos on their site but of the song Stand By Me performed by people and groups around the world is pretty amazing. Check it out at Playingforchange.com or you might find it on YouTube.

Statute of Limitations

I think we can say that we have safely past the stature of limitations concerning New Year’s resolutions. As of today the promises people made to lose weight, exercise or to just be a nicer person generally don’t have to be honoured any more, or at least that it what it seems.

Since November, I have been going to Regina’s Fieldhouse in an effort to get in better physical shape or in the very least get a bit more trim. I am amazed at the number of people who use the place. Frankly, I never realized how many people got up and dragged themselves to the gym before 8:30 each morning. (I say 8:30 because that is about as early as I can make it) Yet day after day I see the same people walking, jogging, playing badminton and working the torture machines.

Then, immediately after the new year started, the parking lot was suddenly packed with cars. More often than not I’d have to wait for space just to get changed in the locker room. The track was crowded with walkers and runners each one more determined that the other. It seemed that all the machines were being commandeered by driven, sweaty middle aged riders. I expected that if it got any worse, rivers of sweat would be flowing freely down the gym floors. To be honest I resented their intrusion more than just a little.

But, we are past all that now. Things are back to normal. The resolutionaries are once again staying tucked in bed or at the very least have reclaimed their spot on the couch watching Canada AM. The walk from the parking lot to the gym is much shorter which I assure you is a very big bonus when the temperature dips below -30.

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions so I never really knew at what point you could just give up on them. Apparently it is January 27. From my perspective, it’s none too soon.