Canadian Politics

Hey everybody.  I’m gonna bore you today by talking about something important to me; politics.  There’s an election coming up soon here to elect our new Prime Minister and the race is really close.  And frankly that terrifies me.

Our current Prime Minister is Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper.  He is up for election again against the other two major parties, the NDP (New Democratic Party) and the Liberals, led by Thomas Mulcair and Justin Trudeau respectively.

conservative NDP_eng_4-col Liberal_Party_of_Canada_Logo.svg

Harper has been the Prime Minister for the past eight years, winning people over after the last Liberal leader stepped down due to corruption charges.  Sounds reasonable right?  Except for some reason everyone was up in arms over the charges when the Liberal leader did it, but now Harper has been held in Contempt of Parliament twice, a very large portion of his cabinet has been charged and/or investigated for fraud and corruption, Harper himself is under investigation for complacency in a senators fraud and corruption charges, Harper was investigated for election fraud, which seems to be happening AGAIN this election (last election traditionally Liberal ridings got phone calls informing voters that their polling station was moved to a location extremely far away causing some people to end up not being able to vote because they went to the wrong place and couldn’t find the right one, and this year people in traditionally Liberal ridings are getting incorrect voter information cards in the mail telling them to go to locations that don’t even exist or hundreds of kilometers away from their home to vote) and that’s just the things that have gone to court.

On top of these problems, many of his party members have come forward anonymously stating that if they disagree with him on anything, they’ll be fired.  He sold the Canadian Wheat Board to Saudi Arabia when Canadian Farmers offered to buy it themselves.  He’s sold off rights to Canadian oil and diamond mines to American and Australian companies.  He agreed to the Trans Pacific Partnership which hurts our dairy and manufacturing industries.  He signed into law Bill C-51 which the UN has declared gives Harper more power to spy on Canadians than protect them (think the Canadian version of the Patriot Act).  He’s unprotected almost every body of water in Canada from environmental damage.  And these are just the things I can think of off the top of my head that he’s done.  There’s plenty more.

But he’s hired an election campaign manager who specializes in ‘dead cat’ strategy.  Tossing out a distraction to keep people from talking about his downsides.  Right now it’s the Niqab.  Muslim women who want to become Canadian citizens want to be able to keep their Niqab on while taking their citizenship vows.  Harper wants them to ‘not hide who they are’.  But there’s a third option.  Give them a room free of men so they can take off their Niqab without serious discomfort and everyone wins.  But instead of talking about all the problems he’s created in his tenure, he’s managed to distract everyone with a pretty goddamn trivial problem in the grand scheme of things.

He’s also talking up his plan to lower taxes, make up for the problems the TPP is causing the manufacturing industry with a billion dollar bailout, and still balance the budget.  Yet he fails to mention that how he plans to do that will probably follow his past cost saving measures like defunding Veterans Affairs, Employment Insurance (a program that was profitable until he used their surplus to fund other programs he liked better then cut half their funding, declaring it a bad investment, and leaving thousands of unemployed people with no income for MONTHS because they were now so short staffed they could no longer keep up), healthcare, tax centers, etc.  So what is he going to cut to balance the budget this time?  A feat that he hasn’t actually accomplished in any of his eight years so far I might add.  Despite cutting all these programs he has still run a deficit each year he’s been in office.  But of course, when one of the other party leaders talks about wanting to run a deficit to put funding into infrastructure and new industries to build jobs and counter the recession we’re going through, it’s obviously the worst thing in the whole world!

There are serious issues with the other parties too.  I am not blind to their faults.  The NDP have never been in power, and their plans are expensive and will likely need serious adjustment if they get power, which means voting for them based on their platform is basically useless because you can’t trust that they can get any of it done.  Not to mention their leader is kind of a dickhead.  The Liberal’s leader is young and inexperienced, and his party seems to lack faith in him.  Most of the ads they post are more about how young and attractive he looks (the first few weeks of the election there were a bunch of attack ads that basically boiled down to which leader had the better hair, and dear god do I wish that was an exaggeration) than about his actual platform.  It’s hard to have faith in someone when their party doesn’t.  Not to mention he does plan to undo some of the actually positive changes Harper made to the tax code like Income Splitting, which allows married people to split their income between each other which can drop them into lower tax brackets.  Which is very helpful to retirees and families where one parent is a stay at home parent.

Stephen Harper did not win the competition for the best hair

Stephen Harper did not win the competition for the best hair

Mulcair has the best beard though.  But that's at least partly because he's the only one with one

Mulcair has the best beard though. But that’s at least partly because he’s the only one with one

This is pretty much all the Facebook ads for Trudeau consist of.  No information, just his face.

This is pretty much all the Facebook ads for Trudeau consist of. No information, just his face.

But personally, the deficits in the other two parties do not at all outweigh the damage that Harper has already done.  And the fact that so many people seem to have forgotten all of the bad things he’s done for this country disturbs me greatly.  So here I am, voicing my political leanings for the internet, which is not something I ever do, because I hate fighting about bullshit like this with people.  I really do.  But I am worried, and frustrated, and the day of the election (October 19th) is going to be an incredibly stressful day for me spent watching the news, waiting and crossing my fingers.

If you’re Canadian, please vote.  If you know a Canadian, please REMIND them to vote.

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An apology and some fun

So, yeah, I’m pretty behind.  Again.  I wish I could say that it was because I’ve been doing something amazing, or even the justifiable answer of ‘I’ve been sick’ or something, but the truth is that I work 12 hours a day 6 days a week.  When I finish up there, I just have an incredibly hard time picking up a shitty book that I hate after a long day.  I worked the same hours when I started doing this, but we’ve been busier, so I’m more tired when I get home than I was, plus my hatred for this book has increased significantly.

I’m in no way planning to stop doing them, I’m just not sure exactly when I’ll get the next post up.  In the meantime though, I came across this.  It’s an empathy test.  I decided to answer the questions as accurately as I could for Wanderer based on the information we’re presented in the book of her thoughts, feelings and interactions with the other characters.  And this is just for fun, not something I’m seriously planning to use to back up all my statements in the reviews that Wanderer’s actually a massive bitch instead of the saint everyone in the book keeps claiming her to be.

Here’s the results:

Your Empathizing Quotient is 19. Baron-Cohen (2003) suggests that this means “you have a lower than average ability for understanding how other people feel and responding appropriately”.

Your Systemizing Quotient is 6. Baron-Cohen (2003) suggests that this means “you have a lower than average ability for analysing and exploring a system”.

The score for empathy is out of a possible 80.  In fairness that is higher than some I know of.

Feel free to take the test yourself and share the results in the comments if you want!  See if you’re more empathetic than the character that’s supposed to be a saint!  I’ll be back with a new post asap!

Introduction

I believe an introduction is an order!  I’m Michael, or Mike.  Call me Mikey if you want me to never acknowledge your existence. 

I had been planning to write a deconstruction of a book at some point for the sake of giving myself an excuse to rant about something terrible for a while, but I couldn’t decide which book I wanted to use.  My friend mentioned that she had thought of reading 50 Shades of Grey and Twilight at some point, just to see just how bad they actually are for herself, and that she figured the only way she’d actually survive doing so would be if she ranted at a blog about it as she read it. I still hadn’t thought of a book of my own to do by the time that conversation came up, so I latched onto her idea instead of coming up with one of my own.  Together we decided to start with The Host instead though, because we heard it was the least terrible and we thought we’d ease our way in.

So here we are.  Fair warning: I’m not the biggest fan of romance books at their best.  They bore the hell out of me.  This will be an exercise in anger management, patience and sadism, which seems fitting given what I know of these books.  Still, I’ve been told my rage is entertaining, so hopefully you’ll enjoy my descent, and hopefully I’ll at least say some things here that haven’t been said a million times already.  I’m not doing this for originality; I’m doing this because I hate myself.

There’s not really much else to say; I’m not terribly interesting when I’m not pissed off.  I will add, though, that I intend to toss in some random non-book related posts from time to time too.  Hopefully that will also be interesting.

And be sure to check out my friends breakdown too at Quizzicalllama.wordpress.com!

I am hoping to be able to update with two chapter reviews a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays, and if I have anything non-book related to say I’ll save that for the weekend. See you at the prolugue!