I have been sort of keeping an eye on the PC Leadership convention throughout the day, and currently the candidates and their families are starting to file back into the convention hall, which means that the second and final ballot results are going to be announced soon.

On another note, regarding a subject I brought up in my last post, an attendee at the convention tells me that the signs and literature around the convention seem to refer to the party as the PC Party. So it appears that the name of the party may actually be the PC Party, not the Progressive Conservative Party. Perhaps I'll have more on that later.

The party youth hooligans are starting to make a lot of noise, singing songs and chanting their leaders' names, and it seems like there are a lot youth with of Klees signs among the Flaherty group, which may indicate that Mr. Klees threw his support behind Flaherty after the first ballot.

The results are in now. John Tory is leader of the party. Interestingly, CPAC refers to him as the leader of the Ontario Progressive Conse.rvative Party, which is possibly just an error on their part.
However, both Jim Flaherty and John Tory referred to the "Progressive Conservative" party, so now I'm really confused.
I haven't said anything about the provincial Tory race, mainly because I've never been overly interested in provincial politics. The only people who are, it would seem, are the journalists sent out to cover the story. And in their case it may only be feigned interest, the way a journalist sent to a Toronto City Council meeting pretends to care about the outcome of those boring proceedings.

Go John Tory Go

There, happy? I really hope, want, John Tory to win. That would be soooo neat. Because then we'd have a Tory leader named Tory. The Tory Tories. Well no, I'm joking, but someone had to be the first to say it.
Actually I do want Tory to win, and that fact means that I must have had a brain hemorrhage that made me forget his role in the 1993 federal election. Among other things I'd like to see under a Tory leadership is the use of the name "Progressive Conservative" Party. During the leadership campaign and this week's convention, Tory constantly referred to the party as the progressive Conservative, while Jim Flaherty refers to it as the "Conservative" party.
Oddly, the party website uses neither term. It refers only to the PC Party and I have a feeling that the party's name may have surreptitiously been changed to the Ontario PC Party. How fucking silly. I must check that.
Currently I'm watching the replay of John Tory's uninspiring convention speech. God I hate those thundery stick thingys. They shouldn't allow them in the convention hall.
What impresses me about Tory however, has nothing to do with the crappy speech, or his part in the 93 election. I like John Tory as a Bill Davis era Tory, a moderate who will take us away from the days when teachers, nurses, and other unionized professionals had an antagonistic relationship with the party.
In 1995, when Mike Harris led the Common Sense Revolution campaign, we had been out of power for 10 years, we had just seen 5 years of NDP rule in the province, and there was a lull in the infighting in the party (because one faction had near-complete control temporarily). In our minds, a Progressive Conservative government was about pragmatism. We had ruled the province since the days of my great grandfather's best friend, Leslie Frost, by doing what was best for the province and setting ideology aside.
After we lost power in 1985 though, a sharp division formed within the party, a division between those who thought we should follow ideology more strictly, and those who wanted to continue the course of pragmatism. The ideological faction, known as the "blues", referred to the "reds" as wishy washy, and many other unflattering names. I remember a letter that went out to certain party members in the early 90s that referred to the reds as "the enemy".
One thing that is next-to-impossible to do is to explain to an ideologue the value of pragmatism. All sinister references aside, it's like asking a member of the KKK to understand the value of living in harmony with minorities.

Anyway, after the 1995 win, all provincial Tories were happy to be back in power. The pragmatic reds (of which i was one) believed perhaps naively that Mike Harris would rule like Bill Davis. The first sign that something was wrong was when welfare payments in the province were reduced sharply. That was the beginning of the storm. Then came the teachers' strike, and the Opseu strike, and it was becoming obvious that it was not business as usual in this province.
Anyway, fast forward to 1994, and the division in the party is still evident, in the pragmatic, "Progressive Conservative" approach of John Tory, and in the ideological, "Conservative party" approach of Jim Flaherty.

It comes down to this weekend. In the words of the narrator of the Japanese-style tv show Banzai, "voting end now!"

Here's a development I wasn't expecting in the Hockey standoff.

According to an Ipsos-Reid poll commiossioned by the Globe, CTV, and TSN, 52 per cent of Canadians who were surveyed said they blame the players for the strike, while only 21 per cent laid the blame with the owners.

Half of those surveyed think that the NHL season will not go ahead. Well, duh...

And approximately 2/3 believe that there will be no permanent damage to the league if a strike or lockout delays the start of the season.

Without getting out my tea-leaves, which are packed away someplace, I'm not going to be able to make any predictions. I will say that it is silly to run a poll on who is to blame, when both sides are obviously to blame, for different reasons. And I can understand the positions that both sides are taking, however without going into detail right now I will say that I find myself agreeing with the League's analysis of the situation. Playing in the NHL is not a nasty occupation, and does not require remuneration in the millions of dollars. Not when the result helps lead to the loss of teams in smaller cities like Winnipeg and Quebec City.

As Forrest Gump would say: "and that's all I have to say about that."
Call it a lockout, a strike, a failure at the negotiating table, it sucks.
warning: this post contains references that may leave non-Canadians scratching their heads

I am referring to the NHL situation, and the announcement today by Gary Bettman (300k, 56k, audio, text)that the owners will not go ahead with this season without a bargaining agreement with the players.
This is a situation in which both sides are right and both are wrong. And both sides are trying to win the sympathy of the fans. From what I remember of the last NHL strike, the players' association was pretty successful at winning the hearts of the fans, as NHLPA hats and jerseys were selling like crazy.

So last night's game will be the last one for a while (BTW, yay Canada!!!). As Mario Lemieux and his teammates sat at the press conference after the game, I'm sure some of them had to be thinking about today. About how in less than 24 hours, Team Canada captain Mario Lemieux would be on the opposite side of the picket line, in his other role as owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins. It's likely that the Penguins players and their player rep will be more mute during this strike than those of other teams, due to their friendship with their owner and team-mate.

But elsewhere, it already looks like this could be a nasty one. Bettman came out swinging today, with remarks like
"When you look at the history, it is clear that this is a Union Leadership that negotiates only through confrontation, never looking forward to see what is needed or good for the game"
"This Union doesn't seem to care about the problems, the game or our fans."

NHLPA Executive Director Bob Goodenow replies:
"The Players remain prepared to negotiate a fair agreement with the Owners. But we need a negotiating partner who understands that agreements are the products of compromise. We do not have such a negotiating partner now.”

NHLPA President Trevor Linden says:
"The owners are only interested in negotiating a salary cap and will shutdown hockey if they don’t get their way. Five years ago they created a $300 million lockout fund. Now they have begun to lay off staff with more layoffs to come. The league is also engaged in a PR campaign to justify their lockout to fans."

So the situation looks bleak.. It's standard negotiating practice to start out tough, and there are likely to be more tough words in the coming days, as both sides try to justify their positions to fans who don't really care that much about the details, but are unhappy about the lack of hockey.
Maybe the CBC could have a weekly Saturday night program with Don Cherry and Ron Maclean in which they discuss the strike. It's easy to see how that would play out. Maclean, with his dislike for Gary Bettman, would come out meekly advocating the players' position, and Cherry, with his dislike of any players who whine that they don't make enough money, would come out on the side of the league, in his usual blustery style.

Or maybe the CBC could just air some old games from the 20s and 30s if they can find footage. That would be cool.

When is Andrew Coyne going to blog again?

I'm hardly a fan of his, although he seems fairly intelligent when he does Sunday Edition on CTV. The man is a fan of Stephen Harper and the Reform err.. Canadian Alliance, and -oh wait- I mean the new Conservative Party. His comment section is one of the busiest on the internet, populated with Canada-bashers, George Bush supporters, and the usual Reform Party riff-raff. His posts usually include negative comments about this country, and even when they don't he usually expresses some embarrassment about saying something nice about Canada.

He's the typical National Post columnist in other words.

Still, in the brief free moments I have in the morning while getting ready for work, his is among the blogs I like to skim over. So the question remains, where is he and when is he going to start blogging again?

Anniversary of 9/11 number 3. :-(
Oh crappy, I think my blog is broken. I edited it yesterday, did some major stuff, and it was working fine, just the way I wanted it to look.

Now I can't see my little right-handy linky bar, or more than one post at a time.

crappy crappy crappy


OK it's fine now. That was weird.
Harper buys a United Right

Political discussion, even when angry and bitter, can still be done with a degree of civility. My onetime arch-badguy, Terry Pearson, and I, found civility, after an extended period of non-civility (is that even a proper phrase) a few years ago, and we've been boring each other to death ever since (kidding). I deserve an award for my run-on sentences.

Anyway, I still like to poke fun at him from time to time, though he's not a bad guy. Today Terry (a former Reformer and CAer, ew) made a funny typo on his blog, and I can't help myself.

Referring to Stephen Harper, Terry says:

"Folks, this guy works very hard. He deserves a rest. He bought the right under one roof"

Hahahaha, do I smell a scandal a-brewing? Could this explain why I was not contacted to vote in my PC Party's referendum on whether to merge with the Canadian Alliance party, forming the new coalition of evil, known as the Conservative Party?

Once again, I go waaaay too far. Typos are typos.
Politics, lifestyle, and current events, with an R-Rated twist.

A new Blog, called NYHotties.com, has piqued my curiousity. It's written by a New Yorker named Alexa, and she discusses everything from the RNC convention delegates, to the recent US Open tennis championships, to being a "mindless corporate drone".
This is an extremely well-written blog, insightful and easy to read. It's so well written that her blog has found a permanent place on my links list to the right. But there's a twist. Alexa is a New York "escort'.

I wouldn't direct you to this or any site if it wasn't worth reading. Go. Now.
How to become Campaign Manager for the Kerry or the Bush team?

Step1: Be a Yank (oops, I'm out of the running already...)
Step2: Devote yourself to your party for, say, 20 years or so
Step3: Be smart (this is starting to look really bad for my chances)
Step4: Be a political friend of the candidate for several years prior

a) make sure you've never posed for Hustler,
b) never been caught murdering anyone
c) cannot have a conscience (that can't be right, "con science"?)

If you don't meet the rigid qualifications above, but still want the job, you can play this fun online game, in which you get to play campaign manager for the candidate of your choice. It's called Campaign Trail 2004, and you can play it by clicking here.

Summer's coming to a close and kids are back at school. When I was in school this used to be a melancholy time for me and probably everyone else who had just finished their 2.5 month summer vacation. 10 more months of school.

Now it's just another work-week for me, but somehow the Labour-day weekend still marks the end of summer for me. Time to get back to the normal routines, no more barbecues by the lake, fishing, etc. We Canadians tend to pack a year's worth of relaxation and happiness into two months each year.

I just can't believe I just used the word "melancholy" in a post. What am I turning retarded or something?
Terrorists kill 200 in Russian school

You're shocked. You're pissed. You're Russian. You want those behind this heinous act to be found.

Once the smoke clears, just remember the one thing that some in the US Administration forgot after 9/11. There will be an urge to seek revenge, but your next moves should be about justice. If you act in vengeance, you will fail. Terrorists are known as Freedom Fighters to those whose cause they support, and when you kill a terrorist, you only create more young terrorists.

So seek out those responsible, put them on trial before a jury of their peers. Don't make anyone suffer who was not responsible. We're with you.

When I say "we" in the above paragraph, I'm not sure exactly to whom I'm referring. I was just ranting and it sounded better than "I".
Continuing Warren Kinsella's theme for today, I got thinking about what I was doing 20 years ago today.

Before continuing reading this post, please get the song "Mad World" by Gary Jules into your head, as the background music to this post. To help jar your memory, it begins "All around me are familiar faces..."

It's strange how important events can magnify our memories of what we were doing when...., for instance many people remember what they were doing when they learned JFK was shot or when the Challenger exploded.

For me, it was a strange period in my life 20 years ago. On August 10, 1984, i was in a bad accident and left paralyzed (only for a few weeks), and spent the rest of the year in hospitals. On September 4, 1984, I was a patient in Toronto at the OCCC (Ontario Crippled Children's Centre), later known as the Hugh MacMillan Medical Centre, and now the Bloorview MacMillan Centre or something similar. I was 16 years old, and sitting in the common room, having taken over control of the television so I could watch the CBC election night coverage. I was a strange 16 year old I guess.

Anyway, all around me were children with diseases like Spina Bifida, MS, missing limbs, and other ailments. So far as I know, I am the only person to have ever been a patient in that hospital and make a complete recovery to live as a normal adult. I know I'm getting off-track here a bit but sometimes it's amazing how easily children can learn to cope with new situations. My first day in that hospital I sat with my mom having lunch, looking around me at other kids drooling all over themselves, and thinking "is this my life now?". Within a month I had made friends, figured out how to break into the research wing of the hospital on weekends (and send the elevator down so all my pals in wheelchairs could come up to that floor too and join me in my explorations of that forbidden zone), and I had also started dating a girl my age who was gorgeous with a great body, except was born missing legs below knees and no hands.

Years later, now I've moved to Toronto and have been living here for 5 years, and it makes me a bit sad that I have no way to contact any of the kids I was friends with way back then. I'd really love to see some of them again, including Mike something, a hilarious comic, standing all of 2 feet 9 inches.

But back to my story. On Aug 12, 1984, Brian Mulroney was scheduled to make a campaign stop near my home, and I had been looking forward to that, but of course 2 days before that date was when I had my accident. So this Tiny Tory was pretty happy on Sept 4, 1984, when CBC's election results over the night were so completely favourable to my party (I think it was 211 seats we won that night). I was so excited I even managed to ignore the teenage boy in front of me with some brain problem, stretched out and drooling on a gurney, wearing a cast that covered the entire lower half of his body, and who had somehow figured out how to get his hand into the cast and who was quite obviously masturbating and making some loud grunting sounds while he did it.

I remember being thrilled when I saw my own name splashed across the screen, as a candidate named Michael Wilson won his Toronto-area seat. I was in the nurses' station later the next day, the same day Warren Kinsella started law school. I was discussing the election results, and I made a comment that now that I (meaning Mike Wilson) had been elected, maybe I would become Finance Minister and give all the nurses a raise. I was half right anyway.