Babel-on-the-Bay: A tale of the Hair and the hog.

The Hair and hairdresser are heading for Mexico next. It will be a meeting of the three heads of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Prime Minister Stephen Harper will hardly feel the love that he did in Israel. President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico has every reason to be angry with Harper. And ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: And the best of luck in Thornhill.

Today, February 13 is hard lesson day for Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne. Despite the reasonably good turnout at advance polls, there is no rationale for neophyte Premier Wynne to anticipate anything good from her ill-timed, ill-considered by-elections. She can probably write off the previously Liberal electoral district of Niagara Falls. Former MPP Kim Craitor is ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: A mean and meaningless federal budget.

The arrogance of the Harper Conservatives knows no bounds. Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty delivered a budget with such a thin veneer of civility yesterday that he could do nothing more afterwards but say wait until next year. This 2014 budget was cynical, shallow, untruthful and an insult to the Canadian people. If you want ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Who does Canada Revenue Agency work for?

It is law that you cannot be a registered charity and indulge in strictly political activities. Back when that law was passed by a Liberal government, it was met with laughter in some quarters and the charities just carried on as before. With most health charities, it was easy to show that the political activities ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: John Tory, ready to rumble in Toronto.

It is now obvious that broadcaster John Tory is going to jump into the Toronto mayoralty. He gave up the news on Global Television’s Focus Ontario over the weekend. And he had no need to answer host Alan Carter’s snide introduction as “Soon to announce for the Toronto mayoralty, John Tory.” In fact, one of ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Let the games begin. Please.

What do ballet, the opening ceremonies at the Sochi Winter Games and Russian winters have in common? They are too long, too dreary and too boring. You almost expected to see a camera shot of President for Life Putin fast asleep. And the silliest expectation was the Russians giving the CBC’s Peter Mansbridge a script ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: These shoes aren’t made for budgets.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty bought new shoes the other day. It is part of the traditional run-up to delivering a federal budget. Somehow, he found one of the last companies in Canada still making shoes. He bought an inexpensive pair of steel-capped safety shoes. He is going to need them for the kind of budget ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Ontario’s Beer Store fights back.

There was a robocall from The Beer Store the other day. The cheap bastards would not spend a nickel to call in person. They sent a recording to do a man’s job. (That is not sexist, it was a man’s voice.) They want to talk with Ontario beer drinkers and gin bottle returners about the ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: No support here for Royal Victoria Hospital.

They must be Babel’s most successful thieves. They are the parking meters and parking lot gate machines at our local hospital. The amount hospital visitors have to pay to park is disgusting. It is nothing more than a tax on our health and love and caring. It is bad medicine. And something needs to be ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Tories seek to subvert Elections Canada.

Having crossed swords with Elections Canada in the past, it is easy to understand the Conservative disdain for the bureaucrats of Elections Canada. What we should question is the desire of the Harper government to add another layer of bureaucracy to what is already glacier-like policing of elections. Instead of taking four to six years ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Saving the NDP—and the Senate?

It took some digesting. Long-time New Democrat Robin Sears tried his hand in the Toronto Star the other day at damning Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau while hoping to rescue NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair. As a long-time Liberal Party apparatchik, we can only admire Sears’ pluck in taking on the task. And as a fellow public ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Are we just self-appointed hall monitors?

It takes years of writing a blog to realize what you are really doing. You do not want to be a nag, but you are. You are not just a writer desperate for an editor—but oh how you need one! You sat down at the computer this morning with the concept of being a hall ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Revving up the Keystone pipeline controversy.

It is called doublespeak. Bureaucrats use it to leave themselves open to whatever their political bosses prefer to do. They have not said yes and they have not said no. The American State Department issued its Final Environmental Impact Statement on the last day of January and leaves everyone in the same state as they ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Trashing the tacky of tradition.

Speaking of mixed metaphors! Thinking of trashing Conrad Black over his recent bereavement brought to mind both the BBC’s Downton Abbey series and musical  Fiddler on the Roof. It really takes both to put Conrad Black in perspective. Downton Abbey is a period piece despite the fact that it was only 100 years ago. It ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Don’t send a cop to do a politician’s job.

Julian Fantino is in trouble again. Prime Minister Stephen Harper is so bereft of talent in his Conservative Party ranks in Ottawa that he felt he had to give former Toronto and Ontario top cop Fantino the Veterans’ Affairs portfolio. That choice could haunt Harper long after he is thrown out of office by an ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Harper has his hair, Trudeau has balls.

Canadians now know the definitive difference between Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau. And it is not just that Trudeau takes action and Harper takes your money. Harper only talks about Senate reform; Trudeau does something about Senate reform. He has kicked the Liberal Senators out of the Liberal Caucus. He did ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: In Ontario, if it is worth doing, do half.

Premier Kathleen Wynne and her government have a unique approach to solving Ontario problems. If and when enough of the right people have told them that something needs to be fixed, they form a committee of the right sort of people to study the situation and await the committee’s recommendations. This method of running Ontario ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Welcome back, Mr. Harper and the Sweathogs.

In the late 1970s American TV sitcom, Welcome back, Kotter, the character played by comedian Gabe Kaplan returned to his old high school to teach a remedial class of misfits. Somehow, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Senate misfits seem to be replaying the series. They are not only almost as funny but the various players ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: The might, the right and the fight.

Back in the 1800s when Oliver Mowat was Premier of Ontario, he had his best fights not with his provincial opponents but with the federal government. His skill as a politician and his knowledge of how to pick his fights kept him in the premier’s office for 24 years. It is fascinating today to watch ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Measuring the generation factor.

Pollsters must pull their hair about it. They cannot get reliable readings on the under 30s. They are not sure they understand the mindset. These young people are not easy to survey. The pollsters know that this age group will be a major factor in the next federal election but they remain amorphous. Politicos agree ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: By-elections that matter to the news media.

It is all part of the game with the news media. It is their opportunity to interfere in events. When it comes to reporting on politics, the news media and their pals, the pollsters, are combatants, not spectators. And they relish the role. Consider their positions in the current provincial by-elections. There is much pontificating ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: It is all in the flag you carry.

It was wonderful to hear that Hayley Wickenheiser will be carrying the Canadian flag at the Sochi Winter Games. The four-time medal winner in women’s hockey will be tall and proud with the pride of carrying our flag. But there seems to be a flag missing in the planning for Sochi that needs to make ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: The hollow triumph of Jean Chrétien.

They lionized former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien the other evening. Many Conservatives were there to honour him. Not all liberals attended. Some could not afford the $400 per plate tab. Some even disagreed with him being a great prime minister. It did not always seem that he was doing the best he could. There was ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: What does the Hair know about anti-Semitism?

Prime Minister Stephen Harper was born too late. There was little left of the anti-Semitism of the 1930’s and 40s in Toronto when he was born in 1959. He lacked the opportunity to learn first hand what it means. He had no understanding of the images he was using when his talk to the Knesset ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: A not quite raging argument on royalty?

Always looking for material pro or con the royals, there was a web site discovered the other day that looked like a goldmine of liberal thought on Canada’s relationship with the monarchy. The immediate disappointment was that the last posting was over a year ago. Regrettably the search was in the Liberal Party of Canada ...