Babel-on-the-Bay: The bother of bitumen.

It should be made clear: bitumen is not oil. Distilled, bitumen becomes asphalt pitch, refined it can become synthetic oil. Bitumen is not ‘heavy oil’ and it is a lengthy, highly polluting process to convert Canada’s Athabasca tar sands into synthetic oil. While we can compute the hundreds of billions of barrels of potential oil ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Honouring Canadian accomplishments.

We need to do a better job of recognizing real accomplishments by Canadians. We have people in this country who commit heroic deeds, overcome seemingly impossible obstacles, show unexpected leadership, excel in the arts and sometimes commit random acts of kindness. We need to find appropriate and balanced ways to better recognize these Canadians. We ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: July 1, 2013, Canada is 410 years young.

From that first explorer’s trip against the current of the St. Lawrence River, Canada began the transition to a country. And our ancestors came to build it. We were the detritus of Europe, the scoundrels of Asia, the displaced of Africa and we created a new north for the Americas. We have created a homeland ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Why is Ontario buying into by-elections?

By-elections are sometimes fun but the five coming up in Ontario will be a serious waste of time and money. Why are we doing it? What will we prove? All five electoral districts were formerly held by Liberals. They are Liberal seats to lose. If the Liberals lose just one, does that mean that the ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Big Brother blows the bitumen bugle.

When you live in a country where most of the news media is controlled by friends of the government, do you think you should believe all the news? Do you believe that Big Brother loves you? Do you believe that the managed media are on your side? Do you believe that the large corporations who ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Babel backs a ballot bollix.

A year ago, there was an interesting meeting with the City Clerk in Babel. A very charming and knowledgeable person, she was generous with her time and interested in the subject of the meeting. It was about the voting system used for Babel municipal elections. It was suggested to the Clerk that Babel had some ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: And that must be the length of it.

When you are always intending to write something about blogs and finally get around to it, you wonder why. As a blogger, you should be able to say something positive about the practice. It is neither illegal nor immoral, we hope. The fact is that most bloggers are cranky egotists. And if you want all ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: The delayed masquerade of the Tories.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been saved by the rain on the plain. With Calgary recovering from serious flood conditions, it is no time for a Conservative Convention. Stephen Harper must think that God is smiling on him. If he had his way, the convention would never happen. He does not need it.  He probably ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Does that mean he “Coyned” it?

It was National Post political columnist Andrew Coyne who used the term. He wrote that “Toryism, in its current incarnation, resembles less an ideology than a pathology.” If too many Conservatives look up those big words, Post Media Publisher Paul Godfrey will be getting demands to fire Coyne. Obviously this guy is smarter than he ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Harper’s homeboy, Hudak.

Ontario television viewers saw a new attack advertisement the other day. It looked like another attack advertisement by the Conservatives. And it was. It was just not by the federal Conservatives but by our Conservative Lights in Ontario. Even so, why does it not work the same? The Ontario Conservatives must have been so impressed ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Some summer talking points for Justin.

There was a wonderful picture of Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and resigning MP Bob Rae as they walk down a corridor in the Centre Block of Parliament the other day. The picture was of the two men from the rear. You did not need the caption to tell you who they are. They had their ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Babel Backward has an editor?

It came as a surprise when reading all the self-congratulatory stories in the Babel Backward (our name for the Toronto Star’s local grocery-flyer wrap, Barrie Advance). We found out that the credit for exposing the Prime Minister’s Office to the ridicule it deserved is being claimed by the publication’s editor in chief. This is the ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: A thoughtful farewell to Bob Rae.

This is not a form of eulogy. We will probably have Bob Rae to kick around for some time to come. He was never our favourite Premier of Ontario. He and his provincial treasurer were suckered by that so-and-so Tom d’Aquino from the Business Council and Bob’s administration went down and out the door because ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Playtime at the PMO.

Who is running things in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO)? They are acting like out-of-control children and they need an adult hand on the helm. The communications people are not only acting juvenile, careless and gullible but they do not appear to know very much about the news media. Would you believe anyone with a ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: But how was Harper’s golf score?

Hopefully, Prime Minister Stephen Harper had a better golf score than German Chancellor Angela Merkel. It really does not make sense for the world leaders to meet at a golf course in Northern Ireland and not play a round. Surely they all know that all work and no play makes Johnny dull. Not that it ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Tim Hudak is not always wrong.

Just because you wish someone was not there does not make him go away. It is almost as though Kathleen Wynne and her Ontario Liberals do not know what to do about Opposition Leader Tiny Tim Hudak. It is not that Timmy is an in-your-face type of guy. He is more like a yapping dog ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Look good and lie a lot: Tory Action Plan.

It is good to hear that some think tanks are taking a hard look at the Conservative government’s Economic Action Plan. They act surprised. What seems to puzzle the academics is that the Conservatives are spending more taxpayers’ money on the advertising than they are on the programs. Those of us who took the trouble ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Wow, so you want to vote for Chow.

MP Olivia Chow’s campaign for the Toronto mayoralty might be peaking too soon. Any political apparatchik can tell you that the time for a campaign to peak is when people are heading for the polls—not more than a year ahead. The municipal election rules say nobody can campaign for election to city council before registering ...

The Scott Ross: Wynne-ing Like It’s 2006…And Losing Like It’s 2008

Today Ontario Liberals chose their next leader, but if 2006 is any indication, they might have just chosen their next loser. Similarities between Kathleen Wynne’s recent victory in the Ontario leadership race and Stephane Dion’s in the federal Liberal leadership contest in 2006 suggest a just as similar electoral future. Old, Tired Parties: It was ...

The Scott Ross: Science Shows Progressives Aren’t Science-Based

Most progressives claim to be science-based, but in their opposition to Motion 312, science ironically proves they’re not. Unless a party somewhere has Newton’s Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica as their platform, no political organization is science-based. If any Liberal or New Democrat wants to be part of an institution with a scientific foundation they should ...

The Scott Ross: The Unpopular Reason To Support A Popular Trudeau

Voting for a celebrity because he is a celebrity may sound superficial but it is made all the more substantial by the changing context of Canadian politics. Party membership in developed countries has been declining for years, surveys have shown that voters are identifying less with parties and more with specific causes. For a party ...

The Scott Ross: How Reducing The GST Increased Your Debt

With declining productivity, higher unemployment, and deficit after deficit, it should be obvious the Canadian government would do anything to strengthen the economy, however it is not so obvious what that same government has done to weaken it. In a 2008 report it was predicted that the Conservative government in lowering the GST from 7% ...

The Scott Ross: Layton’s Last Words Were First Laurier’s

“Faith is better than doubt and love is better than hate.” – Sir Wilfrid Laurier, 1918 “Love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear.” – Jack Layton, 2011 A year after Jack Layton’s untimely passing, the presence of the former NDP Leader is still felt across Canada, ironically however it is in his ...

The Scott Ross: The Difference In Popularity Between NDP & Its Principles

How could the Conservatives or the Liberals weaken the New Democratic Party? Show Canadians what New Democrats stand for, the end of capitalism. Because both Conservatives and Liberals have for so long ignored the NDP’s first principle, socialism, it may seem like an exaggeration to ordinary Canadians that the orange wave wants to sink Canada’s ...

The Scott Ross: Old Incumbent Liberal MPs Are A Problem

Only 4% of NDP MPs and 7% of Conservative MPs have been in Parliament since 1999 compared to 40% of Liberal MPs. If the Liberal Party needs to change, it needs to start with its MPs. The Liberal Party’s main problem is it’s old. It’s few MPs are the oldest and the longest serving, indicating ...