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Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

The Political Dream

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Priorities in Context

Why on earth would swim times matter?  Why would anything about the rapist matter?

Swim times are a measurement of performance, of individual, competitive success.  This is what we judge people by - their ability to perform, to compete, to get ahead of others.  

This is the kind of success we say matters.  It's the kind of success we encourage.  Work hard, train hard, fight hard, know what you want and get it.  Get to yes, always be closing.  If you're not tough enough, aggressive enough, then you are a failure.  No one wants to hire you.  No one wants to care about you.

It's the lesson everyone who puts people before profit gets told, again and again and again.  You don't make money because you don't demand it.  You're not selling yourself enough, you're not pushing hard enough.  

Your swimming times aren't fast enough for anyone to care about you, and that's all they care about - not what you do, what you're willing and able to do to succeed.

Of course, this doesn't mean rape.  Apples and oranges, right?  Rape might be about power and dominance, about aggressively asserting yourself over someone else and taking what you want, but that's not the self-first, sell-hard, always-be-closing lessons meant to be about.

Yet the swim times get mentioned, don't they?  They always do.

It's a bit like getting mad about war, but selling weapons anyway.  Clearly, the provision of weapons is in no way shape or form connected to the use of weapons, right?

Tuesday, 7 June 2016


Settlement services in Canada are great.  Just ask them.  The policy and plans that guide them are equally perfect - just ask the government.

The risk of this happening is clearly not evident in this.  That's stretching things.

Besides, everyone is doing research - the lay of the land is clear, thank you very much. Methodologies aren't broken, or people wouldn't keep using them.

To this point Mark expressed concern that CIC lacked transparency in these decisions and implemented the caps on sponsorship with little consultation with the individuals and groups the decisions would impact. 

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Let Them Eat Condos!

Not too hard to read between the lines here.

More people are struggling to buy exorbitantly-priced homes.  The basic dream of settling in a house, having a family, having a garden or a garage to putter in - that's increasingly out of reach for many, especially younger professionals.

They want what their parents had, what their grandparents had, what they may have experienced in their youth - an owned home and the security and flexibility that comes with it.

There are less well-paying jobs, much less job-security, is getting harder to come by in Canada, especially in big cities like Toronto.  You ran hustle twice as hard, work twice as much as the previous generation and still fall behind the home-ownership dream.  

It's very frustrating.  

Especially when youth are told that they simply need to "get over" the fact that the world is different than it was for their parents, and that expectations about security and ownership and all of that need to adapt.  "Accept that you're going to get less for more," the line seems to be - "so we can reduce the risk to the financial system."

Which feels a bit like a pollster blaming the people for poor results, not their methodology.

Is it smart long-term strategy to make it harder for people to settle down and start making investments in their future - like houses, or cars, or kids, or their theoretical kids; education?  

Especially when the people making these tough choices on behalf of the under-resourced have no financial pressures of their own, because holding the levers of the wealth of others pays pretty decently?

Where are the commiserate pressure on employers, on VC, on grantors?  What's the lateral repercussion in terms of money spent, productivity decreased, innovation lost, health costs increased?

The pressures being placed on the "middle class" and the growing percentage of those below it doesn't make them more competitive - it makes them more frustrated, concerned, and irrational.

All of this is a very short-term strategy creating more problems than it is solving.  You can't reduce gains, increase pressures, increase time commitments, place dreams further out of reach or tell people to stop even hoping they can acquire what you have, because that isn't the way the world works.

There are clear consequences when you do.

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

I'd Tweak Warren's #9

Ideas?  Absolutely.

From the leader, though?  From the backroom folk?  That's not really the conservative brand, is it? That brand is about avoiding the nanny state and giving agency to Canadians proper, isn't it?

Trudeau is a likeable leader, a strong presence, and - if the Tories frame him the right way - a bit of an autocrat.  

The way to counter this, carve out turf and actually do right by the country isn't to have a Britannica of ideas to sell the nation, but to develop a Wikiplatform where Canadians can express their own hopes and dreams, challenge each other's narratives, explore options and then map everything out to see where their are gaps to be addressed.

Happens to tie into one of the Harper government's narratives, too, and could help reframe some of Canada's concerns about that era.

Just sayin'...

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

God's Starship

There is a beautiful hadith sharrif saying "when my servant fixes what's between Me and him, I will fix everything between him and the rest of creation."

An observant Muslim friend of mine and I have an ongoing discussion about religion, traditions and why a God would have need of veneration.

I maintain that the rituals and practices of religions - everything from cleansing rituals to the giving of thanks to the following of commandments - are of clear benefit to humans.   

You clean before you eat so as not to get sick.  The giving of thanks is the earliest form of CBT; days of rest are mandated holidays where people can charge their batteries.  Commandments and such are like any law - designed for the good of the commons.  A driver may talk on his phone while driving and ignore a stop sign and kill a pedestrian, oops - if they aren't mindful.  And we do tend to be mindful of consequence.

It's not always easy for parents to explain the complex, long-term benefit (or harm-reduction) of some activities; ultimately, the best parents lead by example and nurture a relationship whereby the child, or the pupil, exchanges compliance for recognition.  The beneficial act is given to make the parent or teacher proud before it is recognized how that the act helps the learner grow into their own.

For their part, the parent, the teacher or the leader is the true servant, giving of themselves to an individual for something greater than themselves.

Moon shots bring people together - they are magnetic attractors, the visionaries behind them stones in the soup.  The best ones recognize that the leader and the vision are all really about just one thing - bringing people together on common ground, and providing them a direction.

God doesn't need homage.  Allah doesn't need a starship.  

Humans do, though - both as vessel for the journey and home for a community.

Therein lies the secret.

Sunlight fell upon the wall; the wall received a borrowed splendor. Why set your heart on a piece of earth, O simple one? Seek out the source which shines forever. 
- Rumi