Category Archives: Canadiana

The Mad Max vote

This election, in fact in tomorrows advance voting I am casting a ballot for my local People’s Party of Canada candidate, Maxime Berniers bunch of outsiders. I would urge my fellow Canadians to do likewise. Yet, I hear you ask, why should you vote for a party loaded with bigots, racists whateverophobes and whatever cheap label being tossed around by their opponents?

I’ll give you my reasons and see if anyone agrees with me or not in a sort of dialogue format.

But first; this could be a defining moment for Canada. A different path, away from the cronyism of the Tories and Liberals. A reasonable vision where people who want to be Canadian are welcome and those just looking for a hand out instead of a hand up aren’t. And Max Bernier and his policies are for the little guy. Both the Tories and Trudeau’s Liberals are often been seen to be in the pockets of multinationals, can’t speak for the Greens or NDP, but their instincts are similar, geared ever more toward ever more state control over the lives on individuals. They want the Godzilla of big government trampling over everything, killing necessary infrastructure projects and the employment they would bring to many. Like the Obama administration tried to do. See this cartoon here. Just change Key XL for Trans Mountain and Obama for the Trudeau Liberals trampling Alberta, the energy hub of Canada.

Yeah Bill, but isn’t that Mickey Barmpot just a fascist with a Quebec accent?

No. I would argue he’s less of a fascist than all the rest because fascism is all about state control and race purity. Max and his fellow travellers want to give the power of the one, the power of the individual back to the individual. That’s less state control and he’s publicly stated that he doesn’t care about skin colour or where you came from, but he does believe in the Canadian charter of rights. You know, freedom of speech, conscience and expression within the law. All that old fashioned stuff my parents and friends fought and sometimes died for. In other words, the PPC are all say and do what you like so long as you don’t physically hurt other people. Is that fascism? Doesn’t sound like it to me. If you think that in any way looks like national socialism, maybe you need to do a bit more reading of books instead of burning them.

Yeah, his policies on immigration, that’s just spreading hate isn’t it?

I hear a lot of things coming out of Max Bernier and none of them even remotely resemble hate. Mild exasperation with an abused system perhaps, but not hate. He said he wants a conversation with Canadians about immigration, but that’s not hating anyone, that’s about being a bit more choosy who we let in. We’ve already got widespread gang crime and murders on the streets by migrants. As a recent immigrant myself, I would be interested in ensuring the safety of the people who already live here, not bringing people in from places where tolerance and freedom aren’t societal norms. Just dumping random people wholesale into what for them is an alien culture also isn’t fair on them and it’s definitely not fair on the locals.

Look Bill, he’s just an anti-gay bigot and white supremacist, that’s a fact.

WTF are you on? No he isn’t. I think he actually cares about individual liberty. No-one, apart from a few knuckledraggers really care about what other people do in the privacy of their own bedrooms. I think Max and friends want free people to prosper and thrive, providing Government lets them. If that means sometimes certain people who lead with their emotional chins get their delicate feelings hurt, well sorry chaps, perhaps you need a thicker skin. As for this lefty shibboleth of calling people ‘white supremacists’ when they are most definitely not, that’s firstly overt racism, and secondly it’s so far wrong it’s on the other side of the reality curve coming back on itself. No-one outside of the political bubble believes that nonsense anyway. There’s just no proof. Apart from the racists who keep on yapping that it’s ‘White supremacy’. That kind of talk is just a cynical cover for asset stripping the productive citizen to buy votes from the not so productive. Just like all the talk of ‘Democratic Socialism’. ‘Taxing the rich’ has a long and inglorious track record of watching the smart money disappear like the Cheshire Cat and the greater burden to fall on the middle and working classes who lack the ability to move jurisdictions.

I hear what you say Bill, so shouldn’t we elect the NDP or Greens instead?

Are you out of your tiny mind? The NDP and Greens want more Government control over you and yours. Do you want your life to be inexpertly ordered by people who need a good run up to be half wits? Seriously?

But-but, Bernier’s like Trump, a denier of climate change, aren’t we all going to burn up in twelve years if we don’t shut down our carbon emissions and stop having children?

Okay, here’s my take on the so-called ‘problem’ of man made climate change; we’ve been told for at least the last fifty years that the Earth is doomed unless we stop living wealthy and responsible lifestyles. In the 70’s it was global cooling, the glaciers were going to march over Africa and everyone would have to move to Tahiti. In the late 80’s the ‘scientists’ told us we were all going to boil and drown by the year 2000. Well I just went out on my deck at lunchtime and the temperature is in single figures, the forest fires haven’t choked the sky orange like in 2018, so I guess all that flammable underbrush the Greenies kick up a stink about leaving in place hasn’t grown back enough yet. Up here in BC we’ve had few forest fires compared with last year and it’s not been that warm a Summer compared with previous years. The jet streams have shifted south, so we’re going to have a lot more cold and windy weather this Winter.

Look at it this way. On a purely practical level ‘Carbon emissions’ (Which are an estimate, BTW) don’t seem to make a spit of difference to the weather. As for major weather events, compared with accounts from the 1890’s and 1930’s this is a comparatively mild climatic phase we’re in at present. I can also tell you from a personal perspective that the air is a lot cleaner, even in the industrial heartlands where I first worked. Even in the mid 1990’s the diesel fumes just south of London’s Tower Bridge often used to give me rotten headaches. When I was there last year, the Thames breezes were little tainted by such pollution. London felt like a different city.

As for not having children. Yeah, go ahead, give yourself a Darwin award. Not passing on your genes to the next generation means there will be no one to pay for your frail dotage apart from immigrants with large extended families, whose taxes may well not be able to afford to keep you in the style to which you wish to become accustomed on a state pension. I won’t be around to see it, but you well might. I’ve seen real poverty, living off the limited largesse of the state and it ain’t pretty. Which is why Mrs S and I have invested and saved, allowing extra for inflation. When we die, our kids will have a significant financial boost to help their children through college. Unless some politician siphons it all off to pay for worthless boondoggles and vote buying. If that vote is worth anything when the globalists have had their way.

So yes. I’m voting PPC this election. The other parties can kiss my cosi fan tutte.

Amazing stories

The older I get, the more amazed I become at some of the strange stuff that much of humanity calls cognition. Of late I’ve noticed that certain millennial females, in an attempt to appear ‘nicer than thou’ behave in ways that are positively dangerous to other road users. One occasion was when I was waiting to enter a traffic island (Many Canadian drivers here on Vancouver Island understand traffic islands like they understand cornering, lane discipline or changing gear – the answer is that they don’t), when a female driver stopped and waved me in front of her, which I could not at first see because of reflections on her windscreen and side windows. There was no-one behind her and more than enough room to allow me to slot in behind to take my turn. Yet when I opened my side window and waved her to go past, firstly because I like potential road hazards in front of me where I can see them, secondly because the rule with traffic islands is to give way to traffic already on the traffic island. In return she got mad and shouted, then gave me the finger, simply because I did not want her behind me. There was plenty of room, no need to get irate, yet she blew up.

Similarly, I was travelling the back roads a few days ago when I came across a local transit bus (Not a school bus – different rules apply) sitting at a stop with it’s hazards blinking just before a blind right hand bend. The car in front came to a sudden stop which I almost missed because their brake lights weren’t working, forcing me to pull a full on, brake screeching jamming on of anchors, I did something I rarely do, which was hit my horn to warn them of this ill-timed behaviour. This appeared to annoy the driver, who had pulled up to allow two cyclists, who were blocked from my line of sight by the now-stopped car blocking the road in front and the bus itself, to cross a fast country road on foot. The car driver gave me the finger. Then proceeded to drive at under thirty kmh for the next two kilometres, all the time favouring me with rude gestures, until she thankfully turned off. In my book the driver and the bus driver should have moved on to let the cyclists cross safely at their own discretion. Instead the virtue signallers created a problem which need not have existed and thus a deal of raised blood pressure. Not to mention that crossing the road from in front of a large parked vehicle is something I was taught at my mother’s knee was a bloody silly thing to do and likely to be terminally bad for your health.

Now I don’t know about you dear reader, but all this trying to show how ‘nice’ you are on the road is positively dangerous. Having checked my copy of the Canadian Highway code, yes, I had it right. Both drivers, both female, both in their late twenties, were in the wrong. They had also taken it amiss because one road user at least found their behaviour somewhat counter intuitive. For ‘counter intuitive’ read dumb as a bag of rocks. I see a lot of this. People too focused on trying to appear pleasant, but when encountering even the slightest objection, go into complete meltdown. I’ve even come across this standing at the roadside, waiting for Mrs S to catch up before crossing. I’ll be waiting at the roadside for my wife, head turned away, body language indicating that I’m not going to move any time soon, only to have some grinning bozo beeping their horn, waving at me to cross from behind a windscreen that is more or less a mirror, then getting all irate when I wave them on. It’s all so very passive aggressive.

Now I’m a well travelled man. I’ve driven all around Europe, the USA, Britain and Australia, but nowhere else in this big wide world have I come across this “Don’t you dare not let me be what I think of as nice to you” attitude. If you want to annoy a suburban western Canadian or urban Ontarian female, just tell them you don’t think that they’re as nice as they claim. Believe me, there is nothing more likely to enrage the entitled than having this one petty hypocrisy called out. White hot humour failure will be immediate, often followed by disproportionately spiteful and petty acts against you which ultimately benefit no-one. Canadians as a whole may have this reputation for being pleasant and charitable, but in major urban populations this attitude only runs skin deep, if that.

It’s almost a mirror image of what is going on online, where people who disagree with a given viewpoint are subject to disproportionate displays of virulent hatred, even to the point of being hounded out of their job. Which is a bit rich, or rather not, as kicking an able worker out for merely expressing an opinion is a shot in the foot all round. Considering it may be only one actual person really put mildly out of sorts by such an opinion, the rest of the outrage being amplified by a form of cognitively-impaired drone network. The loss of service of a key employee will probably be far greater and impact not only the organisation so targeted, but also the people served by that body of people and those within it. Not to mention the desire for vengeance from the person thus persecuted for so little reason. Hence the saying I was taught as a boy; “If you would seek vengeance – first dig two graves.”

Now the political pendulum is swinging ponderously rightwards, certain people should be quaking in their little pink booties in fear of the wrecking ball they used without provocation upon others has begun the long ponderous sweep in their direction. Yea in the words of my head librarian, Igor the badly stitched; “What cometh around, goeth around. Oh yeth.”

You can’t say that!

Well, apparently that’s what the fascist Trudeau and his soi-disant ‘Liberal’ party are saying (Yes they are genuinely fascist, their policies tick all the boxes). Christ on a bike these people are dumber than something which is totally devoid of rational reasoning. Like a rock that’s really lost it’s raison d’etre and subsequently all self-respect. Apparently getting someone’s sex wrong is now a criminal offence, as is saying mean words to certain protected classes. Not that I would, but the ‘courts’ that try these cases tend to ignore any defence and automatically drop a ‘guilty’ verdict upon a simple denouncement. Where are we? Soviet sodding Russia? Bugger. I used to think Canada was a civilised country. I was wrong.

Well fuck it dear hearts. I wish to say that I am now truly, completely radicalised. The finger of blame for this radicalisation should be pointed at the globalist authoritarians like Trudeau’s Liberals, the NDP, the Green Party, Andrew Scheer’s ‘conservatives’ and all the left leaning media outlets with their continuous barrage of anti-Canadian propaganda. They have forced me into an action I never thought I’d find myself performing ever again. Yup. I’ve gone and joined a political party. A party that is for freedom of expression, the right to bear legal firearms, for fairness between the provinces and less supply chain management, which keeps Canadian grocery prices artificially high. Oh yes, and they’re for dumping the Trudeau imposed ‘carbon’ tax too. See their party platform here.

The Maxime Bernier led People’s Party of Canada. The only rational choice. All the rest are about crushing the freedom of the individual Canadian and keeping their rich sponsors on the gravy train.

If I was still in the UK I’d have probably joined the BREXIT party. Although I will be making a donation in cash next time I’m over in Autumn. I’m still a UK passport holder and citizen. I’m registered to vote, so why the hell not?

Now, you lefty bar stewards. See what you’ve gone and done? Hope you’re bloody happy.

If the tinfoil hat fits…

…goes the adapted saying – wear it  In other words, if it looks like a duck and quacks, it’s likely of the genus anatidae. So it is with the mainstream media. Be it the Trump – Russia collusion hysteria, or all the fuss over BREXIT and the Christchurch shooter. Nowhere have I ever seen so much conspiracy theory hogwash portrayed as fact by so-called ‘reputable’ news outlets. North of the border here in the not so frozen north it’s worse. The news media, apart from the National Post, who are kind of milquetoast Conservatives, is almost overwhelmingly pro Justine Trudeau.

Privately, the public at large are less than convinced. Hence this screenshot of a very accurate flowchart someone drew about the SNC-Lavallin affair, where the Trudeau Liberals literally changed the law to keep some of their mates out of clink.
Quite apropos, n’est-ce pas? As they say in Quebec. Well, it made me smile.

Localised cooling

We’ve had yet another bout of snow last night. Nothing much, it just looks worse than it is. A couple more inches. Still, it’s been rather chilly of late, with the outside thermometer dipping well below zero Celsius most days. Not double digit low, but getting there. But hey, it’s Winter. Nothing really out of the ordinary for this time of year. Maybe a tad chillier, but then we haven’t been getting the sixty below recently experienced in Minneapolis and the Midwest USA. I think we may have hit minus ten Celsius last night if you factor in the wind chill from a Pacific storm that plonked itself unceremoniously on the region just after midnight.

Have just had the mixed pleasure of spending five figures of my own money on stocks and shares. An act which brings the shared assets of Mrs S and I closer to the magical seven figure mark. Which is quite good. We’ve effectively doubled the amount we both started with, which is nice. Far better than property and far less risky. To me, buildings are just non-realisable assets, or as I like to call them ‘dead money’. I’ve been a landlord and quite frankly the only way you really make money is capital gain over a ten year term (Don’t even think about the repair and maintenance costs). We’re not quite due a 1991 or 2008 event where property prices take a massive hit, leaving many with what is called ‘negative equity’ for five or more years, where the value of the property is less than the outstanding loan to pay for it. Our cousins down south refer to this financial state as ‘underwater’. A state I am taking great pains never to be caught in. Others have, and they have my sympathy. It’s easy to be smug when you’re doing well, but I’ve lived too long and hard to remember that the only difference between me and a poorer person is paying careful attention to my finances, squirrelling my gains away and not going crazy when lady luck is (Very rarely) generous. Yes I’m dull, but better dull than destitute.

There’s an interesting story bubbling up about the Trudeau regime intervening in a court case (SNC Lavallin). See Conservative MP’s little video below. If what she says is true then the suckers of Liberal Party corruption are firmly wrapped around the pillars of power in Ottawa. Not only that but it already looks like all the lobbying and crony capitalism has paid off. The company in question is already off the hook. However, the Trudeau Government may have taken it’s place. They were seen tanking the backhander. Mind you, if they run true to form, the right judge will be appointed and the case against Trudeau et al will disappear. Such is Ottawa politics under the current administration.

Here’s the National Post take on the situation;

Fortunately none of the companies I have put money into have any links with SNC, so I’ll just invest in more popcorn futures. Well I would if the power didn’t keep going off. Fortunately we had the foresight to invest a few pennies on a camping gas stove so we can have a cup of tea when out in the middle of nowhere on road trips. Well this is Canada and we do have a lot of nowhere to be in the middle of. Having dug it out of the closet I christened said piece of kit this morning when the power was out for twelve hours. Reminder to self; must get a manual coffee grinder because Winter is not only coming, it’s right here and it will test the best of us. And I will not be deprived of my fresh ground coffee.

Otherwise, Bacon; check. Flour; check. Water; check. Coffee; Yep. Tea; plenty. Salt, spices, a freezer full of provisions and a few cans of baked beans, just in case. One should always have a few cans. Just in case the power goes off for more than three days, which if the gales come again, is more than likely.

Slow acting dope

Here we go, we’ve just had a little leaflet explaining Canada’s new Cannabis law which come into force this week (17th October). Here’s the skinny on them, which may disappoint a few people.

First. No, not everyone can use. There’s an age limit, like for booze. Depending on your Province you’ll have to be over 18 at least to buy and legally smoke it. In BC, Northwest Territories, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Nunavut, New Brunswick, Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, the age limit is 19. In Alberta and Quebec 18.
Second. No you can’t smoke your weed anywhere, Smoking a joint has exactly the same restrictions as for tobacco smoking or vaping. No smoking anywhere near anyone or anything, anywhere. At any time. So there.
Third. Yes you can grow your own, but only four plants at any one address at any one time in BC and a couple of other places. No converting the front room and saying “Swelp me ossifer, I only planted four seeds. These things do tend to spread don’t they?” When the tax man comes to call.
Fourth. Yes you can make Cannabis cookies or cake at home, but only with a maximum of 30 grams, which is all any one person can have on them at any one time. So watch those leftovers in the fridge.
Fifth. Only the Ontario Police have a saliva testing machine at present for checking if drivers are under the influence of old Maryjane. All the other Provincial and city forces and RCMP will rely on the old ‘Walk the line’ and ‘Touch your nose with your eyes closed’ type roadside tests. Although if your car reeks of the stuff to start with, your proverbial feet may not touch the ground. On the other hand, if a high driver ploughs through a bus queue, then they may find the book being thrown at them and insurance refused forever and ever amen. Not to mention working three jobs to pay court ordered compensation for the rest of their days.
Sixth. No you can’t take your stash over the border. Our Southern cousins won’t be happy for one. Nor will Canadian customs. No use offering them a joint either, they’ll just go into acute humour failure and you can join the hoi polloi in the slammer for a while along with all the really naughty people. Which may rather take the edge off your high.
Seventh and finally. No you can’t grow your own marijuana to sell unless you’ve got a licence, and those don’t come cheap. And like with alcohol, only licensed outlets can sell duty paid product all legal and properly stamped. Supply chain management eh? Ain’t it great?

Me, I’m doubling down on my Pizza outlet investments. With the predicted Canada-wide outbreak of the munchies after the 17th, I’ll be having to keep both hands in my pockets to hold my trousers up from all the money I’ll be making.

Winter is coming…

Forgive the quick ‘Game of Thrones’ riff but I foresee a change in politics here on the left coast of BC. The price of gas (petrol) is currently up at European levels and there’s even a threat of shortages if the inter-NDP turf war between BC and Alberta continues throughout Summer. All over a pipeline expansion. Not that the Ottawa Trudeaupians will be doing anything. The e-ideological blinkers are on and the people who will end up hurting the most are your basic average Canadian. The poorest most of all.

Let me expand. Higher gas and ‘carbon’ taxes mean the price of everything goes up. Why? Well because in Canada most stuff moves by truck and if the cost of transport goes up, what do you think the distributors and retailers are going to do? Watch their profit margins disappear? See their businesses sucked dry of capital for improvement and staff wages? Guess who is going to feel the burn first. Go on. Prize to that clever clogs at the back! The people who are always first to catch it in the neck. The poorest workers, that’s who. All the shortly to be laid off support staff. Shop workers, all the minimum wage folk who will lose their jobs and are now paying more to get to work even if they’re lucky not to be pink-slipped (Laid off). These are the people who will have to make the choice between Chicken and canned beans. Pensioners and anyone else on a fixed income. All the people the NDP, Greens and Liberals claim to support. Irony, much?

These are the ruling NDP, Green and Liberal parties who haven’t been able to sort out a sewage treatment plant for Victoria for the last few decades. which means Victoria for example discharges raw sewage into the Juan de Fuca. The ones who would rather build bicycle lanes and paint rainbow crosswalks than sort out the local rail line. Those who suspend tax audits on their tax-dodging political friends and supporters. Proposing changes to tax regulations on ‘charities’ so that tax exempted organisations taking foreign money can politically campaign against Canadian interests. Which is supposed to be against the law because it’s a corrupt, third world practice that only benefits extremely rich sponsors like foreign oil companies, hedge funds and other speculators with a vested interest in keeping Canada down.

We’ll be away in Europe when incoming shit may well start to hit the fan in July, our money far out of the grasp of tax greedy politicians. Which is one of today’s tasks. Wills have been drawn up and signed, trusts established, executors appointed and money put aside to pay for same. We here at Maison Sticker are not millionaires, but we do plan. Dry ingredients will be in the larder and the freezer full. Even in the unlikely event there’s temporarily no fuel to go to the stores my most critical rule will apply. No one goes hungry on my watch.

For those currently too busy keeping their heads only just above water the result of all these changes will be palpable, raising living costs for those who can least afford to take the hit. For them, the sun may currently be shining but it’s not much of an exaggeration to say that Winter is most certainly coming. For us, Mrs S and I have discussed this matter and are looking at moving our base of operations into another jurisdiction. Somewhere our buck has a far heftier bang while having good transport links to another safe haven.

Update:  For those interested, this is a rough guide to the Kinder Morgan pipeline situation; the BC NIMBY’s (Not In My Back Yard) and BANANA’s (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anywhere) claim that an increase in oil flow will lead to catastrophic spills and increased tanker traffic bringing invasive marine species, more global warming (Hah!) and there will be signs and portents of the end of days.  So the NDP and Greens are opposed to increasing pipeline capacity from Alberta. Which means we can’t sell to the Chinese or Asian markets as effectively.

A lot of foreign funded NGO’s are also opposed (For their own reasons) and are lobbying the provincial and federal governments, even though under current tax law they should lose their tax status and government hand outs for doing so.  The Liberal Trudeaupians are also opposed, but scared witless of the opposition in the oil producing provinces (Alberta,Saskatchewan & Manitoba) going back to the Conservatives.  So they officially make all the right noises, but unofficially are letting BC and Alberta Duke it out with petty little wine and beer restrictions.  Result; stalemate with a threat of Alberta switching off the oil tap entirely, but at the same time giving the NDP time to buy oil supplies from the USA.  Which is insane for an oil-rich country like Canada which actually supplies the US.

The upshot is that Alberta has lost and is losing investment and jobs, as has BC.  All because of the NDP/Green coalitions doctrinaire opposition to fossil fuels and the mistaken belief that an atmospheric trace gas controls the climate.   Even when the real (and more up to date) science quite reasonably points out that the claimed ‘signature’ of the trace gases effect is lost in the ‘noise’ of a semi-chaotic climate system.  If CO2 really were the culprit for an increase in global temperature, they might reasonably ask, then why is it snowing in Newfoundland?  In late May.

Everybody loves…

…BC wines. Except for Alberta. Which is about to have its local booze supply cut off. Which will be great for wine importers, unless the NDP leader has a(nother) brain fart and decides that for ‘fairness’ sake, no one in Alberta can buy any wine from anywhere. Until then, importers of wines from everywhere else on the planet should benefit from increased sales. There are good BC Grown Canadian wines, but nothing really spectacular and they’re all pretty limited in distribution.

The news is that we’re having a little inter-provincial trade ‘war’ in Canada over a pipeline which the idiotic BC Provincial Government don’t want built. Denying employment to the very people they say they work for. Between two provincial governments from the same party. Which should tell you something about the Canadian NDP.

Of course Ottawa should have stepped in and cracked heads for this blatantly stupid inter party spat, but they’re the opposition Liberals, who are ‘led’ by the excruciatingly cringe-worthy international joke Justin Trudeau. So they will do absolutely bugger all because, well, ‘it’s 2018’ Duh. Unless of course the alphabet soup, religion of being blown to pieces or Uber-Feminist demographic somehow get involved. As far as the Liberals are concerned, no-one else matters. So they’ll watch the NDP Governments in Alberta and British Columbia go for each other’s throats and hope to profit politically by their misfortune. That and they might have given Federal permission for the pipeline, but they don’t really want it built to appease the rabid environmentalist organisations. Who get funding from the same vested interests as Trudeau did when he got a two million buck boost prior to his election run. Not that they need it. The brainwashing has been very effective out here on the wet coast.

Which is interesting, as is the leak that arch meddler and speculator George Soros is funding an anti-BREXIT campaign to the tune of GBP400,000. Which is pretty small beer for him. That’s chump change from a Billionaires perspective. Is this a very public display of reverse psychology or an “I want the Democracy I pay for” gesture? Or is it a double barrelled move? I have yet to make my mind up.

Officialdom, an object lesson

Well, as with any return to home base, there’s always good and bad news. The snail mail contained a number of not quite unforeseen bills and the usual round of things which had to be paid right now. A couple of difficult to reach taps had stuck. The phone wouldn’t work until I’d spent half an hour with tech support on the line while stripping out the modem for several hard reboots. And sadly my Tomato plants have died. That’s right, all of them. The watering device worked, but the recent BC cold snap took it’s toll and there is nothing to be done but recycle as compost. Such is life.

Still recovering from jet lag, but one item of personal news had me pumping my right hand and saying “YES!” in a loud triumphant tone. Let me enlarge. Just before we were due to leave for the fabled land of Oz I had a run in with a minor branch of Canada’s bureaucracy. What they were demanding would almost certainly have demolished our travel plans and they were quite willing, one would say even eager, to wave the full force of authority in our face with threats of fines and even imprisonment. Over a relatively minor matter, but that’s bureaucracy for you. Even though I thought we had done nothing wrong and was gearing up to fight these faceless fuckers to their last breath. However, Mrs S tapped me on the shoulder and reminded me of advice which I have so often given to others. “Don’t get mad – get devious.”

Now after my last run in with British bureaucrats two years ago I knew there was no point in taking their Canadian counterparts head on. Public sector employees love those who resist emotionally because they have the law, well at least their interpretation of it, on their side. So they think they can just tick a few boxes and hey presto, you’re up before the Judge, fuming with outrage and struggling to put together a defence while watching lawyers fees chew merrily through your hard won resources.

Now for those of you who think that butting heads with officialdom Ranty-style is the right thing to do, take a tip from your Uncle Bill. Don’t. Don’t ever play the bureaucrats game because they make up and interpret the rules as they go along. Seriously. I’ve worked alongside these people and this is how they think. They’re right, you’re wrong, so pucker up buttercup. You will lose because they have a full house of two’s and fours against your piddling pair of threes, and they know the house rules better than you do. So don’t play their game.

What you need in these troubled times is a big friend who can ring the bureaucrats boss and say; “Your people are out of control, stop it.” For UK local government there are ombudsmen and all sorts of referees who will listen if you can take a deep breath and a slow step back before playing the victim trump card oh so carefully. Over here we have our local politicians. Federal Members of Parliament and Provincial Members of the Legislative Assemblies. These are the people who make the rules. And guess what? They work for you. Find one hungry enough for your vote, make your case without getting too histrionic and and there is a strong probability that they can get the mindless machine of bureaucracy to back off. Because that’s what a bureaucracy is, a barely-accountable brainless behemoth that follows set rules, no matter how square-headed and insane those rules might seem. All you have to do is find someone higher up the food chain to push the right button. The idea being to make your oppressors dinky little jackboots do a smart about face and quick march in the opposite direction. Away from you.

In short; when in doubt, escalate. Field your problem upstairs. Don’t shout, don’t threaten, don’t, whatever you do, simply get angry with the forces of dead-headed conformity. Because when you’re angry you’re not thinking straight exactly when when you most need to have your mind right and firing on all cylinders. And if you start shouting, any message will immediately get lost in all the emotion. The best you’ll get in that case is being put on hold as the person who really doesn’t need your shit buggers off for a coffee. If you get mad, they will win because all they have to do is nothing while you rail on at a dead line or some poor zero hours contract call centre drone on little better than minimum wage. Oh, and it goes without saying that you should record everything and refer back to any minor concession on their part in painstaking detail. Better still, speak softly, and let someone else wield the big stick on your behalf.

Furthermore. Don’t bother with junior management or departmental heads because they are the very people who would cheerfully sign the Dalai Llama’s death warrant if it meant they could finish early on Friday. So immediately go over their heads to someone with a little real power and make a carefully worded complaint, detailing how you think these public sector pen pushers are out of order. Which is what we did. And bless me Vicar, this time it worked. Hence my minor celebration. A letter has even arrived apologising for the ‘misunderstanding’. Although they can’t guarantee it won’t happen again. So, only a partial success. Just a reprieve.

Not that I believe the oily platitudes, but like someone who has been stung by nettles, or a bully who has just been kneed in the unmentionables, they will leave us alone for now. They may be back, but in the meantime I’m changing my phone number and migrating to a new email address. Which will do. The trick with bureaucrats, like with petty criminals, is to make their life just difficult enough so that is not worth the effort to bother you, but not so tricky as to make your life awkward. Or for now, which in our case will be long enough before we slip away into the mists and out of their reach. Which may just take the Sticker family even further than it has gone to date.

Which is another happy thought.

Restrictive practices

The longer I’m a global citizen, travelling the globe and finding what differences there are between countries, the more amazed I become. Today’s object lesson came from those jape-a-minute practical jokers, the main Canadian cell (Mobile, whatever) phone companies. Let me enlighten my one remaining reader. I have a GSM phone. One that works in just about every country on Earth. Tri-band, three frequencies, great range. Yet GSM phones are only supported by one Canadian company, Rogers. Bell, Telus, and all the sub variants of these companies, including Virgin Koodoo and Fido don’t support GSM-only phones. They have gone straight to LTE, 3G and 4G networks. So if you need a SIM card for a retro GSM phone, don’t waste your time with at least three of the ‘big four’.

There’s also the bit of news that GSM phones are being phased out in Australia. Vodaphone is the last supplier of GSM pre-paid SIM cards down under and will be shutting down their last GSM network in March 2018. So there’s just enough of a window for me to have a working phone while I’m there. In the new year I’ll be in the market for a new phone because otherwise I’ll have no means of emergency contact. Not that I’m that bothered, but Mrs S does fret when she can’t get hold of me in ten seconds flat. Besides, I like to talk to people rather than text at them.

One of the issues up here in the not so frozen north is that Canada is so mired in protectionism it acts as a direct hit on the bank accounts of the general populace. Calling long distance is a credit killer, and you would be amazed how short a distance that can be. Every cell phone ‘plan’ I’ve come across is designed to get at least CAD$50 out of a users pocket every month as a bargain basement figure. Then there are all the other little charges that hungrily suckle on your financial teat that were abandoned in Europe back in the early 00’s. I’m loathe to say ‘rip off’ but it’s funny how the layers of costs mount up.

As for those who trot out “Well, Canada is a big country…” to justify the cell phone companies glaring omissions and excesses; that’s a very poor excuse. My considered opinion is that Canadian monopolies and their subsidiaries just can’t be bothered to cater to the market sector that neither wants nor needs to upgrade their cell phone every three years. Indeed, they could be missing out because at present there is a very strong ‘retro’ movement. Even if the planned shut down of 2G networks goes ahead. A lot of people only want their phones to make calls and texts. To them, Data is just a character from Star Trek- the next generation played by Brent Spiner in heavy makeup. Besides, who wants to ruin their eyes staring at tiny screens all the time? Do your eyeballs ache a lot? That could be a clue you spend waaay too much time checking the mindless garbage on Twatter.

By way of a personal observation, two of the people served before me at the four cell phone stores I visited today bought old style flip phones. That’s two out of seven people in total without me going after a GSM compatible prepaid SIM card. With my input that’s just over a third of the total customer base in a random Sunday sample. Now there’s a message in there for those who would but see.

This sort of thing is true for many other services and goods this side of the border. Especially when every attempt to import has certain folk raising their arms in horror and shouting about ‘protecting Canadian Jobs’, which probably don’t really exist because Canada has huge manpower overheads and a relatively high minimum wage, which means many goods are simply too expensive to manufacture this side of the 49th parallel. Then the Government gets lobbied into leaving economic power with a few large companies who have had what some might call a stranglehold on the Canadian economy since the early days of the Hudson’s Bay Company. Take for example cheese. A recently successful motion to allow specialist French imports raised a loud outcry because, claimed the protectionists, it would ‘cost Canadian jobs’. Even when Canadian dairy manufacturers can only just managed a very average Brie or Camembert. Although they can manage a halfway decent Aged Cheddar, but not much more. But don’t ask about the near tasteless ersatz yellow rubber substance called ‘Monterey Jack’.

Now when it comes to cheese, the French rather bake the quiche, with the Italians and Germans coming in a close second and third and the British finishing a very creditable 4th, having clawed their back way up from the bottom of the cheese producing pile where they had languished for far too long. Well, that’s my estimation, having spent quite some time around British, French and German street markets and the local fare on offer. Same for beer. It’s only since the mid 00’s that we’ve seen a proper resurgence of what are called ‘craft’ beers over here.

Talking about markets, that’s another thing Canadians don’t really understand. Street markets, which are found throughout the rest of the civilised world, are almost unknown up here. The last time I went into a Vancouver Christmas street market, it wasn’t really a market at all as I understand them. It was a theme park designers idea of a street market. It was fenced off, you had to pay fifteen bucks each to get in to get in and it was full of tourist trap garbage. Nothing like the open access, noise, bustle and sheer doggoned fun of a proper street market. Far too twee. Far too restrictive, and there lies the crux of the matter. Something will have to give.

Anyway. I now have what I need, my tomato plants are beginning to develop fruit and the deadline for stepping onto that plane for a sunshine filled festive season in the fabled land of Oz draws ever closer. Yeah.

A little rogue English

Sometimes things just pop out. Especially if you haven’t done your zip up properly, but that’s another matter. Yesterday’s little turn of phrase turned up when I was out in the car, signaling left for the next set of lights when some dimwit in a grey Dodge Caravan carved across my path at speed then back into the lane to my right. I think there was less than six inches between us for a brief heart in mouth experience moment. Mrs S, in the passenger seat braced for an impact I was able to avoid by some pretty lively braking (Good reflexes there Bill) and shrieked loudly, it was that close. To the lack of road etiquette I responded loudly “What the fuck are you on, blue eyes?” and indicated my displeasure to the offending driver, if you could call what she was doing driving, with a single upraised digit. Not that the zombiform item supposedly in control of the offending vehicle paid any attention, she seemed to think that smiling and waving made it all better. Goddamn stoner chick posing as a soccer mum.

Had I possessed a little more presence of mind I’d have logged her registration number and reported her as a possible Driving under the influence. But it’s easy to say that in hindsight. When you’re trying to avoid a large insurance claim, your attention tends to be a little more tightly focussed on your driving.

From the passenger seat came sudden peals of laughter. Which rather puzzled me despite briefly enjoying a little vented road rage at the offending driver. “Oh I must remember that one!” Exclaimed my lady wife.
“One what?”
“That saying.”
“Pardon?” I pulled up at the red stop light in the left hand filter, furrowing my brow.
“What the fuck are you on, blue eyes?” She repeated.
“Oh that. Didn’t you see that crazy bitch?” I responded, still a trifle miffed at almost being run off the road into oncoming traffic.
“You do come up with them.”
“Up with what?” The filter light went green and we pulled out and turned left, watching for morons turning right into my lane instead of taking their turn like they’re supposed to.
“These rogue English sayings of yours.”
“Sorry.” I don’t swear that often. Not in real life anyway.
“No Bill. You make me laugh.”
“That bad, huh?” We turned into the car park and a parking space, watching all the time for more charm school dropouts.
“Not bad, just funny.”
“Sorry love, I just get fed up with the blind deaf and dumb sometimes. I have to vent.”
“You keep on venting like that. It keeps me amused.”
“Well I’m glad about that. Rogue English, eh? I like it.” I replied. Then I stalked off to the grocery store, still vibrating a bit from the anger, while she went to the pharmacy.

She was still grinning about it when I came back from my own errands.

Oh well. Whatever makes you happy…

Ello, ello, ello

What’s all this then? Heading back from a meeting with our accountants this afternoon we noticed that our local RCMP detachment were pulling over all the motorcyclists, presumably to give them a free lecture over how dangerous these consarned two wheeled contraptions are, and presumably a check of dodgy registrations or out of date insurance. No, they weren’t looking for specific machines, they were stopping every type of motorcycle, from cruiser to sports tourer and off road machines. Couldn’t find any announcements about it in the local press or on the RCMP website.

There’s been a lot of this recently. Locally we’ve seen motorcycles parked at the side of the road just off the hard shoulder over the last week. We watched an Asian lad get pulled two days ago on the Sooke road. Not speeding, not driving dangerously, but he still got stopped by the Police.

I remember back in the day mates of mine often used to get stopped a lot for a ‘tyre-kicking’ session by the local law looking for possible drunk driving, stolen machines, out of date tax discs, no MOT, no licence, faulty lights etc. Usual schtick. But none of us greasy looking good-for-nothings would ever be as half witted as to take photographs of ourselves actually breaking the law like some idiots do on YouTube. Honestly officer.

What are the local law up to?

On the other hand I’ve seen a lot of ‘European’ style riding, cutting in and out of traffic, filtering and white line dancing by some guys, so maybe the local RCMP are having a little crackdown. I won’t be riding until next week, so maybe the cops will have tired of pulling over bikers by then. We’ll see.

Update: My bike deal just fell through, so no riding this year and no likelihood of being pulled by the local law. Swings meet roundabouts. Bugger.

BC Culture

The longer I live here, the more I get a handle on what BC is missing. What would make it a far better place to live for hundreds of thousands. This morning I had one of those “By George I’ve got it!” moments while ironically researching the Melbourne region of Australia. We’ll be passing by in December 2017 & January 2018, so if anyone is passing by this blog who has any suggestions, I’d be happy to hear them.

Similarly Cairns, Queensland, where we will be passing Christmas with the down under branch of our clan. Sydney is where Eldest has set up home, so we’ll be going there, too. This time the money is in place, as are the financial facilities, so no cancellations like the planned European Motorcycle trip, something that still rankles with me, but there you go.

Anyway, regarding my little epiphany. Why is Victoria BC such a cultural backwater? In short, Political Correctness, the crass Socialist doctrine that says you can’t say anything that the PC promoters think (?) anyone, anywhere else in the world might find ‘offensive’. This is endemic over here and actively erodes creativity. Having been to a few Victorian stand up shows I find the local brand of ‘approved’ humour absolutely cringeworthy. Indeed, I’ve given up on visiting local comedy clubs because of all the deference to this milksop-making malevolence that populates the front stalls with the incredibly smug and humourless calling out. “Ooh, that’s offensive!” Well actually yes it needs to be. Humour that doesn’t offend, or at least make a spirited attempt to do so, is often so unfunny one needs 500mg of Largactil as a stimulant before each set. I saw this last year when comedian and writer Dylan Moran came to play a tour. Don’t know what he’d done to deserve it, but to the mans credit he did put up a spirited defence against one of the local earnestly dull.

This is where Victoria is. If you don’t ascribe to a particular worldview, you won’t get very far. This is from a community that preaches and practices a very restricted view of ‘tolerance’ you understand. Yes, they paint rainbows on crosswalks and sprinkle pixie dust, but any other opinion outside their own narrow view is actively frowned upon. Indeed, by the time I finish writing this post it may actually illegal to disagree or even blink in the wrong manner when one of the earnestly dull locals is holding forth about how nice the First Nations are and how privileged we are to live cheek by jowl with them. Which is why they must be praised to the skies at every public event, regardless of whether or not any of them are in attendance.

Which ultimately means that the nightlife it a bit, well, moribund. Vapid. Insipid. Duller than dishwater that’s lost all its suds. I’d link to the local stats about death from terminal boredom, but the person tasked with compiling them fell into a coma and hasn’t been heard from since. No wonder there’s been an epidemic of Fentanyl overdoses locally. Indeed, there is even a ‘Death Cafe‘ for those who want to talk about ending it all.

Now don’t get me wrong; Victoria is a nice place to live. At least where we are in the outer suburbs. You just have to go travelling a lot, or face the ennui or le Cafard of living here.

Which is why there are so few modern Canadians who stand out. Because no-one is allowed to. Indeed, most of our real talent has to be exported before it does any real good for itself.

Update: Just picked up the news from The Blocked Dwarf and Grandad over at Head Rambles that the doyenne of the Scriblerus group, Anna Raccoon, the erudite Suzanne Cameron-Blackie is no longer with us. The Grim Reaper finally claimed her last night having won by three falls and two submissions.

Best regards and condolences to Mr G and all those who were closest to her. They broke the mould when she came to pass. Celebrate her memory and cherish all that which she contributed.

Oh the humanity

In Winnipeg this morning touring the ‘Canadian Museum of Human Rights‘ where I feel they were missing an exhibit. A small headstone inscribed thus; “Free speech in Canada. Killed by M103 and Bill C16 May 2017. Let ’em Bleed.” The last phrase in that epitaph being borrowed from our current PM’s daddy talking about the heavy crackdown on Quebec separatists back in 1970. Which reminds me somewhat of the ‘Troubles’ in Northern Ireland. It should be noted that junior is not a patch on daddykins. Although he’s quite capable of getting us into a similar mess.

I was quite intrigued to see the mass murderer Che Guevara lauded in said museum. Someone missed the memo there. Old Che was a nasty piece of work, more in the category of oppressor than oppressed. More Pol Pot than Mohandes K Ghandi. He may be a favourite on your student unions wall, but read up on what he and Castro really did to Cuba. Guevara ended up shot in Bolivia, which couldn’t have happened to a more deserving case. Castro garnered a fortune from the suffering of the Cubans under communism. Don’t believe me? Look it up.

Yes, they included the Holodomor, the name given to the deliberate starvation of 7-12 million Ukrainians 1932-3 by Stalin, but the Holocaust or Shoah 1938-45 which is credited with around 6 million deaths gets way more shelf space. Maybe the Nazis had better press agents than the Communists. I don’t know. The slaughter of Poles in events like Katyn and various other bits of extreme WWII nastiness were omitted, maybe through lack of space. And if the museum had a section on the Rape of Nanking I must have missed it. Yet it’s not as though the museum is short of space. Space is what occupies it.

Overall the museum itself is an architectural masterpiece more inside than out. Beautiful open spaces lauding those historical figures who demonstrate the best part of humanity with the aforementioned exception scumbag Guevara. The garden of contemplation could have done with a few more Japanese elements in my opinion but generally served as a quiet place to stop and think about the general thrust of the exhibits. Mostly about the lack of books in the gift shop. Now for a museum of human rights I’d have stocked it with the works of every related volume on the law code of Hammurabi through Socrates, Aristotle and Cicero to Tom Paine and Bertrand Russell. Did we see anything but lip service to these noted thinkers? No. Just toys and the usual gift shop tat. So in that sense it left me a little underwhelmed and only served to cement some of my own thinking about the absolute need for freedom of expression as enshrined in article 18 of the fundamental declaration of human rights and in particular article 11 about the right to a fair trial, which is something lacking when it comes to the CHRC. Human rights, huh? Whose? For a country that purports to believe wholeheartedly in the rights of the individual, such a court of the star chamber should be a mark of shame.

After visiting the very top of the central tower for a quick dose of vertigo but splendid views of the city, we dodged out as the freak show (Pride week) next door got properly underway. The one thing that struck me was the majority of the attendees appeared young(ish) and predominantly female(ish). There were a few children there too. A few corporate sponsors cashing in on the Pink Dollar, well the more well-heeled attendees tend to have a high disposable income so why not?

Lots of bright colours and balloons like an attempt at a kind of poor persons Mardi Gras. Very festive. Although not the kind of thing I’ve ever been interested in. Doesn’t matter what I think about it anyway. They’ll all have died out in fifty years or so. Maybe these proclivities are natures way of editing the gene pool? Lots of unconsummated sexual activity means that those who don’t breed die out. Anyway, that’s all rather academic unless some form of politically mandated cloning comes about.

However, the one thing that really struck me about Winnipeg was the state of the roads within the city. Winnipeg is a beautiful city with much to commend it architecturally, fabulous green spaces, lots of trees, a superb foot bridge just across the way but when you get up close and personal it’s crumbling kerbs and poorly maintained city streets which tell the real story of low infrastructure investment of a city in real decline. Once we got back out onto Highway 1, we could see Federal money being spent on resurfacing the main highway, but inside the huge square ring road, the rot was obvious, like a tooth dying from the inside out.

Which is a shame.

Aand we’re off!

Interweb connections have been far and few between over the past few days. At present I’m writing this off line for a quick post and paste when connections allow. Mrs S and I are having a forty eight hour chill out on the edge of Mount Robson National park with an excellent view of Mount Robson, highest peak in the Canadian Rocky mountains which looks like a peak shaped layer cake below brilliant blue skies.

Well it’s been an interesting trip so far as we hurtle through the sunny back country of BC toward the other side of Canada. Six black bear sightings, the first sitting ten metres back from the road on highway 24, head moving back and forth as if counting the traffic. Maybe he was doing his Green Cross Code, or perhaps was even a member of that secret cabal the Tufty club, doing his best Policeman Badger impersonation, who knows? Another camera shy counterpart was sighted ambling up a hillside on Highway 5 as a couple driving a rented camper van focused their long lenses upon him. Then there’s the rocks, the trees, some more rocks and OMG! Is that a Douglas Fir? Surely not. Maybe a Birch, Maple or dare I say it, Spruce. Four other fine looking Ursines were spotted doing their own personal photoshoots while we were passing through Jasper National Park.

May is truly the finest month to visit the Rockies. In the latter half of the month the lowland snow is mostly gone and most of the parks are open. There’s new growth everywhere, the alpine meadows look gorgeous and the mountains are decked out in the purest white. Can I say that or is it “Racist”? Don’t know, care even less. I don’t think the scenery cares what a lot of student activists say either.

In some ways I’m a little spectaculared out already. You can only take so much awesome in a day before you need a serious lie down and a nice cup of tea. At the moment I’m sitting twenty metres from one of the prettiest mountain streams I’ve ever encountered. It looks like someone learned how to make glass run like water. Oh and there’s Elk and a mother bear with two cubs in the neighbourhood so our very nice hosts tell us. As well as a forest fire being doused by helicopters working in shifts (And very pretty they look, too).

Yes, and I learned a fascinating new word in Chinese (Cantonese) this week; “Baizuo” to describe that pestilential plague of whiny SJW’s who are always banging on about how unfair everything is (Yes. And….) and how it would all be sooo much better if the rest of us gave our worldly wealth unto the ever rapacious big state. Then confess our ‘white guilt’ before handing over everything the Western world has ever built over to those who didn’t help build it. Then shut up and don our chains like good little zombies to be lorded over by the ‘white left’. Just because we other mere mortals are all so racist, sexist, islamophobic or whatever. Even if we’re not. By the way, “Baizuo” is not a compliment. Quite the opposite. Yes, and if someone calls you “Sheng-mu” they’re not being very kind, either. But if the cap fits, wear it.

Posting will be somewhat erratic (As if anyone cared – heartfelt sob) as I’m breaking in a new laptop ‘pooter. So excuse prease and watch this space. In the meantime we’re off traversing the ice fields tomorrow. Cheery-bye.