Wednesday, August 29, 2012

New shoes and unrelated, a rant


There, it's been 10 months since I last bought shoes, and I've done it again. Asics Kayano 17, whatever that means. They made my feet happy when I put them on and I even got them on sale. No speed laces yet though. I suppose since I don't have any races scheduled I can live with that, though I've come to like just sliding on my shoes.

Tonight I was downstairs for a good stretching and core workout. Four very slow, very perfect pushups. Plank. Lots of other stuff.

Canadian Senate.

Hello? Is anyone still awake? The only thing that puts Canadians to sleep faster is to say "Constitutional Amendment".

Poor Joyce Fairbairn. She's been a long time senator, and has served with distinction, or as much distinction as one can serve with being a senator. Nothing I have to say should be taken as reflecting on her.

Firstly, for my American friends, Canadian senators are not elected. They are appointed by the Prime Minister. Of course it's a patronage appointment. It's one of the strongest clubs the PM has to keep his caucus in line. Do what he wants and you might become a senator. It's the very best, gold plated, platinum inlayed, diamond crusted cushy retirement plan there is in Canada. You need not do anything, you need not even attend the few meetings they have, you need not even be in the country, and you still get paid very, very handsomely. The base pay is $132 K and there are perks and additional pay possible.

Back to Ms. Fairbairn. Back in February of this year she was diagnosed with dementia of the Alzheimer’s type, and by April she was declared mentally incompetent. Since then she has voted 12 times on senate bills and approved $85 K in expenses.

Let's just think about that, shall we? By being declared incompetent, she would be unable to act on her own behalf in any material transaction. She couldn't buy or sell property, couldn't revise her own will, presumably couldn't vote in an election, and to be honest I'm not sure what other restrictions such a person would face. Yet she could, and did vote in the senate. For months.

It's not like it was a secret. The declaration process is outlined in law, and there are reviews and safeguards. It turns out that one of the people acting for her is an official of the Liberal Party and himself in the senate.

The senate has long been known as the home of party hacks finally getting their rewards. They do what they're told. It has nothing to do with being a "house of second thought" on bills. If the senate majority is the same party as the government, they rubber-stamp the laws. If of the opposite party they try to delay them.

By allowing a mentally incompetent senator to vote they have clearly demonstrated just how irrelevant the senate is. They brought a sick woman to work and she did what she was told. They say they had no doubt she knew what she was doing. Bullshit. It takes a lot to get someone declared mentally incompetent. Being a bit dotty or forgetful doesn't cut it.

Now she is on sick leave till her mandatory retirement date of November 2014. Sick leave? One doesn't recover from Alzheimer's. It's not about saving money, since her retirement pay will be similar to her current salary; she's been a senator for a long time. It's the idea of it. She is ill, she can't do the job, she should have been retired gracefully when the symptoms became obvious.

Instead, someone is playing games. It's particularly disgraceful that this should happen to her, since she had been outspoken on disability issues throughout her career, and had to watch her mother get the same disease.

Once again the Liberals have demonstrated why they were kicked out of office, and why they deserve to be relegated to the dustbin of Canadian history. The Liberals used to be called the Natural Governing Party of Canada, because they were in power for 69 years of the 20th century. Now they are nearly nothing and deservedly so.

What really hurts is that more than ever, the Conservatives need the opposition. They need someone to stand up and articulate what Canada is all about, and trust me, Canada is assuredly not the current Conservative values. The Harper Conservatives have gutted Canada and are continuing to do so.

The only opposition is the New Democratic Party but I am deeply suspicious of the left wing dippers. I liked Layton and admired his spirit. But I don't especially want to see a dipper Canadian government. Neither do I want to see Harper or any of his current cronies in power. The Liberals make me gag just thinking about them. What are we to do?

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