Things, stuff, and other items of interest

January 27, 2010

Notes to my Nephew #002

Dear future Jack:

  Hey there pal. I hope this finds you well, happy and hopeful. It's a few days past your second birthday, and we're still flying through space on a piece of rock at the approximate rate of 29.8 kilometers per second. Or so I'm told. I haven't actually stuck my head out the window and checked, but it sounds about right.

You probably won't remember it, but you seemed to have a great time at your birthday party. The usual gang of ruffians showed up and you seemed to enjoy their company if your laughing and smiles were any measure. You got more gifts than I suspect you know what to do with, and were a gracious host from start to finish. Not much of a secret where you get that from. Your Mom & Dad could make a grizzly bear feel at home in a shoe box.

Lets get down to brass tacks shall we? These letters serve two purposes:
  1. They will (hopefully) give you an idea of what was going on in the world when you were still a wee squirt.
  2. They are cheap ploy on my part to come up with some regular fare for this site. A little exploitative perhaps, but I never claimed to be a pillar of ethical integrity.
While you and I, your parents, grand-parents, uncles, aunts, cousins, friends and neighbours were quaffing down brews in honour of your second year, others were hard at work.

Lets start with some protests that took place across the country shortly after your birthday. On Saturday, January 23rd 2010 Canadians from coast to coast (to coast?) were giving voice to their discontent with our current Government. This isn't really all that out of the ordinary. Living in Ottawa such as I do,  I can tell you that there are protests on Parliament Hill fairly frequently. This time however, it was a little different.

For the second year in a row, our Prime Minister: Stephen Harper, has prorogued parliament. Not 100% clear on exactly what that is little buddy? Allow me to elucidate:
Prorogation is the ending of a session of parliament. At prorogation, the business of both the House of Commons and the Senate is stopped until the opening of a new session of parliament.
Bills being considered by the House of Commons and Senate are terminated at prorogation, and must be re-introduced in the next session of parliament.
Parliamentary committees cease to exist at prorogation, all orders of reference to committees lapse, and memberships and committee chairs end their duties.
Clear as mud? Another way of defining the prorogation of Parliament is:
The Prime Minister took his ball and went home.
Mr. Harper basically gave all the politicians a couple of months off. Now he said he had a good reason for doing this, but it would seem some (most?) Canadians aren't all that impressed with his explanation. Naturally, the opposition parties are jumping on this like a Torontonian does an empty parking space. Suffice it to say that the silver plated shovels are flinging just as fast as they can be loaded.


Now it has been suggested in the past, that I have been both gifted and cursed with what is normally considered an excessive dose of paranoia. This may be true, but then someone wise and probably short-lived fellow once said:
"Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you."
Personally, I'm of the opinion that Mr. Harper's explanation was about as satisfying as a punch in the face. If I were the cynical sort, I might start to get the impression that our government was less interested in the business of governing, and more interested in establishing mechanisms by which they can more easily perpetuate their control. Granted, that's an easy barb you could tar any sitting government with I suppose, but typically most of the Canadian ones tend to do this while at least maintaining the semblance of a democratic rule. If nothing else, the prorogation of parliament is insulting because to be perfectly honest, it's a sloppy attempt to pull the wool over our eyes. You know what they say about fooling some of the people some of the time....

When put into context with initiatives being proposed else where around the world, one could be forgiven for becoming a tad anxious. Governments are sacrificing civil rights in favour of harsher, stricter security measures. I understand the argument about the nasty fellows who want to do us harm for whatever variety of reasons, it's just that some of the security measures seem completely ineffective. One might go so far as to suggest that some governments are taking advantage of the situation for their own reasons.

I think that's probably enough about the politics for now pal, it's easy to get caught up in the topic and I find all of this stuff quite fascinating, so I can babble on about this crap for hours on end. For the most part, I'm going to try to focus the topics in these letters to things going on in Canada. There's a lot of stuff going on in the world, and you're going to need a much smarter uncle than I to give you an accounting of it all. Some of it's good, some of it's not so good, and most of it.... we never hear about. To give you an idea of how events fell into place while this was going on,... here's a quick list of items from a larger perspective:
So as not to leave you on a down note, I've included this next video in the hopes that you get a kick out of it. It starts off rather dire, but it finishes off strong. Watch it all the way through, it's not as bad as it seems.


"He who has health, has hope; and he who has hope, has everything."
I've seen that quote being sourced from an ancient Arabian Proverb, as well as being a quote from Thomas Carlyle. Either way, it seemed fitting.

I hope all is well with you little buddy, eat your veggies (except the brussel sprouts), listen to your folks, be good. I'll see you soon.

Uncle Onion

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