Woe for Trudeau

Justin Trudeau sat at the edge of his bed, cup of coffee in hand, as his Filipino maid left the breakfast tray next to him on the mattress. He looked down at the mug, which was a cup with a gold trim lining the rim. It was a gift he had received as a child, when his father had taken them all to a quaint mansion owned by an old family friend in France. The coffee was rich and warm, and it too was a gift, from the son of the former president of Columbia. He let the smell of the coffee flow into his nostrils, then he sighed heavily.

Trudeau had just returned from his cross country bus trip. Ontario was a bit of a struggle, but the Maritimes were lovely as always, and then the trip across the prairies had been wonderful, until of course, he had hit Alberta. There was a large group of protesters in Medicine Hat, and the crowd had become so ruckus and unruly that there was no choice but to hop on a chartered plane and cross over Alberta in the air. When they landed in Cranbrook BC, they got back on a bus and finished the tour. Most of the media had been responsive to the tour, but the newspapers in Alberta were less than kind. The Calgary Sun had called his actions “cowardly”. The Lethbridge Herald called him “Spineless”. And the Rebel’s own Ezra Levant had posted a video, stating that Justin was “A Liberal Faggot”.

He put his coffee down and looked over at Maria, the maid. “Maria, I’ve got a question for you. Why do people in Alberta hate me so much?”

It was Maria’s turn to sigh. “Mr. Trudeau. I very busy today. Can you not ask your wife?”

Trudeau shook his head. “I’ve asked her, and she doesn’t know either.”

“Okay.” Maria said as she pulled out a chair that was close by. She sat down. “The first province I started in, when I move to Canada? It was Alberta. I moved to Edmonton so that I might support my family back home, yes? The people in Alberta are very different than the rest of country. How many hours a week I work?”

Trudeau looked puzzled “Well, I think you work about 40 hours a week.”

Maria nodded. “It is 44 hours, but you are so close. Now, how many hours in Alberta did I work?” Before Justin could answer, Maria interrupted. “I work 50 to 70 hours a week in Alberta.” Justin gasped. “But…. but what about family and free time and hobbies?” Maria waved her hand “People from Alberta, they have no hobbies or free time. Everyone work. You live in Alberta, you work. You bored? Find second job. Everyone work like crazy in Alberta.”

Trudeau looked aghast. “What about the arts, and music, and….” Maria silenced him again. “You talk of culture. No culture in Alberta except for work culture. You have many famous Canadians. You have Jim Carrey, you have Pam Anderson, you have many stars from Canada. Anyone from Alberta famous? Nickleback. Everyone hate Nickleback. No. Alberta famous for work.”

Justin scratched his head. “But if they’re working so hard, why are they so worried about increases in taxes?” Maria started laughing hysterically. “That crazy part about Alberta, see? They blow money all the time. Even government. No saving. You have money, you buy car, or watch, or boat. You know how many boats in Alberta? More boats in Alberta than in Philippines. And Philippines island in ocean. Albertans hard working, but crazy. But they spend money, it good for Alberta economy, good for car salesman, good for watchmaker, good for everyone. Tax for Albertan mean less money for Albertans, more money for people in who do not work like crazy. Albertans think free time waste of time.”

Justin Trudeau scratched his head. “So why are they mad at me then?”

Maria’s eyes almost popped out of her head. “Dummy! You not listening to Maria? You threaten Albertans work? You threaten their culture. They see you, they see pretty cultured boy. You cultured? Means you not working. Only culture in Alberta is work. Remember that.” She squinted, tapping the side of her head. “Remember that.”

With that said, Maria stood up, pushed the chair back in, and started out the door. As her hand twisted the knob, Justin spoke again.

“What could I do to make them like me, then?”

Maria shrugged. “Probably nothing. You could sign crazy deal with Devil and make oil rain in Alberta, they still hate you. No, you pretty cultured boy, they always hate you.” she paused. “Maybe work more. No more vacations. No more beaches with rich friends. Albertans have lots of money, but no rich. To be rich, you must have culture. No rich snobs in Alberta, only money. You take vacation in three years, when you no longer politician. You go to beaches with friends then.”

Justin flashed a smile. “You mean 11 more years Maria.” She just rolled her eyes. “Sure, whatever Mr. Prime Minister. I sure you Prime Minister forever.”

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. Sure, Nathan Fillion is from Alberta, but Firefly only lasted a season, and he brought shame to his people by being out of work.

 

Barry Cooper – The Birth of ‘Berta Man

Note: This is a response to the editorial written by Barry Cooper. You can find the article in question here.

http://calgaryherald.com/opinion/columnists/cooper-british-columbia-shows-us-what-happens-when-we-go-to-pot

Barry F. Cooper stood in front of the service desk, grinding his teeth. He could barely control his rage at what he was hearing.

“What do you mean, there isn’t a mechanic in on Sundays? It’s a day, isn’t it?”

The BC service person nervous glanced left to right, sweat now appearing on his brow. It was obvious this little miscreant was high. The precipitation on his forehead, the shifty eyes. Barry shook his head. Typical lazy BC people. Barry couldn’t fathom someone taking a day off unless, of course, it was mandated by the ridiculous liberal government at the helm of the nation.

“I’m terribly sorry sir, but we don’t have a mechanic here at the tire shop on Sundays. The soonest we can have someone look at your vehicle is tomorrow morning, but I can assure you it will…” Barry waved his hand to silence the stoned moron.

“You will have it in the shop first thing in the morning, correct?”

Even though he was obviously blitzed out of his mind, the young BC man nodded in agreement. Barry could only hope that he had understood his very specific instructions. Walking to the door, the tropical BC mugginess caught him off guard. He chuckled to himself. How on Earth could anyone believe in global climate change when it was so warm in BC all the time? He was glad he was a member and contributor of ‘Friends of Science’.

He spent time here, as a child, but BC had become a foreign nation in the recent decades. BC was once beautiful, but years of Liberal and NDP government leadership has left the province in tatters. There’s only two things propping up the province; The hard and well-earned dollars of his fellow Albertans visiting the province, and the illicit drug trade of marijuana.

Why would anyone want to pollute their minds and bodies with that filthy weed was beyond Barry, who pulled out a flask of whiskey to steady his nerves. He still couldn’t take the taste of the overcooked BC steak he had last night out of his mouth. His daughter had invited him out for dinner a famous BC steak house known as IHOP, and was disappointed his meat was overdone when he clearly asked for rare. Everyone in this province seemed to be high.

At first, Barry felt pity for BC. Even though British Columbia was basically a nation-state unto itself, these people were still his country men. Pity swiftly turned to anger. The communist traitors of the Liberal party were hell bent on legalizing the devil’s lettuce. Should this foul plant be let loose on the rest of the nation, Barry may not have any country men left. What would the Liberal government legalize next? Heroin? Paint fumes? Bestiality?

It was madness to sit idly by and watch the nation self-destruct. There was only so much he, Barry F. Cooper, could do as a political science genius professor from the esteemed University of Calgary. No, this would take drastic action.

Barry rushed back into the garage where his car was being held captive. He strode up to the service desk. “I demand that you release my vehicle back into my possession, young man. I have to return back to my home province of Alberta post haste!” The BC service man, still gazooed on opiates or uppers or whatever, seemed to sober up immediately once he heard Barry’s authoritative Albertan voice. He handed back the keys to Barry. “Even though the light in the glove box is not functioning, I have to return home. Don’t worry, young man, I will find a way to break the chains of your addiction!”

With those words uttered, Barry whisked himself back to Calgary from Vancouver at record speed, making sure to never slow the vehicle down below at least 120 km/hr. Back at home, he went straight to his workshop to begin preparations on his revolutionary idea that could bring back a province from the depths of hell, and steer the nation away from Satan’s salad.

He needs a set of armor. Steel toed boots, some welders gloves, and a hard hat should do the trick. He needs a weapon. His weapon needed to represent the highest order of capitalism, so he fills a sock full of quarters. Now all he needed was a name…

Looking in the mirror, he saw a working class hero, someone willing to step up to the plate for the little guys in oil and gas, the underdogs at the police force, and the silent middle-aged white men who’ve lost their voice in the culture wars against social justice warriors. He didn’t need to choose a name, the name chose him.

Barry F. Cooper was ‘Berta Man.

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. Seriously, Barry, you took a pretty sharp turn there going from marijuana to fentanyl. I suggest you lay off the sauce.

 

Idiots on the Political Spectrum

What do you picture when I say the words ‘Political Spectrum’? For most of you, it’s a line. You have the left (on the left side) and the right (on the right side). This is the image almost every media outlet, every pundit, every social media post leans toward. I’ll draw you a little picture.

spectrum

I hope this makes sense.

I’m going to tell you a story of two people I’ve been hearing a lot about lately; Rachel Notley, the premier of Alberta and leader of the Alberta NDP, and Dr. Jordan Peterson, a psychology professor at the University of Toronto. If you live in Canada and you pay attention, then you’ve probably heard about these two people.

Let’s talk about Rachel Notley. Depending which side of the graph you sit on, you think she’s either doing a good job in an unstable economy, or she’s the spawn of Satan and wants to destroy everything you hold dear. She has received death threats. People want her to lose her job. She was recently the focal point of a protest, in which the crowd shouted out “Lock her up!”, even though she has broken no laws. People who sit on the very right side of the spectrum want to destroy her, either figuratively or literally.

Let’s talk about Dr. Jordan Peterson. Depending which side of the graph you sit on, you think he’s standing up for what he believes in, or he’s the spawn of Satan and is committing hate crimes.  He has received death threats. People want him to lose his job. He’s been the focal point of a number of debates, many of which he’s drowned out by chanting and megaphones. People who sit on the very left side of the spectrum want to destroy him, either figuratively or literally.

I sincerely hope I’m using language that doesn’t make me seem elitist (apparently be elite is a bad thing) or use ideas that are triggering anyone (my blog is not a safe space). I hope the person reading this sees the similarities between the extremes of both sides.

There’s a theory in political science called the horseshoe theory, in which the two opposing sides of the spectrum have more in common with each other than those closer to the center. If you don’t remember what a horseshoe looks like, here’s another picture.

political_spectrum_horseshoe

I also hope this make sense¹

The issue right now, and in my humble opinion is the biggest issue on the planet, is our political discourse is framed with these extremes in mind. When dealing with the very ends of the spectrum, every issue is polarized. There is no middle ground. These extremist, on both sides, are the most vocal. They’re the ones spamming your feed with online petitions (I see issues from both sides), they’re the ones engaged in every argument, they’re the ones who are the problem with politics in the world.

I’m going to ask you some questions.

  • Do you find yourself constantly arguing online?
  • Do viewpoints that counter your own make you upset, angry, or otherwise emotional, ie. We need to stop all pipelines, or, people are gender-binary?
  • If someone, especially if they are in a position of power, has a viewpoint that contradicts your own, do you fantasize about their downfall or their failure?
  • Would you be offended if someone said you were on the other end of the spectrum than the one you associate with, ie. You’re a card-carrying conservative  and someone called you a left leaning thug, or, you’re a die-hard liberal and someone said you were a right-wing bigot.
  • Have you ever used the words right-wing or leftist, or any political label as an insult

If you’ve answered yes to three or more of these questions, you’re the problem. It isn’t the pipelines, the protesters at standing rock, the culture war, or taxes. These aren’t the problems, the issue is the conversation has now been dominated by those at the extremes ends of the horseshoe. And you people are idiots.

Here’s how you can stop being an idiot. Rather than looking up information to support your claim, look up information that contradicts your position. This blog was originally going to be a rant against Dr. Jordan Peterson. After I took the time to look into what he was saying, I found myself respecting his position. I don’t agree with what he says, but I can’t argue with his right to say it. The one thing I absolutely agree with him on is the fear of ideology. For Jordan, it’s a fear of left-wing ideologues turning the world into a Marxist utopia, where the able-bodied are made lame and wings of progress are clipped to give everyone equal advantages (I believe this is pretty silly). For me, it’s a fear the conversation is now dominated by the polar extremes of the spectrum. Discussions and arguments are seen as something to be won or lost, rather than having your own idea challenged to see if it holds. Combine this with a for-profit media that is more concerned with turning heads than jounalistic integrity, and you have a recipe for an uninformed polulace unable to correctly govern itself, paving the way for authoritarian figures who promise to solve the issues with ease. It’s how someone as unqualified as Trump has managed to gain the presidency.

So challenge your ideas. In my case, it led to me chaning my opinion on a subject. Now I’m less of an idiot than I was yesterday. Which should be a goal for everyone reading this.

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. Knowledge! Making people less idiotic since the dawn of man.

¹Image taken from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Political_spectrum_horseshoe_model.svg

Fort McMurray

If you were to look at the oil and gas industry in Alberta as a body, Calgary would be the brain. It’s where the head offices are, and consulting firms for Shell, Imperial, Suncor and other oil and gas companies do most of the engineering and design work. Edmonton would be the muscle, providing the manpower and the logistics. If Calgary’s the brains, and Edmonton is the brawn, Fort McMurray is the heart.

If you live in Canada, you’ve probably heard of Fort Mac. The largest tarsands operations are in Fort McMurray, or close to it. Anyone who’s worked in the oil and gas field lives up there, has worked up there, or at the very least have designed or planned something in the area. It’s the little city that never sleeps. It’s a lot smaller than Edmonton or Calgary, but it’s just as well known. Working up there usually means twelve hour days, for stretches up to three weeks. For a long time, Fort Mac represented one of the last places you could get a solid job without a degree, where the working class person could get not only a job, but build a dream. That dream is going up in smoke. Literally.

An out-of-control fire has ravaged over 10,000 hectares and destroyed over 1,600 homes and buildings. For the 80,000 people who evacuated, many won’t have a dwelling to come home to. That’s what was speculated five hours before writing this, and the numbers are sure to go up when the final tally is taken and the fires are put out.

Right now there is a huge amount of love and support from around the country. People are donating money, and most importantly, their time. There’s also people soaking up some schadenfreude, saying the fires are the cause of climate change, snidely pointing and laughing at the misfortunes of other. There are those who are pointing out that, due to the mass layoffs in the oilpatch, it’s convenient this fire stuck a town mired in debt and foreclosure, that this could be a blessing in disguise for those who have lost their jobs. Insurance money will roll in, they assure, and those who were in a bind will have their shackles broken.

One meme in particular has been floating around, the picture of the oilfield truck blazing down the highway, with the caption “Don’t worry, Fort Mac! We are coming with tools, trucks, our trades. And we will rebuild!”. The sentiment is nice, but the logistics of this should be something to consider.

Compared to the Slave Lake fires of 2011, the Fort Mac fires are twice the size and have destroyed close to four times the number of buildings. Compared to the Calgary floods of 2013, the city of Calgary is situated in the middle of Alberta, along both the TransCanada and the Queen Elizabeth, while Fort Mac is five and a half hours from the nearest major city. When the numbers come back and the fires extinguished, how much of Fort McMurray will be left to rebuild?

Rebuilding takes money. Even though the the city, the province, and the country are strapped for cash, you can be certain the money will be found somewhere. Rebuilding takes people. There are a lot of people with the skills and the knowledge to make that happen. More importantly though, rebuilding takes time. The hard truth is the reconstruction of Fort Mac will take a lot more time than Slave Lake or Calgary. Simply due to the scope of the area impacted, and the location of the area itself.

If you want to help, the best way to do that is through donations. Right now you can text REDCROSS to 30333 to donate $5, or you can text REDCROSS to 45678 to donate $10. If you are thinking about donating clothing, furniture, or household items, refrain from doing so. Too many items are often shipped, and often cause havoc for those organizing the fundraising.

To those throwing the political gauntlets, this isn’t the time to do it. Whether you’re trumpeting the governments’ success or their failures, we can judge them down the line. There’s still three years for both the federal and provincial governments, whether you like it or not. You’ll have plenty of time to place judgement regarding their handling of this crisis.

To those laughing at the irony regarding the possibility of Fort McMurray destruction due to climate change, just remember this; Climate change affects us all. It would be like deriding your foot for having cancer.

To those of you saying that this will be a huge payout from the insurance companies, I only have this to say to you; You have obviously never dealt with an insurance company.

To those witch hunting the former NDP candidate who tweeted the fire was ‘Karmic’, please stop. What he said was ignorant and childish, and trying to burn the man in effigy is equally ignorant and childish. Venting your anger and frustrations by trying to ‘get’ a man who said something stupid on a platform called ‘Twitter’ is a reminder of exactly what terrifies me about social media.

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. Yes, I do have my own site now.

p.s.s. I have a friend up in Firebag, working at camp. Says it’s weird to have children running around and dogs barking in his wing.