Monday, October 31, 2005

Want some ice for that?

So, tomorrow, November 1, a Liberal Party judge making a report requested by the Liberal Party will produce a Liberal Party report on the accidental systematic corruption of the Liberal Party. This Liberal report will be transmitted to a Liberal population through the Liberal Party's communication wing, as overseen by the Liberal Party's CRTC front organization.

In keeping with Liberal Party Third World traditions, it is widely expected that, to the extent that certain modest quantities of blame are completely unairbrushable, they will fall on the dead and the out-of-power. The report will be of great assistance in achieving the Liberal vision of Canada, one where the Liberal Party continues to fuck you and your whole family until you are no longer useful and may be euthanized. If it weren't part of this vision, there wouldn't be a commission.

Anyone think it's a coincidence that this report will be issued on All Saints Day?

Yeah, if I were in their position, I'd be laughing at you too.

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Saturday, October 29, 2005

Blue Blogging Soapbox Multimedia Contest

To paraphrase the South Park guys: we do not endorse the socialist Conservative Party of Canada -- but we despise the Liberal Party and its works. To me, the self-serving mandacity and arrogance of these people, their commitment to a divide and conquer strategy among their citizens, their idiotic and opportunistic anti-Americanism, and their daily demonstrated contempt for the gravity of their positions is more significant than quibbles about, say, the attachment of the "Progressive Alliance" to the cruel and cynical policies of the Canada Health Act.

And a big part of throwing the Party onto the ol' ash-heap where it belongs will be propaganda. The Internet is free of the Liberals' "CRTC" front organization, and a fine testing ground for dissident memes. Blue Blogging Sandbox has been excerpting Question Period in style and has now announced a multimedia contest.

The Challenge: create something with a Conservative political theme. Let your imagination run wild! It can be a video, game, Powerpoint presentation, Photoshop picture etc. Any medium with the goal that it can be easily hosted online and distributed via email.

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Friday, October 28, 2005

Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Christian sexist demonizers

Toronto District School Board meeting adjourns

The existence of a virtual monopoly on education by the government means that public school boards' revenues depend on nothing resembling quality or usefulness. It does mean, however, that they can waste money hiring useless twits who come up with things like this:
Teachers should forego traditional classroom Halloween celebrations because they are disrespectful of Wiccans and may cause some children to feel excluded, says a Toronto District School Board memo sent to principals and teachers this week.

"Many recently arrived students in our schools share absolutely none of the background cultural knowledge that is necessary to view 'trick or treating,' the commercialization of death, the Christian sexist demonization of pagan religious beliefs, as 'fun,' " says the memo.
Christian sexist demonization? These people obviously have no idea what they are talking about and are just tossing in entries from their handy rolodex of misanthropic PC cliches.
Citing calls by concerned principals and parents on the subject, the memo aims to make classroom Halloween celebrations consistent with the board's "equitable schools policies" and warns that "some students and their parents / guardians might experience their first Halloween not as a 'strange surprise,' but a 'traumatic shock.' "
I hope that parents who depend on public schools for occupying their children's mandatory educational time take extreme precaution before sending them out to these vampiric institutions. If Halloween is a "traumatic shock," the little tykes will never be able to cope with the disinterested tyranny of unionized teachers and the unchecked soul-sucking prohibitionary zealotry of underemployed bureaucrats. If their parents / guardians experience it as such, they are clearly unfit to live among people or, indeed, anywhere in the material world and their sensitivities should be disregarded or ridiculed. And if the manufactured cultural sensitivity isn't enough to convince the Christian sexist demonizing population that they are, in fact, bigots whose festivities ought to be suppressed, the Toronto District School Board trots out the commissariat protocols:
For other students, "food products that are marketed heavily during the Halloween period" may conflict with dietary habits that children know from home. An alternative to eating sweets in class would be to "write health warnings for all Halloween candies."
Holy Samhain! That sounds like sarcophagal fun!
The memo also warns teachers that "some students have had first-hand traumatic experiences of violence that make talking about death, ghosts, etc. extremely alienating."
Amateur psychologists that they are, the school board memo writers may not realize that they are projecting their own inability to deal with their undeadness on to their unfortunate charges.

[Article from the National Post, cited at Neale News.]

John the Mad is mad, mad he tells you, about this bit of "poltroonery" too. And Raskolnikov at Dust my Broom suggests that moonbat costumes are selling out quick this year.

Toronto District School No.1

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Thursday, October 27, 2005

"I figured sooner or later something would happen here.''

Chief Faulkner's answer to gun crime in London Ontario? Set up a task force, recommend the expansion of the police station, and blame it on Toronto and the US.

Gundon update:

London can expect more violence -- such as a shooting spree early yesterday near a day-care centre and strip club -- as Toronto cracks down on gun crime, London police Chief Murray Faulkner warned yesterday.

"I suspect . . . we're going to find many of these people are from the GTA area. As they tighten the noose in the Toronto area, it disperses those individuals to our area."

London's latest gun violence started at 2:30 a.m. yesterday.

A witness called police to report a crash on Forest Lawn Avenue next to a building housing the London Y Fitness and Child Care Centre, East London branch of the London Public Library and the East London Community Centre.

Officers arriving at the scene quickly realized they were investigating more than a collision, police said.

They found a damaged limousine and an overturned GMC Yukon. What they heard from witnesses was much more frightening.

The people inside the two vehicles had exchanged gunfire on Forest Lawn Avenue.

[..] Police also learned the same people had traded shots in the parking lot at the nearby Airport Hotel and Blondie's strip club, which was closed at the time.

The shooting revived debate about the location of the new library and Y branches, which opened last month.

The strip club at 2010 Dundas St. E. is beside the child-care centre and library branch.

When the site was announced two years ago, at least two city councillors warned the location wasn't appropriate for families.

[..] Many neighbourhood residents walking their children to the Y day care yesterday morning were angry about the shootings on their doorstep.

"The mayor should worry about what garbage is in London and not worry so much about what garbage passes through London,'" said Shane Smyth, who was dropping a child off at the centre.

"Let's get rid of our own garbage first."

[..] Faulkner said stopping gun violence or drug dealers coming to London may become more difficult because a new task force just established in Toronto to fight gun violence could drive crime out.

"You can't put down a drawbridge,'' he said.

The OPP, which polices much of the region surrounding London, is noticing the same trend of spillover crime from Toronto, Faulkner said.

"Why have so many meth labs gone from urban to rural areas? That's because large drug squads have pushed them into rural areas.''

[..] Faulkner also said Canada must stop the flow of illegal hand guns from the U.S.

"We're living in a more violent society -- that's quite obvious,'' he said.
London continues to resist, but soon the Provincial government will order Londoners to evacuate the crumbling city, because London is essentially insignificant and ridiculous and it is more pragmatic and productive to convert the land to a receptacle for Toronto's garbage.

Significant looting is expected to occur prior to the evacuation and critics predict council will order the LTC to park the buses after draining the fuel from the tanks.

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My cigarette butts are destined for the steps of city hall

Talking garbage:

As expected, the promised 'new and improved' London garbage calendar for 2005/2006 never did show up. I have it saved as a pdf file on my computer, because I don't want to waste ink printing the multi-page environmentally wasteful colour calendar. I never did determine what Waste Reduction Week was all about, but garbage collection did not take place last week, meaning garbage was piling up in the neighbourhood. Garbage collectors can look forward to overtime pay this week.

On the subject of garbage, Toronto city council are soon to impose further restrictions upon curbside trash pickup, which means less service and more work and cost for residents. Gods of the Copybook headings directs us to Paul Tuns and his household:

Today is the first day in the Tuns household of separating garbage into at least three categories: (loosely) recyclables, wet garbage and dry garbage. Beginning next week, the city of Toronto is making us (not just the Tuns household but the whole of North York) separate the garbage under threat of not collecting trash if there are orange peels and used paper towels mixed with unrecyclable plastic milk bags or dryer lint. And get this, while diapers are wet garbage, wet wipes to clean babies' bottoms are not and must be discarded separately. Complete lunacy. Anyway, during dinner this evening both my sons, ages 14 and 8, complained about the new garbage regime and asked if they could write letters of protest to the municipal council. My wife encouraged this as long as one of us adults looked over the letters before they were sent. I discouraged the endeavour suggesting that city councillors are fascists intent on controlling our lives by heavily regulating our garbage. Mrs. Tuns gave me a cross look indicative that I should not discourage any civic-minded activities in which the children may be inclined to participate.
Concerned that the province is considering turning London into a giant garbage dump, Anne Marie DeCicco suggests Londoners will soon be buying extra garbage receptacles to store their sorted garbage in.
Toronto-area table scraps will soon be deposited in London, once again raising concerns about the lack of a provincial plan to deal with garbage.

A Netherlands-based company, Orgaworld, has agreed to a 10-year contract to compost York Region's organic household waste at a new facility just south of Highway 401 near Wellington Road starting in January 2007.

[..] Plans for the compost project come as concern mounts in many Ontario communities that they will be forced to take Toronto's garbage if Michigan closes its borders to outside trash.

Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco said the province is making it harder for municipalities to solve their own trash problems because of the delays in approving new landfills and recycling facilities.

"I'm not blaming York because they're not left with a whole lot of options," DeCicco said yesterday.

"You can't handle these issues locally if the legislation isn't allowing you to do it," DeCicco said.

DeCicco warned the problem will only grow.

"The province is putting in place a 60 per cent diversion (from landfills), so municipalities will have to ship it somewhere else," DeCicco said.

[..] Having the facility built in London could be a bonus, said DeCicco, possibly saving trucking costs once the city starts collecting organic waste for composting.

"We may have to get into organic waste (recycling), so there may be an opportunity for us to do something with them just down the road, so it's a double-edged sword for us on this one," DeCicco said.
I am assuming our mayor's use of the term 'double-edged sword' in this context means you are damned if you do, damned if you don't if you are a Londoner.

From today's People's Press:
Even with a state-of-the-art composting facility setting up in London, Ontario's cities have little or no chance of meeting the province's 60-per-cent waste diversion target by 2008, say local waste industry experts.

Bob McCaig, owner of Green Lane Environmental in St. Thomas, said there aren't enough compost facilities up and running.

"It's not going to happen," said McCaig, who's been in the waste business more than 40 years. "The goal is laudable, but you need . . . technology in place."

McCaig made the comments yesterday while discussing the new composting operation he helped bring to London.

[..] The facility, expected to be operating by January 2007, also will process organic household waste from St. Thomas. That waste is now trucked to a Guelph-area facility.

York previously had a contract with a Newmarket company, but gave up after the firm was unable to eliminate odour problems.

McCaig said he gave up composting because of the same issue, though he faced fewer complaints because the site off Wellington Road, just south of Highway 401, is mostly rural.

"We just couldn't get the damn thing right," McCaig said.

The problem, McCaig explained, is the presence of proteins, such as meat scraps and oils.

"The major problem with organic decomposition is it needs to be aerated, with new air added all the time," McCaig said.

"Quite simply, no system in North America does that, so we needed to go to a closed system and not let the air get outside until it's cleaned."

McCaig asked consultants Conestoga Rovers and Associates to find a technology that worked. Enter Orgaworld.

"The neighbours can expect no impact," McCaig said.

"They will see a new facility that looks like a factory, that doesn't make noise, other than the odd truck going in and out, and . . . doesn't smell."
London smells already and it sounds like it is to get a lot stinkier. To transport the waste from York Region, the estimate is four to five trucks a day to deliver up to as much as 30,000 tonnes of waste. The 401 is to get a lot busier, and the smog much thicker, as more and more rotting garbage is shipped down the highway from regions other than just York. Do you suppose the benefits are totally outweighed by the costs of such a scheme?

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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Assorted London anaesthetics…

The London Fog reads the London Free Press so you don't have to. Save yourself a dollar…

Provincial initiatives costing Londoners plenty

If you're asking how the provincial government's energy policies make any sense, you're forgetting that you're not paying the Liberals so that you can ask questions, you're paying to… well, pay up! Of course, you're allowed to ask the rhetorical question whether simply writing a blank cheque to the premier would be cheaper in the long run than hiring a brigade of legislators and bureaucrats to decide what to do with the funds in your account. From the London Free Press:

Saving energy with "smart meters" could cost London ratepayers millions of dollars a year because of added expenses for reading water meters, Controller Gord Hume warned yesterday.

[…] The problem is the city relies on London Hydro to read water meters while reading electricity meters. But smart meters are monitored remotely and don't have to be checked by meter readers.

That could force the city to take over reading 93,500 residential water meters at a cost of $6 million — double what the city pays now for meter reading and billing, city officials say.

"Three million dollars is almost one per cent of our tax rate," said Hume. "It is significant dollars."

City council's environment and transportation committee wants Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco to write to Ontario's energy minister about the situation. That recommendation goes to council today.
Things are pretty serious when Anne Marie DeCicco, the doomsday weapon of intergovernmental lobbying, starts writing letters…
London Hydro has estimated the cost of installing smart meters at about $40 million, plus $10 million to upgrade software and computer systems.
Speaking of intergovernmental relations, now that the city has received block funding from the provincial government and gas tax money from the federal government, Anne Marie DeCicco and council, never ones to accept blame when there's another Liberal standing around to take it, have to dig deeper into their trick bag of excuses for fiscal mismanagement. And as much as it pains me to say, this time they're right
London politicians and business leaders want the province to fix an arbitration system they say unfairly costs local taxpayers millions of dollars a year more for police, firefighters and paramedics.

[…] But the city gets little sympathy from arbitration experts and union leaders.
Okay, now that you know who's in support of the current arbitration system…
On Nov. 21, the city and the London Professional Firefighters Association, representing 330 firefighters and 37 fire prevention, communication and support workers, take their contract battle to arbitration. Firefighters are seeking retention or "experiential" pay to maintain wage parity with police, as they have in their last two contracts.

But the city says retention pay is unaffordable and unnecessary, since London has no trouble keeping firefighters.

The issue came to light when the 2006 draft budget was presented last Wednesday. City politicians were told the fire department, with a 2005 budget of $40 million, may need $6.2-million, 15.3 per cent, more next year to cover firefighters' contract demands.

[…] In 2004, an arbitrator awarded local paramedics a 28-per-cent wage hike over three years to match other Ontario paramedics. Rulings on police retention pay soon followed, leaving London little choice but to grant the salary premium first negotiated in Toronto to stem the flow of its officers to smaller forces.
The city argues that its budgetary injuries result from a system that needs to be fixed, a meek understatement. Arbitration, such as it ought to exist when consulted by agreement of both parties, should split the differences between employer and employee — its value, its claim to expertise if you will, is a qualitative evaluation of competing demands when they cannot be measured directly against each other. Introducing binding benchmarks into the arbitration process based on other jurisdictions' or services' contracts is immaterial and arbitrary — these benchmarks create an artificially absolute quantity against which other measurements are ignored, such as other contractual items, quality and quantity of services being performed both across jurisdictions and service types, and demand for wages in different jurisdictions. If the city is having no trouble retaining firefighters, they have obviously no need to sweeten the pot for those employees. Of course, the introduction of arbitrary variables posing as absolutes is inevitable — and indeed complementary to the process of political variables being turned into legal absolutes — when cities are bound to offer services that others are legally prevented from offering and when municipal employees are bound to perform those services by essential services legislation.

But local initiatives don't help either…

From the London Free Press:
Overtaxed Londoners can't afford to continue a gravy train that next year would give $3.6 million to local hospitals, Fanshawe College and the University of Western Ontario, Coun. Paul Van Meerbergen said yesterday.

[…] Next year's draft budget calls for grants of $500,000 to Fanshawe, $1 million to UWO and $2.14 million to London hospitals. Together, they add up to nearly a one-per-cent tax hike — one-fifth the total proposed in a draft budget.

"We have to reduce grants to special interest groups and focus on core priorities like roads, sewers and the servicing of industrial land," Van Meerbergen said. Council must reduce the size and scope of government if it is to deliver to Londoners what Van Meerbergen says they deserve — a tax cut.
A tax cut in London? I expect to perish first. UWO, Fanshawe College and London hospitals are largely denied by law the ability to raise revenue by charging prices relative to costs — this is unfortunate because much of their success and new furniture must then depend on their ability to obtain welfare. These institutions are all of course permitted to raise funds from voluntary contributions and do so, and Londoners are permitted to contribute voluntarily to those institutions that they themselves value. Of course, Van Meerbergen faces "substantial opposition" to his proposal, including from Anne Marie DeCicco who has no trouble assigning the interests of 340,000 distinct Londoners as an integral "community" based on the 49,000 votes for mayor she received in the last election — a 7:1 ratio of egomania to reason apparently compensating for a 1:7 ratio of votes to constituents.
"I couldn't fundamentally disagree more," she said.

The hospitals and schools provide employment and make the city desirable, creating economic benefits for the community, she said.

"While it may not be our core business as a council, it is a core business for our community," DeCicco said.

[…] The city grants were part of a multi-year commitment that has already paid $12.8 million to the hospitals, $5 million to UWO and $2.5 million to Fanshawe. […] Next year would be the last year of grants to the hospitals. Fanshawe is to receive $500,000 a year through 2010, while Western is to get $1 million a year through 2011 and $500,000 in 2012.
Sad eyes, turn the other way
I don't wanna see you cry

Some Londoners, having benefited from previous development to own their own homes, have decided that the dividends of their participation in free market residential development should now be a limited statutory franchise. From the London Free Press:
A neighbourhood group fighting a condominium development […] says the city's planning committee unfairly approved the Sifton Properties project while their president was out of the country.

[…] Planning committee last week recommended — by a 3-2 vote — that Sifton Properties be allowed to go ahead with a 59-house development. The condo project would be built on the northeast corner of Wonderland Road North and Gainsborough Road and secure the future of Woodholme Castle.

[…] Plaxton said [Lawson Estates Ratepayers Association] president Danny Young spoke to a city planner before his vacation and was told it was "very unlikely'' the condominium issue would come up while he was away. Young returned yesterday from three weeks in Portugal.

[…] Coun. Cheryl Miller, who chairs the planning committee, said she won't support another public meeting. "We've already had two," Miller said.
Surprisingly, the Lawson Estates Ratepayers Association does not actually own the property in question — only their feelings of entitlement to someone else's. Economic well-being for future generations still awaits the passing of the baby boomers…

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The serenity of a residental neighbourhood featuring the new East London Branch Library was shattered early this morning by crashing cars and gun fire. Although service was uninterrupted at the library, both Forest Lawn Avenue and the Airport Hotel, which specializes in adult entertainment, were sectioned off by yellow tape as police gathered evidence from the scene of the most recent incident of gun play in London Ontario.

From A-Channel news:
A scene from the wild west played out in East London early this morning.

A burst of gunfire, followed by a rollover crash, followed by more gunfire.

Police, responding to reports of a rollover on Forest Lawn Ave. in the city's east end around 2:30 this morning, were suprised to find the people involved in the crash also appeared to have been involved in a shooting in front of the Airport Hotel on Dundas Street..

That's just around the corner from the accident scene.

Police believe that after the shooting in front of the hotel, the people involved began chasing each other in vehicles, resulting in the crash and rollover of an s-u-v in a residential area on Forest Lawn.

They say it appears more shots were exchanged there.

Two males were taken to hospital with minor injuries after the crash, but their injuries don't appear to be related to the gunplay.

Police are still looking for 2 black men and a white woman who ran off.

They're all in their early twenties.

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Goldfish bowls in Rome, because fish have feelings and they might go blind. The blackmarket rejoices and so do the bureaucrats. Cameras will now need to be installed on every street and in every home, at the expense of residents but of course.

The classic spherical fish bowls are banned under a new by-law which also stops fish or other animals being given away as fairground prizes. It comes after a national law was passed to allow jail sentences for people who abandon cats or dogs.

[..] "The civilization of a city can also be measured by this," she told Rome daily Il Messaggero.

The newspaper reported that round bowls caused fish to go blind. No one at Rome council was available to confirm this was why they were banned. Many fish experts say round bowls provide insufficient oxygen for fish.

In July 2004, parliament passed a law setting big fines and jail terms for people who abandon pets and since then local governments have added their own animal welfare rules many of which will be difficult to police.

The northern city of Turin passed a law in April to fine pet owners up to 500 euros ($597.7) if they do not walk their dogs at least three times a day.

[..] It also provides legal recognition for cat lovers who provide food for the colonies of strays which live everywhere from the city's ancient Roman ruins to modern office car parks.

Bank issued piggy banks in Britain, because they might hurt the feelings of Muslims. Never mind that plastic pigs are not typically eaten:
British banks are banning piggy banks because they may offend some Muslims.

[..] Muslims do not eat pork, as Islamic culture deems the pig to be an impure animal.

Salim Mulla, secretary of the Lancashire Council of Mosques, backed the bank move.

"This is a sensitive issue and I think the banks are simply being courteous to their customers," he said.

However, the move brought accusations of political correctness gone mad from critics.

"The next thing we will be banning Christmas trees and cribs and the logical result of that process is a bland uniformity," the Dean of Blackburn, Reverend Christopher Armstrong, said.

"We should learn to celebrate our difference, not be fearful of them."

Khalid Mahmoud, the Labour MP for a Birmingham seat and one of four Muslim MPs in Britain, also criticised the piggy-bank ban.

"We live in a multicultural society and the traditions and symbols of one community should not be obliterated just to accommodate another," Mr Mahmoud said.
HT: John the Mad

Also from Britain, books containing stories about fictional pigs:
A West Yorkshire head teacher has banned books containing stories about pigs from the classroom in case they offend Muslim children.

The literature has been removed from classes for under-sevens at Park Road Junior Infant and Nursery School in Batley.

[..] Mrs Harris said in a statement: "Recently I have been aware of an occasion where young Muslim children in class were read stories about pigs.

"We try to be sensitive to the fact that for Muslims talk of pigs is offensive."

The head teacher sent a memo to staff saying fiction books containing stories about pigs should be removed from early years and key stage one classrooms.

Mrs Harris added: "The books remain in the school library and there is nothing to stop our younger children having stories such as 'The Three Little Pigs' in small groups."
HT: Damian Penny

Previous absurdities:

Does your whitey toilet face toward mecca and how dare you support Winnie the Pooh and his farm yard of friends!

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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Nonsense like this, or the price system: You Must Choose

Free Press:

The Ontario government yesterday unveiled a new website listing wait times for major medical procedures at the province's hospitals, showing big differences between communities.
The website will be updated every two months, and should therefore be useful to health care consumers still far enough from the Grim Reaper to be able to compulsively refresh the waiting list webpage during those rare few crucial bimonthly seconds between the update and the totally jammed phone lines at the relatively less overburdened health care facilities. Watch for repetitive motion strain specialist waiting times to skyrocket.
We are only beginning to understand on how subtle a communication system the functioning of an advanced industrial society is based - a communications system which we call the market and which turns out to be a more efficient mechanism for digesting dispersed information than any that man has deliberately designed.

F.A. Hayek, 'The Pretence of Knowledge', New Studies, page 34

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Same As The Old Boss

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Monday, October 24, 2005

Isn't this discrimination?

What makes Mr. Floatie any different from other elected representatives?

Mr. Floatie - a brown, smiling lump of feces - will have to take a break from his environmental concerns Tuesday as he heads to British Columbia Supreme Court.

The costumed crusader for sewage treatment is being challenged by the city of Victoria because of his nomination as a candidate for the position of mayor in the upcoming municipal election.

Mr. Floatie is a high-profile and tireless reminder of Victoria's practice of pumping raw sewage into the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

The man inside the costume, James Skwarok, says the city appears to be taking issue with his candidacy because only real persons can run.

It's an objection he finds moot.

"Of course I'm not a real person, I'm a big piece of poop."

[..] Woodland says he can personally attest that Mr. Floatie is not a real person.

"He is a costume character."
Regards to John Galt for the tip.

Paul Martin maintains he never fondled Mr. Floatie

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The hospitals will be painted red and orange

As you'll likely be heading out of town for that MRI or treatment anyway, if you can afford it, you should keep right on going until you cross the border.

The provincial Liberals latest attempt to deceive the people into believing the health care crisis in Canada can be fixed by more bureaucrats and propaganda campaigns involves the creation of a website where patients and doctors can view wait times for various needed procedures. Of course, this mad bureaucratic 'solution' will fix nothing, but will only make more work for already overburdened doctors and create additional stress for patients. For many patients, the travel and accomodation expenses, including those incurred by family and friends who want to be near the patient, make this solution far from pleasing. I also imagine we'll see patients coming from Toronto for treatment in London, while a patient from London makes the trip to Toronto for the very same procedure concurrently.

Premier Dalton McGuinty described the website as a tool for patients and doctors to decide whether someone should leave their own community in order to have their cancer treatment or MRI scan done more quickly in another town or city.

The province, however, won't cover any additional travel expenses, he warned.

"It may be that the inconvenience associated with getting the procedure at the other hospital is greater than the inconvenience of just waiting," McGuinty said.

"That's something for the patient and their physician to consider."

The site, launched Monday, tracks wait times for five key medical procedures: cancer surgery, cardiac procedures, hip and knee replacements and MRI and CT scans. Waits are categorized by procedure, hospital and local health network.

McGuinty has repeatedly said Ontario voters will judge his government against the results they see in health care and education; the wait times website is seen as a key tool in providing voters with proof of what the Liberals hope will be measurable success.

"No government has ever been willing to be that transparent with respect to how we manage this particular issue," McGuinty said. "We've turned things around. We're making progress. Now's the time to accelerate that progress."

[..] "The public will now be able to compare one hospital with another hospital, and beyond that, we will be able to make an assessment where we should be deploying resources," he said. "Inevitably, there'll be pressure to perform, and to get your wait times down."
Is McGuimpy so transparently stupid that he doesn't realize hosptials will rush people in and out even faster then they do now to make room for the next victim, resulting in errors, poor care, sickness and death? Reduced wait times do not necessarily result in better care, especially when any apparent benefits are heavily outweighed by the costs.

Politicians don't care about you or I as individual people. We are merely to follow the pellets to the appropriate voting booth. The obvious solutions are ignored and indeed scorned, while public awareness campaigns and five - ten year plans are adopted for their power to confuse and employ government friendly companies. Rather than allow private clinics to open up so that those that wanted to pay could leave the line, statists like Happy Jack Layton want to tighten the government's monopolistic grip on the health care system:
Prime Minister Paul Martin has to crack down on the number of private health-care clinics opening up for business or he will forfeit the NDP's support that's been propping up Martin's minority government, warns New Democrat Leader Jack Layton.

Layton is expected to have a meeting with Martin this week on the controversial issue of health-care clinics, which are popping up across the country and he's looking for a guarantee that there will be enforceable rules in place to prevent further expansion of private health-care services.

The Canada Health Act does empower the government to block private health services, but little has been done to pursue penalties and where action has been taken, there's been little success.

"I'm concerned that the prime minister is fundamentally weakening Canada and we can look at that on a number of fronts. It's a classic Martin strategy -- large statements about goals and nothing to follow up," Layton said yesterday on CTV's Question Period.

"The health-care accord of a year ago with the $41 billion is essentially turning out to be a fraud. . . . Privatization is taking place right across this country and there's absolutely nothing to stop it. So I'm going to be asking the prime minister to take immediate, concrete steps to stop the further privatization of health."

[..] Layton admits there's no way to shut down the private clinics and hospitals that currently exist.

"You don't roll clocks back. There's too much already in place, but it's the growth that has got to stop," Layton said.

[..] "All we get is talk from Mr. Martin, the waving of the arms and $41 billion dollars --as though throwing a big cheque at the problem is going to solve it. It's not."
More laws will fix the trouble, and it helps if you delay the election call too.

The current system is unsustainable. Not only does the aging population mean an increase in demand for health services, but in addition, the inclusion of expensive and rare treatments currently not covered is being considered. When health care has become "a right", when the right to life now means the right to whatever will sustain that life, no matter what the costs imposed by force onto others, on what basis do we refuse 'free' treatment to anyone who asks for it?

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In other news

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The thirtieth edition of the Red Ensign Standard

Quotulatiousness raises the Red Ensign Standard
The land the Maple Leaf first flew over was, in many ways, a much freer and more democratic society than the Canada of today. Canadians in those days did not automatically turn to the government to solve problems in every sphere of life. Government had its place, and that place was generally agreed to be the defence of the realm, maintaining the peace, running the judicial system, and international affairs. The vast increase in the size and power of the federal government started in the same period as the new flag was adopted, so that modern Canadians seem to feel that the government should be — and always has been — fully involved in every activity of life in Canada. The Federal government, for all its faults, was (especially compared to today) squeaky clean: ministers would resign at the mere hint of mismanagement within their departments . . . unlike today, where the RCMP has to be in the aisle waving handcuffs before a tainted minister even considers stepping down from office.

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Sunday, October 23, 2005

London 2006 budget deliberations begin.
Citizen advisory in effect: start saving…

The hopes and fears of all our year 2006 are here with us tonight — the annual London pre-budget entrails are being read. According to the London Free Press, a draft budget was presented this week to board of control that proposes a five per cent increase in property taxes. After tax hikes in the past two years of 5.9 and 5.3 per cent, the expectation at city hall may be that Londoners have been sufficiently subdued and demoralized that a five per cent increase may come accross as a reprieve. The commutation is especially marketable with an election coming up next year (these three-year election cycles are so ill-timed when you're working with five-year plans). But taking no chances with a normally pliant electorate, deputy mayor Tom Gosnell is vowing to cut the hike to less than three per cent. According to Joe Belanger, senior agitprop reporter for the London Free Press,

[r]educing the proposed hike to three per cent would save the average homeowner about $42 a year.
That should mollify any recalcitrant taxpayers who still harbour any illusions that their property and income are not vouchsafed to them at the discretion of the city — raising taxes by three per cent will save you money, you reactionary fossil!

As an amusing diversion in the Free Press article, ward 7 councillor Paul Van Meerbergen is reported to be calling again for property tax reductions! Ha ha! Clearly he is an alien of questionable legality employed as council chamber's jester. There cannot be, nor has there been in recent memory, any suggestion that a year might go by without an increase in property taxes — the Free Press would tell us otherwise if this was doctrinally possible. Of course, it's not — such a suggestion could lead uncomfortably to the idea that the efforts and actions of individuals are responsible for the economic well-being of the city and council's ability to spend, rather than vice versa.

Nevertheless, we wish Mr. Gosnell well in his bold attempt to be lenient with the unprogressive elements still remaining in the city. He will have his indulgences sorely limited when city council opens the doors for public input — meaning by those prodigally immodest bourgeois Londoners who wallow in impeccably progressive activism and civic offensives — before cutting the budget. From the London Free Press again:
London city council will seek public input before cutting its budget for new projects, a budget that would be halved if the city expands police headquarters.
[Ed. note: Huh?]
Jonathon Sher, Free Press reporter and apparently an Ontario high school graduate, appropriately notes the urgency of a unexpectedly frugal council:
Much is at stake. A wish list of projects includes affordable housing, an overpass at Hale and Trafalgar streets, enhancements at the forks of the Thames, road widenings and the possible redevelopment of Wonderland Gardens.

Many of the capital projects won't make the cut if council keeps to a regime of self- discipline it imposed on itself after borrowing huge sums of money for projects such as a new central library and the John Labatt Centre.

Council capped its borrowing at $30 million a year, a limit that could play out this way:
  • The city plans to spend $42 million maintaining existing buildings and works. Of that, $19.4 million would be borrowed, leaving $10.6 million to borrow for new projects.
  • If council approves an expansion of police headquarters, it would need to borrow about another $5.5 million, leaving only $5 million to be borrowed for other projects.
  • If council continues to expand Airport Road, it must borrow $3 million, leaving $2 million of debt-financing for 45 projects on the books.
Comrade constituents of our elected betters, unite at the mechanically democratic public input meetings! Don't let those 45 worthy projects be orphaned to the cause of fiscal prudence. I don't know what those 45 projects are either, but you know as well as I that it doesn't matter — historical municipal dialectism is only served by obedience!

For a history of London city council's last attempt to trim the property tax hike, check out the London Fog's London Budget 2005 Archives and take lavishly progressive heart.

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Svend promises to never have a fit of 'unpremeditated madness' again

It's official - former politician turned ring thief announced a few days ago that he hopes to run again in the next federal election. He need not have bothered to resign in the first place, as Canadians are more than happy to cast their sympathy votes at the ballot box as long as there is some expected benefit for the special interest group to which they belong. Besides, the ring is quite insignificant when compared to the tax dollars that Svend hopes to collect.

Longtime New Democrat Svend Robinson, who left politics after admitting to stealing an expensive ring, is making a comeback.

Robinson said Friday he will seek the NDP nomination in the riding of Vancouver Centre to run in the next federal election. That riding is held by Liberal Hedy Fry. "I'm asking for a second chance," he told a news conference. "I should be judged for my entire record of hard work."

Robinson was first elected in 1979 and served as a member of Parliament for 25 years.

He left politics in 2004 after he admitted to stealing a diamond ring in a moment of "utter irrationality" and later was given a conditional discharge for theft over $5,000.

"Again today I want to say how deeply sorry I am," Robinson said Friday, describing the theft as unpremeditated madness.

Robinson speculated Canadians would forgive him and would believe he can now manage his stress.

[..] Baier didn't think the ring theft would hurt Robinson's chances of beating Fry, pointing to the example of B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell bouncing back from a drunk-driving charge in Maui.

"People tend to forgive, especially when the explanation is 'I've been working too hard or I'm under stress."'

Although pressed by reporters several times, Robinson wouldn't discuss his medication for what he called a mild bipolar disorder.

"I'm careful about medication because I think it's really important not to suggest that because I may not be taking medication at this point, which I'm not, that somehow there's anything wrong with medication.

"'I wouldn't be taking this step unless I had the full confidence of my therapist," Robinson said.
If he's not on drugs, he should be.

After leaving politics, Robinson did some work for the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union.

[..] A fierce advocate for gay rights, he was also arrested twice for participating in anti-logging blockades in British Columbia, earning the aboriginal name White Swan from an appreciative First Nation.

He campaigned for the right to die and was at the bedside of Sue Rodriguez, who was suffering from Lou Gehrig's disease, when a doctor helped her commit suicide.

He was videotaped wearing a flak jacket challenging Israeli soldiers at a
West Bank checkpoint into the locked-down Palestinian enclave. Then-NDP leader Alexa McDonough reacted by reducing his role as foreign affairs critic after he equated Israeli's military response to Palestinian suicide bombers to terrorism.

[..] In 2001, Robinson was teargassed at the Summit of the Americas in Quebec City, later getting a $10,000 compensation payment after saying he was hit in the leg by an RCMP rubber bullet.
He's just so sensitive. The proletariat are sure to be impressed by Svend's heartfelt confession.

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Saturday, October 22, 2005

Joseph Conrad on building strong communities

Joseph Conrad, 1885:

Where's the man to stop the rush of social-democratic ideas? The opportunity and the day have come and are gone! Believe me: gone forever! For the sun is set and the last barrier removed. England was the only barrier to the pressure of infernal doctrines born in continental back-slums. Now, there is nothing! The destiny of the nation and all nations is to be accomplished in darkness amidst much weeping and gnashing of teeth, to pass through robbery, equality, anarchy, and misery under the iron rule of a military despotism! Such is the lesson of common sense logic.

Socialism must invariably end in Caesarism.

- Joseph Conrad, "Life and Letters"; G. Jean Aubry, London 1927; Vol 1 p 84, cited in C. Northcote Parkinson, "The Evolution of Political Thought"; Viking, 1964, p.216

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Left and Right

It's like telling Sunni and Shi'ite apart without a field guide.

Exhibit A:

Heartofsong83 wrote:
They should have mandatory National ID cards - that would take care of all those problems.

chymetoo wrote:
I think here they tried to get a card with all a persons valid id info and the civil liberties nuts went wild - invasion of privacy and all that. People even have fits at having photo id for health cards so mandatory national ID cards will come under the same fire.

styky wrote:
These same poeple don't seem to have a problem with their picture being on their card from Costco. They seem to have a double standard.
Exhibit B:
Suppose your boss tells you that you have to work overtime this week without extra pay. He tells you that if you don't like it, he can always find someone else to do your job. So he coerces you into working more under threat of dismissal. A libertarian might reply that no one forces you to work anywhere you don't want to. But no one forces you to live in a country (and obey its laws) that you don't want to live in either.

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5 year plan for cancer calls for some "Groupaction"

A new report says that cancer rates are going up and we're not going to be able to pay for it. I guess you'd better get yourself elected, join the army or become a hockey star in the latter stages of life, so you can get into the premium service queue at healthcare centre from which the rest of us are excluded.

"Cancer has an ever-expanding impact on the lives of Canadians and on the economic interests of the country," the report says. "Yet Canada is falling behind other developed countries in meeting this growing cancer burden."

There will be a "significant increase in the number of new cancer cases," the report says, adding this spike in demand for medical services "will cause inflationary pressures and put the sustainability of the health-care system at risk."
Hooray for socialized medicine!
(Doctor) Sutcliffe is a senior member of a coalition of experts pushing for a national strategy on cancer control. The coalition's report, prepared by experts ranging from provincial cancer agencies to researchers to the Canadian Cancer Society, projects costs over the next 30 years that are staggering. They include $176 billion in direct health-care costs for cancer patients; $540 billion in lost wage-based productivity as cancer patients temporarily or permanently leave their jobs; and $248 billion in lost tax revenues because those patients are off work.
That's right, they're busy calculating how many tax dollars they're going to lose in the future because you're too near death to work!
The coalition is calling for a $260-million, five-year plan that would provide more consistent care nationwide in areas such as screening programs to catch the disease in its early stages; clinical practice guidelines on the most up-to-date treatment; the types of drugs that should be publicly insured; standards on how chemotherapy is practised, prescribed and administered; and guidelines for palliative care.
While doctors might be thinking about ways of treating the disease politicians, who have the final say in medical in Canada and, unlike doctors, aren't motivated by greed, have come up with a five-year plan propaganda campaign instead of a treatment strategy:
Ottawa, however, plans to treat cancer as part of an "integrated disease strategy" with a $300-million, five-year plan that attempts to persuade Canadians to lead healthier lives, reducing their risk of getting cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
Note the use of the word "persuade". In other words, $300 million worth of public advertising. I sure hope Groupaction Inc. are willing to take on some of this important work.

I guess these advertising campaigns must affect someone - the Liberanos keep getting re-elected.

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Friday, October 21, 2005

My toilet is not your concern

I really don't care which way my toilet faces, as long as it's functional. If it means something to you, by all means, pay the plumber to relocate the shitter. It should not be my problem.

Via John the Mad - Prove your worthiness for one of these suites:

Bristol: An Asian housing association in Britain has built a block of flats especially designed not to offend Muslims - the toilets do not face Makkah.

The 16 flats in the St Paul's area here have been built by Bristol-based Aashyana Housing Association, an Asian-led organisation. The toilets in the apartments have been built in such a way that they do not face southeast.

Farooq Siddique, from the Bristol Muslim Cultural Society, said he welcomed developments that took into consideration the cultural diversity of tenants.

He said: "I think it is a good thing that the flats are designed in this way. We do live in a multi-cultural society and rather than just paying lip service to that, it is important that there are policies in place that address it.

"Having toilets facing the right way is an issue that comes up, as Muslims do not like using them if they are facing in that direction."

[..] "If we can build homes which are pleasing to all members of the community, then this is a good thing. If an English tenant moved in, they would use the cupboards or the toilets and not think about them - but it can make an extra difference to others."

[..] The flats were built to meet the demand for housing for south Asian people here and most of the cost of the scheme was met by the government-backed Housing Corporation with contributions by the city council and the association's parent body, the William Sutton Group.

Anwar said: "We are not exclusively for Asians. Our doors are open, and we assess on a needs basis - people of all colours and creeds come to our homes."

[..] "But where there are two households of equal priority who qualify for an Aashyana home, we would offer to the household who would most benefit from the culturally- sensitive services that Aashyana provides."

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Thursday, October 20, 2005

Blind spots

The "Right" becomes indistinguishable from the "Left" when it comes to their own utopian, dream-logic social programs.

Case in point, the War on Drugs, which is at base a jobs program for police. In this social program, the police need ever-increasing budgets and staff to cope with the impossible yet job-secure and relatively safe task of stamping out weeds. As a bonus of jacking the price of the weeds up, property crime, prostitution and gangs are also fostered, increasing the viability of a career in law enforcement and providing for ever-expanding budgets.

As with the left, good intentions are more important than effects. Spend more money! Do it harder if it isn't working! Ignore the insidious, anti-social effects of their program -- they are as illusory as the problems with socialized medicine and racist hiring practices. Once the dictatorship of the drug-free proletariat is achieved these ill effects will fade away.

And, when confronted with moral or economic arguments against this social program, fingers go into ears and names are called. Those who would instantly spot the absurdity of calling someone opposed to, say, affirmative action, a racist, do not blink at calling someone opposed to the equally mad prohibition a drug addict.

When the Party begins to regulate blogs, I trust there will be no whiny complaints or self-aggrandizing masturbatory disobedience from the law-abiding right.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The Unelected Intruder

Michaelle Jean makes an "emotional" trip to Winnipeg, at our expense:
A 21-gun salute welcomed Governor General Michaelle Jean in Winnipeg, as she chose the geographic centre of the country to make her first official visit.

[..] Even before she arrived, however, Jean made it clear to officials her primary purpose was to meet the people.

More meaningless statist garbage:
‘I intend to devote myself to promoting and multiplying actions that help to create a broader dialogue among us, a still-deeper understanding of what we are collectively,’’ Jean said.

‘‘If we can initiate such a dialogue among ourselves, it could trigger around the world a truly global trend toward solidarity. This would be a globalization no longer defined solely by commercial trade, but also by mutual help and the wish to tackle head-on issues that concern us all.’’

Her three-day trip includes meetings with politicians, artists, women’s groups and the city’s large francophone community. The hastily arranged visit is focusing on women’s rights, aboriginal youth, education and citizenship.

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The London Fog's London Budget 2006 Archives
Fiscal responsibility, London-style Wednesday, May 3, 2006
As reported yesterday, council voted Monday not to re-open the 2006 budget and pass a 3.9 per cent hike in residential property taxes. Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco and most councillors opposed re-opening the budget to provide tax relief from "surplus" money earmarked for debt reduction.

"You don't borrow from the future to pay for today," London Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco said.

It's very noble of DeCicco and council to act on our behalf in the cause of fiscal responsibility — especially when the approved 2006 capital budget includes $30 million in new debt financing. Total corporate debt at the end of 2005 stood at $371.1 million, or over $1,000 per resident.
Save the twelve dollars, you're going to need it Tuesday, May 2, 2006
City council last night declined to re-open the 2006 budget and left London homeowners holding the bill for a 3.9 per cent increase in property taxes. As an incentive to remain calm during an election year, however, the London Free Press reports that council did pass a motion for "a review of water and sewer rates aimed at shifting the costs of water and sewer services from homeowners to industrial, commercial and institutional users."
Special interests speak out on London budget.
Hint: it's not for your interest
Monday, May 1, 2006
City council meets tonight to decide whether to approve a 3.9 per cent tax hike instead of the 2.95 per cent increase council passed in January, or to re-open the budget to find some means of reducing the hike to three per cent or less. Having faced hikes of 5.9 and 6.6 per cent in the past two years, London homeowners are among the highest taxed in the country — and even if the increase is reduced to three per cent, hikes for sewer and water charges of 9.6 and 5 per cent means that the overall increase would still be nearly five per cent. Needless to say, mayor Anne Marie DeCicco and board of control — with the exception of Tom Gosnell — are recommending that the 3.9 per cent hike be passed.
It's going to get more expensive to live in London, version 2006.1 Thursday, April 27, 2006
Remember the good old days back in January?
[C]ouncil has approved a 2006 budget that raises residential property taxes by 2.95 per cent. After two years of 5.9 and 6.6 per cent increases, this year's hike may appear to be a relief — such are the reduced expectations of Londoners. Property taxes get the big press, but Londoners will be paying 9.6 and 5 per cent increases in sewer and water rates respectively.
Ah, but the much less ballyhooed caveat was that the relatively less onerous increase for homeowners in an election year owed less to a trifling with the idea of fiscal restraint and mostly on the redistribution of the tax burden to commercial properties and the unguaranteed approval of the provincial government.
Thanks for your fiscal restraint and your foresight Thursday, January 26, 2006
That little matter of the 2.95 per cent increase in property taxes that council approved in its budget on Tuesday is, unsurprisingly, still up in the air…
It's going to get more expensive to live in London… again Wednesday, January 25, 2006
The London Free Press reports that council has approved a 2006 budget that raises residential property taxes by 2.95 per cent. After two years of 5.9 and 5.3 per cent increases, this year's hike may appear to be a relief — such are the reduced expectations of Londoners…
And that little matter of the budget… Tuesday, January 24, 2006
In another development reported in the London Free Press, it turns out that council's much-ballyhooed plans to deliver a property tax increase of three per cent in an election year are predicated on shifting the tax burden to businesses and the unguaranteed approval of the provincial government…
Please tell us more about your fiscal discipline Friday, January 20, 2006
The amount of debt per person in London was $1,070 in 2004, the last year for which the city collected data. That was double the amount in Kingston and Hamilton, eight times the level in St. Thomas and above levels in Toronto, Windsor, Barrie, Ottawa, Guelph and Chatham-Kent…
What about the potholes and the soaring debt? Thursday, January 19, 2006
The mechanic shortage is reaching epic proportions here in London Ontario, yet today the Free Press reports the expected 'surplus' is about $9 million. And not only has the city collected a reported excess of loot, also from today, we learn that taxpayers in London are among the highest taxed in the country…
Save London Roads! Close Fanshawe Pioneer Village Sunday, December 11, 2005
Overtaxed Londoners may recall that Fanshawe Pioneer Village is part of the list of organizations receiving free handouts from council…
City hall cannot be trusted with taxes Sunday, December 11, 2005
The London Free Press reports that council will use only $650,000 of last year's $8.7 million budget "surplus" for tax relief as city staff had recommended in a report — in effect, a few dollars per property owner…
"It shows we're ahead of the curve, that we're making investments" Sunday, December 4, 2005
Anne-Marie DeCicco, earlier in the week, defended extravagant taxation and spending in London…
London can't afford its local government Friday, December 2, 2005
In practice, fiscal restraint to this administration means capping additional debt at $30 million a year and proposing a 5 per cent hike in property taxes in addition to assessment growth of 2.1 per cent. The current adminstration clearly has no idea what fiscal restraint actually means…
Riches of embarassment for council…
more taxes for the rest of us
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
A freeze on development that's cost London city hall about $220,000 to defend has been quashed by Ontario's top court because council pushed it through in secret…
London's Ryugyong Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Asked if borrowing for the JLC and other projects had put the city into a hole, Coun. Fred Tranquilli, said: "There's no sense having good roads if you have nowhere to go."
". . . the side streets resemble Siberia" Friday, November 25, 2005
A motion to return $200,000 to the budget for sidewalk snow removal — a cut approved last year — was defeated by an 11-7 vote…
Melba Toast Thursday, November 24, 2005
Arguments that using London's $8.7 million budget "surplus" for debt reduction will help lower taxes in the long term by reducing interest charges are predicated on the assumption that city hall will suddenly begin practicing fiscal restraint and refrain from incurring new debt. Is there any reason to believe this will start happening now?
Don't trust council with a "surplus" Wednesday, November 23, 2005
After two consecutive years of $12 million budget "surpluses," senior administrators at city hall are recommending to council that a miserly $600,000 of an expected $8.7-million budget surplus should be used to "reduce property taxes" — in effect, a few dollars per property owner…
The sewers were neglected in favour of the JLC Thursday, November 17, 2005
Controllers approved up to $500,000 be spent on a plan to improve customer service at city hall that will begin by surveying people who use city services…
It's only your money… Wednesday, November 16, 2005
…so don't give this post a second thought
There's a truck stuck in the sewer Wednesday, November 16, 2005
here is only one thing you can be certain of in London Ontario - if you aren't poor yet, you will be…
Thanks for the two bucks, now scram Monday, November 14, 2005
There is no better model for default governance of an apathetic population in Canada than the federal Liberal party, an exemplar of electoral success that London city hall mimics beautifully in miniature…
Election year budget creates moderate discomfort to special interest groups and propitiatory council Thursday, November 10, 2005
With a municipal election coming up next year, London city council is confused…
Assorted London anaesthetics… Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Next year's draft budget calls for grants of $500,000 to Fanshawe, $1 million to UWO and $2.14 million to London hospitals. Together, they add up to nearly a one-per-cent tax hike — one-fifth the total proposed in a draft budget…
London 2006 budget deliberations begin.
Citizen advisory in effect: start saving…
Sunday, October 23, 2005
The hopes and fears of all our year 2006 are here with us tonight — the annual London pre-budget entrails are being read…
London Ontario — an expensive place to raise a family Wednesday, October 19, 2005
The annual culmination of the ongoing deliberation process to steal your money away is fast approaching here in London Ontario…

The London Fog's London Budget 2005 Archives

London Budget News Release — Paul Van Meerbergen
Download as PDF

"London as a Creative City" — by Paul Van Meerbergen
Download as PDF

Capital Budget Amendments — by Paul Van Meerbergen
Download as PDF

Operating Budget Amendments — by Paul Van Meerbergen
Download as PDF

Continue reading…

London Ontario - an expensive place to raise a family

The annual culmination of the ongoing deliberation process to steal your money away is fast approaching here in London Ontario. Because the taxpayers of Ontario have helped fund London, Londoners can expect a tax increase of 3 - 5 percent, rather than the usual 7 - 10 percent. But of course, this is no savings as people in London reside in Ontario too.
Property taxes could climb as much as five per cent unless city council finds ways to slash the draft operating budget being unveiled today.

City hall sources say the proposed $650-million-plus budget calls for a tax hike of three to five per cent.

[..] "Our financial strategy is firing on all cylinders now, except for protective services," city finance boss Vic Cote said yesterday.

"The bulk of the increase will be coming from protective services and, unless we get control of that, we'll have a problem (in future years)," Cote said.

He declined to confirm the proposed tax hike.

The city's financial strategy of the last three years includes spending restraint, a $30-million annual cap on capital spending, and lobbying senior governments for more money and less downloading of services.

The operating budget does not include capital spending on roads, parks and other projects. Council and staff are trying to set priorities.
For 150 years London city council and staff have been trying - unsuccessfully - to 'set priorities', but somehow this year will be different? Sesquicentennials do not bestow wisdom.

To add a new twist to the recurrent plot for the 2006 budget year, a delay in city property assessment leaves city council more clueless than previous years. Poor London - always lagging behind, except when it comes to hilarity:
Londoners will be last in Ontario to learn how much their property assessments -- a key component in setting taxes -- have changed.

The assessments, the first in two years, already have been mailed to many Ontarians, sparking controversy and an investigation by the provincial ombudsman.

Though some Ontario property owners got notices from the Municipal Property Assessment Corp. a month ago, those in the London area won't get them until about Nov. 17.

[..] This year, notices were to go out during 10 weeks. The London region ended up at the back of the queue, in part because Woodstock annexed land for a Toyota plant, McMeekin said.

The wait means London city hall staff won't be able to estimate assessment growth until December, which bothers Controller Bud Polhill.

"It makes it real difficult to come up with a fair number for an estimate," he said.

Polhill's not the only one concerned. Ontario's ombudsman, Andre Marin, said this week he's probing the "mysterious" way properties are assessed. His report will take four to six months to complete, not soon enough to give homeowners any relief in 2006.
As the "mysterious" assessment data will arrive before budget approval time, council may as well retire to the cafeteria until early spring. Estimates are not reality, so council should retain their hot air until the verdict is passed, sparing us the annoyance of their constant bleatings. The lobby groups should join them for this proposed extended lunch, and everyone there should pay for their own meals.
Not factored into the proposed tax hike is the city's assessment growth, which won't be known until early next year. Last year, growth of about two per cent accounted for more than $6 million in new tax revenue.

For taxpayers, $3.7 million in growth revenue is equal to a one per cent tax hike.
London has a long ration line in its future. The city continues to expand and spend beyond its means, opting for ugly capital adornments near the airport and publically funded circuses and crumbling relics, thus showing total disregard for the finances of individuals living in this city. That most Londoners will thankfully never see most of public art or use the ridiculous facilities, or care about how 'wonderful' London looks as 'a corporation', matters not one bit to the aggressive panhandlers who force us to fill their plate with our hard-earned dollars. A city where budgets are made on the basis of funding not yet approved is not a city where you want to be.

People complain about private corporations, but at least it is your choice whether or not to join the line at the checkout counter AND presumably you actually get something for your money.

Not so in London. Don't care about conferences or the Convention Centre? Too bad, you're paying for it anyway:
After years of weaning itself off tax dollars, the London Convention Centre needs money, an extra $3.5 million over 20 years to maintain the building.

The request goes today to the city's board of control, whose members seemed inclined to support a facility they say has been well-run.

"I think it's a great economic tool for the city and it's been well run for a long time," Controller Gord Hume said yesterday.

[..] More money will be needed to maintain the centre as it ages, general manager Britta Winther said. A consultant has recommended upping spending for the building from $300,000 to $500,000.

The increase would be phased in: $350,000 next year; $400,000 in 2007; $450,000 in 2008 and $500,000 from 2009 to 2024.

That money would be in addition to funds for operations that were $366,000 this year and $390,000 requested next year.

The money is well spent because the London centre uses less public money than most other convention centres, Winther said. (my emphasis)

Continue reading…

The London Fog's 1st Annual Tasty Ration Contest

If you were forced to pledge allegience to an army based on ration cuisine, which of these delicacies would you choose?

The London Fog editors would also appreciate clarification from readers concerning what exactly is being served here.

My pick: The Mongolian menu, 'cause at least it looks like you get some carrots and nuts along with the bones.

And my pick for 'In the early years, even those in Siberian prison camps received better fare than this' award goes to: The Chinese ration of what appears to be mushed up worms.

And this is what we get in Canada - no veggies, but who cares, as you get a Kit Kat bar instead! How do they preserve the bun or whatever that lump of brown filler is at the top of the tray?

A polite bow to Quotulatiousness for the tip.

Update: Come on people! When the London Fog posts a contest, we mean for our readers to participate!

Continue reading…

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

A Canadian in all but citizenship

Ahh, speed the days until the Democrats are in office again, so that the template can change back from ignorant warmonger oligarch to intelligent, multilateralist man of compromise. Then the United States will at least be able to go to war with places like Haiti and Kosovo and Waco and Elian Gonzalez' closet and Ron Brown's skull and who knows, maybe even Cuba, without all the rabble-roused dissent-du-jour at home and abroad.

Laughter and applause frequently marked Clinton's appearance.

Near the end, a lone voice from the upper bowl shouted, "Why don't you run for prime minister?" That drew cheers.
Yeah! He's so awesome when they show him on TV, and he comes up with some really funny lines! And he smiles WAY more convincingly than Chimpy McWalBush. I would never even think twice about one of his wars!
Clinton's major failure, says McKercher, was in meeting one of the primary roles of the presidency: being a moral leader.

Clinton would rebound from his indiscretion. Like Hester Prynne, the heroine of Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, he bore the shame of public humiliation for sexual misconduct and rose above it to become a stronger person.
On the other hand, I missed the Free Press editorial giving their judgment on why Jamie Gorelick built a wall between intelligence agencies, or the contributions it made to subsequent events.

Now pretend that Michael Moore told you to read that together with this.

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Did it even need to be asked?

What's the point of imagineering your own ethnic national socialist regime without an army?!

Continue reading…

Monday, October 17, 2005

Yet more tales of trough raiding

Occam's Carbuncle is back. Today's topic: free lunches. From the Ottawa Sun:

A NEWLY released audit of travel expenses at the federal Fisheries Department has uncovered some horror stories -- just as the Liberals try to shake off spending scandals at the Royal Canadian Mint and elsewhere.

The internal review of the department's $42-million annual bill for travel and hospitality found:

- Some employees attending foreign conferences stayed abroad after meetings ended, claiming expenses without any evidence they were actually doing government business.

- Staff at some meetings claimed meal allowances, even though meals were provided.

- Other employees used exorbitant exchange rates to make claims for foreign travel, even though the rate they actually paid was lower.

- One staff member in a remote posting claimed $6,000 for hotel, meals and incidentals for 27 straight days so he could be with his spouse for the birth of a child. There was no evidence anyone had authorized the expenses in advance.

- One office habitually booked pricey flights, costing an average $5,400 more than the lowest-priced flight available.

[..] Investigators also found several cases where travel was not pre-authorized as required, expense claims were missing receipts, and Treasury Board policies were being ignored or subverted.
Alan sums the situation up nicely, so I will refrain from commenting here and simply reproduce Alan's assessment of Liberal gluttony:
The problem here goes beyond the LPC. It's the country. Many who are not corrupt themselves turn a sophisticate's blind eye to corruption. Many who would never carry a weapon into a corner store and clear the register are quite comfortable padding expenses and generally living large at the cost of their neighbour.

Why is a country that prides itself on nebulous and dubious virtues like tolerance and diversity not able to nail the really basic ones like honesty, integrity and loyalty? What kind of a country is this anyway? Why has not one of the major parties even attempted to put together a comprehensive plan to restore honour to government and public service? Where's the White Paper on Virtue? Where is our Cato? Am I wrong? is there a substantial, cogent plan to clean up the political culture that I've missed? Or is everybody just waiting for their turn at the trough?

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The CBC is responsible

The living dead roam the streets of Canada - validation of what we Canadians have always known.

HT: Jomama.

Yesterday I joined the ranks of the living dead at the Vancouver zombie walk. I heard about it the night before from some friends, and thought, "oh, that'll be fun. Maybe there'll be a dozen people there. What the hell."

Try three hundred.

[..] First, a trip through the mall. The first few shoppers seemed determined to pretend that 300 zombies were not stumbling past their favourite stores, moaning "Brrraaaaaaaiiiiiiins". An upscale jewelry store locked their doors as we passed by. We bottlenecked at the escalators and a crowd gathered to stare at us at the bottom.

What I found most fascinating about the whole thing was how people react. When you're in a small group of two or three zombies, people try very hard to pretend they haven't seen you, probably because they think you're a junkie. Once the crowd gets bigger, they look uncomfortable, or stare. A few people laugh and get into it. And the only people who actually speak up almost invariably ask: "What's this for?" Is it a protest? A festival? A club? Everyone comes to the conclusion that it must be for something. It doesn't occur to most people that 300 people would just dress up as zombies and stomp around town for the hell of it.

[..] Along the way, everyone stopped to gawk from the safety of their store windows. Brains were eaten. Buses were swarmed at from the ground. Small dogs were made very nervous. A police escort helped direct traffic so that the walking dead were not made even deader. The only real complaint I heard was an angry woman saying to her friend "I didn't appreciate that one grabbing my breast" as the crowd passed her by - unfortunately I guess one zombie got a little out of hand.

After learning about the Zombiewalk from Susan Eagle, London City Council unanimously approved the formation of the Zombiewalk 2005 Task Force, headed by Gord Hume. The purpose of the Task Force is to bring the Walk to London. The Walk would begin in East London with the eventual destination of the John Labatt Center. Supporters of the event emphasize the importance of increasing diversity and creativity in London. Funding for the event will come from taxpayers.

"It is an especially opportune time to organize a gathering of Zombies," chirped our Worship, Anne-Marie Dee Dee Dum Decicco, who is also a member of the Zombiewalk 2005 Task Force. "Like, it would be so good for London's diversity profile and a very special compliment to 'The Lost Soul Stroll' which celebrates London's Heritage."

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