Greetings from scorching hot Ottawa on a late Sunday night. My air conditioner just blew a fuse, so I had to venture out into the wilderness to the all-night Mac’s Milk to by a new one. There, I was a sold a new $2 fuse and given valuable appliance advice by the store clerk who, in turns out, is an electrical engineer with 30 years of experience in Bahrain. And now he works in a corner store on the midnight shift. There’s really something wrong with the way we treat immigrating professionals.
Today I also attended a BBQ hosted by the local Indian Canadian Chamber of Commerce (I’ll go anywhere for free food) where I met several fascinating individuals, including a highly ranked fellow in the Treasury Board. He had some intriguing insights, among them that the Canadian federal government relies a great deal on management advice (on matters financial) from consulting firms, such as KPMG and Ernst & Young. However, the firms’ local representatives have grown so dependent on government money over the years that their advice can no longer be relied upon to be agenda-free. The result is that the federal government is forced to go beyond Ottawa –and often outside Canada!– for truly objective management consulting input.
On the one hand, I am relieved that at least key players are aware of the inherent biases held by local contractors. On the other hand, it is concerning that our feeding trough system necessitates the exporting of all that sweet consulting money.
I should point out that the ICCC is quite happy these days that a sitting Prime Minister deigned to attend its gala earlier this month. Formal pics of the event are here. Not sure how I feel about this development.
This weekend, I decided to infuriate myself by spending some time on the Canadian Right’s dedicated website, the Western Standard Blogs, which is the online corollary to Ezra Levant’s “conservative” newspaper, The Western Standard, whose publisher and writers have close ties to the new Conservative government. I visit the site on occasion. Why do I do this, you ask? I do it to remind myself of who the core audience of the Canadian Conservative agenda is, to remind myself of whom the Prime Minister is ultimately speaking and catering to. Who are these people? Well, here’s a sample of some of the things that have been written on that site:
C. “Indians … when I think of them I think of alcohol, drugs, prostitution, gambling, dead eagles, welfare, petty crime, fetal alcohol syndrome, obesity, illiteracy, violence, laziness, huge waste of taxpayers money, graffiti & broken down vehicles, a few chiefs living large on the booty they control while their tribe suffers …When is our debt to these losers paid in full?”
D. “The real problem in Canada is how to raise the level of awareness of people in order to understand the real threat. I suggest the creation of an organization aiming with the goal of closing all mosques and banning Islam in Canada.”
The above is a truly representative sample of much of what is written there. I don’t think any of it was voiced with humour, sarcasm or irony. I’ve said before that one can disagree politically yet maintain that all voices, regardless of political stripe, are ultimately striving for a worthy goal, and I still believe this to be true. But when I see publications and websites like those produced and supported by Ezra Levant and his friends, I start to doubt whether my position is defensible; I start to suspect that a solid core of the Canadian Right might just be a bunch of mouth-breathing bigots and imbeciles. And I wonder whether this government’s policies may indeed begin to reflect the worst of such peoples’ ignorance, bile and mental pathology.
On another topic, I’m still looking for a transcript of Thursday night’s debate between Christopher Hitchens and Eric Margolis. At this point, even a thorough review will do. The only descriptions I’ve found so far are this one and this one, neither from an objective source.