Sunday, June 29, 2008

Folk Festival on the Canal

Last weekend, I went to the Terrace in back of the McAuslin Brewery to watch the Folk Festival on The Canal. It was a great day; good bands- a big Shout out to United Steel Workers of Montreal, Notre Dame de Grass and Rob Lutes. There were several other great bands that I didn't get to hear, because it was a hot, sunny day and you just can't leave a four year old outside from Noon to 10:30 PM.

The site was busy, with a lot of people just stopping by on the Canal to listen. Inside the paying customers were shoulder to shoulder. The organisers had thoughtfully provided a daycare crew to keep the little ones amused. The whole event felt like a really big barbeque organised by your cool, wealthy uncle- in this case Peter McAuslin.

This one of the many cultural events sponsored by McAuslin. Full disclosure, I have loved the beer since it first came on the market, and live 3 minutes walk from the Terrace. I'll try not to gush.

I had a chat with with Gern of USWM. He said it was the mellowest show they'd played in years. They must be the most raucous alt-blue grass band around then, because they added a rollicking set to a pretty energetic roster of performers. He said most of the group are local now to St.Henri and The Point. This makes them, although he's too modest to make the claim, legitimately part of the St.Henri cultural renaissance.

I'm looking forward to the second edition, next year.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

If Oil is too expensive, stop buying it

The U.S. congress is busily trying to identify the culprit behind high petroleum prices. Speculators are betting that individuals, companies and governments will continue to use, invest in and buy petroleum. The culprit behind high gas prices is everybody who continues to buy gasoline, fuel oil, diesel and most plastics. Stop buying these, and the price of oil will drop.

Or continue buying gas, and accept responsibility for the short and long term costs of a petroleum- based economy.

It seems that speculators in industries hurt by rising oil prices are driving the goal to use legislation to keep cheap oil available. This may help some people, and save some stock portfolios, but it doesn't change the fundamentals. Petroleum will only drop in price when people stop paying for it. Maybe because of this.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Talking out of two sides of their mouth:Poilievre and Harper on residential schools

Just as Mr. Harper apologises for the culturally genocidal residential schools policy that had tried to strip the aboriginal nations of Canada of their languages and cultures another Tory enunciates a position that is almost stereotypical of the Conservative party. Mr. Poilievre denounces compensation for the victims of residential schools. This seems both inept, because that will not extend the Tory base, and vile, because it reveals a foul ignorance of the challenges faced by someone abused as a child. This self-righteous prig reveals a "blame the victim" technocratic view of the role government policy. His words were "we can get better value" for this money.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Hiding Bernier's skeleton behind Cadman: the Conservative closet is filling up

So that's what happened: it took six months for the Tories to discover that the tape that implicated Stephen Harper in an attempt to influence Chuck Cadman was doctored. And I thought that exonerating the PM would've have been the Conservative's first priority. After all, analysis of a few seconds of tape requires perhaps an afternoon and the appropriate software.

It reflects on the current state of the government that it is willing to resurrect the Cadman Affair. Could they consider Cadman less scandalous than Bernier? If so, given that the whiff of cover up doesn't distract from the potentially criminal nature of influence peddling implicit in the Cadman affair, what remains to be discovered about Bernier / Coulliard?

Regardless, the man who interviewed Stephen Harper, and recorded the mysterious "financial considerations were discussed" comment insists the tape was recorded as is. Oddly, the Conservatives are suing the Liberals to prevent them from using the tape in advertisements. The man who made the tape, Tom Zytaruk, isn't being sued for allegedly falsifying it.

"If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country."
-E.M. Forster