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Canadian Politics – Health and Security

Culture, Heroes of the Living Myth, Projects, The Truth

September 30, 2015

Health and security? What am I doing, covering two seemingly different topics? Am I following the lead of the Cons and cheating? No. We try not to play dirty politics, but these two things are strangely related to one another as the concept of security can be applied both internally and externally. With that in mind, we want to take a look at what’s been happening in our own country, what we’re doing outside of it, and how the rest of the world looks at us because of it. This is also going to deviate slightly from our previous looks as to who the political parties in Canada are and their views on the economy, environment, and education, because much of what’s happened to our security and health as a country is a direct result of the people in charge.

For those of you that maybe aren’t paying attention, some of this might come as a shock.

Canadians like to think that their socialized healthcare is among the best in the world, and while it is better than most it ranks poorly when compared to other countries that have adopted similar systems.  This isn’t to say it’s bad – it’s certainly better than most places in the world, and the regulations put in place keep things like this from happening while the system itself keeps things like this from happening. The trick of it is, the Harper Government has been cutting funding for and regulations of healthcare for a long while now, preferring the free market system that has worked so many wonders in the United States. This policy has been met with widespread objections from medical professionals and widespread approval from foreign powers that have no interest in Canada or the people that live there.  The Harper Government has long claimed that they are not a Canadian Government, however, so this can hardly be surprising.

What is surprising, however, is how these policies look when combined with other agendas put forward by the Harper Government. First among these is Harper’s commitment to war and his friendly relationships with war criminals, and his support of their actions. Harper has also overseen Canada’s continued involvement in the Middle-Eastern war crimes to the benefit of nothing and no one, and has committed to a larger Canadian incursion to come. Keep in mind that he’s doing this while cutting funding for veteran services, including the counseling that many soldiers need to re-integrate after being overseas in the thick of the fighting.

All of this fits with the Harper Con’s racist policies, which have drawn worldwide criticism for their almost guaranteed consequence of causing more war. This, once again, is perfectly inline with the Cons of the United States and one of the reasons we spend so much time discussing their policies. Con policies both domestically and at large have demoralized both our own troops and the view the world has of Canada, to the point where the good will we once possessed has turned into almost universal scorn. As Canada becomes less and less tolerant and more prone to violating human rights, Canada’s citizens find themselves less and less welcome out in the world.

Our Government tells us that the  human rights that they’re violating and the war crimes they want to commit are necessary to protect us from terrorism, blaming ISIS when that group was created by and originally supported by the United States’ war crimes in Iraq in response to the attacks on September 11th, 2001, which had nothing to do with Iraq at all but which the Cons both in the United States and Canada have lied about. The Cons both here and down south believe that through these acts of terrorism they can stop those acts of terrorism, all the while perpetuating the myth that the region has always been more violent than, say, Europe

Speaking of violence, Harper’s Cons are big on being tough on crime, the traditional policies of which have been shown to create more crime. Harper’s Cons would have you believe that violent crime is on the rise in Canada when the inverse is true – the total number of violent crimes in Canada are comparable to the murders committed by police officers against minorities in the United States, for example. Despite this, Harper’s Cons would like to follow the United States use of for-profit prison systems, a system which has been proven to cause more crime and cost taxpayers more than state-run prisons, while also being more prone to violate human rights and turn prisoners into literal slaves in the name of profit.

Meanwhile, Harper’s Cons continue to be lenient in their prosecution of white collar crime among their own members and among those corporations that support them. Harper’s Cons have been proven to fix elections, participate in widespread corruption, blackmailing their enemies, and lying to the Canadian people, in addition to the various ecological and economic crimes that the Cons are never punished for. All this, while ignoring the real crime of missing women and children that have been vanishing from aboriginal communities.

We are all, as Canadians – meaning Harper’s Cons – currently instigating violence against Muslims and stripping away gender equality because that’s in vogue with the Cons in the United States, while also butchering our independence and the essential rights and freedoms that make us who we are as a nation. Bill C-51 stripped away our privacy while taking away our right to protest and made it legal for Harper’s Cons to fabricate evidence and basically do whatever they want to anyone that would stand against their fascism. They also passed Bill C-23, a that will, in effect, corrupt every election going forward.

All of this has destroyed how the rest of world sees Canada. Harper’s Cons have turned us from a well-regarded progressive beacon to a myopic monster, the ones that were good but are now not to be trusted.

So, given all of this, what are the various parties planning on doing about it?


Canada Politics 001 - 005The Grits

Justin Trudeau has a lot to say for himself on the topic of security. First and foremost, he wants to scrap Bill C-23, a Cons-led law that makes it more difficult for people to vote. No word on the law that actually murders Canada, Bill C-51, which he and his party helped vote into law despite the protests of Canadians everywhere. It calls into question everything else he has on tap, including his promise to look into missing aboriginal women and children, restored and improved care of our veterans and sick, a ban on partisan advertisements in favor of informational adverts, and a non-racist plan to help clean up the mess we helped make in Syria and to aid Syrian refugees. The problem, again, isn’t that Trudeau lacks experience – he’s been groomed for this position and the responsibility that comes with it for the entirety of his life – it’s that, when push came to shove, he supported Harper’s Cons in gutting the country. Do we trust him? No. Is he better than Harper’s Cons? Yes, but that doesn’t set the bar especially high.


Canada Politics 001 - 002The Tories / Harper’s Cons 

Harper doesn’t want us calling his government a Canadian one, and we’ve decided to acknowledge that desire. All hail Emperor Harper and his Conservatives, or Harper’s Cons for short. Harper’s Cons have created civil unrest in Canada and helped create some of the worst political nightmares currently facing our world with their policies, and their plan is to double down on those policies. This will likely make those situations worse. Harper’s Cons have also promised to continue stripping away the rights and freedoms of Canadians for their own benefit, while also blaming the victims of their policies for being angry about what’s been done to them. They also want to commit troops to wars they helped start, while keeping those who go to fight from getting the help they will need after they come home from the fighting. Harper also has plans to attack our healthcare and justice systems. He is the threat to Canada he’d have us believe ISIS is.


Canada Politics 001 - 006The NDP

Tom wants to fix the damage that Harper has done to our healthcare systems and veteran aid, which is pretty great. He also wants to improve on that healthcare, truly making it the world class system that we’ve always believed it was. He’s got plans to repeal Bill C-23, making certain that we have fair elections in the future, and destroy Bill C-51, thus giving Canada a chance to actually be Canada instead of the nightmarish Harper’s Cons hellscape from which there is no escape. Tom would also immediately end Canada’s presence in Iraq and Syria while giving a home to more refugees looking to escape the mess that we helped cause, which is all to the good. Better still, while Harper’s Cons have been ignoring actual crime to go after imaginary ones, the NDP has pledged to do the reverse, including looking into the missing women and children of our aboriginal peoples.


Canada Politics 001 - 004The Greens

Elizabeth would see the end of Bills C-23 and C-51, which is a good place to start making Canada, well, Canada again. Beyond that, she’d like to help return Canada to its peacekeeping duties, putting us back on track to making the world a better place by helping clean up the mess Harper’s Cons helped make in the Middle-East and lending aid to Syrian Refugees. She’s spoken on the specifics of healthcare and how to improve it on a realistic level, tackling everything from surgery to asthma to obesity. The Greens believe in prevention more than cure, and have ideas on how to improve both that are well worth listening to. Part of that plan includes buying medicines in bulk to drive prices down for the medications and prescriptions that Canadians need, in addition to looking at the minds of Canadians veterans and citizens alike – and all this is before we talk about their justice platform, which would see a greater emphasis placed on rehabilitation rather than punishment, so that our society can grow as a whole and we can push forward with stronger economic, educational, and ecological strategies. Again, all of this is workable and thoroughly planned out, and would go a long way towards making truly making Canada one of the best places in the world to be.


Canada Politics 001 - 003The Bloc

We normally joke a little about the Bloc, but they did one fantastic thing: they stopped fast food and candy companies from targeting children in advertisements, which has scene a dramatic decrease in obesity across the age spectrum and an equally dramatic increase in health. Aside from that, they’re in favor of protecting Quebec, but would really like to repeal the damage Harper’s Cons did to Canada with C-23 and C-51, which you know are bad because even a political party dedicated to the destruction of Canada recognizes that these bills are too extreme to be allowed to exist.


Canada Politics 001 - 007Scott Wyatt

When not destroying giant robots with his laser eyes or defending Canada from dragons, Scott has pledged to defend the aboriginal peoples of Canada and make sure that they are under his protection. It should be noted that protection is fairly mighty, as Scott is also more than capable of defending Canada single-handed with those laser eyes, super strength, and ability to fall from great heights without damage. Is Scott Wyatt a superhero? Possibly. Why wouldn’t we want a superhero in parliament?

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Canadian Politics – Education

Culture, Lifestyle, Projects

September 23, 2015

This is a bit of a weird one. It shouldn’t be – you’d think education would be an important talking point for all of the political parties heading into the October 19th Election that the Conservative party doesn’t want you to vote in. It’s overlooked by most, though, because in Canada education is handled on a Provincial level. Given the importance of education to the future of the country as a whole, though, and the lasting damage being wrought on the future because of policies adopted from our southern neighbor, education can, must, and should be spoken of during this election cycle. It’s time for a larger perspective, and that means Federal politics. Here’s a brief history on education as we understand it, where and why it’s failing, and where the various political parties stand on this impossibly important issue. 


Schools, as we understand them, were initially created to craft a literate work force. That’s it. That’s all that they were meant to produce. The merchant class, with the blessing of the nobility, put together a system of learning that would allow people to work in factories, but with greater education comes curiosity and a need to seek out answers. The founding fathers of the United States changed that, creating the common schools that would be the precursor to modern public schools.

That’s why a good deal of the scientists and philosophers that have moved our world forward haven’t come from the noble or merchant classes, excepting those instances where those people have wanted change. Happy people don’t move, don’t grow, don’t seek out answers – and if there’s one thing that early education system did, it was give people just enough of an understanding to see how miserable they actually were.

From this we got some serious changes so far as civil rights went, which also saw an overhaul of the education system. Both Canada and the United States recognized the importance of educating the populace in an ever more complex world, because of either country was going to maintain its edge education was going to be paramount.

Public education became the by-word, and was one of the most important advantages that both countries offered future generations. By paying teachers a good salary and making certain that the curriculum was flexible by the standards of the time, they were able to make sure that no child was left behind. Public schools were the standard, an investment in the future, and the rest of the world hurried to follow suite.

It’s amazing to think that the America education system was once heralded as one of the best on the planet, and is now one of the worst among first world nations. Canada isn’t anywhere near there yet, but the potential is there.

Why? How did this happen down south, and how can we avoid it up here?

Well, the introduction of standardized testing plays a big roll in that – instead of measuring comprehension, standardized testing only measures the memorization of abstract information. Further, by using the results of standardized testing to dole out the budget of any given school, we’ve encouraged schools to cheat and compete with one another rather than encouraging them to actually teach children.

Worse, as we’ve cut funding for public schools, we’ve also seen the rise of private schools that also get government funding, and often get more government funding than their public counterparts. This has led to the re-creation of a caste-based education system, neither of which treats their teachers fairly.

Teachers make barely enough money to keep them out of poverty, but are expected to work overtime unpaid and are required purchase their own materials from out of pocket so that they can actually do their jobs. Further, the government’s consistent disdain for public education has seen less and less people become interested in becoming teachers, and the fact that parents blame teachers for the shortcomings of government and government blames teachers for wanting to be paid fairly leaves those that do become teachers questioning their decisions.

In the United States, we’re seeing the Conservatives of that country push for propaganda over information, and the Conservatives of our own country are, as ever, following their lead. They also want to double down on tactics that we know do not work, murdering the natural curiosity of children in the hopes of engendering a compliant apathy.

This, despite the fact that we now know more about how to go about teaching people and are unable to take advantage of it due to budget restrictions endorsed by government and resistance from parents, an ever decreasing group of teachers and ever increasing group of students, to the point where classroom sizes are getting so large as to be unmanageable. Also, the world has sort of moved on from the Industrial Age – mayhap the curriculum and means of teaching should move on as well?

Many curriculums are entirely frozen to a bygone age or push for changes that do not work, teachers unable to get the resources they need to make their lessons relevant and classrooms liveable. As our government and parents debate the validity and value of sex education, we still have high school graduates that do not know how to be adults in our modern worldhow to balance a check book, do taxes, or pay bills. We need our schools to cover the practical and the abstract, and they can do neither with the budgets and restrictions that they’re currently given.

None of this even takes into account post-secondary education. Believe it or not, there was a time when one could get a summer job flipping burgers and pay for college, but the changing economy has made that reality a distant memory. The reality is that now post-secondary education is necessary to get any sort of career, and yet doing so will saddle those that seek it with a debt they will likely never escape, even if you can find a job that will pay for work.

Like, you know, teaching should.

These are the grim meathook realities of the modern world. We have some protection because Provincial, rather than Federal, governments are responsible for education in Canada, but the Federal government still has some say in policies and how things are managed. To say that the system is broken on a fundamental level is an understatement; so, given these truths, what do our politicians plan to do about fixing it?


Just a reminder – we’ve already covered who these people are, their stance on the environment, and what they’d like to do to the economy. We also noted a rather disturbing completion of a certain political checklist. Remember, inform yourself and vote accordingly:


Canada Politics 001 - 005The Grits

Alright, the Grits might be onto something here. First and foremost, they’ve promised to increase the budget of Early Childhood Education and Care to 1% of the Gross National Product of the country, which is a pretty good start. This means that single parent families, or families where both parents work, will have access to places they can leave those children to be cared for and educated. They’ve even promised that no one will be excluded for reasons of “disability, access, or the cost of service” and that the curriculum will enable “cognitive, linguistic, emotional, social and physical development” and even include things like “hearing and vision care, parental support and mental health.” The lack of an Oxford comma in that last sentence is their error, not mine, and one need only look at the Provincial Grits for an idea of how well the federal Grits might do. On the other hand, they’re also promising $2.6 Billion for First Nations education, so maybe the general public can go learn with them? There’s precious little the Grits have announced for post-secondary education, so maybe they’re holding off for a big reveal later? There’s talk of a “Canadian Learning Passport,” which would offer $4k in tax-free grants who choose to go to post-secondary, and maybe even more to those with low-income families or for veterans. That’d be cool.


Canada Politics 001 - 002The Tories

So, Canada has this RESP thing that parents of low-income and mid-income families can buy into. Basically, you put some money away for education later on, with a $0.10 per dollar buy in for mid-income families and a $0.20 per dollar buy in for low-come families. The Harper Government is promising to double that up to the first $500 per year, meaning that families could see an extra $100 per year if they do a full buy in. Beyond that promise, the Tories have been mum on the subject of education save for their snubbing of First Nations’ education and their quiet study of the propaganda-in-place-of-history being pushed by the Conservatives in the United States, and listening to the suggestions of the oil and gas companies that offer them most of their bribes. So, you know, that’s all pretty horrifying. Also, they really like the idea of student debt, because debt is good for stock exchange prosperity. So that’s a thing.


Canada Politics 001 - 006The NDP

Tom would like to create quality care centers for kids, engendering education and allowing parents to further their own education or join the workforce for no more than $15/day. That’s cool. He’s also pushing to open 40, 000 apprenticeships in the trade sector, which would allow kids to find paid work and eventually settle into a career. As for the specifics of education and student debt, well, the provincial NDP is moving to freeze post-secondary education costs, which is a step in the right direction. Tom has also noted that the average student walks out of post-secondary with $28k of debt, and 14% of them can’t find work – and of those that do, many are unpaid interns. Acknowledging that there’s a problem is the first step to fixing it. They also want more education grants, with a planned increase of $200 million going to scholarships and an increased tax credit for education, from $4,800 to $5,760 per year. As to overhauling the broken curriculum, well, Tom’s been pretty vocal about how much he doesn’t like oil and gas companies overhauling the system, and he might have some ideas on how to make things better. In point of fact, the NDP has been the voice of reason in recent debates involving education, probably because the Greens still haven’t been invited by the mainstream press.


Canada Politics 001 - 004The Greens

Wow. Front and center: the Greens want to abolish tuition fees going forward, forgive all student debt over $10k, and create a guaranteed livable income so that no Canadian lives in poverty. Right away, this would allow graduates to seek out jobs that are worth working at, and to actually survive interning for no pay, or to pass on interning to find work that will actually pay. Either option is better than what we have going right now. The Greens are also interested in working with teachers to create a better curriculum, and maybe even making sure teachers have the resources and budget that they need to make their jobs possible. Further, they’re interested in fostering the same sort of apprenticeships that the NDP are promising, with a focus on research, development, and application of green energies and technologies. Also, those child care services the Liberals are all excited about? The Greens want to do those, too, but better and cheaper, and they have a budget that would allow them to do so.There’s a sense of hope when the Greens talk about investing in future generations that is lacking in the other political parties, but we encourage you, as always, to double check our findings.


Canada Politics 001 - 003The Bloc

Shockingly, the Bloc is not all-Quebec here. This is important, because Quebec only functions because of the threat they pose to Canada by leaving it – and if they cut off the future of the country, they know that they’ll lose long term. To that end, the Bloc would like to restore the budget we used to give to education to mid-nineties levels, which is much higher than what the current Tory government is offering. They also want to increase the number of tax-exempt scholarships for post-doctoral students, so for those of us that get that far, woo.


Canada Politics 001 - 007Wyatt Scott

We know he believes that education is too damn expensive, so he plans on lowering costs. Presumably, the hordes of treasure can be claimed when he kills dragons will be invested on schools so that engineers can be trained to figure out what technologies can be harvested and put towards the good of all Canadians from the giant robots that he destroys with his eye lasers. We can also presume that he will free the scientists that the Conservatives had kidnapped to build those giant robots, thus allowing them to teach the secrets of their craft for the glory of Science~! and all Canadians.

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Canadian Politics – The Great Goofsky

Culture, Projects, Showcase, The Truth

September 21, 2015

We really like to celebrate our heroes in Canada.

There was a small town boy named Wayne Gretzky who rose to become an international celebrity because of his skill on the ice. Hockey is pretty much the most important thing in Canada, a sport that we pride ourselves on above and beyond any normal understanding, and Gretzky was the best at it. He was hailed as the Great One, number ninety-nine, and in 1988 he was traded out of Canada to the Los Angeles Kings and never looked back.

And, you know, good for him. He deserves everything he’s claimed through the skills he mastered. Over this past weekend, though, he took a large contract to come and endorse Stephen Harper, our current Prime Minister, a man who is destroying the environment so he can continue failing at the economy.

Wayne, who has not lived in Canada since 1988, came back, shook Haprer’s hand, and said “You’ve been an unreal Prime Minister.” I suppose there’s not enough money in the world to call him a good Prime Minister, but the photo-op ensued – Harper standing and shaking the hand of one of Canada’s heroes.

We won’t be picking apart Wayne for this; there’s a host of other pundits that have done that already. And there’s plenty of other Canadian celebrities who have weighed in against Harper, ranging from acting legends Pamela Anderson, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Donald Sutherland, to more recent talents, like Katie Findlay.

No, what we want to bring attention to is this: famed political historian and scientist Dr. Lawrence Britt put together a checklist we can use to measure the presence of fascism in any given government.

Here’s what that looks like:


Now, let’s see which segments of this checklist Stephen Harper has checked off:

fascism-checklist-big Harper

Point by point, each one of these has a link to support the thesis:

Identifying Enemies / Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause 

Rampant Sexism 

Obsession with National Security 

Corporate Power is Protected 

Disdain for Intellectuals / the Arts 

Rampant Cronyism / Corruption 

Disdain for Recognizing Human Rights 

Supremacy of the Military 

Controlled Mass Media 

Religion and Government are Intertwined 

Labor Power is Suppressed 

Obsession with Punishment / Crime 

Fraudulent Elections

And this past weekend gave us

Powerful Continuing Nationalism

See, Harper called upon the power of Wayne Gretzky’s endorsement to give his government a sense of age; by calling upon an icon from an almost mythical time, Harper is able to tie his own era to that which came before and give his government the illusion of representing that time, when his politics have done everything possible to destroy what Canada was in that era. And his comment of “Old Stock Canadians” is another like-comment, meant to evoke a semi-mythical tie to history, and make his party look like the natural continuance of the Canadian narrative.

That’s all kind of terrifying, isn’t it? And there’s the old question of if you could go back in time and stop Hitler, would you? Of course you would, most people say. We don’t have the technology to do that just now, but on October 19th you can, must, and should stop Harper.

Get out and vote.

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Canadian Politics – the Economy

Greatest Hits, The Truth

September 16, 2015

So, there’s that election coming up on October 19, 2015. You know, the one the Conservatives really want you to forget about, and are keeping Elections Canada from reminding you is coming. That one. On October 19th, 2015. You can sign up to vote in it by clicking here, but you might want to know about the issues first. It’s important to know what’s at stake. We talked about who the players are here, and what their stance on the environment is here. And, yes, we’re going to start things off by reminding you that a lot of the statements made here will be hyperlinks – think of them as an instance citation. Unlike Harper’s Conservatives, we have nothing to hide.

And yet we still don’t support the fascist atrocity that is Harper’s curse on all of us, Bill C-51.

This week, we’re going to talk about the economy. To understand what the stances of the various political parties are, we need to understand what the economy is, where it comes from, why it crashed in 2008, what caused those circumstances, why it’s crashing now, what can be done to keep it from happening again, where it’s going, and where Canada stands. This is actually where the Conservatives likes to claim they’re strongest, but, well, we’ll let their record speak for itself.

Simply, our economy evolved on the collection of resources and has been moving towards the worth of ideas. The collection of resources is simple: one is as wealthy as the physical things that they have personal control of, whether that be land, cattle, oil, ore, or whatever else people have decided has value. There are a finite amount of these things, and so the only way to become wealthier is through trade, discovery, or taking.

Trade is when one exchanges good or services for other goods or services, and is the back bone of our modern paradigm. When someone pays you for your time working at a job, they’re renting your time and skills. When you pay for a television, you’re exchanging what your time is worth for a physical good that you can then use. Discovery is when someone finds a resource that has remained unclaimed by a recognized authority and claims it for themselves; through this claim, they now have the ability to trade this good at whatever worth they wish for it. Taking is when a group invents a reason to go in and take a resource that belongs to someone else, either fooling, bribing, or ignoring a recognized authority that might otherwise stop them.

As systems go, resource based economies work best when they work under a pairing of capitalism and socialism. Sadly, there’s been a press from corporate interests to focus more on the former and less on the latter, despite the fact that socialism has done much to make capitalism workable, in order to increase short term profits at the cost of long term profitability or survivability. Many corporations like to claim that they need to use these horrible tactics to remain competitive, when we know this simply isn’t true.

The system became to come undone when the Americans decided corporations were human citizens, and a bunch of us decided to follow suite. What that started was the corruption of the American, British, and Canadian political systems to the point where our politicians represent corporate interests rather than the interests of the people living in their countries. And, yes, that includes Canada.

Reaganomics and an increase in credit followed, and both were disastrous to the world in general but made a few people very rich.

A half-decent actor managed to get himself elected in America, because of course he did. His name was Ronald Reagan, and he was terrible and did terrible things. We’re going to get back him in the future, but for now we have to look at Reaganomics. Basically, Reaganomics posits that the very rich need all the money, and that if we give them all the money it will trickle down on everyone else as they spend the money. Like rain, or bukkake. We know it doesn’t work. We have seen repeatedly that it doesn’t work. For whatever reason, the Conservatives seem to really like Reaganomics and keep doing things that push Reaganomics on the country.

The other thing that happened was an explosion in credit. The minimum wage – which was always supposed to be a living wage, ie, the minimum amount of money one can live on – was frozen back in the early eighties, and credit was offered as an alternative. This must have seemed like a good idea at first, and it helped push the idea of Reaganomics in the short term, but in the long term it’s led to crippling debt for the young, the destruction of the middle class, and the industrialization of schools and prisons to the detriment of society as a whole. If you’re wondering why Generation X and younger aren’t buying houses or cars, this is a large part of it… and none of this is taking wage theft into account.

These two things have cost us billions of dollars. How?

We started building on the marketability of ideas. Intellectual properties have become billion dollar industries, creating boom economies out of nothing more than dreams; Take Harry Potter as an example. Harry Potter was the brain child of someone who had nothing, and is now impossibly wealthy – so much so that she’s given much of her money to charity and is still wealthier than anyone might have imagined possible. Her dreams were refined and brought to market, and subsequently gave birth to movies, video games, books, net series, television shows, toys, and more. Celebrities were created, careers launched. They’ve even influenced worldwide politics. Even the fan-inspired works to come out of it have become industries unto themselves.

The knock-off effects and growth are incalculable. What was possible, changed.

It’s a self-perpetuating growth industry that rewards creativity and depth, and has grown even larger with the advent of internet – uncontrollably so, turning people into celebrities through viral videos, internet shows, and more. The idea of being internet-famous is no longer a laughable statement, but a means of making a steady income.

Which is why the same short sighted corporate interests that regularly destroy the economy for the rest of us to the benefit of themselves are so interested in wrecking the whole thing.

So, that’s what the economy is and where it comes from. As for where it is, well, we’re in the middle of depression. A large part of this is because of the failing policies that Harper’s Conservative Government have been shoving down our throats. This includes that time he took a $13 billion surplus and turned it into the biggest deficit in Canadian history, gave $50 million from G8 and gave it to one of his buddies, knowingly took advice from a cabinet member that he’d appointed despite his multiple fraud convictionsdropped corporate tax rate to 15% with no benefit to anyone except his very rich friends… the list goes on.

In fact, on order to make it look like he’s balanced the books, he’s made some pretty impressive cuts to health care, the coast guard, science, women and minority groups, unemployment insurance… basically, if it makes Canada a good place to be, Harper wants to cut it in favor of, well, let’s get on that.

Again, clicking on the name of a political party will take you to that’s party’s website so you can check our findings for yourself.


Canada Politics 001 - 005The Grits 

Trudeau says he’s going to cut the middle class income tax bracket from 22% to 20.5%, so that’s nice. That means that you middle class folks out there will get to keep 89.5% of what you make when you rent out your time, and that’s not terrible. He also wants to create a new tax bracket, where anyone making more that $200k per year will have 33% of that taken away. Part of that money will go for child care to those families making less than $150k, and that’s actually a great thing. Go, Trudeau. He’s going to keep the tax breaks that are in place for small businesses, and reverse the Conservative plan to keep people working to 67, while increasing both pension plan contributions and benefits for Canadians as a whole. It’s a pretty solid platform with a lot of promise, though whether he’ll follow through on anything is in doubt following the disastrous support the Grits gave Bill C-51.



Canada Politics 001 - 002The Tories

More of the same. To start, there’s help for those wealthy friends of Harper’s Conservatives, as they plan to increase the maximum annual amount you can shove in a tax-free saving account from $5,500 to an even $10k. For those of you keeping score, that’ll help some people, sure, but it’ll help the wealthy most of all. So will cutting the corporate tax rate from 22% to 15%, though his promise to lower the small business tax rate from 11% to 9% by 2019 sounds good until you realize he’s probably bending the truth. Harper does that – a lot – and expect more government programs and departments to be utterly gutted as he struggles to balance the budget. Part of that is his plan to raise the retirement age from 65 to 67, while asking for Canadians to voluntarily give him more money to mismanage. There’s not a lot of certainties here, just vague promises. Harper has kept reporters and non-Conservatives out of his press conferences, so who knows what he really has planned?



Canada Politics 001 - 006The NDP

Tom promises to keep personal income tax rates while they are, and not touch the tax-free saving account thing. His reason is that the latter does nothing to help the lower and middle classes, and neither does income-splitting for families. That means that whole thing is gone, too, and that might be a good thing. He does want to increase income taxes on corporations to where they were before the Conservatives took office, though he does like the idea of small businesses going from the 11% tax rate to 9%, so that’s a thing. Tom Muclair and the NDP would also like to build a series of child care facilities, which would allow women to pursue careers and create jobs for those that like taking care of kids. Oh, and this money from the corporate taxation would go back towards the benefits of Canadians as a whole, including health care, education, pension plans, and keeping the retirement age where it is. It’s about on par with what the Grits want to do, and far better than what the Tories have in mind.


Canada Politics 001 - 004The Greens 

And here’s where things get complex, again. See, the Greens have a comprehensive and workable plan for everything. To start, they want to raise the corporate tax rate back to 19%, but they’re also looking at setting up both pollution and carbon taxes that they can then reinvest in Canadian infrastructure, education, small businesses, and communities. Speaking of infrastructure and small businesses, they’re looking to invest in new forms of environmentally stable and supportable forms of energy, tourism, emerging technologies – the Greens have an eye for the future and want to stimulate and cultivate growth across the board, with the understanding that we can all prosper together. A big part of that is eliminating student debt and college tuition, ensuring that we have an educated workforce that is able to go and do things, like start businesses and buy homes. This means getting youth active and interested in the future, and not being forced into unpaid internships or into dead-end jobs that cannot support anything other than crippling debt.


Canada Politics 001 - 003The Bloc 

The Bloc is more interested in the idea of Quebec’s independence than in saying out that would be fiscally responsible, viable, or even possible. Do they have any economic policies on their site? We couldn’t find them. There are other places to find them on the interwebs, but if the Bloc isn’t interested in their position, why should we be? They are, of course, devoted entirely to Quebec and couldn’t care less about the rest of the country, except as a hostage used to get what they want. To that end, they’d probably like a million dollars, but whether or not they’d do anything with it is anyone’s guess. One thing for certain: that million wouldn’t mean anything outside of Quebec.


Canada Politics 001 - 007Wyatt Scott

Our favorite independent believes in a strong economy based on a backbone of agriculture. For him, floraculture and silviculure are the wave of the future, but care of orchards and cattle ranches are of equal value. He also wants to make post-secondary education mandatory, and to eliminate both tuition fees and debt towards that end. This would result in an educated youth that would, again, be active in the world and able to stimulate the economy by being a part of it. In addition, the technologies that could be retro-engineered from the robot he destroyed with his eye lasers may hold the secrets to untold riches. Given that he owns the remains of that robot by way of having put it down, voting for him may be the only means we have of getting access to its remains.



And that’s where our candidates stand on the economy. We’ll be back next week to talk about what these people plan to do about other issues, all leading up to the Federal Election that the Harper Government would like us not to talk about. That election is on October 19, 2015, which is a Monday. Make sure you’re registered to vote and find the places you can vote by clicking here. And, hey, looks like you can even vote online. Awesome.


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Canadian Politics – the Environment

Culture, Opinion, The Truth

September 9, 2015

Editor’s Note: Many of the lines in this article contain hyperlinks to some of the sources used to write this article, specifically some of the articles used to build the conclusions reached here. Clicking on them will open a new tab that will take you to that article. Again, we want to be helpful, but also truthful – this sort of thing is important to us. 

The environment is playing a larger role in world politics than ever before. The corporate interests that have done their best to silence climate scientists, combined with the dedication to neutrality instead of objectivity found on sources like CNN News or NBC News – or the outright lies on Fox – have led to this catastrophic topic being placed on the back burner in a country that used to be respected for being environmentally conscious.

Climate scientists the world over have been begging governments around the globe for decades to start looking at energy alternatives, but the same oil and coal magnates that have done their best to bribe politicians and cripple science so that they can continue to line their own pockets have done a good job of making the issue a political one. They’ve even done this in Canada, and the Harper Government has been happy to help them. They’ve been wildly successfully at this and we’re beginning to see the effects of unchecked short-thinking greed.

The fracking in Alberta has seen a disturbing rise in ecological harm and has been tied to earthquakes that are happening as far as Mission, BC. The Mount Polly Mine and Burrard Inlet disasters happened while the federal government passed laws to criminalize those that were protesting an environmentally devastating pipeline, all while federal oversight to keep such disasters in check has been shrinking. And that’s only some of the disasters that have happened in British Columbia, nevermind the rest of Canada.

All the money in the world means nothing if there’s no world in which to spend it.

It’s not as if there isn’t money to be made in green forms of energy: solar and wind are both ready to go, and there’s some exciting things to be noted when it comes to tidal harvesting. There’s even personal devices meant to allow for the creation of green energy, but several conservative governments have been happy to destroy businesses that would be environmentally sound in the past. Hell, conservative governments tried to do that same thing to Tesla Motors, all while quoting Ayn Rand and Atlas Shrugged.

Didn’t John Oliver have something to say about that…?

As if that weren’t enough, the Harper Government has also seen fit to dismantle government protection on lakes, rivers, and national parks, which has made some people very, very angry

So, with all that in mind, what do our political candidates have in mind…? 

If you need a quick refresher as to who these people are, click on this sentence.  

If you want a more long-winded explanation of what each party is claiming to want, click the name of that party.

Canada Politics 001 - 005The Grits 

Leader Justin Trudeau has promised to restore the gutted environmental protection wing of the government, stop the Keystone Oil Pipeline, and start phasing out fossil fuels in favor of green energy immediately, which all sounds pretty great. He also wants to legislate a price for carbon pollution and increase the amount of protected coastal and marine areas by 10% by 2020. It’s a pretty good start, but the problem is that Justin already caved on C-51, and that’s left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. We’re not sure if we can trust Justin, and we’ve been mucked around with so much by the Harper Government that we’re a little leery of electing anyone that seems untrustworthy. It’s a shame, too, because Justin talks a good game.


The Tories

Canada Politics 001 - 002The Harper Government would like to remind us that it is not the Canadian Government, and care nothing for Canada, the world, or anyone other than the Harper Government. To that end, they promise to look at phasing out fossil fuels sometime in the next hundred years, and to consider lowering carbon pollution by 2050. No, I’m serious. The Harper Government has their heads so far in the tar sands that they can’t help but frack the rest of us. They’d also like to start buying carbon credits from other countries, so that they can use them here. Again, I’m serious. This is what they want to do. Lastly, they want to give the ministry of the environment $200 million to clean up the messes they’ve made, which sounds good until you realize that the Burrard Inlet mess alone is going to cost somewhere in the $2.1 Billion mark to clean up. Also, that picture on their site where they talk about the environment? That’s from another country. Well done, guys.



Canada Politics 001 - 006Much like the Liberals, the NDP likes the idea of putting a price on carbon to give people an incentive not to go above a certain level of carbon usage. That could either work really well or fall apart, depending upon the implementation. There are some details about how Tom Muclair would like to proceed on the NDP site, though your mileage may very – literally, in some cases. His plan to cut subsidies to fossil fuel companies and invest that money in green energy research is probably the best use it could go to. By the by, in case you’re wondering what that means, the NDP plans to stop having to pay the fossil fuel companies to sell us our own oil. So, you know, that’s a thing. Even better than that, the NDP would like to put the right to a clean environment into law, making it legal for people to sue companies and even governments for damaging the environment. This is the sort of thing that gives Harper nightmares, and might be the best thing for our species’ long term viability.


Canada Politics 001 - 004The Greens 

Here’s where things get weird in the best possible way. See, we tend to think that punishment and penalization are the best way to get people to behave, when studies show that people are more engaged when there’s something beneficial in the process for them. To that end, the Greens are big on the idea of not only introducing a carbon tax (like the Liberals and the NDP), but also rewarding people for going green. There’s a plan in place for encouraging corporations to go green and grow green industries, a concrete, step-by-step plan that would see most of Canada’s energies met via sustainable means by 2025. They also want to ease access to anyone looking to grow a green business or apprentice to a green trade, ensuring that sector of the economy grows and is supported. Hell, they’re even looking at infrastructure, and over-hauling long forgotten rail lines and retro-fitting them with green means of transportation, all while working within a reasonable budget and growing the economy. This is what the future should look like.


Canada Politics 001 - 003The Bloc 

Oy. Okay. So, right off the bat, they want a high speed train that would connect Quebec City with Montreal. Both of those places are within Quebec, the province. See, because they only care about Quebec. There’s talk of extending them to New York, but let’s be realistic – New York isn’t in Quebec. Interestingly, they’ve budgeted $750 million towards the development of green energy technologies, so that’s a step in the right direction and much less villainous and self-centered than we’re used to seeing. They also want to push a more widespread infrastructure to support the electric car, possibly to spite Harper. Lastly, they’re interested in looking at some of the homes in their own province, and retrofitting them to make them more compliant with the Kyoto Protocol, which is a thing that should probably happen regardless.


Wyatt Scott

Canada Politics 001 - 007This one guy would like to set up tax incentives to keep carbon pollution down, which seems like a favored strategy with everyone except the Harper Government. He’d also like to encourage and invest in Canadian scientists and engineers to develop new and better ways to create green energy and technology, and implement environmentally friendly practices while expanding on new technologies. What those practices are or what those technologies look like are not known at this time, so that’s frustrating. We know he’s pro-environment and anti-robot, which should be enough, but he did kill a dragon. Those’re endangered, last I checked.


And that’s where our candidates stand on the environment. We’ll be back next week to talk about what these people plan to do about other issues, all leading up to the Federal Election that the Harper Government would like us not to talk about. That election is on October 19, 2015, which is a Monday. Make sure you’re registered to vote and find the places you can vote by clicking here. And, hey, looks like you can even vote online. Awesome.


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We Stood on Guard for Thee

Culture, Opinion, The Truth

May 6, 2015

Bill C51 002Elizabeth May, the leader of the Green Party of Canada, was once quoted as saying that Stephen Harper, the Prime Minister of our Country, is “not really Canadian.”

The basis of this quote had nothing to do with, say, the “birther” movement of the United States, though it does have to do with American Politics. See, May alleges that Harper is not Canadian in his approach to politics or even his conservatism, which takes on a decidedly GOPish flavor.

He’s anti-regulation, attempting to deregulate banks in the same way that led to the financial crash of 2008. He’s pro-corporation, kowtowing to corporate interests whenever asked and accepting whatever gifts and campaign donations they’re willing to give him.

He’s anti-science, going out of his way to snuff that environmental findings of our country, which were once leaders in the field world-wide. He’s anti-LGBT, as a simple quick google search or any of his interviews will quickly confirm. Or you can look up Bill C279, which strips away the legal protections of transgendered people.

He destroyed Census Canada, considered to be one of the best statistics groups in the world, for ideological reasons. He insists on the Canadian Government being called the Harper Government. He introduced Bill C24, which makes it harder to earn Canadian citizenship and easier to lose it.

He tried to reverse gay people having the right to marry. He’s led witch-hunts against political dissidents and liberal university professors that would have made McCarthy blush. He’s regulated the federal political press by the number of questions they can ask and only allowing pre-approved questions from pro-Conservative sources.

He was influential in getting the United Nations to not recognize clean drinking water as a basic human right. He used robocalls to stuff the ballot box in the last election by misinforming citizens of where to vote or who to vote for.

When a gunman broke into Canadian Parliment, most of our politicians grabbed flagpoles and held them like spears, forming a phalanx and preparing to defend themselves and one another. Stephen Harper abandoned everyone and went to hide in a closet.

He is the only Prime Minister to ever be held in Contempt of Parliment.

With Bill C51, he’s finally proven to be entirely anti-Canadian.

Bill C51 is being marketed as an anti-terrorism bill similar to the Patriot Act, which saw such innovations as the no-fly list (which keeps innocent people from travelling because of their names), Guantanomo Bay (where innocent people have been kept and tortured for years without providing any useful information), and the TSA (which, according to experts, has stopped a little less than one terrorist attack since it’s inception).

Four former Prime Ministers have signed a petition asking for Bill C51 not to pass. Security experts from CSIS and the RCMP have called it a blatant overreach. Constitutional lawyers Clay Ruby and Nader Hasan have called it a violation of our basic rights and freedoms.

The Conservatives are using fear as a means to pass this bill, claiming that it’s use would have stopped the Toronto 18 from achieving their goals, something you may not have heard of because their goals were stopped without it.

What is Bill C51? What does it do?

For a start, Bill C51 stretches the definition of terrorist activity to include peaceful protests and political disagreements of any sort, restricts freedom of expression, and would allow the government, RCMP, and CSIS to access records at Health Canada and Revenue Canada without a warrant.

It also is direct attack on the internet, regulating what is allowable for people to watch based on content. If Bill C51 passes, there’s a good chance that you will not be able to read this article and that the people working here are going to end up on a watch list.

Tom Mulcair, leader of the New Democratic Party, has called Bill C51 as “sweeping, dangerously vague, and ineffective.”

He’s being overly polite by doing so.

The Canadian Government will vote on Bill C51 on May 6th, 2015. The Harper Government will push it through using tactics they’ve culled from the GOP, a group that Harper wishes he was a member of.

And we’re all going to suffer for it.

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A Geek’s Obituary to the CBC

Opinion, Showcase, The Truth

April 13, 2014

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of parts of the CBC. The cut of $115 million in funding from the federal government and the loss of Hockey Night in Canada in a billion-dollar buyout from Rogers led to the slow death of many facets of the public broadcast corporation.

Original Canadian television content has been cut in favour of established television from elsewhere. The sports department has been downsized so severely that they will no longer cover professional sports at all, and will cover only some amateur sporting events, specifically ones that will let them “break even”. CBC Radio has been forced to lose some live music performances, and several local music shows are being cancelled or absorbed into regional shows. Service expansion of Radio One into London, Ontario has been abandoned. Late night news in the North has been entirely cancelled.

Yet who are we, who have outlived these things? We are geeks, and nerds, and we have the whole world at our fingertips. Why should this tragedy matter to us? (more…)

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VCON 38 (2013)


October 7, 2013

2013-10-05 14.39.47VCON-Vancouver’s Annual Science-Fiction and Fantasy Convention celebrated its 38th at the Delta Vancouver Airport Hotel in 2013. Hosting workshops on cocktail making “Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of Rum,” Bellydancing, origami, model painting, and even “Pattern making for corsets.” There was a little something for everyone to be able to sit down and mind-meld over.

The convention also hosted a ton of amazing special events like the dance party, and the book launch. Not to mention the various fundraisers going on everywhere, the art auction, and my personal favourite, the costume contest! Which I thought was a brain melting collection of amazing people creating one of a kind costumes and cosplay outfits that totally left me wanting more. And as if all of that wasn’t enough, there was a fantastic artist galley full of comic writers and craft vendors with everything from bookmarks to a Tardis made from Lego’s, Star Wars baby onsies to hand-crafted
newspaper corsets and T-shirts to 10 sided die earrings. All unique and wildly creative items and right in front of the artist that created them! (more…)

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