Saturday, October 19, 2019

Canadian Politics - Too Much Choice?

Canada is in the midst of an election season.  We are nearing the end of the campaign trail.  I for one want this to be done and over with.  Justin Trudeau has said the Conservatives have run the dirtiest campaign in history.  That is based on disinformation.  In terms of disinformation, maybe.  But it isn't the dirtiest in history.  If you want to talk about dirtiest, Kim Campbell used Jean Chretien's partial facial paralysis due to bell's palsy in a campaign or Stephen Harper and the robocall scandal for instance.  Regardless of that, this season has had its share of insults, digging up stuff from the past such as black/brownface, ignoring things that they accuse others of doing that they also do, and accused of fearmongering, etc., etc..

With that being said, the question is if we have too much choice.  Lots of countries have this problem.  They have a lot of parties to choose from when it comes to voting.  As well, lots of countries have a two-party system with the United States being the most notable.  You could say Canada is two party system since the Conservatives and Liberals are the only parties that get voted in and form government.  No other parties have been voted in.  Although, the New Democratic Party (NDP) has been official opposition in the past.

For a part of Canada's history we have been a two-party system.  But with the three-party system, such parties such as the NDP and the Bloc Quebecois has had some sort of influence.  But the two-party system changed after the First World War.  Unlike the United State's two-party where you can only vote for Democrats and Republicans, Canada's parliamentary democracy encourages a multi-party system.  You will see that very much.

Canada has six that get talked about on the national stage with one being strictly in Quebec.  There is the Liberals, the Conservatives, the NDP, the Green Party, the Bloc Quebecois, and the newest party which is the People's Party of Canada (PPC).  It is stupid for the Bloc to be running considering they don't want Quebec to be apart of Canada.  It is a vastly different culture than the rest of Canada.

If you do research, you'll find the fringe parties such as the Rhinoceros Party (which is meant to not be taken seriously per se), the Christian Heritage Party (a big claim is they are only pro life party), Progressive Canadian Party (PC Party, they're number of candidates have shrunk to single digits since being founded in 2004), the Marijuana Party (founded in 2000, number of candidates have shrunk to single digits, and their ideology is pointless since marijuana is legal now), and other parties you can look up.  They don't run the full number of candidates.  Even if they did, they wouldn't get any seats.

The fringe parties are one thing, but looking strictly at the main national parties, we have way too much choice.  Add in the fringe parties that run in various ridings, that means even more choice.  I get that Canada is multi-party system, but when is enough enough?

The Green Party only gets one seat because of Elizabeth May and that wasn't until the last couple of elections.  Since being founded in the 80s, they've never won any seats until now.  But they now have two seats since Paul Manly won a by-election on May 6 in the Nanaimo—Ladysmith riding in British Columbia.  Since the Bloc is a Quebec only separatist party, common sense dictates they get seats in Quebec.  Just as a side note, growing up when they had a referendum, I was against them separating.  I was a kid and didn't know any better.  The PPC won't get any seats outside of founder and leader Maxime Bernier.  But I also won't be surprised if, on the off chance, he doesn't get voted in.

You could also look at from the position of more choice is great and it could potentially mean less seats for the major parties.  That's great in theory, but no fringe party has ever had a candidate elected yet people still vote for them even if it means only getting a handful of votes.  Stranger things have happened.  A fringe party could have a candidate voted in.  Who am I kidding?  That wouldn't happen.

We need to stop being so divided and do what is right for the country.  Yes, we will still say this leader or that leader is not a good choice for Prime Minister.  If you know me, you will know that I am anti-Andrew Scheer and don't want him voted in.  Some even are scared for the future of Canada if Scheer is voted in.  I for one hope Scheer isn't voted in thus a new leader of the Conservatives would be necessary.

Justin Trudeau has said the Conservatives have a good chance of getting voted in.  That's doesn't sound like confidence.  Is he scared of losing?  He shouldn't focus on that.  He should focus on remaining Prime Minister.

Regardless if you think there is too much choice or not enough, get out there and vote.  Even though I feel you shouldn't vote for the Conservatives, get out there and vote.  The future of this country depends on it.  Don't vote and regret who you voted for later.  Don't be that person.  I hope you have looked at the platforms and are making the informed choice.  Two days away, the future of the country is in our hands.  Do what is right.

Saturday, October 05, 2019

Song of the Day #60 - Jamie Cullum

Here is a song from one of my favourite artists Jamie Cullum.  He is an English jazz/jazz-pop pianist.  This song is entitled "The Age of Anxiety."  It is off his 2019 record "Taller."  This song is relevant today's world.  It is one of my favourites off the album.  "Taller" is one of the best albums I've listened to that have been released this year.

"The Age of Anxiety" by Jamie Cullum
YouTube link

Friday, October 04, 2019

Blackface/Brownface - Get Over It

By now you have heard of and or seen the pictures relating to blackface/brownface in regards to Justin Trudeau.  It has people divided.  Why?  It is pointless.  This stuff happened around 20 years ago.  But that doesn't matter.  They don't bother to look into the backstory.  But that doesn't matter.  They'd rather have uninformed rage and ignorance because they want something to hate and judge him for.

People are putting him under a microscope and judging him under the current times.  They are not thinking about the times all this took place happened.  People involved during those times didn't see it as wrong based on the context of why Trudeau was doing it.  People are failing to see that it wasn't done in a racist and insensitive manner.  Why should that matter to them?  They don't care.  They are using it as an excuse to lynch mob him.

When it comes to the backstory, people need to do research.  They need to realize that it actually wasn't what they are making it out to be.  All they shout is "racist," "insensitive," "hurtful," etc..  It was none of these things.  They don't want to admit that.  They are instantly shocked and appalled.  Context is always a good thing.

Let's take a look at the various photos and backstories.

This first one was taken when he was in high school.  This was at least 30 years.  It was a talent show where he was doing he was doing his rendition of the song "Banana Boat (Day-O)."  People dress the part for stuff all the time, but wouldn't lynch mob them.

This second picture was taken an Arabian-themed party at West Point Grey Academy where he taught.  This is back in 2001.  It is going 20 years ago.  Just because he was one of the few if not the only one to paint his face doesn't mean it was done in an insensitive manner.  Again, people do this all the time without people batting an eye or getting lynch mobbed.

This final picture is a screenshot from Facebook.  It gives the backstory behind the blackface video.  He was working with a rafting company and this was at an event in support of this female team.  I guess supporting a female rafting team who got no support from the government to go to a race in Africa while their male counterparts did is something we should ignore.  Let's not focus on the positive, but turn it into a negative.  I doubt Harry Belafonte knows about this.  If he does, I doubt he cares with some more pressing issues in the world that need to be addressed.

People have turned everything in this "controversy" into a negative.  They are seeing these things for something it isn't.  It's almost as if they are obsessed with making up some false narrative so they can use it against him as an excuse to not focus on the issues.  Let's face it, it is not secret that a good portion of Canadian can't stand Justin Trudeau.  Hell, some even loath and hate him.  They use this to smear him and as a reason to not vote for him.  Really?  They complain he hasn't done anything for this country, but can't specifically say what he has done wrong.  All they care about is pushing this narrative of Justin Trudeau being the worst Prime Minister.  They think anything dug up on him will further that narrative.  That's not this works.  You base how he is as Prime Minister on what he has actually done for the country and what he said he would and never delivered.  But let's not do that either.

People are quick to be outraged.  Uninformed and ignorantly outraged.  But it is mainly white Canadians that are mainly outraged.  Sure there are those who are an ethnic minority that are outraged, but a good portion are willing to forgive or don't even care.  That doesn't mean all people that are considered ethnic minorities aren't outraged or shocked.

Dr. Myrna Lashley, former director of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation was sensationalistic with her comments.  In an article on I read, she said the following:

"People hear racist jokes all the time. How many times do people stand up and say: 'Don't tell me that joke,' — or walk away?"

This wasn't done as a joke.  It was all in good fun, but some people, especially her, don't want to see it that way.

When asked about blackface, she said the following:
"I hate them.

It was a stupid thing to do, and it hurt a lot of people. I know the man. I met him — he's not a racist. He's trying to bring people together."

That's your prerogative to not like them.  But to say it hurt people is quite ignorant.  It did not hurt anybody.  He wasn't directing it towards anybody.  They were for events not for a racist and hurtful purpose.  There was no malicious intent.  But she and probably others don't want to believe that.

"People laugh at these jokes, even if they are directed against them.

If they don't, people will say, 'What's wrong with you? You have a chip on your shoulder.'"

She kept coming back to talking about jokes.  They weren't done as jokes.  Why is she so fixated on that?  Having fun and joking around doesn't equate to having a chip on your shoulder.  At least in these instances anyways.  For her to say such a thing is ignorant.

She also said that people are saying he doesn't have to apologize.  I am in that camp.  Even though he has apologized, there are people that won't accept it.  They are looking for any reason to vilify and crucify Trudeau.  So much so that people would rather talk about blackface/brownface than the issues.  Quebec, which has a racist  history, for the most part are not or were not focused on blackface/brownface.  It wasn't in francophone newspapers for instance.  They had other things in the news that were taking up headlines.  That's saying something considering they have a history of blackface in the province.  Some people in Quebec said it was a "lack of judgement."

I've seen articles where there have been been polls.  One poll conducted online, forgot by who, stated that around 45 percent of Canadians didn't care about blackface.  So, you're saying that 16.65 million Canadians don't care?  Not even close.  Around 1900 people participated in this poll.  That means 855 people don't care.  You can't base the opinions of everybody on very low number of people who participated in this poll.  In fact, I can say for certain that nobody I know knew about this poll let alone participated in it.

Here is something I don't get.  Insights West conducted two polls in British Columbia.  The results showed that 52 percent of the participants see blackface as a serious issue.  Fair enough, but oddly the percentage went up two percent in regards to voting for the Liberals.  How does that work when giving that 52 percent see this as a serious issue?  I don't get it.  Regardless of what polls are showing, people won't let this die and focus on the issues.

Howard Levitt penned an article recently and gave two examples of people who didn't disclose things or they lied to perspective employees.  They both got fired for those reasons.  Levitt is saying that if these people can fired for those things, can't Trudeau get fired for such things like blackface/brownface?  That's not really the same thing.  He never lied about anything nor was he being investigated for something at the time he became leader of the Liberal Party and became Prime Minister.  That's where the power of voting comes in.  You can vote him out.  That could be seen a "firing" him.

As Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi said, he didn't think Trudeau was being "actively racist."  He also goes on to say, "
we have to ask ourselves why enough people in 2001 thought that was okay."  Again, it wasn't done in a racist manner.  He dressed up for an event.  Why is that so hard to wrap your head around?  People didn't see it as racist because it was costume party and it wasn't taken seriously.  Don't get me started on the headline.  I can't even.  In another article, he says there is something more threatening than blackface.  That is very true.  You can read of what he says.

We have ignored things like Quebec's Bill 21 aka the secularism law until the last couple of days or so.  It basically states people in the public sector in positions of authority such as teachers and police officers can't wear hijabs, yarmulkes, etc..  What in the blue hell?  Any levelheaded person would not be okay with this.  Going on three months since it passed and it hasn't been focused because of this stupid blackface/brownface.  Shows where are out focus is.  It is good that it is going to be made an federal election issue and people such as Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi is calling for a ground swell against this bill.  Hopefully the demonstrations and rallies in Quebec that are to be taking place gets their voices heard.

I am sick of people digging up stuff on people they feel can be used against someone during election time.  Some people, including a person I know, even went as far as to say cry "cultural appropriation" just because Trudeau dressed in the cultural clothing of India on his last trip there.  Being respectful in that regard is "cultural appropriation?"  You are a reaching a bit much if you think so.  It's not like he was trying to act Indian.  People take everything and turn it into a negative.  I can't wait for this election to be over.  We need to stop finding reasons to hate people and blanket them as a bad person.  Focus on the issues or do you like focusing on stupid shit that creates needless drama and bullshit?  Whatever the reason, you need to give your head a shake.  It is good we seemingly moved on from this.  But will the issues be focused on?  Hopefully.

Friday, July 19, 2019

The 10,000 Step Culture - An Obsession with a Certain Number

I read an article published on The Guardian on 10,000 steps.  It shows that there is no good science behind 10,000 steps.  There is nothing to support that 10,000 steps is the minimum benchmark for what you need each day.  There haven't been studies to see if 8,500 steps, 12,000, or 15,000 for instance are just as good or if not better (the latter two being better).

There have been studies done, one on elderly Japanese people who wore pedometers for a period of time, found that getting more steps helped reduce the risk of various things verses those that didn't actively try to get more steps. But those in the western world probably don't think about that. They do it just because that's what we've been told to do. They don't necessarily do it for the exercise.
The problem with the 10,000 step culture is it has gotten people obsessed with needing to get 10,000 steps.  You can get 10,000 steps just by doing things around the house, or by walking around the office or whatever you do at work.  Before I changed it, my phone's health app had 6,000 as the default number of steps and I could get it just by walking around at work and whatnot.  I've said I'm walking to get my steps in.  But that's the wrong reason to walk.  Don't just walk to get your steps in.

The article says that you should get your heart rate elevated and your blood flowing when getting your steps in verses just walking for the sake of getting your steps in.  The former is the better to go about it.  When I go on my walks, I could simply walk.  But I like to do a bit of power walking which elevates the heart rate, blood flowing, and gets me sweating.  I don't even think about the steps as I can easily get over 10,000 steps on my walks.  There have been times I have gotten over 20,000 and even 30,000 steps when walking.  It thought it was crazy I got that many.  But is getting those high amount of steps doing anything more for you than smaller number steps?

A more recent article in the New York Post also says that it is not gospel.  it also says that 10,000 steps is not doing anything more for you then 7,500 steps.  So why obsess over 10,000 steps?  The article isn't saying you shouldn't get 10,000 if you can.  It is saying you will live just as long those who 10,000 steps if you only get 7,500.  The study only looked at mortality not look at quality of life.  So more studies need to be done.

Until reading both articles, I never knew pedometers went as far back as the 1960s.  Both articles said that the device, invented before the 1964 Tokyo Olympics to promote movement, was called a “manpo-kei.” In Japanese, “man” means 10,000, “po” means steps and “kei” means meter. Together, it was the 10,000-steps meter.  That was the earliest known campaign of what people are now obsessed with. 

Again, nobody saying to not go for 10,000 if you can.  All that is being said is not obsess over something that doesn't do anything more for you than a smaller number of steps.  It is better to get educated on the culture of 10,000 steps and not just blindly follow something you've been told.  Don't buy into what you've been led to believe.  Don't buy into the whole 10,000 step culture.  Get steps in for the right reason.  Not every gets steps in for the right reason.

What did these people do before pedometers, Fitbit, Apple watches, and health apps were around? Why do they now need to obsess over 10,000 steps when they didn't before? If they were active before these things were around, why do they need them now? It seems like a cop out and an excuse to be and or remain active.

Don't get steps in to appease the 10,000 step culture.  Some people are doing just that which us the wrong way to go about it.  10,000 steps is not gospel.  10,000 steps is not written in stone. Get steps in because you like walking and not just to achieve a certain number.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

"How are you?" - Do people really care?

I read an article on and it was on seven tactics successful people use when having a meaningful conversation.  Sure it talks about the work and workplace related scenarios, but it can be applied to everyday life.  The one thing that stood out is that "how are you" is meaningless and people more often than not don't care.  Do you see this as being true?  Or do you genuinely care?

If you really don't care, why are you asking?  Is it because we have been told or even programmed to ask this?  I can't bring myself to ask this.  It could be because you get the run of the mill responses such as good, okay, not bad, etc..  It is true, the article says when you get these typical responses, they are not truthful responses.  People don't ask open ended questions to generate a response that will lead to small talk or a conversation.

In a sermon years ago, they said we don't bother to engage and really take an interest in someone.  When asked "how are you," we, as I said, give the typical responses and nothing more.  If you really want to talk to talk and engage with someone, stop asking how are you.  If you want an honest answer, we do need to move away from "how are you."

How many times have you been genuinely wanting to know how someone is and you don't get anything more than "good" or "fine?"  Sometimes when I see certain people, they ask about my health or various things.  They could genuinely care or they could just be making small talk.  It is okay to do both.  But small talk about myself, health, my life, etc. is hard to do for me.  I can talk about other things, but that kind of talk can be hard.

My buddy Mark says he asks "how was your day?"  That is a good way to try and get more than the usual "good," "fine," or "okay" type responses.  I hardly hear nor am I asked that.  It is always "how are you."  I always fall back on the typical responses.

If I didn't fall back on the typical responses, I would actually give people an in-depth answer.  At work I see people asking "how are you."  They are just passing by and acknowledge people they know.  But there are lots of times I see people asking "how are you" and it turns into a longer conversation.

When asked "how are you," we are not usually honest regardless if the person cares or not.  I read somewhere that we don't want to be honest because we don't feel comfortable telling them.  I feel that way.  Should I be more open and honest in that regard when talking one-on-one with someone or making small talk?  I am fine doing that with friends and people I am close with, but with others, I am not the most comfortable doing that with them.

Should we ditch "how are you?"  Or do we need to genuinely care?  I get it, we don't always want to listen to people go on about every little thing.  But it can be hard to discern whether they want to know or just asking it as it is commonplace to do so.  If you don't care, don't ask it.  Seems pretty simple.  I have a hard time asking "how are you."  I don't want to say it because I have to.  I want to say it because I want to.  We don't have to say it because society dictates we should.

"How are you" will always be used whether people care or not.  I doubt something else to replace it will be thought of.

Monday, January 07, 2019

Dairy Farming: Like a Cow is Drying Up?

I read an article by a dairy farmer on the Washington Post website about the plight and struggles of small family dairy farms.  The struggles of small farms that force them to shut down.  There are number of reasons they are shutting down including not being able to afford to continue operating.

I give much credit and respect to those small family farms that are making a go wherever in Canada or the United States they are.  Without diary farming, including the small farms, there wouldn't be the milk to produce various other items.  Same goes for the small family grain farms.

The United States needs to do something to help the little guy.  They need do something to make people want to get into farming.  For a meager average Joe wanting to choose farming as a career choice, it is not cheap to start and keep going.  If small farms keep shutting in these numbers, all we'll be left with is the mega dairy farms. They need to treat it more than corporation. I do give credit to those that don't.  I give them credit for operating with the ideology and philosophy as the small ones.  That is if they do operate that way.

Donald Trump, by the sounds of it, hasn't done much to support and help the farmers.  That needs to change.  You can't just focus on other areas.  There is a real need to help the farmers.  A need to help, what some would call, the backbone and heart of America.

Farming is one of the oldest professions.  It goes back 12,000 to 13,000 years and originated in Ancient Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq, Jordan, Syria, Israel, Palestine, southeastern Turkey, and western Iran).  Is the need for dairy farming becoming less and less as we are becoming more dependent on the large scale dairy farming operations?  Throughout history, we've depended on farmers for providing certain items like milk and crops to produce other items.  We can't lose the small family run dairy farms because we can't rely solely on the big dairy farms.

Where I grew up, south of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan; there were a number of dairy farms.  Now I don't even know if there are any still operating.  My dad and Grandpa got out of dairy farming in the 90s when my dad went to work for the government.  Slowly but surely, the small farms are shutting down.

My dad loved going to see a big dairy farm in Arizona on one of his yearly trips there.  He, after all, was a dairy farmer.  So of course, it was only natural he loved it.

I may not have been too interested in becoming a farmer as I grew up (although at one time I wanted to be a farmer when I was very young).  But this article does hit close to home.  The small farms shutting down for whatever reason is all too real.  It is a sad reality as we need more than just the big dairy farms.  I don't know what can be done, but something has to done.  Something has got to give.  I do give those credit for making a go of it no matter how hard it is.