Thursday, 1 July 2010

Happy Canada Day

Happy birthday Canada, you're 143 today. We'll all have some cake and ice cream to celebrate, all 34 million of us. One big-ass cake. We'll take the day off work and reflect what it means to live in the best country on earth, we'll ponder our place on the world stage, as other countries rally to send greetings and blessings to us all. We'll even get to choose whether or not to do any chores, maybe today we'll all get breakfast in bed served to us by the Brits, or the French. The Americans will have their hands full getting ready for tonight's backyard BBQs, getting the grills ready for us, cutting the grass, etc. etc. We'll send the germans to the beer store and the Australians to the liquor store - they have the best wine in my opinion, don't send the Chileans, I don't like theirs.

We'll light the bonfires tonight and celebrate our day with all our friends. We'll roast hot dogs and marshmellows for the kids, have a few beers and relax. It's our birthday. We may even get presents. I know I asked for a raise, that would be nice. Some other friends of mine asked for tax cuts, one asked for a job. Dalton McGuinty, that lovable, ever so affable little dictator of Ontario, has given all the residents of his little province the HST. So kind. We really should all thank him now, but it may be better to wait 'til the election is called.

We'll toast each other tonight, to our health. To our health care system. To hoping we don't have to take advantage of it, although after tonight, some may be in the ER, but not to worry, they won't get a bill, just a long wait. The lasting affects of another gift from a government long ago, universal health care.

We'll probably get a little rowdy tonight as well, and some of us may spill into the streets looking for trouble. The police will undoubtedly be called to quell the riots, and all 6 hooligans will be thrown into the cooler for the night, their broken hockey sticks and rocks taken away. One may even have a gun, but it will more than likely not have any bullets, they're illegal here.

The immigrant population can partake too, those who have come to Canada over the years have done so for a reason, all different, all unique. But there are those who have come to this country to settle because they've heard about our wicked birthday parties and just want to get in on it all. Then, there are those who will see the excitement and long for their homelands, in some cases, knowing they never can return. So they become reluctant Canadians, but they will join in non the less, and make the best of it.

There are those who will attend the party tonight that we didn't invite; the nosey neighbours who always lean over the fence to see what you're up to. We laugh about them, and joke about what we'd do if they did jump over, but when it actually happens, we do nothing. We hand them a beer anyway. Better to keep your enemies closer I suppose, it's just the Canadian way. Eventually we'll send them little hints to hit the road, but they won't get it. The only time they'll actually leave is if they catch wind of another party somewhere. Shouldn't be a problem tonight, there will be lots of parties for them to hop around to.

Our police will be patrolling the streets tonight keeping us safe, our firefighters and hospital workers will be on call in case we need them, politicians will make speeches about how great of a country they have made for us to live in (kinda like you cutting your own grass and the nosey neighbour tells you how good of a job he did in not stealing your lawnmower).

Somewhere in all of this, Canadians of all makes and models will come together to wish each other Happy Birthday. It may not be the most coherent or audible cheer, but it will be there, felt in the hearts of those who chant it out. And there will be those who will break into song for each other - singing Happy Birthday over and over again. Some may even resort to the Beatles' edition. Others countries may sing for us, like Afghanistan, who as we all know, have a large population of Canadian loving folk, at least those who've been told they do. At least the ones the Taliban haven't targeted.

Our flag is universally recognized as a symbol of a peaceful country. A nation of fun-loving people who are ever so quick to help out someone in need. A nation of caring low key people who are humble enough to avoid making waves in the world's swimming pool. Happy enough to enjoy a day truly meant for us. Other nations are jealous of our accomplishments, our food, our tremendous cultural offerings (The giant inflatable mountie is everywhere!), and our hospitality.

Come on over! Our border guards will cheerfully hand out maps to the best parties, and offer all kinds of advice on what areas to avoid. And you thought the delays at the border were caused by unnecessary inspections? Of course not, we don't care what you bring in, but we will take the time to help you get your cargo where it needs to go.

I love this country, and I'm proud to call myself Canadian. I'm proud to wear the maple leaf, I'm proud to have worn the uniform. I will shout from the rooftops about my heritage, and I will have no fear of reprecutions.

I am Keith, and I am Canadian.

Enjoy your day everyone. And to my American readers, Happy Fourth of July. We'll be there to help with your BBQ this weekend, but keep in mind there's not really enough of us to help, so you'll need some other countries to lend a hand.


Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Morning Ranting

The HST comes into effect next week. Add that to the list of laws added by Ontario's rulers in the past year or two, included outlawing cell phones in cars, smoking in cars, tough rules for teenage drivers, policing what kind of dogs people can own, pesticide bans, removing pop from schools, ordering bars to post sign so pregnant women now finally are told alcohol is dangerous to their babies (it's about time someone told them), overriding municipal bylaws when they deem fit, and much more.

Now I'm not necessarily against some of McGuinty's laws, I just think it's time he stopped for a while and let people decide for themselves. It's time he goes away, stop imposing more rules and regulations to the point that we don't know anymore what's legal or not. At some point I'm going to get a ticket for doing something I thought I could do - Sorry officer, I didn't realize it was against the law to walk up the left side staircase - there was no sign posted that that was the down side! Here's my $55.

Most of this is tax grab. Most of this is making so many laws that the provinces coffers are being filled up with money from unwarranted fines. The HST is in that category as far as I'm concerned, it's another grab at our ever-diminishing bank accounts. McGuinty says it will create jobs. He's right in one sense, because once I'm broke from the extra 8% tax burden, I will have to bust my ass to ring up freelance work just to pay my fucking utility bill or put gas in the car. So there Dalton, your theory worked - I have to start my own business just to raise enough money to feed my family.

It's the same with the graduated licensing system in this province. You have to right several tests now to get your licence, that's not really that inciteful, but the fact that you are destined to fail the first of each and have to pay to retest is an atrocity. I'm firm in my belief that the province has mandated the testing offices to fail everyone on the first go in order to raise more money. Who are they fooling? Taxpayers are not blind or stupid. Well, OK, some are blind and many are stupid, but we need them for entertainment purposes. Why doesn't the province just raise the cost of getting a licence? We're paying through the nose anyway?

With the rising costs of driving now, more people are going to be inclined to take alternate forms of transportation. I'm all for that. I love my bike (or did, til it was stolen for the third time), but how long is it going to be before Dalton decides there's too many bicycles on the road that are not paying their way, and taxes the hell out of them too? Can you imagine - park your bike somewhere and have to pay a meter? Give him time, Dalton will sort out the details. Or how about a 100% tax on bike helmets, and then a $100 fine for not wearing one?

In Windsor we're getting the new Parkway shoved down our throats. The province has anted up buckets of money to pay for it. Our money. Yes, we need the solution, but Dalton and his cronnies have decided to bypass any sort of municipal input and are installing a roadway that Boston is spending billions of dollars to REMOVE. (The Big Dig - Google it). The input of the city was dismissed in favour of our loveable dictator's dream. A concrete garden chock full of diesel belching trucks. All paid for with money from the HST, higher fines, and other hidden tax grabs. The theory here is that they're paying for it - they get what they want.

Anyway, my rant is over, I'm late for work. Here's a morning smile...