Friday, January 23, 2009

Rangers @ Knights, Jan 15, 2009


Overall thought: If the Knights put up 50+ shots, they should win almost every night, especially if they only allow 19. All told, a solid game by Parker van Buskirk (Rangers G). Absolutely robbed Justin Taylor in the 2nd period (and then denied Taylor on 3 breakways over the 2nd/3rd periods...Taylor had to wait until the net was empty to complete the hat trick).

Who I liked:
Justin Taylor (London F): Hat trick, solid all around game.
Zac Rinaldo (London F): Rambunctious game with 5 or 6 huge hits that opened up tons of space for the rest of the team. Also had a great assist on Varone's GWG.
Nazem Kadri (London F): 2 great assists with some great passing.
Phil Varone/Jason Wilson (London F): Combined with either Rinaldo or Salters to form a line that seemed to have constant chances and good jump. Wilson has been an underrated star.

Who I didn't like:
London D (other than Tarasuk/Roth): Montgomery especially had a bad game, while Del Zotto didn't look all that good either (at least on the defensive end).
Trevor Cann (London G): Didn't have to be great, but should have had the first Kitchener goal. No chance on the second one.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Basic Anatomy

In my work, I deal with a great number of people complaining of “whiplash” (more appropriately and correctly described as an acceleration-deceleration injury to the spine). Without fail, these people when describing the accident suggest that their head was thrown forward, and then moved back.


The head moves back in a rear-impact collision, then forward, then as you are restrained (hopefully) by your seatbelt your body comes to a complete rest.
It never ceases to amuse me when I hear people say 10 times during the course of an examination that their head was thrown forward, and then slammed backwards.

So Long, And Thanks For All The...

…not fish. Gotcha.

No, I suppose my thank you to AJ Burnett for his 3 years in a Blue Jays uniform is largely kept to his performance in 2008 (a solid year that was underrated). Leading the American League in strikeouts is no small feat, and one that he should feel proud of.

Leading the Jays fans in frustration for 2006 and 2007? Well…he did that too.

Is it coincidence that AJ had is previous best career year in 2005, when he was pitching for a contract, and his subsequent career year came in 2008 when he was pitching for a contract? I’m just saying…

Somehow I don’t think that would apply to someone like Mr. Roy Halladay, for example.

Movie Review: Four Christmases

Here’s the premise: Superficial couple (Witherspoon and Vaughan) sneak off to vacation each Christmas each year instead of visiting each of their divorced parents. When they get caught at the airport, they are forced to endure (you guessed it!) four Christmas parties on the same day. They quickly find their relationship is not so functional, which they manage to completely fix before the credits roll.

Things we learned from this movie? Vaughan is not a leading man, better left for supporting roles. Witherspoon is quickly becoming the next Kate Hudson, in that she can only do rom-coms. And finally – never doubt that Hollywood can take a predictable movie and take it exactly to its predictable conclusion.

Movie Review: Transporter 3

I had low expectations for this movie, really, I did. I thought it would be a halfway entertaining action flick, and I enjoyed Jason Statham in Transporters 1 and 2.

Transporter 3 blew them all out of the water. It has now become the worst move I have ever seen.

How so? Let me count the ways. In the middle of the movie for about a half hour, absolutely nothing happened. A few telephone calls were made, but no races or fights (the only thing one is looking for in a movie like this). The only other thing of note (unfortunately) was that Jason Statham did a striptease for the female lead.

Yup, that’s right – a striptease by the male lead in a movie where the target audience is 95% male. I have no idea what the director was thinking, but it was beyond terrible. And it was so bad, it wasn’t laughably bad, it was “should we walk out now because this is just so lame and boring?” bad.

We didn’t walk out, under the thought that the last fight scene MUST be halfway decent. Nope. Jason crashes his car onto a train, then straps Robert Knepper’s (better known as T-Bag from TV’s Prison Break) hand to a bomb, which blows up and they live happily ever after.

To put this movie into appropriate reference, The Marine, starring John Cena from WWE was a significantly, significantly, better movie. And it was well worse than Next, which won the award for the worst movie of 2007 in my books.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The End Of It All (Unless It Isn't)

Well, it looks like this should be the end of the coalition, and I still tend to suspect that despite the apparent internal Liberal support for it, I have a feeling that we will either see the budget pass at the end of January (which, interestingly, would validate Harper's decision to prorogue somewhat), or an election. But I have a few more thoughts at the at least temporary end to one of the more interesting periods we've seen in recent Canadian policital history.

1) Harper shouldn't have requested the prorogation of Parliament. Although the coalition would have been an undemocratic and rejected option by the majority of Canadians (read any poll, or just look at the last election results), avoiding that option by similarly undemocratically proroguing Parliament doesn't help matters. This was a mistake by Harper. Although I see his point and do believe that the suggested coalition would be one of the biggest mistakes this country has ever made, proroguing Parliament simply expands the problem and looks equally undemocratic.

2) So what should he have done? Put back in the party-financing bill into the confidence vote scheduled for Monday, speak to the country and explain that he had previously agreed to EVERY SINGLE THING the coalition requested of him, and that the coalition was determined to gain power regardless, and die on THAT sword. I honestly think (should that have happened) we'd either be in an election campaign right now, or in the middle of an incredibly unstable coalition government that would have ended up with us back at the polls in 6 months time.

3) John Manley (who probably has more respect from me right now than every other Liberal party member) has eloquently explained why the coalition idea is bad for both the country and the Liberal party (Saturday's Globe and Mail). Frank McKenna also said he was never part of the whole "unelected and rejected" group. As a result, that band is down to a duo - Paul Martin and Roy Romanow. And there is still time for them to reject this as well.

4) Michael Ignatieff is making a major miscalculation. If he honestly thinks that the majority of Canadians are behind this little coalition, I suggest that he force an election when the budget is presented and take that coalition to Canadians. Good luck with that, sir.

5) I have no problem with coalition governments in general. The problem is that this type of situation is unprecedented, not just in Canada, but globally. In Israel and France and Germany and Australia (all examples used by pro-coalition proponents), coalitions are prepared in advance of the elections, and people actually know who they are voting for. Furthermore, the majority of those countries use at least some form of proportional representation, which lends itself to workable coalition governments rather than a hastily-patched-together-centre-left-separatist coalition that has no stability whatsoever.

6) I have heard the whole "62% majority" argument so much it is ridiculous. It wasn't 8 weeks ago that Layton and Dion and Duceppe were all fighting and swearing that they would never be in bed together, and now they are going to lead the country together? That sounds stable.

7) The coalition actually taking power after the country less than 8 weeks ago gave the ruling party an increased mandate is simply an abuse of the process. Dion was rejected like no other Liberal leader in history, and he was going to lead this thing? How, pray tell, is that democratic? I have no problem with the opposition voting the government down and going to another election (in fact, that would be very appropriate). But to try to grab power like this is simply unheard of in our system.

8) And finally, the major problem I have with the Bloc being part of this alleged coalition? The money that would have come from an economic stimulus package as presented by the coalition would have focused the bailout on two sectors: the Ontario automobile industry, and the Quebec lumber industry. That is why the Bloc was so interested - huge points for Quebec.

Unfortunately for the good of the country, the Bloc lumber industry is in a far more stable state than (say) the BC lumber industry, and there was no suggestion made of helping them out. And the Ontario automobile industry? Please. Let's be perfectly blunt - what is the point of making new cars if nobody has the money to buy them?

None of the above has any bearing on the fact that Harper should not have prorogued Parliament. But to suggest that the coalition would have been the best option for a stable government through the worst economic situation since the Great Depression is simply not seeing the big picture.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Harper vs. Dion - Word War

Why does it feel we just did this? I guess we did just a few weeks ago.


Good evening.

Canadians take pride in our history as one of the world's oldest continuous democracies. During the past 141 years, political parties have emerged and disappeared, leaders have come and gone, and governments have changed.

Constant in every case, however, is the principle that Canada's government has always been chosen by the people. And following the light of this democratic tradition, Canadians have built one of the most peaceful and prosperous countries the world has ever known a land of hope and opportunity that inspires others around the globe, and has drawn millions as new immigrants to our country.

On October 14, for the 40th time since Confederation, Canadians voted in a national general election. We are honoured that you returned our government to office with a strengthened mandate to lead this great country through the most difficult global economic crisis in many decades. Canada's government is acting to deal with the crisis, right now.

Further personal and business tax reductions are coming into effect. We are doubling spending on infrastructure; we are ensuring credit for businesses and consumers by injecting liquidity into financial markets; we are helping seniors who rely on RRIR income; and securing pension plans.
We are implementing the Automotive Innovation Fund and, working with the government of Ontario, we are undertaking due diligence on any further requests for assistance from the auto industry.

We are increasing support and incentives for manufacturers, the forestry sector, and others to pursue business opportunities. We are implementing agreements with the provinces to enhance labour mobility. And, next month on January 27, we will bring in a budget which will contain additional measures to boost Canada's economy, while making sure we avoid a long term structural deficit in Canada's finances.

In preparation for that budget we are consulting widely with Canadians, meeting with premiers of our provinces and territories, and working in collaboration with our international partners in G20. The minister of finance will be consulting with the business community and interest groups.

We are consulting with, and expect to hear more from, the opposition parties in Parliament. We hope they bring forward specific proposals -- we have invited them to do so. In fact, we have already changed some of our proposals to meet their concerns.

Unfortunately, even before the government has brought forward its budget, and only seven weeks after a general election, the opposition wants to overturn the results of that election.
Instead of an immediate budget, they propose a new coalition which includes the party in Parliament whose avowed goal is to break up the country. Let me be very clear: Canada's government cannot enter into a power-sharing coalition with a separatist party. At a time of global economic instability, Canada's government must stand unequivocally for keeping the country together. At a time like this, a coalition with the separatists cannot help Canada. And the Opposition does not have the democratic right to impose a coalition with the separatists they promised voters would never happen.

The Opposition is attempting to impose this deal without your say, without your consent, and without your vote. This is no time for backroom deals with the separatists; it is the time for Canada's government to focus on the economy and specifically on measures for the upcoming budget. This is a pivotal moment in our history.

We Canadians are the inheritors of a great legacy, and it is our duty to strengthen and protect it for the generations still to come. Tonight, I pledge to you that Canada's government will use every legal means at our disposal to protect our democracy, to protect our economy, and to protect Canada.

Thank you, and goodnight.


Canada is facing the impacts of the global economic crisis. Our economy is on the verge of a recession. Canadians are worried about losing their jobs, their homes, their savings. Every economist in the country is predicting increased job losses and deficits for the next few years.
The federal government has a duty to act and help Canadians weather this storm.

Stephen Harper still refuses to propose measures to stimulate the Canadian economy. His mini-budget last week demonstrated that his priority is partisanship and settling ideological scores.
The Harper Conservatives have lost the confidence of the majority of members of the House of Commons. In our democracy, in our parliamentary system, in our Constitution, this means that they have lost the right to govern.

Canadians don't want another election, they want Parliamentarians to work together. That's our job. Canadians want their MPs to put aside partisanship and focus on the economy.

The Liberal Party and the New Democratic Party are ready to do this. Jack Layton and I have agreed to form a coalition government to address the impact of the global economic crisis. The Bloc has agreed to support this government on matters of confidence. The Green Party has also agreed to support it.

Our system of government was not born with Canada. It is ancient. There are rules that govern it and conventions that guide it. Coalitions are normal and current practice in many parts of the world and are able to work very successfully. They work with simple ingredients: consensus, goodwill and co-operation.

Consensus is a great Canadian value. In this spirit, we Liberals have joined in a coalition with the NDP. We have done so because we believe we can achieve more for Canadians through co-operation than through conflict. We believe we can better solve the challenges facing Canada through teamwork and collaboration, rather than blind partisan feuding and hostility.
Our coalition is a consensus to govern with a well-defined program to address the most important issue facing the country: the economy. It is a program to preserve and create jobs and to stimulate the economy in all regions of the country. The elements of the program need to be spelled out and this is what we will do if we are allowed to present it to the House of Commons.
We share the frustration Canadians have about a political crisis that has been allowed to take prominence over the more important economic challenges we face. Elsewhere in the world, leaders are working to cope with the recession, to bring forward the kinds of investments that will help their people and their economies. Politicians are working together. Rivals are working together.

Mr. Harper's solution is to extend that crisis by avoiding a simple vote; by suspending Parliament and continuing the confusion. We offer a better way. We say settle it now and let's get to work on the people's business. A vote is scheduled for next Monday. Let it proceed. And let us all show maturity in accepting the result with grace and the larger task of serving Canadians in mind.

Within one week, a new direction will be established, a tone and focus will be set. We will gather with leaders of industry and labour to work -- unlike the Conservatives -- in a collaborative but urgent manner to protect jobs. To stimulate the economy and create good well-paid jobs we will not only accelerate already planned investments, but invest significantly more in our country's infrastructure. Helping our cities like Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Montreal or Halifax build modern, efficient public transit systems. Investing in our rural communities so that cherished ways of life are protected for future generations. We can stimulate our economy through investments in clean energy, water and our gateways.

We will invest in our manufacturing, forestry and automotive sectors to protect and create jobs. We believe that in these tough economic times the government has a role to play to ensure that those who are doing their share for the prosperity of our country can continue to provide for the well-being of their families.

In times like this our compassion as a country is tested. We believe it is imperative that the government offers Canadians who have already lost their job, whether in the factories of southwestern Ontario or the forests of Eastern Quebec and British Columbia, the support they need to live in dignity and develop new skills. That is precisely what we intend to provide.
Earlier today I wrote Her Excellency the Governor General. I respectfully asked her to refuse any request by the prime minister to suspend Parliament until he has demonstrated to her that he still commands the confidence of the House. If Mr. Harper wants to suspend Parliament he must first face a vote of confidence.

In our Canada, the government is accountable for its decisions and actions in Parliament. In our Canada, the government derives its legitimacy from an elected Parliament.
Allow me to end tonight on a personal note. If I am entrusted with the role of prime minister for the next months that I have left to serve, I will work day and night to combat this economic crisis, to do what it takes to minimize its effects on Canadians, to protect jobs and to create jobs.

I will serve my country until my time to serve is at an end.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Liberal That Gets It & A Conservative That Has It

Hands-down the best partisan Liberal blogger on the net, Calgary Grit, has done an excellent job of summarizing why this might not be such a great idea for the Liberal party.

I don't want to cut and past the entire post, but I do encourage you if interested to give it a read. It's a great commentary on the risks inherent for the Liberal party, risks that if I were in their shoes I would not want to indulge.

Also (and he didn't raise this, but I will), at the end of the day, if Harper is hated by the public as much as the Liberals and Dippers do, wouldn't the public not have given him a stronger mandate as well as 38% of the popular vote (the same percentage they gave Chretien in 2000, and nobody was complaining then about his lack of legitimacy?) Why wouldn't the Liberals want to give this hated bully as much rope as possible, and then bring him down when they have a new leader? (Answer: This is about Dion's ego, and the loss of the party financing subsidy, which has since been revoked...unfortunately...which makes it predominantly about Dion's ego).

And another link for you: ALW again, with a great post about the reason behind the Liberal-NDP madness. The LPC and NDP do NOT like Mr. Harper. I dislike Dion and Layton and Rae, but it's nowhere near the vile that those gentlemen hold for the Right Honourable Prime Minister (whom, again, Canadians overwhelmingly voted in favour of).

A Call To Michael Ignatieff

In times like this, it seems wrong to promote rumours, but the rumour that Mr. Ignatieff is not particularly thrilled with the advancement of this coalition government continues to a) not go away, and b) gain steam and traction with each moment that Ignatieff doesn't come out and reject it as a rumour.

To wit, then, I request that Mr. Ignatieff immediately either a) declare his own unbridled support for the coalition - which if successful he is the odds-on favourite to be the leader of in May, or b) denounce this shameful ploy once and for all.

I say this as a concerned Canadian citizen, most interested above all (when it comes to these matters) in our country's well-being, because I am increasingly of the opinion that this coalition could be the best possible thing for the Conservative Party of Canada's fortunes (not Stephen Harper's fortunes, regrettably, but the CPC for sure).

As a result, the best action on the part of Michael Ignatieff would be to denounce the coalition, first and foremost for Canada's best interests. I have a feeling that as a collateral benefit, it would also be the best choice for Mr. Ignatieff's own, long-term aspirations.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Real Coalition Winner

This says it all. The real winner if this coalition goes through? Gilles Duceppe and the BQ. They have nothing to lose and everything to gain. And the thought of a guy like Dion working with Duceppe seems unbelievably weird.

Duceppe is ONLY going to abide by this coalition agreement until he feels that he can gain more seats in a federal election. This whole "agreement for 18 months" crap? Not going to happen.

Furthermore, can anyone see Ignatieff working with Layton?

Of course, help us all should Rae with the Liberal leadership.