Friday, September 09, 2005

Flight of the Stumble Bees

There is apparently a fascinating documentary that has just wrapped up on the French and English CBC in Quebec(which is for some reason a distinct society all to its own and thus not embroiled in the current nastiness of the rest of Canada English networks, but I digress), which has raised more than a few questions about just how close Canada came to being Quebec-less in the last referendum of 1995.

Now perhaps this little tempest in a cathode ray aired in English Canada (outside of Quebec), but as I've all but given up watching the CBC whilst the two sides gnash and wail at each other, I'm afraid I'm out of their programming loop. So if it aired, my apologies to the folks at the marketing dept., but if it did air and nobody knew about it I'll take back my apologies and suggest that cost saving measures take place in promotions.

At any rate the Documentary which was called Breaking Point, or Point de Rupture is all the talk in Quebec and suffers the silence of the Lambs in Canada where the CBC has a hard time keeping the Antiques roadshow on the air, let alone translating a controversial program from their French language counterparts. One of the key components of the documentary besides the glaring math that we were less than 40,000 votes away from two nations is the suggestion that the Feds had no back up plan whatsoever. Jean Chretiens' nephew, Raymond, who at the time was the ambassador to the USA from Canada, reminisced about a dinner with his Uncle where he asked for some talking points for the Clinton White House should the Sovereigntists win the day. As Raymond puts it, suddenly I realized that we had no plan B. Apparently realizing what he said and how it sounded to the cameras, he gave a slightly different interpretation for the French language version, which as you can guess ended up on the cutting room floor. The producers preferring to utilize his English version and the drama of a government terribly adrift and incapable of cobbling together a worse case scenario exit plan.

Things were apparently so bad that even a political coup was considered to relieve the beleaguered Chretien from his travails. English Canadian cabinet ministers were concerned that Chretien was incapable of not only winning the referendum but more importantly that there would be no one in place to represent the rest of Canada in the follow up negotiations. It would seem that only Mike Harris (God Help Us!) and Frank McKenna were contemplating how to approach the potential fissures approaching the nation.

But by far, one of the more interesting conspiracy theories floated in the series involves the state of the Canadian Armed Forces and how they would be utilized or tasked in the event of a positive vote for sovereignty. The producers strongly suggest that Federalist forces were so unsure of the outcome of the vote, that they voted with their wings in the days prior to voting day. Effectively removing every CF18 in the province, sending planes out of province from their Bagotville base. In a scenario that kind of reminds me of the early days of the first Gulf War back in 1990, Canadian pilots were according to the producers, apparently moving their planes to South Carolina and Virginia of all places, much like Saddam's ancient warriors headed for Kuwait (or those with poor navigational skills Iran). Of course the idea that Canada was bugging out was quickly quashed by military officials, who stated that in fact, the fighters in question from Bagotville went to the States as part of a pre-arranged military exercise called Hornet's nest. An interesting name for an exercise and indeed just what many of these stories from Breaking Point seem to be stirring as more and more reports come out.

In a province and a nation that seems super sensitive to anything to do with National unity or disunity, the documentary is just another little chapter in the ongoing war of attrition.

However, if there is a suggestion of truth to the idea of moving our assets out of Quebec when times get tough, perhaps the Federalist forces can be a bit more disingenuous next time, if God forbid there is a next time. I suggest that if there is yet another referendum for us to suffer under, we move Sea King helicopters and less than sea worthy Subs INTO Quebec, that should do more than enough to save the day for the Federation!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Reports of his demise were greatly exaggerated

Lots of egg on the face over at CTV Newsnet as the cable news channel which at the moment has the genre all to itself, managed to kill off Lucien Bouchard without the former Premier and Bloc Quebecois king passing away.

As Mike Duffy launched into a wonderful eulogy of Mr. Bouchards contribution to political life, someone whispered into the Duffs ear that uh, ooops, ole Lucy is still around.

CTV then managed to chuckle their way to commercial and went on with their regular dose of endless loop news coverage, edited of course to omit the exit of Bouchard from our mortal coil.

Now to make things worse for the folks at CTV, the crew at Quebec's Radio Canada are livid with them for suggesting that the Death notice was filed by the Quebec broadcaster. Management at Radio Canada say they issued no such advisory today and wonder how exactly CTV managed to screw up so badly.

A fair question no doubt, but even more alarming for the folks at CTV is the idea that they need to scalp news (incorrectly as it turns out) from other media sources and run with the story without in house verification. As things began to hit the fan the finger pointing and harrumphing began in earnest!

Over at the CBC, things were a lot more relaxed and error free. With no actual live programming making its way from the National or Newsworld, countless dozens of Canadians could sit back and enjoy the antiques roadshow uninterrupted.

The public network which is now into day number 26 of the great network lockout managed to avoid embarrassment due to the fact that there's no one around to watch the other channels, let alone to do some reporting of their own.

With CTV looking sheepish these days it's advantage CBC News and they're not even on the air!

Monday, September 05, 2005

Hey Ralphie Boy, they've got their eyes on you!

Good Luck selling this plan to the folks in Alberta!

Man would that be recipe for the de-confederation of the federation! Not to mention an instant jump in the price of gas to the stratosphere as the rest of the country all of a sudden loses it's main supply of the evil fuel!

Suspect if this is a trial balloon it just popped before it got into the air.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Als hold aces after NFL cuts released

The final cuts from the NFL could stock the Alouettes for years to come. With the NFL rosters about to be set for the start of the season teams made their final cuts of training camp. On the short end of the list were four Canadians, three of whom find themselves on the Montreal negotiating list.

The Alouettes may find that Jesse Palmer's name jumps out at them, the Als who have never really been able to find a suitable insurance policy for Anthony Calvillo, now find Palmer available as the New York Giants let the fourth year Canadian go on Saturday. If ever there is a city that the "bachelor" might find appealing it would be Montreal, perhaps the Als should send him an invitation for a night on the town.

Pass catching could also be a strong suit for the Als as Jerome Paython was issued his release by the Seattle Seahawks, making him the second Canadian released by the Hawks who earlier in camp terminated Jesse Lumsdens NFL experience early.

The purge of Canadians continued in Seattle as Ken Carter a running back from Toronto was informed that the end had come. Carter was mostly used on special teams in Seattle and did not see much action in the backfield. He now can contemplate his football future and should his thoughts turn to Canada he will have to think Montreal, the Als hold his rights as well. The exodus of Canadians from the NFL camps this week makes Als GM Jim Popp probably the most prescient GM in the CFL today!

One other Canadian got his pink on Saturday Brett Romberg a centre with Jacksonville cleaned out his locker and is looking for further football projects, somehow Montreal missed his name as his CFL rights belong to the BC Lions.

Perhaps Wally could give Jim a call and work something out.

The above posting first appeared in my Twelve Men on the Field blog, for more items about Canadian Football check it out!

Friday, September 02, 2005


It may be a little late in the situation for listening in, but for those that want to get the pulse of the people of Louisiana talk radio seems to be serving the need.

The radio stations of New Orleans and all of Louisiana have combined many of their forces, you can listen in to the reaction of a people seemingly abandoned for the most part. Click the station link below, you may have to download a file and play the station through your media player as the on air link doesn't always work. When you get the station you will hear many emotions, at times the dialogue is fascinating, at times heartbreaking and at times the anger jumps through your speakers and grabs your attention.

A couple of hours later you too may be mad as hell at the promises of help that seem to be not much more than rumours of help!

Thursday, September 01, 2005

On the nose, on the money

As New Orleans suffers under its fourth day of misery the apparent incompetence or unwillingness of the US gov't to engage in the crisis is staggering. All day watching CNN one heard correspondent after correspondent all but scream (and Anderson Cooper and Jack Cafferty actually did) where the hell is the help. Cafferty especially seemed to reflect the angst of Americans with his well placed anger at those supposedly in charge.

There is no better explanation of the mess that seems to be Homeland Security than this from Slate, there will no doubt be many other editorialists ready to wade in, but this one article from Slate does it in concise and frightening simple terms. It's a must read and should be made compulsory reading for those politicos that spent the day patting themselves on the back and thanking each other for doing what appears to be nothing!

Guess they're sick of her around the house!

When Christy Clark left provincial politics in British Columbia, there wasn't a dry eye in the house, she stepped aside from the daily grind of governance because she wanted more time with her family. She especially was concerned about not being a part of her sons life in ways that she would like. Who couldn't admire her stand to put family ahead of ambition, leaving the highest of positions in government to keep guard on the family home. Priorities that seemed to be right in tune with the times.

That was less than a year ago, so one can only assume that like any parent having spent a summer vacation with the kids enough is enough, it's time to get back to the adult world, well sort of I guess. Clark is coming back, this time as a candidate for mayor in Vancouver, the apparent penultimate launching pad for those that would be Premier one day. Having put in some part time work in that other political launching (or is that landing pad) of talk radio, Clark has kept a pretty high profile of late for someone looking to spend time with the family/

Ms. Clark has tossed her hat in the ring with the NPA as candidate to replace the Senate bound Larry Campbell, a guy that she apparently really, really respects. As Clark said "if Larry was staying on as mayor I wouldn't be running".

But Larry isn't running for mayor, he's running towards the Senate in Ottawa, perhaps urged on by Clark's husband, Mark Marrisen who is a political fixer in BC for Prime Minister Paul Martin. Interesting possibilities that one offers up, hubby puts a bug in the PM's ear, PM offers the mayor the Senate and Christy steps in to fill the void at City Hall. Considering the many branches of the Clarks into the Liberals it's easy to see how Conspiracy theories can run like water here.

What remains to be seen is how the folks in Vancouver will react to Ms. Clark's candidacy, considering her current residence is in the burbs of Port Moody and nowhere near the neighborhoods Vancouverites call home.

Will she be running for the long haul? Or merely as a stepping stone to the job many pundits feel she truly wants that of Premier of British Columbia. She's a smart student of BC History and the last few occupants of the Premiers office have begun their path to Victoria through the electoral process of the Vancouver mayoralty.

She will make the race for mayor a much more interesting affair than what was shaping up, but she brings with her some serious baggage from her days in the Gordon Campbell cabinet, her battles with the teachers and the events in Humans services will find her facing some serious opposition in the bare knuckle ridings of Vancouver.

She's a high profile candidate no doubt, but will she have both eyes on the job at hand should be successful or will she be keeping an eye on the career path of Gordon Campbell, how she answers that question could go a long way as to whether she'll be back to being a stay at home Mom at the end of November!