"Gone Gone Gone (Done Moved On)"

If you haven’t listened to the Robert Plant/Alison Krauss collaborative album, ‘Raising Sand,’ go and buy it, listen to it, and then thank me for the recommendation.

Take a deep breath and get ready for a long post. All kinds of stuff to talk about today. Let’s start with hockey first…

  • Gary Bettman, NHL dictator, er, commissioner, testified before a US Congress committee and emphatically stated that performance-enhancing drugs are not a problem in the NHL. BAH!!!! I don’t think steroids, et al. are a huge problem in the NHL, but I’m sure there are SOME users. And what about that urban legend that claims hockey players take cold medication to give them a little extra jump? Just askin’…
  • NHL Trade Deadline wrapup – The WINNERS were Pittsburgh, Dallas and Washington. Well, Pittsburgh is a winner if Marian Hossa actually makes some sort of contribution in the playoffs, during which he is known to mysteriously disappear. Dallas wins because Brad Richards is, well, Brad Richards. I think a change of scenery for the Canadian-sniper is just what he needs to get back to Conn Smythe-form. If Sergei Federov and Matt Cooke stay healthy, and Cristobal Huet plays, AND the Caps make the playoffs, then they win. Still not sure what the hell the Caps were thinking trading away a lot of future for a little present… LOSERS: The Canadiens. I DO NOT like the Huet trade. It wasn’t necessary. Carey Price is a good goalie, but to lock your playoff hopes on one without ANY playoff experience is a bit of a risk – though it did work out for Carolina and Cam Ward two years ago. The Sens lost because they didn’t get Hossa. And the Leafs lost because they weren’t able to unload any of their far overpaid baggage in the likes of McCabe, Kaberle, Tucker or Blake. At least they didn’t give away any of their 1st round draft picks. That’s something…
  • Sens coach John Paddock was fired today, making way for GM Bryan Murray to resume the coaching duties he himself handed to Paddock this summer. Despite oodles of talent, the Sens have sucked as of late, losing 5-0 to the Leafs and 4-0 to Boston in their last two games. Personally, I think Paddock’s a good guy, but he’s got a bunch of prima donnas in the room. The coach can motivate all he wants, but if the guys in the room don’t have some pride and take some leadership (yes, I’m looking at YOU Daniel Alfredsson), it’s all for nothing. But Paddock’s downfall was not dealing with Ray Emery. The guy has developed an ego the size of Rideau Canal, and should have been benched when he started showing up late for practice and whining to the media. Not dealing with him was the beginning of the end for Paddock.
  • Former Rider coach Kent Austin is named CFL Coach of the Year at the CFL Winter Meetings today in Calgary. Well, duh. Didn’t see that one coming at all, did you?? Interesting that Kent came back to the Prairies to pick up an award, but couldn’t do the same to fulfill a speaking engagement, which he had committed to months ago, in Saskatoon last weekend. Just sayin’…
  • I MISS CURLING!!!! Only a couple more days until the Brier begins!
  • A ‘ha ha!’ to Joel, who went all the way to Edmonton last night to see his beloved Red Wings play, only to have them lose in a shootout. Tee hee!

I was going to write a post dedicated to yesterday’s federal budget, but it was just too damn predictable to warrant an entire post. Here are the highlights:

  • Reduced spending; surplus completely earmarked for debt reduction in light of the coming economic slowdown (sure could use that extra % of GST now, couldn’t you Harper??)
  • More money for urban centers (read: vote buying)
  • a $5000 tax-free savings ‘account’ (I’m not sure what else to call it) to allow Canadians to save, once again reminding us that the economy will continue to slow down

In other words, there’s not much there. A little bit for everybody to make sure everyone’s happy and willing to vote Conservative. What DOES piss me off, though, is the money put aside to create TWO NEW CROWN CORPORATIONS! THIS from a Conservative government?!?! I just don’t get it… And the whole line about the Conservatives giving Canadians the lowest taxes seen since Lester Pearson was Prime Minister (in the 1960s) is hogwash. There’s a little thing called ‘inflation’ that kiboshes that theory.

Speaking of wacky politicians, read this: “Ont. health minister prepared to don adult diaper”

Now, for something COMPLETELY unrelated: I heart Michael Byers.

“And who is Michael Byers, and why do you ‘heart’ him?” you ask.

He should be Canada’s next Prime Minister, if you ask me. But then again, I think my little toe could run the Canadian government and be more efficient, useful, and progressive than the bumbling idiots currently occupying the hill. This minority sh*t is getting old. For the love of God, WOULD SOMEBODY JUST GOVERN?!?! I’m so tired of the political shenanigans. Let’s give somebody a majority and start making the hard decisions. Pandering to everyone isn’t getting us anywhere. But ANYWAY…

Michael Byers. He gave a lecture/presentation on Arctic sovereignty, as that’s part of his specialization. And while Arctic sovereignty is a crucial issue most Canadians give little thought towards, it the questions he answered at the end that made me heart him.

You see, I believe, and have always believed, that Canada has a significant place in the world. We are a vast country, comprised of many ethnicities and languages, but we DO have our own distinct culture, values, and beliefs. Sure, we have problems, but so does every other country. And sure, we’re not perfect, but who is? And sure, we live beside the world’s only superpower, but we are not, and will never be, the 51st state, or ‘America North.’ Why? Because of our own unique history, which has influenced and shaped our values.

One of the most important points Byers made was that having differing values from our American neighbours does not make us anti-American. Not supporting George Bush doesn’t make us anti-American. Not wanting to fight in Iraq doesn’t make us anti-American. We are simply different than American. He had a fantastic analogy for what the Canada-US relationship should be, and I’d like to share it (paraphrased):

The Canada-US relationship is like when two friends go out for drinks. They have a good time, respect each other’s points of view, recognize the other’s potential for indepedent and intelligent thought, and have some good conversation. But one friend has a little too much to drink, and at the end of the night, he goes to drive his car. The other friend says, “I don’t think so. You shouldn’t be driving drunk. And give me your keys.” Canada is like the friend who stops his friend from driving under the influence. We are obligated to say, “Hey, you’re making a mistake. Now give me your keys and let us show you some leadership.” Brilliant.

Byers sees Canada the way I do: independent, strong, unique and of “phenomenal potential.” We have a wealth of natural resources. We have some of the most beautiful landscape in the world. We have incredible people in our country in every sector: education, science, technology, environment, health care, and the list goes on and on. It breaks my heart when I see politicians lament about our country, believing it will inevitably break up and disintegrate.

While I do believe Barack Obama is not experienced enough to run the United States of America, I can’t help but admire the way he has inspired Americans to once again believe in their country. Canadians need to be inspired in the same way. We once were. In the 1950s and 1960s, Canada was at the height of its power, commanding the attention of all states. We’ve lost our international prestige since then, and continue to coast on the coattails of Lester Pearson and Pierre Trudeau. We need a leader who can remind us of all the great things we ARE, and all the great things we CAN be. Who’s going to step up and lead us, rather than bleed us?

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