An officer and a gentleman

This makes me feel a little better about the world.

News Alert: Rob Ford did not apologize

We’ve heard it a million times, the non-apology apology from politicians. It’s when that tiny little word “if” follows “I’m sorry.” (You know, “I’m sorry if I offended you.”) And we shouldn’t let them get away with it.

But I think Ford’s grand performance – the halting words, the real emotion – during his presser yesterday out-shone the content of his statement. The visual of a tired, haggard Ford choked up is what left the impression.

Here is what he actually said, to close out the statement:

“Looking back, maybe I could have expressed myself in a different way. To everyone who believes I should have done this differently, I sincerely apologize.”

“To everyone who believes I should have done this differently, I sincerely apologize.”

Not, I shouldn’t have done it. Not, I should’ve paid the fine. Not, I shouldn’t have misused taxpayer resources. Just, that if you think I should have done things differently.

Even when pushed in front of the media by his advisors and lawyers (a day too late), he couldn’t actually bring himself to say just two little words: “I’m sorry.”


This post isn’t about politics, rather family and how quickly time can get away from you.

My grandfather passed away a few days ago, having lived a very long life. He was my last living grandparent and he, along with my beloved grandma who has been gone for my entire adulthood, were fixtures in my life when I was a child. A childhood which otherwise held a lot of sadness. Many of my first memories are of them both, and the farm.

Grandpa was quiet, with lively blue eyes. He was mischievous, too. My fondest memory of him was in the hayloft of the barn one day. I don’t remember how I got up there but I couldn’t have been more than three years old. “Sssh,” he whispered, “Let’s play a joke on grandma. I got you.” Picture it: I’m standing perched on the edge of a hayloft, grandpa hanging on to the back of my pants. He’s yelling, “Mother! Come quick!”

I’m not sure what’s going on but in runs grandma, wiping her hands on an apron that I remember always being tied around her waist. Next thing I know, she’s panicking, worried I’m about to come tumbling down and grandpa is in a fit of giggles. I’m pretty sure grandpa got an earful later on.

As I got older and they were no longer on the farm, visits became more infrequent. Moving my own family halfway across the country later on didn’t help either.

But he was always kind to me. A wink now and then, and there was always a pack of Smarties or a quarter for me in his pocket. I’m sure he worried about me, and I’m quite certain I disappointed him, but I knew he loved me. Grandma did, too.

I came across his obituary online and thought I’d share part of it with you so you could know just a little bit about my grandfather, John Neufeld, a hardworking Mennonite immigrant, who came to Canada for a better life.

“John was born in Russia and immigrated to Canada at age 13 where he worked as a farmer until moving to Edmonton with a young family in the 1950’s. There he worked as a truck driver, milk delivery man, and school custodian. In 1964 he moved to the Fraser Valley where he lived until his passing. John was very active in church leadership in Edmonton and was one of the founders of the Lendrum MB Church in that city. He was a man of faith and lived a consistent life. John took great pride in his family, watching the accomplishments of his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.”

RIP, grandpa.

Joyce Murray and her bid for LPC leadership

  • She announced on the same day, the same time even, as the Rob Ford verdict.  Everyone knew days ahead that Monday at 10 am was the Ford decision. This was a strategic error – the Ford story is dominating, everywhere.
  • She announced on the same day we learned Mark Carney was leaving Canada.
  • She announced on the same day as people are going to the polls in three federal byelections.

I like Joyce but she, and her team, have really, really bad timing. This doesn’t bode well for her.

No one is above the law: Rob Ford is removed from office

I have to be honest, I didn’t see this coming. Last night I was asked my thoughts on the likely outcome of the Ford case. “I hope he’s kicked out of office but, sometimes, elites (generally rich white guys, in my opinion) seem to be able to operate under a set of rules the rest of us don’t have access to.”  Cynical? Very.

But today I was proven wrong. And happily so. The judge on this case, a tough judge with years of experience, determined that Rob Ford was in clear violation of the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, and removed him from office. The judge also mentions Ford’s “stubborn sense of entitlement” and “confrontational attitude.”

The judge was also right when he wrote “a high standard must be expected from an elected official in a position of leadership and responsibility.”

You got that right. Rob Ford did the wrong thing. When you break the rules, there’s a price to pay and no one is above the law. By ensuring that everyone follows the same set of rules – even the elites – democracy is better served: Democracy isn’t lost when a judgment removes a law-breaker from office. It’s preserved when officer-holders aren’t found to be above the law.

The next couple of days will bring accusations of “left-wing conspiracy,” etc., to be sure (it’s Pavlovian). But let’s not forget one thing: Rob Ford did this to himself.

Wildrose leader Danielle Smith is dangerous

Alberta’s last election, held just seven months ago, was notable for a couple of things. First, because so many people – pollsters, journalist, etc. – got the results so very wrong and secondly, the completely intolerant and crazy views of several Wildrose candidates.

Like Allan Hunsperger the anti-gay candidate who said that homosexuals will “suffer the rest of eternity in a lake of fire.” And John Carpay, anti-gay and anti-choice. Another who said white people are better and homosexuality is “illegitimate.” Many of her candidates were also out-of-touch climate change deniers. Most of her candidates were men, and white.

During the election she stood behind all these candidates saying that by doing that she was championing free speech.

Well, okay… Gotcha. It’s an election and you’re blowing your lead and you’re doing anything and everything just to hang the fuck on.

Fast forward seven months to this weekend. Believe it or not she  still is defending these bozos. She does a wee mea culpa by suggesting that her party needs to vet candidates better, however. She then continues:

“But every single person who runs for office has to be able to state their views in a way that is respectful to all Albertans (and) in a way that if they are to be elected, their constituents believe they will be able to represent every person who comes into their constituency office.”

How, exactly, do you be both intolerant and respectful? There is no such thing as a respectful bigot. I’m betting that not a single gay or lesbian Albertan feels that Allan Hunsperger can represent them. Not ever.

So, why is Smith dangerous? Because she knows that these extreme right-wing zealots wield power in her party and if she were to do the right thing – refuse to sign these bastards’ nomination papers – she’d be out of the top job. She has now enabled bigots and endorsed their hateful, intolerant views.

Shame on her.

Ontario PC leader Tim Hudak agrees he blew it

That’s right, for whatever reason Hudak decided to bare his losing soul to a reporter. Not only, he says, did he lose the last election, but says it’s all his fault. Said he auditioned to be an opposition leader, not a Premier.

Hudak says he and his Tory caucus drank their own Kool-Aid.


So, why did he do it? Because they’re nervous, really nervous.

Our mayor on the field

As a clumsy person myself, I almost feel sorry for him. But I just about died laughing. For the record, it’s not funny because it’s Ford, it’s just funny.

Thanks to my friend Jane Daly for sharing.

Calgary byelection is a three-way race

When I said this riding was competitive on SNN, Krista laughed at me. But now I’m not the only one saying it anymore – the Mayor of Calgary is too.

Krista, drinks are on you if the Tories lose this one!

Justin on pot

I’ve defended Trudeau a few times on Sun News saying that he’s not a “shiny pony” (their words) but that, while not an intellectual (even Justin agrees), he’s a smart guy. And what I’m liking more and more is the fact that he’s willing to take positions on things – and not just easy things, but issues that may be controversial or unpopular.

A couple of weeks ago Trudeau spoke out against Quebec’s (separatist) government and insisted that the province’s language laws don’t need strengthening. He went even further and said that the PQ’s language policy is “unnecessary and counter-productive.” Being from the Left Coast, I know that his will help him out west but what I appreciate more is that he was willing to take a stand on an issue he knew he would be heavily criticized for in his home province.

That was a gutsy move.

And then yesterday Justin, when asked about marijuana, didn’t waffle or hedge like so many other politicians. Rather, he declared that the war on drugs isn’t working and pot should be decriminalized. Many liberals like me support that position, which was first given serious legislative consideration when former Justice Minister Martin Cauchon said the same thing in 2003.

Whether you agree with Trudeau or not, isn’t the point. I look forward to hearing more from him.