POLITICAL OBSERVER – Deuxième Partie

#METOO Morphing into #WHOISNEXT

The Canadian political scene continues to be rocked by numerous sexual allegations against men. Even the ultra-feminist Prime Minister Trudeau is back-pedaling on how to handle the allegations within his own party. There is talk of a ‘whisper’ network amongst Parliamentary staffers as to who is grabbsy after a few drinks. There is an ominous online threat that some powerful male political leader is next. Storm clouds have gathered and there is a seeping, impending dread across the nation of who will next be struck by the #metoo lightning bolt from the murky heavens.

What is disturbing is this narrative that all women coming forward (but staying anonymous in many cases such as with Patrick Brown) with sexual harassment allegations must be believed implicitly because no woman has ever lied, withheld key contextual facts, coloured the truth, or has had ulterior motives that would benefit themselves, organizations they are affiliated with, or causes they believe in. After all, they are made of sugar and spice and all things nice. Their word of events, sometimes decades in the past, is to be taken as gospel irrespective of how much alcohol or drugs may have been involved. No matter how many years have passed, you can take their word for the fact that with no evidence, corroboration, or police reports, they have lived in shame for upwards of decades reliving the gospel truth day after day so that no single iota of whatever happened could never be twisted. Never mind the seeming coincidence that these revelations all seem to hit at the most inopportune times in order to maximize the downfall of these men. Never mind that a court of law has cleared men like Jian Ghomeshi of all charges. Women because of the sheer fact that they are women must never be questioned as to their veracity in these matters.

Before you start slamming me for being generalistic, I am only quoting the virtue signaling of Prime Minister Trudeau, “It is our duty to listen to them and to believe them.” Ontario Premier Wynne, “I believe victims when they come forward” and all the various political voices who all immediately came out to support and implicitly believe these ‘brave’ anonymous women immediately upon word of the allegations. Look up each and every political response and prove me wrong. We had a little business with a fake hijab attack incident recently that embarrassed these same politicians who were falling all over themselves to support this poor Islamic girl. What ever happened to waiting for a complete investigation? I neither support nor defend Mr. Brown or these other men. I do support due process and the chance for the accused to face their accuser. I support taking allegations seriously and having them properly investigated by the authorities. By authorities, reporters don’t count as their motivations can easily lean towards the old practice of sensationalism for ratings. I take serious umbrage with wholesale believing the accuser before a proper investigation takes place. There is a reason Lady Justice is depicted with a blindfold. Also, since allegations such as these can have such dire obvious consequences to the accused, they shouldn’t be made public until charges are laid. Otherwise, it’s just an old fashioned lynch mob with a rope.

Ah, but many people are of the opinion that there is no such thing as ‘due process’ when it comes to politics. Throw the disgusting man out on his rear! Tar and feathers is too good for his kind of ilk! We don’t want his kind as our LEADER! We always knew there was something wrong with him! Believe the WOMEN! Believe the WOMEN! Those are the cries of the vengeful mob hunting for justice. How convenient that it is only when it comes to sex, that now we determine to hold politicians accountable for their leadership qualities. Politicians of all stripes and both genders commit atrocious blunders and boondoggles costing billions of taxpayer dollars all the time. But one little whiff of impropriety when it comes to the relationship of a man with a woman and somehow that is the tipping point.

The actions of the CTV reporters who investigated the Patrick Brown allegations are merely a modern version of yellow journalism and muckraking. They knew the likely consequences of their sensationalist ‘revelations’ a few months before a major election. That’s a lot of power to wield and easily a recipe for abuse. Every reporter will be clamoring to speak with all the office staffers about their experiences. What woman is going to deny she has never heard a coarse word, maybe had a hand linger on a shoulder a second too long, or had a pass thrown at her that was rebuffed? Ordinary actions have now become sinister, powerful ammunition used to support the feminist narrative that all men are rapists.

Every man, especially those in powerful positions, can now be anonymously accused of sexual wrong-doing without official sanction and it will be up to him to prove innocence as guilt will be implied and his reputation forever stained.

To quote a Medium.com author, Proudly Unaffiliated, ‘And I always thought that a Witch Hunt was about people hunting for witches. But it looks like that a Witch Hunt is really a hunt conducted by witches that are after men and their resources.’

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HUMAN MALE

Condesendisplainin’

There is a pejorative word that is passed around to describe a habit ascribed to males who ‘talk down’ to females. This practice is termed ‘mansplaining’. I will attempt to refrain from explaining the term, lest some virtue signaling person becomes too offended. I will however like to throw my two cents in on this latest Us versus Them issue raised in feminist circles to throw another dart into the plain old activities of us beat up males.

Regardless of who is aggravating or annoying you be it male, female, your boss, co-workers, relatives, if someone is acting like a condescending twit, it gets on your nerves. But throwing around bait words such as mansplaining or femsplaining serves no purpose other than to purposely drive unnecessary wedges between the sexes.

As an example, if a woman understands vehicle maintenance, I can see how they are annoyed when mechanics or car salesmen (come to think of it, I can’t recall seeing too many car saleswomen) treat her differently compared to when they speak to a man. I don’t think there’s anything particularly nefarious in their attitudes other than they aren’t used to women knowing that much about vehicles. There’s always a certain amount of jerks that you’ll come across during your day, but that’s just life.

On the flip side, let’s explore the world of female condescension for a minute. Almost immediately upon birth, mother’s favourite words for her baby are No, No, No! By some accounts, toddlers hear the word No about 400 times a day. I find this annoying female habit continues on throughout a person’s entire life. Hang out in an elementary playground and just observe the mother’s clucking over the kids with the multitudes of Don’t do that, Get down from there, Be careful! Later in life, it turns to Do you know what you’re doing, That’s not the right way, No you’re wrong! Kids just ignore it as white noise and husbands hear it as nagging.

Again, I don’t believe most woman have nefarious reasons for habitually degrading the self-confidence of everyone around them. But for every mother holding their kid back, there’s usually a father who is firing up the chainsaw to cut the apron strings.

Perhaps everybody could learn to ask a few qualifying questions and listen to the person’s level of expertise to determine which level everyone is working on. This goes for adults interacting with kids. Don’t assume they don’t know what they’re doing, they’re smarter than a lot of parents and adults treat them. Also, don’t assume somebody needs or wants your ‘education’. The world is a lot of shades of grey (gray) and there’s more than one way of doing things. If someone needs to fall on their face to learn, stand back and learn how to pick up the pieces.

So for women who get annoyed with men and their explanations, try to have a bit of patience and understand they are trying to show off their self-worth. It’s part of their conditioning for making their way in a tough world. As for women, their conditioning involves a lot of safety, security, and planning for the long haul. So for men, try to understand women just want to talk things out and aren’t necessarily looking for detailed solutions.

For everyone, try to remember that old adage about the word ‘assume’. Ask a question or two first so that you don’t make a donkey’s butt out of ‘u’ and ‘me’.

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PARENTAL UNIT

Let Kids be Kids

There’s a lot at stake by bringing a human life into this world. Most parents will ask themselves, ‘Do I know what I’m doing? Am I ready for this? What if I screw this up?‘ There is a lot of anxiety about the right activities, schools, friends, where to live, how much to cushion their mistakes, or how much to not cushion their mistakes. But before you stress too much over how much you may or may not screw up their lives, how about taking a few steps back and just let them figure most of it out for themselves. Be there to nudge and guide them of course, but after all, if they came from you they have to be pretty close to as smart as you were back then.

Adults continuously underestimate children, especially their own. Babies will start playing their parents as soon as they are brought home from the hospital. It’s hilarious that parents can’t see them as having intelligence. They are your offspring after all unless you’re particularly stupid. Society in general is predisposed to treat anyone under the age of majority in an infantile manner. Somehow on the day you turn 18, you magically become an adult. I just relate this silliness to my experience growing up on a farm where I was expected to do the work of an adult at the age of 12 with the commensurate respect. I was also allowed to hunt by myself at that age with a .22 rifle. Imagine the consternation of the typical soccer mom if little Johnny was walking around with a rifle in this day and age!

There are some studies floating around which say the average one year old hears the word ‘no’ 400 times a day. It’s no wonder that’s their favourite word! ‘No, no, no, little Johnny or Susie, mustn’t touch, eat, move, say, or any other action!’ is the typical (usually) motherly admonishment kids hear. All they are doing by the age of two is mimicking what they’ve heard their entire lives. Maybe that’s why my kids never had ‘terrible’ twos since I wasn’t a constant ‘No’ monster.

Another thing parents make the mistake of is teaching their children to always play by the rules. I went through this with my six year old grand-daughter over Christmas. We played simple games like Go Fish, War, Connect Four and I was flexible with her grasp of the ‘rules’. In the big scheme of things, does it really matter if we follow the letter of the law when we’re playing ‘Hungry, Hungry Hippo’ and we’re having a good time? But when her parents joined in, the white sheet of rules comes out and she becomes agitated, upset, bored and no one had a good time. Society sets out to squash children’s creativity. Now of course, if you’re operating a $7 million RCAF turbo prop aircraft like my daughter does for a living, then there are strict reasons for rule following. But if a six year old wants to modify the rules of ‘Trouble’, (even from turn to turn) I’m ok with that. Learn to let your kids colour outside the lines once in awhile.

Children need to be left alone once in awhile with other children to just be children. I grew up with five boys on a farm and had about 20,000 acres as our personnel playground. We played at hunting and were death to anything slow enough to not get out of our way. We travelled solo or as a ‘tribe’ and we were looking to destroy and kill. By destroy and kill, I mean stuff that didn’t matter to the adults. Smart kids realize quick that you can almost get away with murder as long as the adults do not need to intervene. Before we were allowed to hunt with rifles, we were already fashioning bows and arrows out of Saskatoon saplings and ragweed. Plus we were already proficient at throwing rocks, usually at each other for sport. You learned how to duck and how to hide the bruises. (See the note about not involving the adults) Let your children get out on their own. Let them smash things (within reason) in order to get some of those frustrations out. Let them build the self confidence needed as they move towards adulthood.

But nowadays, instead of being out and about raising any sort of Holy Hell or on any adventures with their compatriots, children are playing with computers or are on social media. It’s still children playing with children, but more distant. Kids would still like to run around like little maniacs if you let them but I think society has limited their choices. Children just aren’t allowed to just play without adult supervision anymore. In Canada, Clifford Olson was the serial killer back in the 80’s who terrified Canadian parents into locking their children up. At about the same time, home video games were in their infancy. What else are kids going to do when they’re not allowed to roam the streets anymore? Most of the time wasters like Snapchat, Instagram, or texting emojis are geared towards very base response stimuli and children are an easy market. It doesn’t take long to grow a couch potato especially when Mom and Dad are too worn out to take the kids out for a play date.

We have created a world in which children are almost always in the presence of a supervisor. It drives me crazy to be in the presence of a typical elementary playground when all the mothers are clucking. For some reason, kids need their lives to be continuously structured while harried parents run them from activity to activity. Don’t get me wrong, in my opinion, children should be active. My two kids were on the go all the time with their various programs. But the important distinction is the activity must be driven by the children vice the parents. Within reason, if a kid doesn’t want to do dance, play hockey, ride horses, etc. then as a parent, stop trying to push the rope. Let the kids explore their passions, encourage their choices and help guide them towards happiness and success. Then when they need some down or alone time, let it happen.

Here’s an example where kids have lost any chance of some down time. If you’re a hockey parent, you’re well aware of the 5 a.m. practices, the weekend road trips, the constant fund raising, and the summer camps. A kid can literally play hockey 12 months of the year. They never get a break but if they’re going to be successful and get that coveted NHL contract, that’s the path you must take. Unfortunately, thousands of families get caught up in a stressful, expensive grind.

Raising kids is about balance. I would say there is truth to the notion that children shouldn’t be texting or watching YouTube constantly. Persistently escaping from the reality that is right in front of you to play with your phone doesn’t teach you skills necessary for successful interactions with others. Technology is easily addictive and can become a refuge to retreat to when you should instead be learning how to interact, focus and pay attention. Kids need to learn how to turn the electronics off and that ability to self-limit needs to come from the parents. Take away the cell phones and kick them out into the yard, tell them to go on a hike, read a book, or find some friends to play with in person.

As a parent it is up to you to let your kids muck about , interact with others, and to help them find happiness. Remember that each one is different and there are no handy how-to instructions. Try your best, be there for them and things will turn out as they are meant to be.

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POLITICAL OBSERVER

The famous ‘El pollo al Veladore’ woman located in Galvez Passage, Valparaíso, Chile

Patrick Brown’s Spectacular Fall off the Nightstand

***Update — The resignations are coming fast and furious now. Sport and Disabilities Minister Kent Hehr has resigned from the Federal Liberal cabinet pending investigation into his alleged sexual misconduct. Plus yesterday, the leader of the Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative Party, Jamie Baillie suddenly resigned with sexual harassment claims over his head.***

Let’s jump right into this!

The power of the #metoo movement has dramatically claimed another man’s career. Patrick Brown, who was very likely going to be the next Premier of Ontario after the upcoming June election, went from star to pariah in about 12 hours from last night to this morning. Two anonymous women went directly to CTV reporters with separate sexual incidents with Brown from the past. The one lady was 18 when an alleged incident occured 10 years ago. The other had just turned 19 and was working at Brown’s constituency office in 2013. No police reports have ever been filed.

Upon the surfacing of the allegations, his entire campaign team quit. He held out for a few hours but the Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader resigned this morning citing one person isn’t important enough to hold up replacing a very unpopular Liberal provincial government.

Of course, every politician from Justin Trudeau to Kathleen Wynne is piling on with their predictable reaction messages. Zero tolerance to sexual misconduct, the women are so brave to come forward, ‘all Ontarians are responsible to “shine a light” on harassment and other behaviour’ are the appropriate media response lines. Even Andrew Scheer parroted carefully scripted buzz phrases but at least he mentioned that the allegations should be investigated fully.

When you read the statements of the women interviewed by CTV, on the face of it were any actual crimes committed? As to the first woman, she was 18 and Brown was 29 when they came across one another through a mutual friend at a bar 10 years ago. She and the friend accepted an invitation to go back to his place and continue drinking. The article makes a point of saying she was underage for Brown to be giving her alcohol as they were in Ontario. But she was already drinking in a bar, so it would be reasonable for the man to assume she was at least an adult (which she was) and of legal drinking age as bars check for that. She ended up drunk; agreed to go into his bedroom; there was a clumsy attempt at a blowjob supposedly initiated by him; she stopped and left; and he did not stop her from leaving. That just sounds like a hookup after picking up a girl from the bar. It is precisely this human activity that has made sites like Tinder, Bumble, Happn or their numerous spawns so popular. The woman was quoted as saying “He’s an old, single, politician preying on young girls. He’s just a sad person.” Where in the criminal code or even a moral code is it written that a 29 year old man is not allowed to pick up an 18 year old woman and try to have sex with her?

As for the second woman, she was just 19 and ended up working at Brown’s constituency office. He was 34 in 2013 when the alleged sexual assault took place. The woman had been at a bar getting plastered on free drinks from the people present. She and a male friend of Brown’s went back to his place to continue the party. She ended up alone with him in his bedroom; he tried to have sex with her; she declined and left; and he did not stop her from leaving. He subsequently asked her to join him on a paid trip to India which she declined. He gave her a raise that summer. She also returned to work for him the following summer as she saw the work as ‘a career opportunity‘. If you had been ‘assaulted’ by someone, would you continue to work for them at a somewhat minor summer job then return the following year?

The boss trying to sleep with the secretary is so cliché, the Chilean’s phrase for the practice is ‘El pollo al Velador‘ which translates to ‘Chicken on the Nightstand’. A two hour lunch is the norm in Chile, so that leaves plenty of time for a mid-day tryst between the boss and his favourite girl at a local flophouse.

Sexual misconduct is commonly defined as ‘an umbrella term for any misconduct of a sexual nature that is usually perpetrated against an individual without his or her consent. The misconduct can be of various degree, such as sexual impropriety, sexual transgression, sexual violation, and sexual exploitation.’ Employer/employee sexual relationships can certainly end up being classified under this definition. Brown making a play for his employee was not a particularly bright move, especially for a politician. But was it illegal or morally wrong if at the time he was operating under the impression that there was no harm/no foul happening? He sounded like a lonely guy who wanted a relationship at the office with a pretty, young girl. Generally, in today’s world, that’s a particularly stupid thing for the boss to try to do. But if he was only being persistent but backing away when told to with no repercussions to the woman, does that warrant stringing the man up for the crows?

Think of where society has gotten to with this #metoo and #timesup phenomenon. Within hours of anonymous allegations, a man was tried, judged, and had his career executed. He will undergo years of humiliation, spend thousands of dollars in legal fees, and will never fully clear his name or be respected ever again. The instigators of the Salem Witch trials would be impressed.

The message is that you better be as pure as freshly fallen snow with respect to your willy if you are running for political office. It’s obvious that even the hint of sexual impropriety is kryptonite to a male politician’s career. Strangely, the late crack smoking Mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford, was a Teflon man and still extremely popular despite all of his gaffes. They even tried to rename a stadium after him. It would be interesting to see if his alleged indelicacies with women would sink him in today’s climate.

Well, everyone loves a good kangaroo court and subsequent bonfire!

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HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL

Drug Addiction in North America

Drug addiction, especially the opioid epidemic has been in focus for the last couple of years in the States and Canada. When you have about 150 Americans and about 10 Canadians dying per day because of opioid overdoses, it is difficult for the alarm bells not to ring. Healthcare professionals and governments are scrambling to get a grip on the crisis. Meanwhile, there have been a patchwork of solutions from just letting the Emergency Room (ER) staff handle the extra work to illegal harm reduction sites popping up on city property. I came across an opinion piece from Virgina Pelly in BRIGHT Magazine on how ER staff could be more sympathetic to the frequent flyer OD addicts and what could be done to mitigate the problem. The following is an excerpt from the article and my thoughts on the problem.

Kelly D. says that when she was 21 years old and using heroin, she woke up in emergency rooms more times than she can count. Regaining consciousness in the hospital after an overdose was unpleasant enough, but the lack of compassion made the experience even worse.
“All I got in the hospital was an IV and judgment,” says Kelly, who asked that her last name not be used. She is now 30, drug-free, and a musician and receptionist in Santa Cruz, California. She recalls that nurses would sometimes ask her, “Know how you got here?” alongside snide remarks about her drug use.
“It was always an alienating experience because the ER staff was so cold,” she says.
Worse than the judgment, she says she was never offered any help or information about treatment options. Thousands of people are spit back into society — sometimes over and over — after the trauma of a drug overdose and an emergency room visit, without getting information about where to get help. Like Kelly, thousands of them are young people.

 

Let’s repeat her statement, “More times than she can count.”

Medicine and treatment for what ails a human is complicated. It is a mixture of the ‘feel good’ so called bed side manner which Kelly D. lamented the lack of during her innumerable ‘treat and streets’ and precise, proven treatments such as the dosage of Narcan the ER staff was able to administer to save an OD patient’s life.

So, let’s inject some real world numbers into exactly why those nurses were a little grumpy with a frequent flyer. I will use California statistics as this is where Kelly D. is from. As for opioids in America, they have been the hardest hit of all countries and have the highest rate of use per person. Canada is not that far behind.

As for the statistics I used for the following analysis, click this link for California Emergency Department Visit Rates For Medical Conditions, 2005–11. Scroll down to the Supplementary Data section and click on the data table link.

Let’s crunch some hard numbers to see what California ERs were coping with even before this latest opioid drug epidemic. In seven years, ER visits climbed close to 18%. With a 2011 population of 37.68 million, that was close to 12 million ER visits representing a one in three visit rate per resident. Of all the hospital admissions, the entirely preventable conditions of Alcohol & Drug Abuse (nobody accidentally puts a needle full of heroin into their body) came to 12.1% of the total.

Of the 350 California hospitals, 2 out of 3 have ERs, or about 231 giving roughly 52,000 visits each per year or 142 per day. Of course those are all averages and an ER in Los Angeles, such as Huntington and County-USC will have 500 visits per day but will have more resources compared to a smaller center. Huntington and County-USC is probably typical with the amount of beds available for a larger ER unit with 130, of which I’m guessing more than the 12% of admissions had to do with Alcohol & Drug abuse. Hospital wait times are now legendary in scope and well documented. The time that could easily be seen as ‘wasted’ on a repeat client like Kelly D. would be have been incredible. This one hospital was reporting 14 hour waits to admit someone to a bed back in 2014.

It’s easy to slag ER staff for being less than sympathetic to patients with self-inflicted maladies. Each and every one of those detractors has never been a nurse on the front lines of an inner city ER department having to deal with the sheer volume of broken humanity rolling through their doors. Dewey eyed compassion for some junkie is an early casualty especially after the umpteenth return visit.

As described in the Virginia Pelly piece, advocacy programs like the one in Boston make sense. But those types of programs cost money and necessitate hiring more staff. If you look at the California State Debt Counter, you’ll see that the state is rapidly closing in on half a trillion dollars USD in debt. How exactly is that going to get paid off, let alone squeeze more dollars out for ‘feel good’ programs to get people off of opioids, which again are voluntary actions that they self-inflict upon themselves? When comes the point of society accepting drug related summary state execution as advocated by the late Mao Zedong or the present Philippine government? Somebody eventually has to pay the piper. Sentimental liberalism will eventually meet the hard rock of reality and fiscal obligations.

Dealing with the Western drug issue has gone sideways in the States and Canada for about a century now ever since drugs (and for a brief time alcohol) was made illegal. I wrote an extensive article, The Ridiculous War on Drugs, from my enforcement perspective experience of 20+ years. I fully agree, that as with most health related issues, putting education and some early programs at the start of the cycle will pay huge dividends compared to treating people at the back end. Society also needs to decriminalize drugs so that the users are not afraid to seek help for fear of the police.

People like Kelly D. obviously took some self-responsibility to sort out her life. But when I was moonlighting with the Vancouver Coroner picking up the OD deaths on the Lower Eastside, we got pretty good at guessing who of the bystanders would be bagged next and wheeled out on our gurney. It is extremely difficult to pull yourself back when you have fallen that far but people with bad addictions need to step up and take some personal responsibility. Society will fast become tired of being their brother’s keeper.

Here is a last question. If you were an ER nurse, (or the government official doling out the yearly health care budget) who would you be more sympathetic towards, a junkie who ODs every welfare payment day or a little kid with a chronic disease?

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Blair is a personification of a ‘Jack of All Trades and Master of None’. He has held several careers and has all the T-shirts. Time to add the title Blogger to the list.

 

SQUIRREL SKINNER

The Slow Resurgence of the Canadian Fur Trade

Upon my return to the family farm this past Christmas, I was able to participate in an activity more suited to Canada’s yesteryear, namely the skinning of a freshly snared coyote from my brother’s trapline. The vast majority of Canadians would be unfamiliar with the practice that was once commonplace amongst the Courier de bois, the Nor’Westers, and the Indigenous Peoples selling their wares to the Hudson Bay Company. Most people probably do not realize that Canada would have been shaped differently had it not been for five main fur companies and the European demand for beaver felt hats driving the exploration of the West.

The mechanics of skinning a fur bearing animal have basically remained unchanged for millennia. As with most other activities nowadays, there are even YouTube skinning how-to videos of the process. The tricky parts are using a sharp knife, being careful to not put nicks in the hide as these will need sewing later, and being prepared to put some elbow grease into pulling the hide off. If the animal was well fed with plenty of fat stores, then a pulling bar and lots of grunting will be needed. If you’ve got a bush rabbit or partridge near the end of a harsh winter, then those skins will slip off with minimal effort. As an aside, in the event of a survival situation, due to the leaness of rabbits you cannot use them as your sole food source as it is harmful to ingest too little fat. But my brother’s coyote  had not been eating skinny rabbits as it was the size of a small wolf and it took a lot of grunting to finally pull the skin off.

Stretching boards are precise tools

Once the hide is off the animal, it needs to be mechanically fleshed whereupon the extra fat or meat is stripped from the hide. It is then washed inside and out, any nicks are sewn up, then it is placed on a stretching board to dry. The trick with the board is to refrain from over-stretching the animal. Also at this time, the cartilage from the ears is removed and my brother tries to pin them and the rest of the hide in a natural position as it dries. After drying, the pelt is brushed and fluffed then hung in a cool, dry area free of bugs or other pests. The buyers at auction look for any excuse to knock down the value of the pelts so my brother puts a lot of painstaking effort into producing a quality product.

In 1910, 25 PEI Silver Fox pelts fetched $34,649 at a London auction.

The vast majority (95%) of the world’s wild and farmed furs end up at one of five main fur auction centers in the world: Kopenhagen Fur (Denmark), Finnish Fur Sales (Finland), NAFA (Canada), American Legend (USA) and Sojuzpushnina (Russia). Last year, my brother made a few thousand dollars from his 30 mile trapline selling his coyote, marten, fisher, badger, weasel, fox, and squirrel pelts at the Finnish auction. For him, it’s a hobby that pays for itself. For the 50,000 active Canadian trappers (25,000 Aboriginal peoples), 289 registered fur farms, and 316 directly related businesses, the fur industry generates in the range of half a billion dollars of GDP per year. (2012-13 statistics) Trapping and pelting animals has been a way of life for Indigenous peoples for thousands of years. Even fur farming has a long history with the first mink farm started in Ontario in 1866. Then in the 1890s, there was somewhat of a ‘Gold Rush’ to farm Silver Fox in PEI.

Speaking of that Big Red Sandbar, one of my tasks in Base Operations at CFB Summerside in 1989 was to map all the fox farms on the island in order for our pilots to know what areas to avoid. The vixens would kill their kits if startled by a loud noise such as a low flying aircraft. The farmers were wily though as whenever an animal would die, they would toss the carcass into a freezer and give the base a call with the tally of dead animals if one of our aircraft came close. As we were attempting to save a few dollars of the Queen’s budget, we would determine if the farmer was fibbing or not. Today, there are plenty of wild foxes on the Great Red Mud but the farms have disappeared.

Present day locations of Nova Scotia’s Mink & Fox farms

In Canada today, mink (@85%), fox, and a few chinchilla are farmed for their pelts. Of the close to 3 million mink pelts produced per year, the provinces of Ontario and Nova Scotia split the amounts almost evenly. Click the following link for an excellent video on how the Nova Scotia Agricultural College runs their mink farm. It is very informative on why the industry is sustainable, profitable, a good neighbor and humanely run despite their many detractors. Government and industry have worked together for decades to regulate, enforce and put together best practices in order to run the industry, wild and farmed, correctly.

A hakapik. A weapon used for seal hunting.

But if you had to name one Canadian pelt industry that has taken the most hakapits to the head from dissenters, it would be the Seal hunt. Outfits like the Canadian Sealers Association and the Seals and Sealing Network are attempting to counter the efforts of busy body celebrities who perennially stage flashy protests over Canada’s annual seal hunt. Misinformed and slanderous persons such as Paul McCartney and Pamela Anderson make splashy appearances and use graphic video to slag the hunters and the fishery. But if you read through the Canadian Fisheries and Ocean site regarding Seals and Sealing, it is reported that populations such as the Harp Seal are in the millions. As the landed catch for 2016 was only 66,800 Harp Seals and 1,812 Grey Seals, the only two types allowed to be hunted, this is hardly a case for grave concern.  Here is a good link to dispel the omnipresent myths Sir Paul and Big Boobed Pam would like you to believe.

Canada had its roots with the fur trade and it continues to remain a vital part of life and source of income for thousands of Canadians. But the industry definitely has its critics in today’s Politically Correct world. This probably has much to do with a century’s worth of ‘Cuddlefying’ all animals to represent a Disney-washed version of Nature’s flora and fauna. This is why the internet blows up over the death of a gorilla or a dentist posing with a dead African lion. The vast majority of Westerners would not have the first clue as to how to hunt let alone skin and dress an animal, wild or domestic. We are removed many times over from activities that were commonplace to our ancestors. CBC released a 2016 documentary entitled ‘Angry Inuk’ detailing how celebrities and environmentalist outfits should just keep their noses out of their lives. Indigenous people, trappers and farmers do not care if you buy or wear their products as that is everyone’s personal choice. But they do take umbrage with know-nothing Hollywood stars jetting around trying to destroy millennia old lifestyles.

Besides, who is living to excess more when placed side by side, an outspoken environmental critic such as Leonardo DiCaprio with his lavish lifestyle or the Inuit communities who are just trying to survive?

 

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Blair is a personification of a ‘Jack of All Trades and Master of None’. He has held several careers and has all the T-shirts. Time to add the title Blogger to the list.

 

DIRTY-MOUTHED SAILOR

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 30, 2017: (Photo by Andrew Harrer – Pool/Getty Images)

The Vulgarity heard Around the World

*** Trigger Warning – If you are prone to major butt hurt and your eyes bleed due to reading indelicate and crude language, then click elsewhere now! Might I suggest perusing this site which is literally called Sunshine & Rainbows***

 

With the continued traction of the alleged swear word that came out of President Donald Trump’s mouth a week ago, Merriam-Webster might have to consider it for the ‘Word of 2018’ and add it to their dictionary. Oxford already has it listed:

Shithole: (Noun) vulgar slang – An extremely dirty, shabby, or otherwise unpleasant place. ‘This place is a shithole, I hope you know that.’  

 

If I were a marketing person for the online version of these dictionaries, I would be scrabbling to sign the POTUS up to re-record the mp3 version of the word. I would entice him with a sizable donation to his favourite charity such as the Red Cross, Oxfam, or the United Way. It would be fitting for the money to go to an organization that does considerable work in the numerous shitholes of the world.

The Canadian networks couldn’t even bring themselves to say the word so foul. They truncated it to s***hole, repeatedly gave trigger warnings to trembling snowflakes that they were about to hear a BAD word, and loaded up the airwaves with outraged talking heads. The American networks and news personalities opted for a wide range of approaches to the uttering of the expletive. Some of the networks opened the floodgates and ‘shithole’ rang out across the ether for all to hear hundreds of times.

As to saying the occasional swear word, it seems that this might be one of the last bastions of journalism to fall. Lately, the mainstream media (MSM) has been gradually testing the waters with respect to their sacred cows. With all the salacious gore and sex available through every internet connection, I believe they are on the verge of slaughtering the last few of those sacrosanct bovines in order to remain relevant and to hold onto viewership. As for the ridiculous amount of attention this latest Rage du Jour generated, it was the same type of coverage that used to be reserved for world changing events.

As I understand the circumstances around the dropping of the S-hole bomb, it was a closed door Oval Office meeting with a legislative committee. These types of meetings are privileged platforms meaning you keep your damn mouth shut about what went on! If you tried blabbing your mouth after a military briefing you would be up for court martial and/or treason.

I am quite sure the Oval Office has had its share of profane language and lewdness over the centuries. ‘Slick Willie’ was getting his pole polished by Monica Lewinsky in the Oval Office 20 years ago. Strangely, the anger was not about the acts but about the fact that the President lied about it. If Trump wants to swear or curse about other countries behind closed doors, well I think any leader has earned that right. The Democrat, Senator Dick Durbin, who decided to play politics over this matter should be tossed out on his ear for this stupid, cheap grandstanding. Their desperation is reaching epic levels.

But predicatably, within hours, representatives of third world countries were lining up to lambast the POTUS over his alleged comments. Internet memes flooded social media, ferociously angry activists, politicians and celebrities publicly derided the President, and successful persons (especially of colour) were uploading their personal stories of American triumph after arriving from whatever hellhole (pardon me, my faux pas, the correct term nowadays is shithole) they originated from. I cannot help but notice that all these people who have been experiencing paroxysmal fits of rage have not made public their plans to return or emigrate to these less desirable countries. Why is the Democratic Party so concerned about keeping the ‘Dreamers’ of the DACA program in America if their countries of origin are so great?

 

A Democrat’s reaction to Trump being elected to the Oval Office

Considering the detractors of Donald Trump have kept up an omnipresent campaign of derision, mocking, constant calls for his impeachment, and outright death threats against the man even before his inauguration, I think the occasional epitaph from the man would be warranted. So what if he’s a little uncouth, especially behind closed doors, and tells it like it is? In large measure, that was why he was elected.

Basically every country in the world limits the amount of immigrants from foreign lands. If you take the Immigration Eligibility questionnaire through the Government of Canada (GOC) website, neither a skilled welder from Haiti or Norway is going to get into Ontario strictly due to their expertise. But the typical tradesperson from Norway whose country has a roughly 35% rate of post secondary participation by the age of 24 will be rated higher than a typical Haitian tradesperson who by that age only has 5 years of school or less. The liberal media and the Democrats are attempting to tie a racism narrative to President Trump when all he is pointing out is the fact that these Third World countries do not measure up or produce the numbers of people in terms of the education or skills needed by America. Everyone, including ‘Sunny Ways’ Canada, cherry picks in order to better their country with generally very limited quotas for admitting the poor, destitute, unskilled, or uneducated.

The world has indeed gone mad when the lead story dominating the airwaves is the reporting of a POTUS vulgarity from behind closed doors. It is no wonder the populace is so disgusted with the MSM as they keep up these baseless and vindictive tirades against the man. Honestly, was there nothing more important for the MSM to blather on about this past week?

Blair’s LinkedIn Profile

Blair is a personification of a ‘Jack of All Trades and Master of None’. He has held several careers and has all the T-shirts. Time to add the title Blogger to the list.

TEET PULLER

Migrant workers in a Canadian vegetable field – Photo courtesy of The Western Producer

Do You Know how Tonight’s Supper got to Your Table?

Although most of Canada is still in the grip of winter, farmers who rely on a steadily increasing stream of migrant workers are in the midst of preparing for their annual arrival. Year upon year, mostly men from countries like Mexico, Jamaica and the Philippines return to the greenhouses, vegetable fields and cranberry bogs to perform back breaking labour for long hours at minimal salary. Canadians by and large are indifferent to their situation and probably give nary a thought of how exactly did the ingredients for their three squares a day made it from farm to table.

Back in the early 90’s when I was flailing about for employment after a couple of failed career attempts, I worked at a couple of dairies as a hired hand. My family and I ended up north of Portage La Prairie, Manitoba where I had the misfortune to work for Craig Finnie of Finnie-Wishart Farms. It was my distasteful experience with the man that planted the seed of how farm workers could easily be abused by their employers.

In Canada, temporary foreign workers have been employed under programs like the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SWAP). The farm workers end up mostly in the provinces of Ontario, BC and Manitoba. In 2015, a reported 59% of all BC temporary foreign workers were out in the fields. As I’m originally from Manitoba and am quite familiar with agriculture in that province, I have seen and am very aware of the potential for abuse regarding these people.

Migrant Mexicans have been coming to pick vegetables in Manitoba fields since 1974. Under SWAP, the numbers have dramatically increased in all provinces. It’s not a matter of not being able to find Canadians to do these jobs, it’s merely a fact that these temporary workers cost less to employ. Back when I was a hired farm hand in the early 90’s, technically a farmer didn’t have to pay their workers. They could get away with bartering, living accommodations, and/or food in lieu of wages. Thankfully worker’s regulations have gotten better since then but that was the starting point. Under SWAP, a farmer will bring in migrants, put them up in sometimes questionable living accommodations, work them inhuman hours, and pay them less than the going Canadian rate. Current labour laws dictate that the worker need only be paid a straight hourly wage with no overtime. I assure you that each of these farm workers are working way past 40 hour work weeks. PIus, there is always the specter that if they get uppity, they would be deported and blacklisted. These practices have spilled over to other areas of food production. For example, the large pork production plant in Neepawa that used to employ young men like my brother and cousin now only has Philippino migrant workers on the cutting floor.

The arguments from the farmers and companies are 1) they cannot afford to grow vegetables/process meat any other way; 2) Even though the wages are less compared to paying a Canadian, they were far and above what the migrants would make back home; and 3) There are not enough Canadians to do the jobs.

My counter arguments are: 1) If you have to use semi-slavery to profitably grow vegetables/cut pigs up on the floor, then switch to another crop/way of doing business; 2) All employers should follow minimum labour standards just as if they were employing a Canadian; 3) There should be a rigourous demonstration that the employer attempted to hire Canadians first; and 4) Innovation in the form of mechanization which has revolutionized much of Western farming and food production is being stifled because it is easier to employ ‘throw away’ migrants.

Canadians are already forced to follow numerous laws and regulations even when outside the country. Just because pedophilia is tolerated in the Philippines or Thailand does not mean that you will not be prosecuted upon your return from your ‘sex-cation’. Royal Canadian Navy ships are required to follow the higher environmental laws while in foreign port. I guarantee the oily waste water in many of our Caribbean or African ports of call was going straight back into the chuck once the truck was out of sight. The Navy still paid through the nose for the service even though they knew they were being ripped off. But that’s reality in the world’s shitholes. But the reverse should happen when working migrants come to Canada. They shouldn’t be taken advantage of and should be treated the same as Canadians under Canadian labour laws.

The most hilarious and sad Canadian case of temporary foreign workers occurred in the early 2000’s when Romania became our favourite supplier of strippers. Word passed back home to that struggling Eastern European country that Canadian lap dances were very lucrative so numbers increased to a high of 552 Romanian exotic dancers rubbing Canadian poles in 2003. The Liberal Immigration Minister, Judy Sgro, had a difficult time explaining how this situation developed.

The Western world increasingly relies on ‘lesser’, invisible humans to do all our dirty work. That’s why I have no patience for people getting torqued over the latest Rage du Jour when they have no idea of where their heads of lettuce, bean sprouts or cheap pork comes from. Maybe all those #metoo women marching this weekend should give their heads a bit of a shake. I wonder how many of them have Philippino nannies?

CANADIAN PATRIOT

VAdm Mark Norman addressing a ship’s company during Divisions

The Prime Minister’s Method to Muzzle the Navy

The members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), indeed the men and women of most Western militaries, are held to strict standards. One of the strictest policies is that of refraining from talking smack about your political leadership. The CAF from the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Vance right down to the greenest Private are to remain apolitical and silent when it comes to the military’s views vis-à-vis government decisions and procurement contracts. It was widely reported that former CDS, Gen Rick Hillier, was irking PM Steven Harper because of his popularity and outspokenness. The PM chose not to take on the Leprechaun from The Rock head on and replaced him in due time with Gen Tom Lawson. Unfortunately, for the former Vice CDS, Vice Admiral (VAdm) Mark Norman, PM Justin Trudeau took a more sinister approach to a supposed faux pas on the part of a very senior military officer.

The story surrounding the virtual hanging of the VAdm from the yardarm without his opportunity to be brought before the mast is superbly detailed in two recent National Post pieces by Andrew Coyne and David Pugliese. The gist of the situation is that the VAdm has been removed from his position and has been placed in legal limbo for just over a year now. Adding insult to injury, the RCMP has requested at least another three months to examine the mountain of seized material (which includes the VAdm’s wife’s medical records). Trudeau opined shortly after the VAdm’s removal that the matter would end up in court thus signaling where he wanted the process to lead.

These actions by PM Trudeau, the Liberal government, and the RCMP are reminiscent of Gestapo and NKVD tactics. The VAdm may not have been carted off to Lubyanka or Gen Augusto Pinochet’s Isla Dawson political prisoner camps but for all intents and purposes that is exactly what has happened. Due to military protocol, the VAdm is unable to speak publicly or to agitate for his disposition or he will have no chance to return to his post. If he does speak up for himself, his career will be ruined beyond recovery. Meanwhile, the clock is ticking and the government will just wait and obfuscate until he cracks or becomes irreverent. The VAdm is indeed between a rock and a hard place.

A Replenishment At Sea (RAS) with MV Asterix – Jacek Szymanski RCN Broadcast Unit

As a cruel piece of irony, the RCN Public Affairs team is cranking out the news that Motor Vessel (MV) Asterix was delivered and has been sent out on maneuvers. The ship is training in order to fill a desperate hole in the RCN Pacific fleet. The RCN has been making due since losing Protecteur and Preserver by contracting Chilean and Spanish supply ships. In addition, while on multi-national exercises RCN ships have relied on USNS fuelers or have found suitable ports to gas up in. Tactically and strategically, these were stop-gap solutions recognized by the VAdm down to the freshest bosun. But government ignored the pleas and advice of the operators as is the sad norm for CAF procurement.

But VAdm Norman will see no public support from his fellow officers. Unlike the RCN Admirals’ Revolt to protest the 1968 Liberal’s CAF Unification, there will be no resignations in protest. The CDS has firm control of his senior leadership and they have all been cowed into silence and obedience. Everyone knows what happens to the first gopher who pokes their head out of the hole.

From a personal context, VAdm Norman was my senior commander in the RCN (affectionately known as the Kraken as his acronym was CRCN) for several years. I saw him in person once and I never heard any poor accounts of a man who served and still serves his country faithfully and proudly for 38 years. His only hint at a ‘crime’ was to embarrass a new government who wanted to scuttle a critically needed production of a RCN Supply ship just because it was the previous Conservative government’s idea. The man is a bona fide Canadian Patriot and he is being treated like gash to be tossed overboard.

PM Justin Trudeau was fond of quoting the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms especially when it came to handing over $10.5 million to convicted terrorist Omar Khadr or in regards to returning ‘Canadian’ ISIS fighters. Perhaps Trudeau should take a closer look at the Charter’s Legal Rights Section Paragraph 12. ‘Everyone has the right not to be subjected to any cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.’ I have a feeling a future PM will be apologizing and handing over a large cheque to the VAdm.

Meanwhile, the true colours of Trudeau, who idolizes the Castros and China’s system of dictatorship are on full display. Regrettably for the VAdm, my feeling is that he will just fade from relevance and quietly disappear just like the recently paid-off last of the ‘Sisters of the Space Age‘ destroyer Athabaskan in the background of the picture above.

It is a shame that Athabaskan’s motto, ‘We Fight As One‘, are just hollow words when it comes to the VAdm’s predicament.

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Blair is a personification of a ‘Jack of All Trades and Master of None’. He has held several careers and has all the T-shirts. Time to add the title Blogger to the list.

WEAPONS OFFICER

The message that showed up on every cell phone in Hawaii including my Mom’s IPhone

Mosquitos and Tigers

I know everyone is all concerned about a possible flare-up with the North Koreans and possible ballistic missile shots tipped with a nuclear weapon. Just some real world military perspective here:

  • The text of the Alert read, “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.” Nowhere in that statement do I see a reference to North Korea or that this was a nuclear tipped missile. Thankfully, a retraction alert went out 38 minutes later. People get a lot of exercise by jumping to conclusions.
  • The DPRK’s technology isn’t to the point of fitting a nuclear warhead onboard a missile.
  • The DPRK’s ability to fire a missile that would actually come anywhere close to actually striking an intended target with any sort of accuracy, especially at the range of Hawaii, hasn’t been achieved. Why do you think they are doing test shots? This basically makes your chances of being hurt about the same as being hit by some toilet blue ice falling from a passing airliner. I would be more worried about the Chinese miscalculating the ultimate landing area of the Tiangong-1 when it burns up on re-entry in the next few months. Kim Jong-un is just playing silly buggers in order to 1) further his own position with his own people so they don’t string him up and, 2) further his own position on the world stage bluffing that he can play with the big boys, again in order to save his own hide.
  • If and when North Korea gets around to a functioning nuke plus a reliable delivery system, they aren’t going to waste a shot on the States. It will be held in reserve for the all-out response or attack involving South Korea. A long shot towards the States will just invite the chances of it missing or being intercepted. Wiping out Seoul or a similar large population/military concentration will be the preferred shot. This is the entire strategy of North Korea. Their conventional weaponry is massive thus deterring a first strike from their enemies. An eventual nuke is just another tool in the deterrent war-box in order to keep the Americans from coming after Chubby №1 Leader. He learned his lesson from watching what happened to Gaddafi and Hussein.
  • There are however about 4000 operational nukes on reliable delivery platforms, mostly between Russia and the US, with about 1800 ready to go short notice (mostly on boomer submarines) and they are all pointed at one another ready to release nuclear Armageddon. No point being that worried about a mosquito when there is a tiger in the room.
  • What may happen, is just like 9/11, scared Americans who were never really in any significant danger are apt to overreact causing untold devastation to the Korean peninsula. About 3000 deaths from a terrorist strike on the US has resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths, untold misery and the utter devastation of at least Afghanistan, Iraq, and large swathes of the Middle East with no end in sight. Plus of course the treasure and blood spent on these so-called ‘revenge’ crusades has been staggering. There are already plenty of calls for a first strike against North Korea to take out their nuclear arsenal, such as it is. No matter that Seoul with its 10 million inhabitants are only about 25 km from the DMZ and would suffer incredible casualties. No matter that the North Koreans themselves would suffer incredible casualties. But don’t worry about the yellow man as long as there isn’t a hair harmed on some fair headed American.

If I was a South Korean, I would be somewhat worried about the northern neighbors. If I was that same South Korean, I would be absolutely terrified of the Americans going off half-cocked especially because they are so wound up over such a tiny threat. America has no skin in the game other than waning influence in the South Asia/Pacific region because of the ascension of the Chinese. The South and North Korean people are just seen as expendable cannon fodder by the larger players.

Slowly, more information is coming out over how this mistake was able to occur. Until the FCC produces their final report, I suggest you read this analysis from an industry expert, Jared M. Spool.

Meanwhile, if I was vacationing on Hawaii with my parents right now, I would be worried about what to wear at the next luau and making sure I had enough rum for my pineapple. Next time there’s an ‘ Ballistic Missile Alert’, it’s either a hoax, mistake, or the real thing. In all those cases, there’s absolutely nothing you can do so there isn’t much point in getting worked up.

My advice is to have another one of those rum and pineapples.

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Blair is a personification of a ‘Jack of All Trades and Master of None’. He has held several careers and has all the T-shirts. Time to add the title Blogger to the list.