Democracy and corruption
13/12/2012, 12:01
Filed under: Culture, Politics, Sociology

In the early days of Quebec’s ongoing anti-corruption commission, a handful of nationwide experts were asked to comment on the breadth and extent of corruption and mafia influence in Canada. In the days that followed, a handful of headlines reiterated their message that dirty dealings might be just as prevalent in Ontario as it is in Quebec.

This morning the CBC reported on a Quebec developer that moved to Alberta some years ago to escape corruption only to be put out business for refusing to pay kickbacks.

Quebec’s anti-corruption commission, and the resultant resignations of a couple of the province’s most high profile mayors, has made Quebec the butt of any discussion of corruption in recent months. But to suggest that Quebec is the most corrupt province in Canada is probably going to far.

In all honesty, we just don’t know. Continue reading

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12/12/2012, 14:11
Filed under: Culture, Economics, Ephemera

Speaking of “Toyotism” and industrial inertia in the US, I stumbled upon this commercial for the new Toyota Tundra. Riffing on Toyota’s rise at Ford et al.’s expense, it throws salt on the wound of declining American manufacturing. I saw it playing before a movie in Saskatoon; I wonder if it aired south of the 49th.

The commercial lists a bunch of things that “You,” all-American-man, used to think when you were growing up—you didn’t think math would prove useful, but you became and engineer; you thought all-American-girl across the road was annoying, but she became your loving wife; you thought babies were even more annoying, but they became one of your proudest accomplishment; and…

“You even used to think the most dependable truck had to come come from Detroit.”

“Good thing you kept an open mind.”

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“Toyotism” vs. “Volvoism”
11/12/2012, 19:08
Filed under: Economics, Politics

I just learned Volvo is a Swedish company. No wonder the educated upper-bourgeoisie love them. Did I mention how much I adore Volvo?

But in all seriousness, I just finished reading and article from the early 90s, entitled, “The Economics of Job Protection and Emerging New Capital-Labour Relations.” In it, French economist Robert Boyer details the Fordist approach to job protection and capital-labour relations, questions the radical neoclassical call for complete flexibility, and proposes that we are faced with a choice: either “Toyotism” or “Volvoism.” Continue reading

Memes are beautiful
10/12/2012, 19:56
Filed under: Culture, Ephemera, Myself, Thought

A few days ago spread the word about a beached dead whale raising a stench not far from Barbara Streisand’s Malibu property and the practical challenges of disposing of it.

The historical significance of this coincident wasn’t lost on those commenting on boingboing’s, nor the LATimes’ coverage. Two of the internet’s greatest memes had happened upon one another. Continue reading

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Harper’s “New Vague”
08/12/2012, 19:34
Filed under: Economics, Politics

Harper’s approach to the foreign take-over of Nexen is incoherent at best, a recipe for corruption and patronage at worst.

Yesterday, Steven Harper announced that the government of Canada would allow the selling of Canadian privately owned Nexen to Chinese state-owned CNOOC. 15.4 billion dollars will exchange hands.

Harper is aware that the move will be unpopular, even among his base in Alberta. So, the Prime Minister took a reluctant tone.

But I’m not concerned by the politics of the decision. I’m concerned by how the decision was made, and, ultimately, the precedent it sets for how decisions will be made in the future. Continue reading

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Update: Another Bill Nye?
04/12/2012, 11:14
Filed under: Culture, Ephemera

In the process of looking for an image of Bill Bye Lake for yesterday’s post I stumbled across Mount Bill Nye, located in the south eastern corner of BC,

British Columbia officials have no knowledge as to who this person was. The name was officially adopted in 1954 but had been in use before that date. So it’s likely not “Bill Nye the Science Guy.”

Or, could it just be that Chief Bill Nye traveled widely?

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The other Bill Nye
03/12/2012, 11:13
Filed under: Culture, Ephemera

This weekend a new interview with Bill Nye the Science Guy was making the rounds,

I particularly like this one, even more than a previous one, because of the way it turns what seems like an abstract sciency concern into an everyday life thing. Sure, the world might be 6000 years old, but if so, then the internetz shouldn’t work. Shoot.

Bill Nye has been getting more attention lately as he speaks out against various anti-science movements making headlines south of the boarder.

Every time Bill Nye the Science Guy comes up in my newsfeed I’m reminded of a little lake I discovered on a map while treeplanting in the Houston region of British Columbia a few years ago. Continue reading