What I Would Do If I Were Prime Minister

Or… How to put the money back in the hands of the people.

I don’t even really know what brought this post on, but it’s something I’ve been thinking about for the past week or so. There isn’t really anything in the news about it even, but for some reason, it’s been gnawing away at me like last week’s 11 PM pizza run.

The Canadian Government says there’s no money. No money for the farmers who are faced with their third or fourth drought year in a row. No money to pay doctors and nurses. No money for wildlife programs. No money for police officers. The list goes on and on and on.

And who suffers for it?

You and me. The little people.

You can bet your kid’s college fund – that’s right, the one that’ll get you a couple Slurpee’s and an Oscar Meyer over at 7-11 – that it’s not the politicians suffering – they’re living in the lap of luxury on the backs of yours and my hard work and tax dollars.

The number of instances where our so-called “leaders” are making like Ethan Hunt in Mission Impossible and pulling off the heist of the century have been well-documented throughout the media. Most recently, the Gomery Inquiry (Sponsorship Scandal) has opened our (or at least my) eyes to these people who are doing their best to hijack my money and line their own pockets with it. Here’s just a couple highlights of the Scandal:

- That Canadian racecar driver Jacques Villeneuve was secretly paid $12 million from the sponsorship fund to wear a Canadian logo.

- Don Boudria was minister of public works for five months after Alfonso Gagliano was appointed ambassador to Denmark. He was removed from the post after it was revealed that he had stayed at a luxury chalet belonging to the owner of Groupe Everest, a Quebec firm that did millions of dollars in business with the government.

- Head of Communication Coffin, a small Montreal advertising company. The company handled sponsorship deals on behalf of Public Works Canada between 1997 and 2002, worth $3.4 million. The RCMP charged him with 18 counts of fraud for allegedly submitting $2 million in fake invoices to the government. According to Elections Canada, Coffin’s company donated $13,000 to the Liberals in 1999 and another $11,000 over the next two years.

And our Government PAYS these people. We have two kinds of financial idiots in our Government. Those that use their status to help their friends in return for Party donations, and those that choose to help themselves – with our dollars.

What can we do? First, we need to fire all the paper-pushing, unwashed losers that make up our offices and blindly sign anything shoved in front of them for a lift of the skirt or the wave of a wad of cash. Replace them with people who actually READ invoices, monitor our public contracts, and actually CARE about doing the right thing and have the brass nuts to actually QUESTION something put in front of them they think is wrong.

But what about the other kind of idiot? The ones that use taxpayer’s money to take extravagant vacations, take limo trips hundreds of miles, or like our FORMER Prime Minister Jean Chretien, purchase executive jets rather than retrofit our Atlantic Coast’s aging Emergency Response helicopters?

These people obviously have a license to spend money for business purposes, but what we need is a more responsible and ACCOUNTABLE process. Don’t just let them hand in a receipt and pay the bill, or turn over a Parliamentary credit card with a limit so high you’d have to leap off of Mount Everest to reach it. These people – our politicans, our elected Members of Parliament – those we elect to represent ourselves – make a truckload of money for doling out opinions on issues that can be bought and sold like a pack of gum – and we pay for it.

It’s time to make THEM accountable. Have your meetings in your office – during work hours – not at the most plush private golf course wooing a potential donator, or dining on veal at the most lavish restaurants – all on my dollar.

And when you DO need to purchase something/have dinner/get your back waxed/whatever, PAY FOR IT OUT OF YOUR OWN POCKET, and submit a form to get reimbursed for it. Have someone audit these submissions, and if they’re ludicrous – like a $10,000 limo ride – REJECT IT!!!! Don’t just put it on the taxpayer’s tab. It doesn’t work that way.

Run the country like a frigging business, not a charity case!

If we do this, maybe – just maybe – the Canadian Government will stop handing out money to itself and their friends, and giving it to those that need it the most.

The people that put them in office to begin with.

A Weekend of Surprises

Or, alternatively titled: “I Feel Like A Stunt Santa Claus”.

This past weekend was a barrel of fun. So much of a barrel, actually, that I was expecting a roving band of monkeys dressed in overalls to jump out of the corner and surprise me with a mismatched choir of trumpets.

Saturday was the culmination of a huge swerve, orchestrated by myself, Stephanie, and our friend Noelle. (And if you don’t know what a swerve is, then I suggest you take Wrestling 101 before you read this or any future blog posts.)

Let’s just say that through close corporate sources, Stephanie and I regularly “beat the box office” at the MTS Center (I refuse to spell center – or any other ER word with the R first “just because”) and it was time for the WWE to visit town again, this time with the Smackdown! brand.

Tickets went on sale a couple months ago, and I wasn’t really planning on going, but Stephanie emails me at work and says “wanna go?” – and I hadn’t been to a live PRO event for so long, I figured I’d better. I immediately call Nem (I said I’d never use his name), and see if he’s planning on going – since I can get in early and get good seats) and tell him that I wasn’t planning on going, but I can get him good seats if he wants to go (thus begins the swerve). He says “no, I don’t have a ton of money right now.”

(Neither do I, but who does? A TON of money is an awful lot of money. I’ll have to hit up my friend “The Donald” to see how much a ton is.)

Nem says “I’ll see if Noelle feels like getting me tickets later for my birthday.”

Cool. So it was left at that. Or was it?

Seconds after hanging up with Nem, I call his wife, Noelle, and let her know. She wants to go, and thinks it would be a perfect birthday gift for Nem. Tickets go on sale in about 10 minutes, so we hatch a quick plan to give Nem a ticket for his birthday, and I hang up to go buy tickets.

Five tickets. Oh yeah – Steph’s Dad is a HUGE wrestling fan, so he gets a ticket for all the work he’s done for us lately.


Ringside. YES!

Of course, NONE of this is told to Nem – all he knows is on Saturday, we’re going out. We’re not going to wrestling, cause I didn’t want to go. HA!

We start off with dinner at the Tavern – conveniently located RIGHT BESIDE the MTS Center where the show is happening – and have a good meal. Actually, even before we start eating, there’s Nem, Noelle, Morris (Steph’s Dad) me, Steph, and Mel and her boyfriend (sorry, forgot his name), and I tell Noelle that these things are burning a hole in my pocket. Can I give them to him now? She says yes, and we get Nem to close his eyes. I put the tickets on his plate, and as he opens his eyes, they go wide as Anna Nicole Smith’s at the sight of a rich old man, and a legitimate “HOLY SHIT!” comes out of his mouth with about the volume of a Nickelback concert.

That made it all worth it right there. Plus, we had a great time at the show. Congrats Nem, and happy birthday, ya old bastard.

That was Saturday.

Sunday was about my bride-to-be, Stephanie. Some time ago, my conniving (I think that’s spelled right) sister decided to throw her a bridal shower. I tell Stephanie to book the Sunday off from Nutro, but don’t tell her why – just that she has plans.

Not a whole lot to tell about this one, as I wasn’t there, but pretty much all the ladies on my Mom’s side of the family were there (save for Aunt Lorraine), plus some close friends both at and outside of work were there. Take the family and friends, add in some good food courtesy of my sister (and I’m guessing the other ladies too), and throw it all together in a bowl and mix it up with that oversized fork and spoon, and you’ve got a pretty good time.

Thanks to everyone for doing that for us!

In the meantime, I got to put my brother-in-law to work (thanks Ian for installing that security system). Now all the thieving-wannabe-bastards are going to caught if they ever try to mess with our place! I also got to spend some time with my nephew Zach, which is always fun, since I get to play videogames with him – and Steph wasn’t there to take the TV away! HAHA! We played some StarWars: Battlefront together as team, and together we captured many command posts and wasted dozens, if not hundreds of enemies.

Good times, good times.

What’s shaking the house?

So, things have been getting pretty cool over in Cadence Thump land, as I said in my last post. Dave and I recorded a ton of guitar tracks so that I can sit down and write some bass lines.

Well, I wanted to be able to write some cool bass lines, and therefore I figured an easy way might be to have more notes available to play with.

Who am I kidding? I’ve wanted a six-string bass since I was 16 years old. And finally, on Friday, after 15 long years, I got my wish.

Feast your eyes on THIS!

Drop-D tuning be damned!

The Ibanez SR506.

What a machine! It’s a little lighter than my Peavey Fury IV, but I gotta tell you, the extra width on the neck is crazy. I have smaller hands to begin with – my fingers are short – I can’t touch my brain when I pick my nose some some people can – so it’s almost like learning to play bass all over again.

Looks like there’ll be some long nights ahead re-playing scales and such to get used to having that extra string in the way, and to reach across that neck.

However, I love it, and I wouldn’t trade that rumbling, earth-shaking low B and C now that I’ve got it for anything.

Well, maybe a Snickers.

Just kidding.

Now all I need is a bigger amp. :)