June 22nd 2004
Every time I have gone down to St Catherines to see my Son I see the Welland Canal in the distance.. Sometimes when going further on to Niagara or even if I have decided to take a more scenic route back I pass over, or under, the same canal.
This depends on the route of course.
If you travel along the QEW you go up and over on a bridge remiscient of the one at Hamilton (but continuously under construction it seems unlike the one at Hamilton!), while if you travel down through Thorold on Highway 58 you get to go under the canal. Actually if you are down by the Port Colborne area traveling along Highway 3 you can also travel under the Canal as well. Both of which can be quite claustrophobic if you don't like the idea of moving under tons of water, and the odd ship.
In fact thanks to the wonder of modern technology you can get a feeling of what it is like to do just that if you go to the Compass traffic cameras on the internet.
One of the better uses of the internet is to be able to track traffic patterns across the GTA before you set off for work. In this case they have cameras down the QEW to Niagara and in the Thoroild tunnel as well. So if you have a few minutes to spare and want to try out the drive through the tunnel without actually attempting it go to :
and click on the Niagara link to have a virtual journey. You can see the bridge and the tunnel through the lens' of the cameras positioned there.
I have been in that tunnel a few times now and it is quite interesting to think that a canal that originally opened in 1829 is above you.
With millions of litres of water.
That is about when you start to hope that the engineers knew what they were doing!
In fact the current canal still uses concrete poured in the early 1900's and machinery that was built in the 1930's.
Mind you back then they probably didn't have the “Pass one pass all” mentality that appears to permeate many institutes of higher learning now. So I think that I will place my faith in the original engineers abilities.
Even if they did manage to lower the average height of the other Lakes by 15 inches apparently. Seems when the original canal was opened the effect was to allow huge quantities of water into the canal and subsequently this water flows through to Lake Ontario and out in the Atlantic. So the average level of water in the middle lakes dropped considerably. Lake Huron and Michigan dropping by 15 inches..
At the moment there is some debate as to whether the current canal is able to cope with increased traffic. Especially as many of the new ships trying to get into the inner lakes are much larger and wider than before.
If the canal is widened there is psecualtion that the same drop in water height will occur again Which given global warming and the supposed drop in the water table in the lakes already is scary to say the least.
Hopefully the monetary costs will prove to be the reason why other options are looked at instead. Nothing like greed to make a good ecologist out of even the most hard hearted capitalist
Mind you ther e is talk of having the canal, and by extension, the Lakes, open all year round. Remember that this is Canada and the Lakes freeze over during winter and so many companies are forced to find other forms of transport during these months. Although how they think they will manage to keep a passage de-iced during these months is going to be interesting to see.
There is talk of using many more smaller ships to carry containers that have been offloaded in Lake Ontario at Hamilton or Toronto, or even further up the St Lawrence seaway. Even as far afield as Halifax in Nova Scotia.
As an ex Merchant Navy seaman I am still amazed at how the idea of bigger is better has taken hold of the transportation authorities thinking. So that we now have supertankers and overloaded container ships, both of which are able to create massive ecological disasters and financial grief in one accident.
Trying to bring larger ships through the Canal and into the lakes is short sighted stupidity. I am hoping that they will try to create more jobs and traffic using the smaller ships option. After all with the age of containerization we merely hav eto transfer boxes form one large ship to many smaller ones and it will still be quicker and more cost effective than using thos ehuge 16 wheeler juggernauts that are currently doing the job instead.
One of the figures quoted is that one ship can move the equivelent of 877 truck loads. Silently, efficiently with less human error, carnage or pollution.
It is a point that needs to be seriously listened too.
At the moment almost 4000 ships pass through the canal yearly (which is roughly 41 thousand million tonnes of cargo).
I found it interesting that the St Lawrence Seawy which comprises the area from Montreal through Lake Ontario, the Welland Canal and on is responsible for some two hundred thousand jobs in the US and Canada. Actually only forty thousand in Canada oddly enough, but nevertheless a lot of people rely on this trade route still.
Which is probably why during the months it is open it remains open twenty four hours a day. Although using the canal to go from Lake Ontario to Lake Erie, or vica verse, takes eleven hours Which is only to travel 42 kilometres actually.
42 Kilometers and 8 locks in all. Which is to drop , or raise, the ships 100 metres when traveling from the one lake to the other.Lake Ontario being 100 metres lower than Lake Erie.
I keep forgetting that the Lakes are higher than sea level. Which created some interesting navigation quirks on my part while using a GPS system on the Coast Guard Rescue Boat the other day. I kept trying to figure out why the GPS said we were 30 metres above sea level when we were patently floating in the middle of the Lake and if you add my six foot to the equation should only have been eight foot at maximum. My Captain quietly reminded me that I was letting my old ideas permeate my current beliefs. Or something like that.
Anyway if you are rich enough to have a boat and want to use the Canal it will only cost you $20 a lock. Or $160 to move from one side to the other.
Which is better than the $20,000 it costs a ship to do the same and no doubt is part of the added cost to some of those goods once they get on shore, but not as good as travelling by car along the road that goes from St Catherines to Port Colborne.
And you don't really need a GPS to do that.
I tend not to place much faith in the pollsters in this country during elections. I have been here long enough to realise that there are definite ways to phrase questions and that all the different market research groups have a bias toward the outcome expected.
So when the Star trumpets forth that it will be a hung or minority Government and the Sun says that the Tories will win handsomely I merely raise my eyebrow and read all the rest of the lies that dominate the political reporting lately.
So it was with some interest that I watched a few events unfolding this week that I believe show that the Liberal party is in fact in deep trouble and desperate to hang on to power at all costs.
Actually lets look at a very interesting development that occurred earlier this week.
I received my Voter Information Card.
This is the card that Canadian Citizens are sent and which they should take with them when they go to the polling station on Election Day. It has your details on it so technically if you take the card you should be able to cast your ballot. Down on the one side of the card it states
“to vote you must be:
A Canadian Citizen
At least 18 years of age.”
So far so good. Simple really. I take the confirmation of my eligibility to vote, go to the station and cast my vote.
Along with my son.
Who despite NOT being a Canadian Citizen has received a Voter Information Card as well.
Apparently there was a drive on at his University to sign up the youth vote and he was one of those who gave all his details and has since been stuck on the Canadian Voters roll. Which looks suspiciously as if he will be able to also vote come the 28th. If this is so I think that I may just have a word or two to say.
Like the stupidity inherent in not asking for proof of citizenship this smacks to me of a concerted attempt to usurp the whole process and have a particular voting pattern established.
Most of the students in University are left leaning anyway and as such are more likely to vote for the Liberals or the NDP. In addition there is a very large contingent of immigrant students in University who are far more likely to vote for the status quo of the Liberal Government. If the horror stories of immigrants being told to vote Liberal to stop them being sent back by Conservative Government are anything to go by!
The most telling event that took place though was the sudden reversion to “attack advertising” that the Liberals started on the weekend.
This despite the so-called comment from Martin that they would occupy the moral position.
Well if that is the moral position then I guess I am beginning to understand why they have no compunction to lie, cheat and steal.
These are a new low even for the Liberals.
Perhaps the most puke inducing moment though is the way the ads finish off with the Canadian flag slowly dissolving as they try to make out that the Conservatives will trash all that the Canadian citizen holds dear.
Which judging by the three topics chosen is abortion, gay marriage and health care.
Oddly enough even this blatant attack has backfired on the Liberals. Seems that for once the populace is asking the simple question:
“If they have lied to us about everything else why should I believe this as well?”
By the weeks end the Conservatives had gone past the Liberals and in certain circles the word “majority” was being bandied about.
The Liberal sycophantic Star newspaper is in full paranoid, spittle flecked propaganda mode. They have reporters covering Harper at all times waiting to get a slip up or quote that they can use to denigrate him with. So far with little success I might add. Most of their attempts to stir up controversy being tired lame attempts to besmirch the Conservative leader on past comments that, when not taken out of context, are pathetically feeble.
Astonishingly we had the weird spectacle of Cabinet Ministers following Harper around to heckle him. I'm not sure about you but I find that a major admission of a paucity of ideas if you have to send Cabinet Ministers out to follow the opposition leader around and make fools of themselves.
Watching them on TV merely reinforced my belief that the Liberal Party has the most empty headed MP's around. But then they aren't known for their ability to do other than toe the party line and act as good drones at the best of times. I am also of the opinion that the louder the strident cries the less the amount of brain cells.
Which given the incessant bleating of the sheep keeping the Government seats warm is roughly equivalent to one brain cell to be shared amongst all of them.
No I take that back. At least one of them was heard to mutter that the campaign was in dire trouble As this was Parrish of the “Damn Americans” statement, one of the Liberals who may have a bit of a problem with convincing the electorate that she should indeed be allowed to snuffle art the trough for a further term this was indeed an indication that there is panic and strife in the ranks.
I am now waiting for the local candidates to come around to gain my support.
Mind you I could be waiting a long time because I live in the low cost housing system, which is overlooked by most as being a breeding ground of NDP malcontents and welfare scammers.
Which is a pity because I have a lot of questions that I want to ask.
Mainly of the Liberal candidate. Who was a Conservative MPP in Ontario and resigned on a principle of ethics. Which apparently hasn't stopped him throwing in his lot with the most unethical bunch since….well since the last lot of Liberals I guess!
Back in South Africa it was a well known tactic to bring in the candidate from the party that was in opposition to your chosen candidate and engage them in conversation for as long as possible. This was so you could mess up all their careful plans to go from door to door in a certain time.
While I admit that that may be part of the intention with the local Liberal candidate I have a real pressing need to find out what the hell the Liberal Party actually stands for and why it is that they think the Canadian electorate are so stupid.
Could be a long and boring evening.
Or a short one!
June 8th 2004
Ah the unsweet smell of an election in the air has permeated every nostril with its foul pigsty stench already.
Largesse and lies. Already the cornerstone of the whole election campaign.
And…Surprise! Surprise! Guess who was the originator and most prolific instigator of the most base vile attack ads? No prizes for guessing the Liberal Party.
Better yet. Guess who started handing out money in large amounts all over the country. Why that would be the Government of Paul Martin of course.
The same Government that a few months ago couldn't find any money to increase health care spend suddenly found Billions to put into healthcare and apparently save it from the terrible fate it would have if the conservatives ever bought in two-tier healthcare.
The most telling comment on the whole healthcare vote buying fiasco coming from Pinocchio McGuinty, the Ontario Premier, who said he would “wouldn't put much stock in relying on the money”.
He ought to know. After all this is the man who lied through his back teeth to win the Ontario premiership and then reneged on all the campaign promises one by one. So if anyone can smell a lie I guess he has more experience than any others.
I note that there appears to be a bit of bad blood between the Federal and Provincial Lieberal Parties of late what with the Ontario Governments disastrous budget recently. Although that didn't stop our illustrious Prime Minister from blaming the healthcare fiasco on Mike Harris the PC Ontario Premier who at least kept his campaign promises unfashionable and disliked as that may have been.
The hypocrisy in Martins statement being superb.
Paul Martin was the person responsible for slashing the healthcare spend when he was the Finance Minister in the last Government. Harris Meanwhile was Premier of the largest Province in Canada and it was the Liberal Government that played silly games with the healthcare spend to try to force his hand on some of the campaign promises that he and his party were actually keeping for a change.
Actually the hypocrisy is breathtaking!
As is the way the choice that voters face is portrayed by the Left.
The constant harping on about the Rights “Christian fundamentalism” is beginning to get very annoying. This is like a left wing mantra that they use to ward off the vampires.
“If you vote in the Conservatives the Christians will get you!”
Which apparently means no more abortions, gay marriages, welfare mothers, refugee claimants or indeed any of the lefts valued beliefs in social engineering. In fact..shock horror once more …Canada will become more like the United States. And we all know how disastrous that would be. There is nothing more scary than “becoming like the United States” for the trendy lefties in Canada.
God knows what would happen if the USA disappeared overnight.
I think there would be a suicidal depression amongst Canada's chattering classes. They may have to actually put forward ideas of their own instead of merely going against whatever the Americans do.
So my take on the whole Liberal policy so far is this:
“Voting for liars, thieves and arrogant bloated trough snuffling crooks is preferable to voting for religious people who may stop you doing all sorts of things which we aren't sure about yet, but which we are sure you won't like!
The interesting part of this particular line is going to be when the lefts obsequious sycophancy of all multiculturalism suddenly realises that religious fundementalism isn't only the prerogative of Christians. Muslims and Jews have some pretty hard line attitudes toward all the lefts pet ideas as well. And when they start to intrude it is going to be a very interesting time. Given that some bright spark has allowed Sharia tribunals to operate in Ontario that is not going to be too long in coming either. In fact it is already starting as the feminists have discovered what the possibilities may be toward their Islamic sisters new found freedoms. Most of which have been assiduously courted and shown their “rights” as soon as possible after landing here.
Interestingly the Liberals have relied for some time now on the immigrant vote. At least here in Ontario where most immigrants tend to wind up. Using scare tactics and coercion they have been voted in, in almost every immigrant loaded area. Since the advertising scandal though it appears that even the immigrant vote is starting to move away form the Liberal Party. At last count they were only 9 points ahead of the Conservatives. Which in today's terms is meaningless.
Especially considering that there is still a huge undecided vote out there.
Most of whom are Canadians, who are at last taking umbrage at how they have been lied to, used and ultimately abused.
Still, of all the puke inducing advertising that I have seen so far the local Liberal party boards take the cake.
“Team Paul” they trumpet. With a picture of the little ferret faced one trying his hardest to smile.
The cult of the leader in full force. And yet another reminder that the Liberals think that the average Canadian is a moron!
Although it is starting to look like the Lieberals may have pushed the Canadian publics patience a little too far.
That might be why Martin (Supreme Leader Paul of Team Paul!) is starting to have that desperate trapped rat snarl-that-is-supposed-to-be-a-smile on his face lately.
While Harper of the Conservatives and Layton of the NDP are starting to look more relaxed and confidant.
And like more appealing alternative choices!
June 1st 2004
The irony is delightful!
Sometime this week coming we are expecting to hear from Paul Martin and the Forty Thieves that an election will be called for June 28th. Thus allowing the Canadian electorate a chance to have their say about the shenanigans that have taken place in Ottawa over the last few years.
Their Provincial cousins in Ontario, having rather handsomely won control of Ontario last year on a set of 251 promises, decided to set out Ontario's first Liberal Party budget this week and proceeded not only to break a few more of those promises but so infuriate taxpayers here that the Liberal Party is beginning to look as if it may indeed lose the coming election!
Not to mention the lawsuits and actions beginning to start here in this Province against Pinocchio McGuinty and his own set of lying local Liberals.
Here, verbatim, is the Taxpayer Protection Pledge that Dalton McGuinty signed on September 11th 2003.
“I, Dalton McGuinty, Leader of the Liberals Party of Ontario, promise, if my party is elected as the next Government, that I will not raise taxes or implement new taxes without the explicit consent of Ontario voters, and not run deficits. I promise to abide by the Taxpayer Protection and Balanced Budget Act”
Now ever since he was sworn in as the Premier of Ontario McGuinty and his own mob have reneged on as many promises as possible. About the only one I can think of that he has kept was to raise taxes on cigarettes. But then any fool can, and has, pulled that stunt. In fact in this budget he raised taxes on cigarettes again.
And wine and beer.
All of which are typical liberal targets and easy ones at that.
And all of which are mainly middle to lower class vices which means that the Liberals are once again punishing those people who can least afford the bullying nanny mentality of the prim and proper holier-than-thou liberals.
Which gets worse and worse when you notice that the worst excess produced by this Budget was the “Health Care Premium”
From July this year we will have to pay a “special premium” for our wonderful “free” health care here. Low-income earners will pay $300 extra a year while those in the high-income brackets will end up paying $900. So much for the concept of “free healthcare”. That much lauded concept that the Liberals love to tell all and sundry is the best thing about Canada. Sounds suspiciously to me like the start of a two-tier system.
In fact if you work out the percentage of money that is being shelled out you come to the sad conclusion that once again the middle to lower classes are being shafted more than the rich.
So we have a new health tax. A whopping large one at that. Do we get any extra healthcare for this tax?
Of course not!
In addition to increasing health taxes the wonderful people in Queens Park then went a step further and did away with eye exams, physiotherapy and chiropractic services. Hoping no doubt that we will be to blind to notice their lies next time or too crippled to get to the poll to vote. I was surprised to see that they had increased Heart Procedures because, as they have no heart, and wont need to use them, there appears to be no need to have gone this route. Although there is the possibility that some of the crippled, blind, supporters of the Party may need to be kept alive a while longer. At least until they can bring in new immigrants to vote!
The other “non-tax” that has created a furor was the increase in driver's licenses. These go from $50 to $75. That is a 50% increase! Bearing in mind that, by law, we have to renew our licenses every five years, this is a gigantic increase and nothing other than plain theft!
Something, which everyone overlooked because of the sheer shock inherent in the health tax, was the $1.70 that will be added to each and every electricity bill. In addition to the hike that they instituted in April already and of course not forgetting the debt reduction charge and the delivery charge. All of which are taxes.
Some time back I mentioned that the Liberals were being called Fiberals by certain sections of the press. There was some sniggering and the Fiberals got all bent out of shape but nothing much transpired until Tuesday.
Actually quite a few of their promises were broken but the average man in the street in Canada doesn't seem to care about that unless it interferes with Hockey Night in Canada
However there appears to be a groundswell of emotion about the new budget here that is emotive and annoyed for a change.
Bear in mind that Ontario has the power to keep the liberals in power in the Federal elections and you will begin to understand that any large-scale movement away from the Liberals in the mind of the electorate becomes disastrous for the fortunes of the party in any election.
Martins Government is being rocked by the sleaze factor at the moment As it is they have been shown up as immoral in other areas and this will merely compound the Liberal image as a bunch of liars intent on saying anything to stay in power and snuffle at the money trough.
This includes the most appalling hypocrisy of the lot, which hasn't received nearly enough attention yet. Greg Sorbora, the Ontario Finance Minister, announced that they will change the Balanced Budget and Taxpayers protection Laws. So that the new Government won't be penalized because of it's actions!
It appears that there is nothing that this Government won't say or do in order to stay in power and the electorate is beginning to equate them with their Federal cousins. And not in a nice way either.
Actually they are starting to ask questions. Interesting questions. Like why are the Liberals attacking Harper on his beliefs when they appear to be unable to explain their lack of morals and ethics. Like why is it impossible for a Liberal to keep a promise? Like should this bunch of immoral thieves be allowed to have absolute power ever again?
Should be an interesting Federal election coming up.