I know I haven't posted for a long time, but I wanted to make my opinion known about the political controversy surrounding the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Firstly, concerning the calls for a straight out boycott. I am extremely opposed to such a boycott, ...

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  1. Don't even talk about boycotting Olympics, it's a pretty childish idea
  2. What's wrong with the ZENN car?
  3. What happened to the Blogging Dippers?
  4. End of the SK election, end of an era
  5. 20 years since the death of Rene Levesque
  6. More Recent Articles

Don't even talk about boycotting Olympics, it's a pretty childish idea

I know I haven't posted for a long time, but I wanted to make my opinion known about the political controversy surrounding the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

Firstly, concerning the calls for a straight out boycott. I am extremely opposed to such a boycott, as it is completely unfair to the atheletes (who, by the way, are actually the focal point of the Olympics) and it wouldn't actually accomplish anything. The former is quite obvious but the latter is unfortunately not. I first learned about this in a recent edition of Maclean's magazine which contained an article by John Fraser. Basically he said that the Chinese government will not be budged by any outside power concerning it's policies towards non-Communist groups that pose a threat to the government or its vision of China. They know how a group can pounce up and take over a country, as that's what the Communists did themselves in China, and they have decided that they must exterminate any threat to the Communist Party, be it spiritual movements, unions, pro-democracy groups, or separatists. To put all that into a sentence, the Chinese government will do anything to crush any threat to the Communists no matter what the West wants.

Unfortunately the people who are protesting and demanding a boycott have not realized that it just wouldn't work. Yes, it would be a setback to China but it's not worth potentially losing their (the Communist's) influence. And of course it wouldn't destroy their economy or anything.

Let's take the politics out of the Olympics. If you have a problem with human rights in Tibet (and personally I am against what China is doing there) find other ways of expressing that. And when you find that idea, remember to think about it first before you start advocating it.

What's wrong with the ZENN car?

Within the past couple of weeks, there has been talk of the previously unknown ZENN car. The Canadian company Feel Good Cars has had their low-speed electric car, ZENN, publicized on CBC News and CBC's Rick Mercer Report (click here to watch) within the past while. Just this month, Transport Canada deemed that the car can be sold in Canada. However, it is still up to the individual provinces to licence the car. In fact, only British Columbia has so far allowed it on its roads. (The reason that the company is afloat is that it can sell cars in the United States.)

For a simple car, it has attracted a lot of controversy. So why is Canada so reluctant to licence it? It is actually a Canadian-made car! It is environmentally friendly! What's the problem? The only flaw with it is that one cannot drive on a highway or expressway with it because its speed is limited to 40 KM/H (which is still plenty good for a city, where the speed limit is often 50 KM/H, but usually traffic is not nearly as fast!). The car is a wonderful environmentally-friendly alternative to a gas consuming car (you argue that electricity still burns fossil fuels? Pay a little more and buy green power!).

Now let's talk about the specific provinces. I could understand (although not agree with) Ontario not approving it for economic reasons, being that it should, economically speaking, support Ontario's auto sector and thus buy its cars, instead of buying Québec made ZENNs. In the territories, there could be too much snow for such a little car. Alberta would have to support gas-hungry vehicles. Okay, those provinces have their excuses. But what about the rest? In my home province of Saskatchewan, life isn't really fast-paced in the rural areas anyway; and with our boom, which has brought a lot more traffic jams, one could easily use a ZENN car for commuting during rush-hour in Saskatoon. And what kind of excuse could Québec have (other than the fact that their drivers probably go to fast to accommodate a slow car)? The car is actually made right there!

And unlike many past electric cars which have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, ZENN's basic model starts at only US $12,750 (and it does include a lot of features for such a low price). For that price many people in places without transit could get a very cheap method of transportation, not to mention the gas savings.

So please support this green Canadian car! Sign ZENN's petition online now! Still not convinced? Luc Couillard of the Agence Métropolitaine de Transport tried out the car for two weeks in Montreal. Read his review now!

What happened to the Blogging Dippers?

One of the first things I did when I got up this morning was go to my computer and go to the Blogging Dippers website wanting to see if there had been any commentary yet on the Saskatchewan election. There was only one article by "Giant Political Mouse" that mentioned that there was an election last night. (Even as I refresh the page as I write this article there is still only my own article on the election.) I know that there are bloggers here that are from Saskatchewan, but where are they?

When I started blogging just about a year ago, the Blogging Dippers was an action-packed place to be; there was commentary on everything under the sun, and lots of it. There was also pages and pages of the summaries past articles that had been written; now there are only fourteen (so in order to actually get a look at everything a Blogging Dipper posts, it's necessary to check the site every 8-12 hours!). And why is it that, out of those fourteen spaces, I see only six different blogs? With less summaries to see, there is less to see and thus less of a reason to go to the site and see (get my logic?).

I do realize that people have lives outside of writing on their blogs, but it is a real shame to see the only New Democrat blog aggregate having so little life to it any more. Every week, a woman from Macleans (her name is Katie O'Maley, or something like that) appears on CBC Politics with Don Newman to talk about what's going on in the blogosphere. When she first started (at the beginning of this season of the show), she did the recognize the existence of the Blogging Dippers. However, it has been weeks since she has mentioned us; now she talks about what's on the Blogging Tories, Lib Blogs and the Progressives. But no us; no NDP. Perhaps it's because there just isn't as much life here anymore. Perhaps that means we need to give it life.

And lately, out of the articles that are written, there has been barely anything about actual current political events. Not too much about the mini-budget, the Liberals abstaining, etc. etc. (That's why we don't get our opinions on CBC, because we aren't really giving the NDP view on the current, top stories anymore!) While I do enjoy reading the articles written on topics that I've never actually heard of before, and I have no problems against that, I do wish that we could be actually discussing current affairs, too. If we don't the NDP and Jack Layton are the ones who lose, because they don't get any backing from the blogosphere, like Dion and Harper do.

As far as I know, I don't even think we have an active blogger who lives in Ottawa! I know for instance that the Tories have Stephen Taylor. But who do we have actively blogging from the centre of the action?

Let's get this sorted out. Let's get the NDP message out again through blogs. Let's start writing precise political commentary. Each of us doesn't have to do it everyday, but if we all write even once a week something really great, the Blogging Dippers might just rise from the dead.

End of the SK election, end of an era

What can I say about last night's Saskatchewan election? While I was obviously hoping that all the polls were wrong and that the NDP could narrowly get into power once again, everyone was expecting a Saskatchewan Party government. Yes, there were some specific seats that surprisingly went from NDP to Sask. Party, but the grand total, province-wide results weren't all that different than I was expecting.

What the Saskatchewan Party will do in government is anybody's guess. They could go along with what they've promised to do, or who knows, they could go back to the Devine-times style of government. But either way, the 16 year string of NDP governments is over. While it would have been nice to add at least another four years to that, one can't expect to be in government forever. At some point, people are going to change, and when you really think about it, we should be thanking the Saskatchewan people that they didn't decide to change in the 2003 or 1999 elections (which even then would be a pretty good run for a single party to be in government). I guess this is just the type of rotation that naturally occurs in politics.

To a more local level, I was expecting that Frank Quennell (NDP) would get re-elected in my own constituency of Saskatoon Meewasin. However I was upset that Serge LeClerc (Sask. Party) won in Saskatoon Northwest (although not actually surprised). I was really hoping that Ken Winton-Grey (NDP) could pick up that seat, and for awhile, it was looking possible.

So in conclusion, I am not going to at all speculate as to what the Saskatchewan Party government is going to do with it's next half-year (until next summer) and it's next four years in government, and I think that anyone who does start speculating is quite irresponsible (unless that person is an opposition politician, because that's what politicians are supposed to do; they get paid for that). The soonest real hint that we're going to get will be their first throne speech that should be delivered within a couple months.   But I guess that's the way politics flows.

20 years since the death of Rene Levesque

I know, I know, the anniversary was on the first of November, but it's never too late. In commemoration of René Lévesque, the Parti Québecois is selling t-shirts with René's face on them, the leaders of all three parties in the National Assembly delivered speeches in his honour, and because of those two things (along with some smaller commemorations), René Lévesque has risen again as a topic of discussion; of course now that someone's dead, people usually just talk about how great he was.

While Lévesque was one of the first real Québec sovereignty leaders (which is what Pauline Marois highlighted), he also made inroads for social change, the nationalization of resources in Québec (such as Hydro Québec), and cleaning up Québec's government (which is what Mario Dumont and Jean Charest highlighted).

Even though I've lived in English Canada all my life, I am too much of a Francophile/'Québecerphile' to provide a truly English Canada 'review' on him. So this time I can just report the facts, but I would love to read a take on him written by a true Anglophone.

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