I am now, officially, Canada’d out.

Canada celebrated the 150th anniversary of Confederation on Saturday with an orgy of government-sponsored patriotism. Now, I’m as patriotic as the next person, but I feel like I’ve OD’d in the most Canadian way … on maple syrup.

Even that joke is too Canadian for me today. Sorry.

Oops, there’s another one. The ‘sorry’ trope. Sick of that one, too, and I’m not sorry I wrote that. Oh, and the headline of this blog, with the ‘eh?’ reference? Can we just lay that one to rest today? I can go days, weeks, or months without ever hearing anyone say ‘eh’.  It’s kinda sad, and at least partially true, that can’t we find something a little more distinctive that whatever the hell ‘eh?’ is? And nobody says ‘aboot’, Ever.

And the maple leaf? I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen a maple tree. I just looked up a publication online called the Guide to Common Native Trees and Shrubs of Alberta, and maples weren’t even on the list.

Tolerant? Don’t want to hear that word for a while. Inclusive? Sick of it.

Now that it’s over, can we go back to being modest and self-effacing? It looks so much better on us.

For a different take, one I wrote before I overdosed on Canadiana, feel free to read my column in Prime Times, the monthly newspaper for seniors that I edit.

I try to be a good person, and look what happens

Have you heard of the Canada Revenue Agency scam? Here’s the way it goes.

You get a phone call from someone who claims to be an agent of the Canada Revenue Agency. The “agent” tells you, in no uncertain terms, that you have an outstanding tax balance that absolutely MUST be paid immediately, or there will be dire consequences. It’s all a scam, of course, to sucker unsuspecting (often elderly) people out of their money. The last time this scam was run, it was found to have originated out of a call centre in India, and a lot of people were arrested, and the calls stopped.

Well, it’s back. I got a recorded message this week, which is promptly hung up on. Then I got another call, but this one was left a recorded message from “Officer Craig Williamson” (I think, ‘Craig’s accent was very weird for a guy named ‘Craig Williamson’) threatening me with dire circumstances if I didn’t return his call.  Incredibly, ‘Crais’ left a number for me to call. Ha! Got you, you slimy bastard. So I went online to find the number to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. I called the number (1-888-495-8501) … and the phone service was out of order.

Out of order? What kind of phone service is out of order in the 21st century? So, I thought I would go to their online service and write a complaint. Not so fast. I needed a GC Key number, whatever that is. I had to create an account, which I tried to do, but the user name and password restrictions were so needlessly complex, I gave up in frustration.

Well done, Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre! And keep up the scum sucking work, ‘Officer Craig’.

The bar is now on the ground

So, what was The Donald up to this week?

The tweeting twit president took aim at the hosts of an MSNBC morning news show, Morning Joe, in a twitter attack that was so person and abusive, even members of his own party were shocked and literally begging for him to stop.

Writing about hosts hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough, Trump tweeted: “I heard poorly rated Morning Joe speaks badly of me (don’t watch anymore). Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came..to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year’s Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!”

Good lord.  A Republican representative, Adam Kinzinger of Illinois told CNN’s “New Day” Friday “that’s a tweet that’s not even becoming of a city councilman.”

The New York Daily New front page from Friday. Perfect.

This is beneath the dignity of a president, even from a president who would have to look up the word dignity in a dictionary.

On Saturday, Trump came close to apologizing. See if you can spot the apology.

“Crazy Joe Scarborough and dumb as a rock Mika are not bad people, but their low rated show is dominated by their NBC bosses. Too bad!”

See the apology? They are “not bad people”. Just crazy and dumb as a rock… but not bad people. Just the way all Mexicans are rapists and drug dealers, but “some” are good people.

Trump wasn’t done yet. On Sunday, he posted a 28 second video using footage from his appearance on Wrestlemania with the CNN logo superimposed on Vince McMahon’s head, slamming McMahon/CNN to the ground. Wait, there’s more. The video was apparently created by a Reddit user named (ready?) HanAssholeSolo. This story resulted in one of the funniest lines I’ve read in a long time, from the Daily Beast website: “HanAssholeSolo did not immediately respond to a request for comment.”

Can you take one more bit of Trump? On Saturday, he met with Buzz Aldrin, the second man in the moon, for some sort of signing ceremony. The official transcript of the comments — and this is true — went like this.

ALDRIN: Infinity and beyond. (Laughter)

THE PRESIDENT: This is infinity here. It could be infinity. We really don’t know. But it could be. It has to be something — but it could be infinity, right? Okay. (Applause)

So long, Peter Mansbridge

Peter Mansbridge, anchor of the CBC’s creatively titled national newscast, The National, has retired. He got quite a lot of media coverage, most of it laudatory and deserved. Mansbridge has been good at his job for a long time … but does anybody really care about The National any more?

The National is in terrible shape. A formless blob, populated by barely competent reporters and talking heads. It still gets an average audience of about a million, but it trails the equally terrible CTV National News by a wide margin.  My guess is the audience for both broadcasts is made up of people over 60 getting ready for bed.

Still, the CBC must continue with The National, and it has already announced that it will have THREE anchors. Why three? Well … diversity? Inclusion? Yep, those word again.

So, who will anchor The National? We don’t know yet, but it’s certainly NOT going to be a white male. Ian Hanomansing is, I think, almost a lock. He’s very good at his job, and an immigrant (born in Trinidad and Tobago). After that, my guess is two women. One will be a woman of colour (the perfect candidate would be an indigenous woman). If they can do it, the CBC would love to have a transgender woman … that would cover all the inclusion bases quite nicely.


Dave Semenko, 59, who, as an Edmonton Oiler, made sure that NOBODY laid a glove on Wayne Gretzky. He was an enforcer who rarely fought, so fearsome was his reputation. A fan favourite and beloved by his fellow players … Smith Hart, 68, oldest member of the famed Hart family of wrestling fame … Michael Bond, 91, author of the Paddington Bear children’s book series.



2 thoughts on “The Return of Stuff Happens, week 24: Enough Canada already … eh?

  1. A couple of years ago I arranged with a guy who called me doing the Microsoft control centre scam for a return call at a specified time two days later when I would have the time to deal with the fake problem he’d pointed out. Then I contacted the Anti-Fraud Centre and advised the agent of the arrangements I’d made, thinking that they might have some means of furthering an investigation if they had these guys on the line. The agent expressed no interest other than in ensuring that I hadn’t fallen for the scam. I don’t know whether it would have made any difference if I’d asked the scammer for a contact number. The scammer did make the call at the time we’d arranged and I just hung up. I guess Anti-Fraud guys did the job as specified. At least I didn’t get an out-of-service message.

  2. An interesting column. Besides the never-stopping data your ads provoke my wireless tablet to be forced into ruining my data plan, that is. But I digress.

    Your comments on Mansbridge made me look up TV viewership in Canada. Unsurprisingly perhaps, they tend to agree with my general observation that your average Canadian consumes mostly US news and shows. This isn’t surprising and has been the case since cable TV came in well over 40 years ago, bringing the glitz and glamour of Yankee Land to the plebs of woods and prairie and rock and ice.

    So Canada 150 was a washout, literally round these parts, and corroborates my view that Canada itself is largely a fiction. Not very many “citizens” truly give a damn about our country, and even less about what happens in other provinces. You can ask who you like the most basic questions about the country and blank faces abound. Dolts and dumbos are the norm. Moreover, they’re annoyed at being caught out in their ignorance! Yes indeed, especially university students. They seem to regard our country as being of no importance to their daily lives. Might as well be governed by a platoon of intelligent penguins for all the difference it would make to all but about ten percent of the population.

    On a recent trip across the country, the only glue I found for me was CBC Radio and the loonie. Otherwise people are glued to their locale like epoxied fossils, their radio stations tuned to caterwauling country out west or golden oldies in the east. It’s a severe case of “don’t bother me, I’m busy”. Quebec is the only bright spot, bar Alberta, where a peculiar form of navel-gazing has allowed people to believe it is they and not nature which provided the oil wealth and made them all rugged individualists – they gaze down upon other Canadians as losers from a vantage point ofpure illogic, and make large pronouncements on equalization payments without having the first clue how they are determined. Par for the course for the uninformed Canadian public

    No wonder your average citizen gets taken in by scams like the Revenue Canada one you cite. They’re so dumb they take little notice of the news, where scams like this are regularly exposed. Chickens for the plucking. Imagine being taken in by the “grandchild held in prison, send $2800 for bail immediately”. Yes, your average Canuck is woefully ill-informed, and the blame rests with them, in my opinion.

    If you’re male, apparently the only thing worthy of note is hockey, and if female, goodness only knows. Once big business handily snapped up Hockey Night In Canada, the nitwit Hubert LaCroix, a Conservative appointed by Harper as president of the CBC has sat firmly on his hands, providing neoliberal non-leadership at the helm. Why, we have to get rid of the CBC so that business types can get 100% of the revenues from ads! seems to be his dictum. A similar case may be levelled against Canada Post, where some nitwit is trying to apply the same business logic as banks, thereby reducing or eliminating rural services as cost-inefficient to the plan of ever-increasing profits. Herding everyone into condos makes that plan appear more and more likely to succeed with time. Lacroix has also managed to produce “comedy” TV shows on CBC like Schitt’s Creek, where there is not a single gag to laugh at in a half-hour, or in an entire season for that matter. To be blunt, these shows are utter crap.

    All in all, it reduces the bonds of Canadianism to pure insignificance, in my view. Being as thinly populated as we are, there needs to be some concerted effort at bringing people together. One would think. Instead, it’s divide and conquer and the devil take the hindmost. Which in practice, means we are fleeced by business in almost every sphere, from cellphone rates to groceries, and are hectored by ads of all kinds that begin with “Hey Canada” flogging crappy hamburgers and cars, as if magically using the word Canada will bring interest from a dumbed-out population.

    Canada 150 was largely business ads from where I sit. Fireworks were the draw as usual. Then it rained and washed that out. Oh well, back to work this week to earn a daily crust in this spot of land we call Canada, and which to most is a blank, run by a guy with nice hair and no imagination beyond being business friendly, and saying the right thing in each part of Canada he visits, while forgetting he said the exact opposite last week somewhere else. Doesn’t matter. Few people listen to the news, so he gets away with it. I could spit at the overt cynicism.

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