New Statistics Just In; A Plea to Canadians To Get Your Numbers Up to Overcome the United States; Look at those Saudi Numbers Soar; Political Commentary on Pierre the Poop; The Hub Tells Us Why Democracy Does Not Work; Photos of Two Examples of Decorative Plaster Work from Different Eras and the Up-to-Date Statistics.

I just, a few minutes ago, received my most recent statistics from Computer Guru Chris. The blog was written. It was as if I were clairvoyant. I suddenly see that I must get my Canadian numbers up – to overtake the USA numbers. Saudi Arabis is catching up. It is a joy to behold. Our emails back and forth you shall find at the conclusion of the blog.  

This is the beginning of the already written blog. I am in no mood to follow the Canadian political scene because it is depressing and becoming increasingly irrelevant to my life, But I do have some loyalty to my Canadian readers. Such a dilemma. I am aided and abetted by an article from Walrus which discusses Pierre the Poop, as I call him. Why do I call him that? Because he is that. The Walrus has a fine example of why he is a Poop – it is most well written. 

“As the new leader of the Conservative Party, elected in September 2022, Poilievre was in the spotlight. From the beginning, he was, by design, a polarizing figure. He ran for the leadership the same way he’s run the Conservative Party since becoming leader—in the style of a right-wing YouTuber, elbows up, keen to smash norms and bite like a rabid bulldog. He has balanced working-class outreach—by way of talking about inflation, affordability, and housing policy—with social and cultural sorties on drug policy and the so-called “woke” agenda.” 

I definitely love that ‘right-wing YouTuber” and “bite like a rabid bulldog” but I can call him Pierre the Poop and the Walrus cannot. Such a team we can be. I am not familiar with the ins and outs of Canadian politics as I lived in the USA for most of my life. So it was actually somewhat of a surprise to learn this: “But aggregate popular vote doesn’t determine outcomes in Canadian elections. Seat count does.”  The cleverness continues. “One of the oldest lines in politics is that “governments defeat themselves.” It’s true that governments defeat themselves—but only if opposition parties don’t beat themselves first. We can draw some tentative conclusions from Monday’s races, but the trick with by-elections is not to draw too many firm conclusions from them.’

David Moscrop, the author, recites the specifics of the past by-election concluding in this manner.  

“Now that the by-elections are over, parties and their surrogates will battle over what they mean—drawing outsized conclusions and spinning them for the media and the public. Try to ignore them and don’t fall for their tricks. What’s more important than spinning half truths and full lies is that, behind the scenes, parties will evaluate what worked and what didn’t work in anticipation of the next general election.” There will be at least one more by-election—in Calgary Heritage, a safe Conservative seat—before the next general election. Trudeau has called it for July 24. That means we’ll do this again soon, barring a sudden, unlikely general election call. Whether party fortunes or strategies change between now and then depends little on the four elections just held, with the possible exception of some bad lessons from Portage-Lisgar, but that won’t stop the usual suspects from doing their best to convince you otherwise.”

I would speak of Alberta politics but it is just too depressing for words, with Premier Danielle Smith appearing more and more stupid and self destructive with each passing second. I shall be back on home turf in a mere ten days of this writing. I will march to the Legislative Cafeteria, a short walk from my Edmonton apartment, check in, take the pulse of the reliable insiders and let you know what is happening. Everyone talks to me, so otherwise confidential information can see the light of day. Premier Danielle Smith is one of the main reasons that I am leaving the country of my birth for a very foreign land. She is living testimony, proof that democracy does not work. David Moscrop, the author of the Walrus article, is also the author of  Too Dumb for Democracy?. I must purchase that book from Audrey’s Book Store upon my return to Edmonton. It is sure to be consistent with another article, which explains why democracies are not working these days. 

This is from Amanda Lang writing for the Hub.

When Lisa Raitt was minister of transport in Stephen Harper’s cabinet, she was struck by something on a memo that crossed her desk. “There were 17 signatures before mine. Seventeen layers of bureaucracy,” before it hit the minister’s office, “and that happens all the time.” There may be no better explanation for the glacial pace of governmenaction, writes Amanda Lang.” It laid bare for Raitt something that frustrates many, namely the glacial pace of government action. It’s also the kind of process that earns government a bad name, and the impression held by many that it is full of redundancy, unnecessary red tape, and a general lack of efficiency. But is that fair assessment?Whatever your perspective, judging how well it functions is important. Government is the most important service industry we have and, at every level, it delivers things that make an enormous difference in how our world functions. From basic rule of law to health care and education, with a million issues big and small in between shaped by our governments. It’s also a big sector of our economy and, through its policies, touches the vast majority of our lives.”

Risk aversion is one of the main reasons why so many signatures are deemed necessary according to the author. I admire Lisa Raitt because she comes up with a solution, does not just expose the wrongs and mistakes. “One change recommended by Raitt would be to keep senior civil servants in their roles slightly longer because there is a lot of movement between departments at the level just below the deputy minister, which can leave knowledge gaps and learning curves that have a big impact on important files.” 

This is, in some ways, funny but, in many ways absolutely AWFUL. It concerns Phoenix, the payment system that was neither a system, nor did it pay anyone. 

“It would be hard to point to a better example of the seeming ineptitude of government than the Phoenix pay system. A scathing report by then-Auditor General Michael Ferguson said Phoenix was “an incomprehensible failure of project management and oversight. The brainchild of cost-saving efforts from Stephen Harper’s government in 2009, Phoenix was breathtakingly simple in concept: it would replace multiple pay systems across 101 federal departments for its then 300,000 employees with one central piece of software. The savings, up to $78 million a year, would come by reducing the huge number of payroll employees managing the clunky network of systems. Instead of solving a problem, Phoenix quite simply never worked. From its actual implementation in 2015 to this day, it overpays, underpays, or simply does not pay thousands of civil servants. The cost to try to fix it has ballooned multiple times, and even worse, it takes more human handling today than the previous disjointed system.

Riatt admits there were problems from the onset but the government thought they would be around to fix them. But they were voted out of power. So OOPS. 

Amazingly, totally amazingly Riatt remains optimistic. 

“We have a unique set of qualities and opportunities that no one else has. Ingenuity. Smart people, with the highest level of post-secondary education in the OECD. And everyone wants to roll up their sleeves and dig in and help. We just need to get out of our own way.” 

Hear of the expression, “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it”? Democracy is broke, however, in my humble opinion, it is not fixable. Peruse the synonyms for fix: mend, patch up, put right, put to rights, get working, make as good as new, see to; restore to working order, remedy, rectify, put back together; overhaul, renovate, rehabilitate, rebuild. Can Canadian democracy (or any other democracy ) be patched up, put to right, make as good as new ,or restore to working order.? I do not see it. By the way, I am not going to run for election as Prime Minister. Thought about but decided not to. I want a simple life. 

You: You must be joking! You a simple life????? 

Me: You have a point there. I try, but I seem not to succeed at it. 

The two photos attached are a strange juxtaposition. One, the Alberta Legislative Building. The decorative plaster work was most certainly crafted by my grandfather’s brother William Dryburgh who came from Scotland in 1910-1911 to labor as a decorative plasterer on the new building – built to honor and house democracy. 

The second picture was taken from a rather humble hotel in Mecca.A multimillion dollar hotel is being constructed, sort of on top of the existing humble hotel. There is decorative plaster work on the hotel which s being built. William Dryburgh’s work was done by hand, most probably in the cold. Not so the decorative work in Mecca. But for some strange reason it gave me hope and optimism and gave me the bravery to make another move this late in my life. When I die I shall have no regrets. 

The emails between Computer Guru Chris and Alexis McBride shall follow. 

Me: Hi, I think I am taking Saudi Arabia by storm but need proof. Statistics please my friend. Alexis 

He: Here y’arrr

Me: Thank you my dear!!!! The Saudis are edging up on the Canadians. The US still in power. I think the Saudis will overtake the Americans with Canada in third place. What do you think???! Thank you so much for getting this to me so quickly. So overcome with emotion that I am wishing love to even the dog!!! Hahaha By the way the UK is worth nothing! Look how many countries beat them and you guys are all English speaking. The British Empire is no more. Yours truly, Sheikha Fatimah