It’s banning season again.

Ahh despite so many unfounded assurances that we are all going to fry like bacon due to global warming, we have suffered under one of the most delayed springs in my recollection.

 Spring is now finally here though and along with it are the ravenous mosquitoes who have been delayed in their early feeding season.

 Not only do mosquitos ruin barbeques or long walks in the park, the nasty little fellas are responsible for millions of deaths worldwide. Malaria alone kills an estimated 1 million people per year.

 Back before the enviro-hysteria had DDT banned all over the place due to some rather shaky evidence, it had been found to be incredibly effective in reducing malaria infections in third-world locales. In India, DDT use reduced annual infections from 8 million cases to 50,000 (rather effective I would say). In Sri Lanka between 1934 and 1955 there were 1.5 million reported cases of malaria. When DDT was brought into use in Sri Lanka cases of malaria dropped to a reported 17 in 1963. When DDT use was halted, malaria cases in Sri Lanka rebounded to 600,000.

 Despite the fact that DDT was saving lives in the hundreds of thousands, people living in the comfort of the developed world where malaria is not a problem decided to go on an international rampage about this. 

 The egg thinning theory regarding some pretty birds was the main culprit behind the screeching for bans of this marvelous chemical. Who cares if hundreds of thousands of rather disheveled looking third-world people die? Apparently these people are worthy of sacrifice if we can increase the breeding levels of some carnivorous birds. While the evidence that DDT saves countless people is pretty clear, the evidence of DDT causing harm to birds is not quite so well documented.

 The eco-movement knows a good myth to perpetuate when they see one though. Just as they latch on to fuzzy seals and polar bears as figures to promote (despite neither being threatened), they have found that many donors to the cause are moved by the potential plight majestic birdies.  No sense letting facts get in the way when the contributions are rolling in eh?

If nothing else, the anti-human eco-kooks are good with marketing. I can see them vetting poster and flyer covers in some studio apartment.

Perfect, big eyes and clean and fuzzy. Disney could not have drawn something so cute. Who cares if the babies are no longer hunted, we need to put people out work in Labrador.

 Ahh look at that. It could have been one of the stuffed toys in a child’s bedroom. Who cares if their population is exploding, lets put some Inuit out of work and call them threatened.

 Ahh. majestic and a national symbol for many. We must imply that these birdies are at risk.

 Eeeeek. Too much reality. Get that picture out of there and keep encouraging use of food crops for biofuel. The mosquitoes will take care of those that don’t starve. It takes actual groundwork to help those people anyway, it is much easier to lobby for baseless bannings!

 Most of the myth came from the book “Silent Spring” where some info was erroneously written.

“Rachel Carson sounded the initial alarm against DDT, but represented the science of DDT erroneously in her 1962 book Silent Spring.Carson wrote “Dr. DeWitt’s now classic experiments [on quail and pheasants] have now established the fact that exposure to DDT, even when doing no observable harm to the birds, may seriously affect reproduction. Quail into whose diet DDT was introduced throughout the breeding season survived and even produced normal numbers of fertile eggs. But few of the eggs hatched.” DeWitt’s 1956 article (in Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry) actually yielded a very different conclusion. Quail were fed 200 parts per million of DDT in all of their food throughout the breeding season. DeWitt reports that 80% of their eggs hatched, compared with the “control”” birds which hatched 83.9% of their eggs. Carson also omitted mention of DeWitt’s report that “control” pheasants hatched only 57 percent of their eggs, while those that were fed high levels of DDT in all of their food for an entire year hatched more than 80% of their eggs. “

One rather uglier reason that some supported the ban on DDT is that they were aware that DDT saves lives but were worked up by the cause of the day trumped up in the book “The population time bomb” that predicted a virtual Armageddon due to increasing world population. Now that nearly 40 years have passed, it can pretty much be safely said that the author of the aforementioned book was full of crap. Despite his being full of crap, many people felt that the world could be saved if enough disease ravaged the third-world and held off that nasty population spike. Of course the supporters of such ideas are usually Volvo driving latte-lappers who have no concept of what suffering is actually occurring in undeveloped countries. They just want to feel better about saving the birdies and seals. People are secondary.

 DDT if taken in massive doses can indeed cause trouble to people and critters. Of course, were you to ingest a gallon of the mosquito repellent that you smear on your kids every day, you likely would have some health issues as well. DDT when properly used has far far more benefit than harm.

Aside from malaria, mosquitoes carry and spread all sorts of other nasty bugs. Typhus, St. Louis encephalitis, eastern equine encephalitis, highlands J virus and of course the one that is spreading to us here and now, West Nile virus.

  As usual though, environmentalists are still trying to save the world on the backs of innocent humans. Alderman Brian Pincott in Calgary (predictably) is lobbying for a ban on pesticides in Calgary.

 I doubt that Mr. Pincott and his ilk are willing to come over to my place and swat the mosquitoes off my kids in the yard. I doubt that they will come and pull the masses of dandelions that will sprout in my yard or sweep the ants from my kitchen (they will support the cash cow if I get fined for having my weeds out of control).

 Look folks, there are all sorts of nasty chemicals out there. Those chemicals have profound benefits though when properly applied and idiotic bannings solve nothing (aside from making the coffee shop crowd feel good). I can see reason for studies on specific chemicals and restrictions on specific usages. Blanket bannings however are idiocy and do much much more harm than good. Calling for blanket bannings is simply laziness and people being indifferent to benefits of chemical usages.

 Rest assured, they can ban all they like. I don’t have time to hand-weed my lawn or try to kill ants with soap and water mixes (if even that would be allowed). I will carry on as before though I may have to wait until sundown to do it.

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Bright move Bernier.

 There are many aspects of American politics that I am envious of. The equal, elected and effective senate is certainly one of them. One thing that I have been happy as a Canadian to see though is that we really have not gotten into the national enquirer style coverage of our politician’s personal lives.

 A couple weeks ago the Liberals in parliament tried to make a big deal out of the fact that Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier’s ex-girlfriend, Julie Couillard had once been married to an informant who was with the Hells Angels years ago. Big bloody deal. You would think that parliament had better things to do than discuss a minister’s personal life that was a couple degrees of separation from a criminal gang.

 Last week, it hit the media that cabinet minister Vic Toews is getting a divorce and has a young, pregnant girlfriend. 

 So what? Is that any of my business? Do I think Toew’s behaviour in his personal life is admirable? Not really. I still don’t care.

 My only concern (and I wish the media would stick to those concerns) with elected politicians is their actions within their respective legislatures. I could not care less if one of my elected representatives went home after work, put on a latex nurses uniform and had themselves whipped by lasagna noodles by their significant other who is dressed as the skipper from Gilligan’s Island. (does paint a mental picture though don’t it?)

 We elect legislators not saints. These people are not in their positions to lead by puritanical example in their personal lives, they are there to represent constituents.

 Alas, the idiot Minister Maxime Bernier has just fed the jackals and fed them well. The fool left left secret documents relating to a NATO summit at his girlfriend’s apartment. Bernier likely was drawn to Couillard’s twin assets which are not class or discretion, they are rather defined in the picture above. Rather than quietly return the documents, Couillard made sure to get some more TV time by exposing it on Quebec television. The documents have been returned, and Bernier resigned as Foreign Affairs Minister yesterday.

 Now the people howling for puritanical politicians will have been given more ammunition in their drive to expose the personal lives of the elected. They can claim that Bernier’s choice in girlfriends reflected low moral character and it was right to pillory him over that.

 The only thing that Bernier should be pilloried over is outright stupidity. He was entrusted with classified documents that potentially impact upon our entire nation. Not only should Bernier be gone as a cabinet minister, he should be gone as a member of parliament altogether.

 The media and opposition were seeking dirt and we richly rewarded by Bernier. Sadly, this may lead to an increase in poking into the personal lives of our politicians in the future and that will only further degrade Canadian politics.

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Ready for more bills?

 As consumers enjoy record high gasoline prices (and the taxes attached at the pump), governments are scrambling to find other ways to increase our general cost of living.

 In the mad scramble to reduce carbon dioxide emissions (that stuff we exhale), North America and Europe have jumped on the scheme of subsidizing and encouraging the production of ethanol. Never mind that a world food crisis has been exacerbated by this process as fields that used to grow food are now seeded for ethanol production. Never mind that ethanol is a net loser in actual energy output once the energy inputs are taken into account. Never mind that when burned ethanol releases carbon dioxide when it is burned just as fossil fuels do. The policies feel good and help to shut up the eco-crowd thus we pursue them.

 Tax increases and oppressive environmental legislations are making conventional oil and gas production more expensive than ever. Many of these added burdens usually are justified by pointing out that the world needs to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Still to this day, there has not been any actual proof that carbon dioxide emissions are indeed causing climate change or that our reduction of them would have any impact at all on the climate. Why let facts get in the way of good global hysteria though? Al Gore makes a movie laden with untruths and exagerations that a court actually exposed and laid out.    Instead of public shunning, Gore got a Nobel peace prize to bring up up to par with fellow winner Yassir Arafat.

 So, we have made it increasingly expensive to drive. We are causing food prices to shoot up. Where to next?

 Well in Alberta we have decided to go after coal. Alberta has 70% of Canada’s coal reserves and much of it is the cleanest type of coal to be found. Much of Alberta’s electricity is coal generated and we have enough here to keep generating through coal for generations.

 Rather than make use of this resource we have decided to make it more expensive as well. While I am hardly a bleeding heart, I do feel for people on fixed incomes such as seniors who somehow have to cope with this spiraling cost of living that comes with feel-good environmental idiocy. If we follow through with Ed Stelmach’s plans, we can look forward to the cost of electrical generation in Alberta to jump by 50%. Rest assured that jump in cost will go directly to the bills of consumers.

 Windmills kill birds, dams kill fish, oil and gas eat the ozone, coal is dirty and nuclear is simply evil. There is no acceptable means of large-scale energy generation in the world of environmentalism. The modern world is not going away. We depend on energy and a large part of our daily expenses are directly tied to the cost of energy.

 How much longer can we afford to keep shooting ourselves in the feet?

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Toronto stores had better stock up on pop-tarts.

 Currently the reward for morbidly obese welfare recipients in Toronto is a paltry $20 per month. That paltry number can hardly get blob a small loaded pizza. To address this outrage, a review has proposed that the allowance for obese welfare folks be raised to $51 per month. That will get those overweight recipients at least a couple nights at an all you can eat buffet.

 To qualify for this little extra allowance, a person has to have a body mass index of >40 though the government is considering lowering that bar to >30. As it is at 40 (really damn big) there are currently 31,000 fat folks on welfare who qualify for the pork chop bonus. That means that taxpayers will be spending just a hair less than $1.6 million per month to subsidize the waistlines of fat welfare folks.

 Now in the usual logic of those who insist on pandering to and enabling the irresponsible, it is expected that this extra allowance tacked on to the welfare ticket will be dedicated to purchases of low-fat milk and whole-grain products. Come off it people, these people are grossly fat and not even responsible enough to maintain a job, do you really think that they are going to waddle down to the nearest organic market or gym?

 If anything, the morbidly obese should have their meal allowances cut. Clearly they can live with a little less food intake. These people insist on being wards of the state thus I say the state is obligated to cut these people’s diets for their own good. If the obese welfare crowd wants to maintain their excessive girths, they can do what most of the country does; get a job and buy your own fattening food.  When we read of those who have grown to such a point that they are bedridden, we can’t help but wonder; who is feeding these people? Well, in the case of Toronto welfare recipients it is the Ontario taxpayer.

 With the slippery slope of the naive bureaucrats who like to piss away hard-earned tax-dollars on bleeding heart projects, I don’t doubt that taxpayers will soon be on the hook for welfare recipients overweight pets soon too.

 The creative capacity of socialists who want to waste the money you work hard for is infinite.

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Bring on the studies.

 There has been a great deal of righteous hysteria over bill C51 in Canada. This bill would bring herbal remedies on par with regular medicinal treatments as far as control and regulation is concerned.

 There has always been a large segment of people who are suspicious of conventional medicines and turn to “alternative” therapies. From the old traditional snake oil salesmen of the last century to modern “alternative” therapies such as ear candling and touch therapy, there has always been some sort of scam artist pulling people away from proven therapies and into fraudulent ones. Part of the reason for this is people do not like the often blunt and realistic prognosis that they get from conventional MDs. A long and expensive course of treatment may be recommended by an MD or even a diagnosis of in-curability. People going to many herbalists and such will get optimistic prognosis and a “prescription” for some remedy.

 Despite documentaries and articles constantly exposing the fraudulent Mexican cancer clinics, cancer patients are still flocking accross the border for “herbal” and prayer treatments for their cancer. The story is almost always the same. The Mexican “doctors” will declare the patient as cured when they have determined that the patient has no more money to spend and send them home. The “cured” patient will die shortly after coming home to an indebted or even bankrupted family.

 Conventional cancer treatments are terrible to endure and still come nowhere close to a 100% cure rate. One can see the temptation to pursue alternatives after a person has been told that they will have to endure months of sickness and pain and they may still only have a 50% chance of cure for example. What people have to consider though is that the survival and recovery rate with modern cancer treatments is worlds ahead of what they were only a few decades ago. Many cancers are no longer the death sentences that they used to be and many people have been able to enjoy a lifespan lengthened by decades due to modern treatment.

 I am not lumping herbalists in general as being as terrible as the odious souls running the Mexican cancer clinics. Most principled herbalists will recommend their clients to MDs when they  appear to have symptoms of something beyond herbal therapies. What I do want to illustrate though is the danger of eschewing modern and proven therapies for some of the “alternative” therapies.

 People often like to point out that herbal remedies are safe because they are natural or organic. There are countless natural and organic plants out there that will kill a person with a microscopic dose. A plant or fungus is hardly guaranteed to be safe simply because it has grown wild in the woods.

 Another defense of some alternative treatments is to point out that some have been used for hundreds or even thousands of years. This shallow defense of these treatments overlooks how low life expectancies were only a hundred years ago. In past times, people drilled holes in people’s skulls in order to let the evil spirits out. That practice was common and accepted at the time. Shall we embrace that traditional therapy again?

 Another common defense (though we certainly don’t hear it as much now) of herbal therapies was that they have never been properly studied thus we must assume that they are effective until proven otherwise. The reason that I say we don’t hear that defense as much as we used to is due to the fact that many herbs have now had proper clinical studies conducted and they have proven the herbal remedies to often be completely ineffective.

Echinacea has been a popular purchase for many as herbalists have informed people that it is effective in warding off and treating the common cold. With a proper study however, echinacea has unfortunately proven to be completely ineffective.

Ginkgo biloba has been prescribed as a remedy for tinnitus. This herb has now had a proper study and been proven to be completely ineffective.

Black cohosh has been recommended by naturopathic “doctors” as an alternative to hormone replacement therapy for menopausal women. With proper clinical study, this herb has been found to be completely ineffective.

St. Johns Wort has long been recommended as a treatment for depression. A clinical study was conducted and the herb was found to be completely ineffective.

 Not only have many of these herbal treatments been found to be ineffective, they often can have side-effects and interact dangerously with prescription medications. St. Johns Wort in particular can have reactions from “seratonin syndrome” to nullification of oral contraceptives. I wonder how many herbalists warn purchasers of this?

 People have to understand that a product in the suppliments aisle is not guaranteed to be safe. Iron suppliments are very common but an overdose of iron can be deadly. While doctors and herbalists agree that vitamin suppliments can be very beneficial, they still can be dangerous if a person overdoses.

 The proposed government bill will require such things for alternative medicines as warnings regarding misuse as well as proper content labelling. Because herbal remedies have been under very little control, the purity and dosages of many products can vary wildly from brand to brand. While some herbs may indeed be effective, the effacy can be lost if the product has reduced purity or is of poor quality. The consumer has no way to see these things right now.

 There may indeed be some excellent herbal remedies hiding out there that can replace conventional medicines more effectively and cheaper. Until proper studies are conducted however, we have nothing but anecdotal evidence to rely on which is exceedingly shakey at best. Many people do feel better due to the placebo effect of herbal suppliments. Why pay for expensive herbs as a placebo when cheap glucose pills can be given just as effectively?

 Many in the herbal industry oppose this bill as they know that their products will never be able to withstand the scrutiny that conventional medicines are exposed to. With exposure to proper study, many products will likely leave the shelves as they are proven to be impure or ineffective. Again people, keep in mind that proper studies may make great discoveries from the herbal world as well.

 Many people have a general distrust of the medical establishment. Conspiracy theories abound about how “Big Pharma” and doctors are suppressing natural remedies for profit. Considering how overworked Canada’s doctors currently are, I really don’t think they need to resort to some international conspiracy in order to keep business booming. Conspiracy theories are convenient for many as of course you never have to prove them, you simply blame the lack of evidence on the conspiracy itself. Human nature and the volume of people involved pretty much debunk almost every conspiracy theory. It is hard to believe that hundreds of thousands in the world medical community are all part of this conspiracy.

 Bill C51 may not be perfect, but it is a step in the right direction. Consumers deserve to know what they are purchasing and what the risks/benefits may be. I find it ironic that those howling about this bill are often the same people demanding better food labelling to identify organic foods or GM foods. Why do they not want their products to be held to the same standard that they are demanding of commercially produced foodstuffs?

 The goal is to find the most effective treatments and cures for maladies in a cost-effective way. I am sorry that some backyard herbalists may be put out of business by this. If you are going to claim something, you should not be afraid to have it exposed to study.

 As I said, bring on the studies.

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Good to see some feds taking interest.

Now while I am generally a regionalist and am more often than not being in favor of the provinces making their own decisions, I do recognize that as long as we insist on the feds holding the purse-strings in our socialized medical system, they have the right to call some of the shots.

 Conservative MP, Pierre Poilievre says that Ottawa should cut the expenditures on sex-change operations from federal health transfers to the provinces.

 The reality of socialized medicine is that we have a finite pool of spending and that spending has to be prioritized. In a perfect world we would have a bottomless pool of cash to throw at every Prince Charming who wants to become a princess. Sadly, the world is not perfect and we have much better things to do with our increasingly dwindling healthcare dollars than to fund sex-changes.

 If a person feels that bigger breasts, a better nose or a lack of a pecker will benefit their mental well-being, hey power to ya. Spend your own money on it.

 If a person is mentally confused and thinks they are Napolean, shall healthcare pay for surgery to shorten them to help them fit the role? The possibility of surgical intervention to ease the mentally confused is endless, our taxdollars are not.

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Environmental knee-jerk reactions.

 Ahh I see that the United States has leaped out and declared polar bears to be a threatened species. This is despite estimated polar bear populations having doubled in the last 40 years.

 I wonder how much the speed of growth must increase before populations are considered stable?

 Now this declaration will have some impacts of that there is no doubt.

 The push to ban aboriginal guided polar bear hunts will now have more strength to it. Sure that industry is only worth a few million a year, but in considering how few people actually live up there this is a strong economic hit to them. But hey, why not put a few more native people on welfare in order for latte-lappers in urban areas to feel better about protecting them cute fuzzy critters eh?

 The next impact will be an increased push against Arctic oil exploration.  Ironically, those opposed to Arctic oil production are often those who are howling about high energy costs. You cant have it both ways guys.

 This is an area where I have some knowledge. I just got back from spending a few months on the Beaufort Sea a little while ago. That was my third winter spent in the Arctic working on oil exploration projects. My company builds maps and measures ice-thicknesses to assure the safety of workers up there.

 I love working in the Arctic. I have had the rare privilege of seeing a wild polar bear among other animals and they are beautiful. I would never want to see these animals threatened with extinction.

 What I am stumped on though is how people think oil exploration is going to harm polar bears? So far in three years up there, the worst incident that I have seen due to our operations has been a ptarmigan that got hit by a truck on an ice-road. No polar bears have even come close to being harmed yet.

 When working on the sea, our prime form of transportation is shown below.

 While those nodwells are pretty handy on the ice, rest assured they do not move quickly enough to run down a polar bear. Anti-freeze is specially contained and we have pans under all vehicles in order to avoid leaving so much as a drip of motor oil on the ice.

 Oh and Paul there who is pictured above will likely end up on welfare as will his kids if the environmentalists have their way. I keep saying the welfare thing simply as it is true. There are not many ways to make a living in the Arctic. The oil and gas industry offers generations worth of prosperity for native populations in the North. While the latte-lappers like to envision noble Eskimos living in igloos in tune with nature, they seem to always forget to ask the aforementioned natives if indeed that is what they want. Rest assured, while most northern aboriginals proudly embrace many traditional aspects of their culture, they are not eager to return to the harsh days of living on the land with a life expectancy under 30 years.

 For our accomodations we stay in barge camps that are towed out in summer and frozen in for the season. We only work winters as transportation is easier and our environmental impact is nil. All waste is trucked out and taken to approved disposal facilities.

 Part of my posting pics is simply to show where I disappear to every winter, the other part is to point out that I do have some idea what the hell I am talking about regarding Arctic issues. The usual (urban dwelling) environmentalist reaction to criticism is that the critic has no knowledge of such issues.

 We have repeatedly dedicated space in our camps to university groups and such who are doing arctic studies and are on limited budgets. Yes those evil oil companies are actually encouraging impartial impact studies. I am happy to announce that a group studying seals who resided briefly with us a few years ago found that seal populations in active oil areas were far higher than they had anticipated. They seemed almost disappointed to discover that we had not been having a negative impact.

 That is the reality. Modern oil development in the Arctic has virtually no negative environmental impact.

 Environmental controls have a role and it is an important one. Blind opposition to development and kneejerk reactions to issues do not help anybody however.

 The world is suffering under high energy prices. There is tremendous amount of oil and gas in Canada’s Arctic. Rest assured if this is ever brought onstream we can see some easing on the cost of living for many Canadians. We also will see the employment of countless Inuit, Dene and Inuvialuit people up there who currently have nothing but dependency to look forward to. So far though, not a drop of Arctic oil or gas has been brought to market as the pipeline application has been mired by environmental challenges for decades.

 The energy companies and their contractors do not want to harm the environment believe it or not.

 Everybody involved will be better off if we keep our environmental concerns based within reality. The listing of polar bears by Americans as threatened was baseless and will have negative impacts on us all.

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Alas it appears that I have offended the comic book gang.

 Yes folks in my innocent proposal to speed the process and save taxpayer’s dollars on sex-change procedures, I appear to have raised the ire of the comic book crowd in Canada

 I guess I can see how transexuals and comic book folks can relate to each other to a degree.

 Both are sub-cultures that are often the target of some ribbing. Both have terribly limited themselves in their choice of sexual partners. Both are often prone to some rather less than fashionable choices of dressing. Both are prone to living in their parent’s basements well into adulthood. While transsexuals often can be found wearing thongs, comic book folks have often suffered wedgies thus can relate to posterior pressure.

 These commonalities clearly have led to some empathy between these groups thus I should not be too terribly surprised that in offending one, I have offended another.

 I see the fellow who has taken issue with me has fallen back on the usual bigot accusation among the rest of his profanity laden rant. Ahh well, tis the usual tactic of those with no case. An irony in that is the abuse I took in the past with my open support of same sex marriages from conservatives who are usually of similar mindset to me. While we often debated heatedly, I never had to lower myself to the near-Godwin type of cop out of the accusations of bigotry.

 As stated before, I could not care less what transexuals (or comic book geeks) want to do with themselves. They have every right to pursue whatever makes them happy. 

 A line gets crossed when one is asking me as a taxpayer to fund their pursuits however. I do not and never will support public funding for surgery that simply is not medically required.  I fear the comic book gang may have themselves declared an identifiable group and then pursue liposuction and bicep implants with my taxdollars.  The comic book folks would be well advised to thicken their skins rather than their waistlines if indeed they want to be taken more seriously.

 Either way, I still have not had any applications for my garage procedure though I am keeping my fingers crossed. I believe in recycling and do indeed have a needle and thread. I will be able to do the woman to man thing shortly upon treating my first man to woman patient.

 

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Tax dollars at work.

 I see that Ontario has resumed covering sex-change operations within their healthcare system. I wonder how long it will take before Alberta follows suit?

 Of course in trying to justify this utterly elective procedure, it has been pointed out that the de-bonings will only cost around $20,000 each. That must be comforting to people dying on waiting lists in Canada’s increasingly unsustainable socialized healthcare system. I would hate to be the nurse who has to explain to somebody; “I am sorry sir, we will have to delay your bypass surgery a little longer, the operating room is occupied by a man getting his weiner removed.”

 Well, clearly the push will be on soon for Alberta to cover these procedures. We have a few million people here and doubtless there has to be at least a handful who want to have healthy and functional portions of their bodies removed on the taxpayers backs.

 In anticipation of this, I am offering my surgical services for sex-change operations right now. My procedure will have the same outcome and will only cost $200 per organ. My special offer costs 1% of the Ontario procedure. I have invested in the required materials that are pictured below. 

Anesthetic.

Precision surgical organ removal tool.

Infection prevention.

Covering for the incision so the patient may leave my garage.

 Until the public system in Alberta can create casterati at a price comparable to mine, I would say there is utterly no reason to burden our doctors and hospitals with those excess peckers. I look forward to doing many procedures.

Fivefeetoffury kinda says it well too.

UPDATE

 With more digging I have found that sex changes are already covered in Alberta.

 According to Egale: “The Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP) covers SRS and a variety of related procedures including chest reconstruction and breast augmentation.

SRS is performed in a Montreal clinic while Alberta physicians perform the other procedures.”

 So not only are taxpayers paying for these operations, we are paying to fly people around the country to get them.

 In looking at Alberta medical benefits legislation however I find this:

Alteration of appearance surgery

8   No benefit is payable with respect to a surgical procedure for the alteration of appearance performed for emotional, psychological or psychiatric reasons unless the Minister gives approval prior to the surgery being performed.” 

 Now would not the statement in the legislation preclude the wishes of these folks seeking to have their jewels cut off? Does the Minister approve every request?

 I must say I am confused (not so confused as to forget my own gender however).

 Hey, if somebody wants to surgically mutilate themselves, I truly could not care less if they are paying their own bill. Our healthcare system is way overtaxed as it is however and there are higher priority things to be done before paying for noodle removals.

 Now what am I going to do with all that stuff I bought for my garage surgery?

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Lets get straight on what censorship is.

  We have some very real and very serious issues happening in Canada regarding freedom of speech. Human Rights Commissions are being used to stifle free political expression and the supporters of these commissions are using the legal system to try and shut down critical comment through SLAPP actions. When a Human Rights Commission can squelch political speech, this is a real case of censorship.

 Back in the 60s when artists were being charged for “lewd” drawings, that was censorship.

 Some people however are a tad confused as to what censorship is.

 In federal bill C10, there is a clause that states:  “Public financial support of the production would not be contrary to public policy”.

 Due to this, artists across Canada have begun the shrill cry that they are being censored.

David Cronenberg said: “‘It sounds like something they do in Beijing.”  Uh, Mr. Cronenberg, I strongly suggest that you look at China’s support for free speech, free expression or pretty much freedoms regarding anything before making such an idiotic comparison. Hyperbole does not help make your case.

 Sarah Polley has jumped into the ring saying: “It’s the job of artists to provoke and to challenge. Part of the responsibility of being an artist is to create work that will inspire dialogue, suggest that people examine their long-held positions and, yes, occasionally offend in order to do so.”

 Fair enough Sarah, but it is not the job or obligation of Canadians to fund such productions.

 Here is a quote that all you Canadian artists can make use of: “He who pays the piper calls the tune”.

 Personally, I think the government should get out of funding many of these “artistic” endeavors altogether. While we are indeed still funding them though, the government holding my tax-dollars in trust has every damn right to determine which productions get funding and which don’t. 

  Had the government being trying to ban production of controversial films, then we would indeed be speaking of censorship here. That is not the case. These artists are free to make pretty much whatever they want. If they go out of the bounds of what the government has determined to be in good taste, then the producers simply have to round up their own money (like everybody else in the business world).

 Canada has produced many successful movies and television shows that can hold their own in the market. The secret to this is to make entertaining productions that appeal to a broad market.  This is not rocket science folks. We have talented actors, directors, writers etc. who can and will break into the industry given time. The cost of indy productions is a fraction of what it used to be and online promotion and such of films has opened a whole new world to small producers. Make use of these things and quit whining for my money.

 Below are some creative films of varying Canadian content and I have no idea how much if any government funding went into the initial production of them. Many of them have become cult-classics and still hold appeal in the DVD market.

Heavy Metal    Scanners  Prom Night  My Bloody Valentine   My American Cousin  The Changeling

Meatballs  Porky’s 

 There are many more. I have just listed those that I thought were entertaining to watch though not Oscar quality. My omission of other Canadian productions is not censorship by the way, it is me exercising my right to post or not post whatever the hell I want.

 There are a few commonalities in the listing of the above films. All of them proved to be financially successful. All of them made it into popular distribution. All of them pursued genre niches such as cult horror and tasteless comedy that was not as common back then. All of them used creativity instead of massive funding in order to be entertaining. It may be noted that all of the above are from the late 70s early 80s. Much of the reason for that is that government funding for films was not as lucrative back then. If a producer wanted to have their production financed, they actually had to produce a financially viable film.

 As with most things subsidized, when the producer no longer has to worry about the quality of the product, the outcome is almost invariably crap. As long as we are funding garbage, we likely will not see many more films break into the broader North American market as we used to.  It should come as no surprise that the government funded, 2007 Canadian production Young People Fucking will likely never be shown outside of the odd film festival and perhaps late at night on government subsidised stations such as Showcase.

 When trash gets subsidized, truly talented and creative people will often leave for greener pastures. Canada has exported far more actors and directors than it has movies these days. We have the talent, but talented people often have ambition. They would like to see something more for their careers than being part of some subsidized sub-rate “artistic” production in Canada that will only be shown in the most obscure of independent theaters. 

 We have talent in Canada. Lets keep it here by letting popular demand determine what is produced in film as opposed to talent in mooching for tax-funded handouts. If anything, many of these artists are censoring themselves in a roundabout way by relegating our film industry to a non-profitable niche-market for the latte-crowd to view in little film festivals.

 Our proximity to the United States is often what is cited as the reason that taxpayer money is required to shore up Canadian productions. That is simply BS. The United States is a huge market and hey… they speak exactly the same language as us. It is a great opportunity for film to have a huge and similar culture and market right next door to us in order to market our productions to. We used to successfully do just that and we could do it again.

 Back to the initial point of this rant, there is no unfair censorship of films happening in Canada. Those who want to produce material that remain within the bounds of good taste will still likely qualify to get funding from the taxpayer’s teat (for now). Those who want to push the limits of good taste can still produce whatever the hell they want, they are not censored but it is time they became self-funding.

 

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