Kitchen plan makes Allan hot

I had an “unknown caller” display on my phone, as a West Indian accented man asked me if I would be interested in participating in an “industrial development round table discussion” in Kitimat on August 17. He didn’t offer information on location or time, when asked.

I had an “unknown caller” display on my phone, as a West Indian accented man asked me if I would be interested in participating in an “industrial development round table discussion” in Kitimat on August 17.  He didn’t offer information on location or time, when asked.

Yes, I’d be interested, I said.

Just a few questions, he responded.

I gave some “information” on my background, employment status and opinions about industrial developments such as mining, forestry, oil and gas pipelines, ports in the northwestern region, etc. — and the caller said he’d check with his “supervisor” as to whether I might participate.

True, he promptly phoned back and noted they were looking for more people opposed to oil and gas pipelines, they had enough supporters(!) – but would I mind being on a waiting list in case the discussion was not fully subscribed.

Looks to me that the organized active opposition to any kind of reasonable opinion-based consensual discussion of  industrial development in our region may be more stacked than free-flowing. No doubt local media will be asked to report – or carry an edited release on the opinions of the majority of Kitimat residents. Frankly, I doubt it!

But, I’ll carefully watch for the latest “free opinions” of Kitimatians on our industrial future…

Defence Minister Peter Mackay, we all would think, is a popular and savvy politician, well aware of the serious cost-cutting challenges facing the Canadian Government as it tackles long-term deficit reduction as world economies teeter, and nobody is very sure of the future.

Therefore, his blithe announcement last Friday that the government plans to spend an outrageous $77-million renovating and combining kitchen facilities at Canadian Forces base Borden. The plan combines four existing kitchen-dining facilities into two and will “promote cameraderie” according to Mackay.

It simply beggars the mind – in conjunction with a series of other Canadian Forces announcements of future spending on Canadian forces – including multi-billion navy and coast guard shipbuilding an the more controversial F35 fighter plan for the Air Force, to mention only two.

Why is Mackay so cheerfully blasting himself in the foot with a bazooka at a time when most world economies are in chaos, people are losing their retirement savings at an alarming rate and when Canada truly needs to move both “slowly and prudently” on ANY spending projects, as recession-fears linger around the country and hard, hard choices have to be made to achieve goals barely visible on the horizon?

I certainly don’t know … but the nature of the “show must go on” sense of demonstrated government complacency is quite bewildering to me.

Peter, for heaven’s sake, you don’t have to be out daily making announcements to make people believe you’re doing your job.  Skip the “make the politician work” photo-video ops crawling around on the testing range for the CBC to show you’re one of the boys. You are NOT – you’re the Minister…!

Take some of the time you seem to have available, get the Canadian Forces’ lengthy budget list out, sit down at your desk, with a bright red marker and cross out some of the sillier and more unnecessary ‘projects. Money has to be spent wisely.

This helps bring to mind a scene in an old Indiana Jones movie, The Last Crusade, where an ancient former-crusader knight-in-rusting armour counsels Indiana to “choose wisely” in selecting a vessel to drink the “holy water of life.”

The choice of a simple carpenter’s wooden drinking cup turns out to be correct and  sounds to me like the kind of allegory one would suggest for Mackay. “Choose wisely” when you spend the taxpayers’ money in these testing days, please! Because, if you’re really looking for heat, you could find it in the Camp Borden kitchens!

One of my daily favourite news sites is Pierre Bourque’s daily “News watch.” One reason is that the editors there – I’m sure Pierre Bourque himself  has handed over the duties as he pursues sales of his art, his car racing career and his name-brand coffee promotions and his casual “overhearing” of table gossip at Hy’s Steak house in Toronto – demonstrate a great sense of humour in drawing attention to some featured stories. The Canadian government’s announcement of programs to get weight off chubby Canadians, was accompanied by a photo of a hefty Stephen Harper shaking hands with Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, with the comment, let’s put this beefy galoot on a diet.” Leaves the reader wondering which beefy galoot it was about.

 

ahewitson@telus.net

 

 

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