Canada's Two Political Parties: Conservative, and Other

It’s Federal election time here in Canada. Which means it’s a fast-and-furious stream of incoherent messaging all tantamount to white noise as the various political figures attempt to sway Canadian passions (which are, at best, as politically frigid as Winnipeg in February).
Adding to all of this are, new to this run, a number of social media-style services all helping to add “information” (and likely being more like more noise to the signal) to help people align themselves with the political party of choice. I came across one, recently, and suddenly realised that despite the fact we have five major political parties vying for seats, they’re really only divided two ways.
Which means you either vote Conservative, or you don’t.
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Back at the (new) Calgary Farmer's Market

On Thursday, a few months behind schedule, the Calgary Farmer’s Market finally re-opened its doors at their new location near the corner of Blackfoot Trail and Heritage Drive in Southeast Calgary. It’s been long-planned and long-awaited by many — especially the Monkey, who wanted to go back to the “jumping castle”.
But if you’ve read by blog, you know that the jumping castle is no more, and Mike the Balloon Tycoon is no longer a figure at the market. Many things have changed, actually, all of them affecting the market we once knew and loved. It’s definitely not the same market anymore, and rings more of The Forks in Winnipeg, or Granville Island in Vancouver.
I can’t yet say if it’s a step up or down, but it’s definitely a step forward.
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On the mend

Let’s pick up where we left off, dear reader. As you already know, I came home in a fair amount of discomfort. Thankfully, I also came home drugged up and bearing a temporary stash of drugs to maintain the druggy state. They delivered in their promised one-two punch: lessening of pain, and increasing drowsiness.
I should point out that until Friday, I had not really known pain. My previous experiences had been limited to bonks of the head (one of which has left a noticeable scar) plus a few nasty scrapes. And with one exception (which led to stitches in my nose), every injury was resolved with a simple bandage.
Now I understand why “keeping up on your meds” is so key during recovery.
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My first surgery

Yesterday, I finally got my hernia repaired. (“Repair”, incidentally, is what the surgery is called.) It’s a short job that uses, believe it or not, part of a screen door.
It wasn’t a procedure that I was particularly looking forward to — the thought of surgery was more than a little frightening — but I’m sure I’ll be glad to have had.
Y’know, once all this pain subsides…
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An argument for wired city council

As little as a hundred years ago, North Americans lived (generally) in towns and (much smaller) cities, where it was possible to know your elected representatives personally, meet with them, and have a person-to-person chat. In the years following, our representatives have been accused more and more of being “disconnected” and “out of touch” from their constituents, as the towns and cities grow, and the number of people in a given district rise well past the point of “manageable” by a single person.
The biggest problem is not really the number of people — it’s the time councillors need to connect with them all, while still doing the job for which they were elected. In a physical sense, it’s nearly impossible. Some have turned to the internet to help bridge the gap, using technology to connect.
Allow me to show you an example, which I experienced today…
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The first week back at work

On Monday, Alex went back to work for the first time since August 2007, which is when she went on maternity leave. Then we moved to Costa Rica and back, and had a second child. During that entire time, Alex stayed at home, her job being a Mom.
Even before we moved back to Canada (Alex knowing she was pregnant), she had started to plan her return to work. She wanted to do her job again, not just because it’s something she’d spent many years training for, and not just because it helps the family income-wise. It’s also a value aspect — anyone who’s had a job feels a certain amount of ownership and responsibility about what they do.
And besides, it gives her a chance to get away from the kids…
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Going under the knife

Back in August, I was diagnosed as having a direct inguinal hernia. While not particularly serious (right now), it is periodically uncomfortable — especially with a groin-level child who doesn’t realise that hitting in the groin area can be painful with such an affliction (let alone the hits to the family jewels).
I was told at the time that it could “take a year” until I could get it fixed, but if I was willing to do things more ad hoc, they’d put me on a call list. On the call list I went … and I waited. I finally got called about a month ago, which put me in surgery on 17 March — the day before Choo Choo’s 1st birthday. Recovering from surgery on such an important day was simply something I wasn’t willing to do, so I passed. Last week, they called again.
On 15 April, I’ll get to experience surgery for the first time, ever. And I gotta tell ya, I’m more than a bit apprehensive.
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Suggestions to our political "leaders"

We’re barely a week into the 2011 Canadian Federal election, and it already feels like a month. I suppose if there’s one good thing about elections up here, it’s that they’re short — none of this near-two year campaigning that goes on south of the border.
Already, the various political parties are … well, failing. I’m rather stunned how fast that happened, actually. You’d think they’d actually try to get out a message first, but they stooped to mud-slinging pretty much out of the gate. Yeah, real positive way to foster respect and attract voters, folks…
So I feel that, as a Canadian with some significant sense of civic duty (and certainly more than enough know-it-all-ism), I need to offer up some suggestions to our so-called “leaders” (read: I choose not to lay insults as they are neither interesting nor constructive) if they have any hope of inspiring Canadians to vote for them … if at all.
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