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Alex Brown

Dear Government of Canada: Love the EU

With the recent news that the European Union is planning on singling out the oil sands in Canada as being extraordinarily environmentally hazardous (despite evidence to the contrary), it’s good to see Canada standing up for itself and planning trade retaliation against such an inept and corrupt organization. In fact, if one were to call the EU a paper tiger, they would be treating origami the world over unfairly. But despite the EU’s bountiful shortcomings – such as an apparent allergy to making money – this issue won’t just go away overnight given the nature of the content-starved 24/7 news cycle.So, while every party is fine-tuning their best hollow rhetoric, it’s important to not lose sight of the simple truth that the oil sands are integral to Canada’s continued success on the world stage, and that the proper and safe cultivation of oil sands crude would position the great white north as a global shot-caller for the foreseeable future. But that means nothing to the big government folks of the European Union, so in honor of their continued ineptitude, here’s a fictional letter in response to Canada’s outrage.Dear Government of Canada,Sorry this will reach you so slowly; we have recently switched to carrier pigeon as our primary means of mail delivery as we went over budget following our 5000-delegate meeting known as The Vienna Conference on Mail Delivery Ideas. It hurts us to see that you have “fired a shot across our bow” in response to our condemnation of your oil sands because, firstly, that’s just mean. And secondly, when you fired this shot, did it emit the same invisible gas that we are constantly trying to police despite the apparent inability to even keep our own ship afloat? Oh and thirdly, did you know that the same water that this… Read More

Bureaucracy: our greatest failure

Bureaucracy has and will always be a cancerous tumor on the history of mankind. After all, there is a reason the first governments were designed to protect people from that very establishment. Now it’s the other way around. Now, government establishments of the municipal, federal, or provincial variety are protected from the people they serve. They’re protected because they’re scared and they’re weak. They’re protected because they hide behind the guise of political correctness and fairness and thousands of rules and all that really means is that if you have a complaint or a problem it’s impossible to get to them because they have constructed a maze to cover up their own ineptitude.Take for example the constant strikes by essential services in Toronto. Toronto has long possessed a city council full of spineless sycophants – their government-issued lumbar support chairs is the only thing keeping their gelatinous frames upright – so they cower to every single demand. You’re a garbage man and you want more than $80,000 to do a menial job? Sure, you got it. Don’t want to take out the trash that a little old lady incorrectly packaged in one of her three municipal-issued bins? Hey that’s your prerogative. Want to threaten private citizens trying to make a buck by taking out the trash during one of your strikes. Sign right here.But lost in our giant race to the bottom is the simple fact that this red tape adds up. You might not see it physically as it twists and winds and sticks to each building on ever street; but it is there. There’s a reason countries are failing in Europe, and it’s that very same red tape. There’s a reason the American economy is still in the tank: red tape. Because that’s the thing about government: Give… Read More

Canada’s National Embarrassment

(O Canada – Edited for our current legal system)O Canada!Our home and naive land!True, our legal system is a joke, in all thy judge’s command. With self-righteous hearts we see thee fall,The Truth North weak and doomed! From far and wide,O Canada, we don’t have the guts to stand on guard for thee. Secular progressives keep our land, glorious and law free!O Canada, we don’t have the guts to stand on guard for thee.O Canada, we don’t have the guts to stand on guard for thee.(Unless you are a murderer, a rapist, or a child molester. In which case, we TOTALLY have your back.) Canada is unquestionably a beautiful and free country. A welcoming and warm land, you’d be hard pressed to find fault with this historic nation. But, like all things, Canada isn’t perfect. Despite our politeness, our acceptance, our compassion, we have an Achilles heel far more exposed than some would care to admit.That weak point – our Achilles heel – is the cruel joke known as our legal system.What other strong, proud nation would sentence a serial sex offender and destroyer of countless young lives (Graham James) to just two years in prison?What other supposed global leader would protect the worst that society has to offer as long as they are under eighteen-years-old?What other legitimate Western power would have kept releasing the likes of Robert Zimmerman, who on multiple occasions, and between slaps on the wrists, would rape and torture young women for days on end?The answer is none. And for all our elitist ways (Americans are too violent, we’re so much more passive!), we have been throwing stones from a glass house. That same passivity has its negatives, and it’s hardly something to be proud of.Now, American style justice would not work here; but nor should it have to –… Read More

Kony 2012: A Troubling Sign of the Times

Within the past two weeks there has been no greater Internet sensation than that of Kony 2012, an advocacy film released by social justice organization Invisible Children. The film, which set out to raise that great 21st century commodity known as awareness, focuses on the war crimes committed by Ugandan war criminal Joseph Kony. With over 80 million views on YouTube it quickly became the topic du jour on social media of all formats – with seemingly every other tweet or Facebook posting containing both the words stop and Kony. Coupled with countless celebrity endorsements and the admirable but misguided nature of amateur activists the world over (otherwise known as college students) the Kony 2012 campaign quickly became a singular force despite lacking an important quality: truth. The film, heavy on over-simplification, and even heavier on exploitive tactics that are designed to tug on the heartstrings (the director’s young child is featured heavily in juxtaposition to violence) is a factual disaster. Not only is the message of the film redundant (war criminals are bad!) but also the modern impact of Joseph Kony is completely oversold. Kony, now supposedly down to only a few hundred followers, fled Uganda over six years ago with his LRA forces; yet the video portrays him as a current day monster. Kony and his scattered forces – many of them child soldiers – are no longer even a direct threat to the Ugandan people, yet Invisible Children would have you believe otherwise – while simultaneously promoting an opposing force that also includes child soldiers. So the question becomes why? Why deliberately mislead the young, Internet savvy generation? Well, because they can.They can because social media campaigns are known to lack context. They can because in a world where communication has been condensed to 140 characters or… Read More

Chrysler’s Super Bowl propaganda misses the mark

During Sunday’s Super Bowl, no ad was more popular than Chrysler’s “It’s Halftime in America”. The ad, featuring Clint Eastwood channeling his character from Gran Torino, said many things about the nature of the American spirit, and it tugged on the heartstrings as it showed how Chrysler and the city of Detroit have risen from the ashes like the phoenix. The commercial, which can easily be found on YouTube where it is garnering all the level headed (and grammatically correct) praise you’d expect from a worldwide comment section, has Clint delivering propaganda disguised as a soliloquy. The following is what he really meant to say.We’ve paid for this to air during halftime because it’s a heavy-handed metaphor, and the real football teams have nothing to do with this because heavy-handed metaphors always focus more on something completely ludicrous and intangible like a national halftime for an economy.It’s halftime in America too, because of companies like Chrysler that received billions of dollars in bailout money from Washington against the wishes of the taxpayers. People are out of work and hurting because of how impractical and stubborn Washington has been with major industry, and we’re all scared because by all accounts I, Clint Eastwood, am a normal guy; so why am I waxing poetic and patriotic about a car company that is now Italian owned?The people of Detroit really have very little to do with this ad, but they’ll be referenced anyway. This ad was actually shot in Los Angeles and New Orleans but hey, halftime doesn’t discriminate. Detroit almost lost everything and now it has been upgraded from a sell to a don’t buy because Chrysler now wants an additional three billion or so from the federal government to fund further green initiatives and that has proven to be bad business.… Read More
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