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Monthly Archives: October 2013

Cuba’s recent announcement that it will be merging its two currencies was the most exciting development in my life in months. But let’s blow right past the part where my life is apparently excruciatingly boring and get to the fun currency stuff!

What would Che say?

Cuba’s currency situation has been cray for a while now. For the past two decades, the peso convertible (CUC) has been used by rich folk and tourists, while the peso cubano (CUP) was used by the unwashed masses. And I mean unwashed–many Cubans barely make enough CUPs to cover the cost of soap. The CUC is quasi-pegged to the US dollar, and it is now worth about 1.03 USD. Twenty-five CUPs are worth one CUC. The tale of these two star-crossed currencies is a story of persistent inequality in spite of, and at times because of, Cuba’s communist regime. Human nature and global necessity have given rise to a two-tiered society in Cuba, and Raul Castro’s regime is attempting to level the playing field with reform. But can a unified currency unify Cuba?

An article in the Havana Times describes the feeling of having to pay for goods in CUPs instead of CUCs in a humorously depressing way: “The numbers are shocking…they remind you how screwed you are.” This is because many consumer products are priced in CUCs, so Cubans must change the CUPs they are paid in to purchase them. But most Cubans who get paid in CUPs only dream of being able to afford the flatscreen televisions and other luxury items that CUCs could get them. Many would settle for the money to buy a beer on a hot day.

Cuba’s GINI coefficient, a measure of income inequality, has been on the rise since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989 and the introduction of the peso convertible in 1994. In the late ’80s it was estimated at 0.24, but by the mid-2000s it had risen to 0.5, moving The Economist to comment that “Cuba is starting to resemble the rest of Latin America, but without the civil liberties.” Also, most of Latin America can afford to pay its doctors and doesn’t come close to having the highly developed underground economy that Cuba does. Take a step in any direction at a Cuban resort and you will find something being done under the table in the name of helping an enterprising Cuban renovate his home or buy a car. Even my parents, two of the most straight-laced people who have ever existed, accidentally purchased contraband rum on their Cuban vacation.

In a country where it is more lucrative to be a tour guide than a doctor, the restoration of a single currency will hopefully bridge the gap between Cuba’s elites and those who must choose to either circumvent the system or suffer it. Access to the peso convertible has been synonymous with affluence, and it will be interesting to watch how Cuban society changes with its gradual exit. There are  worries of sharp inflation since the CUP, while theoretically equal in value to the CUC, is actually worth so much less. Adding to these concerns are questions around whether the Cuban government’s odd system of giving state-run enterprises a 1:1 exchange rate on CUCs and CUPs will necessitate painful spending cuts. However, the likely currency devaluation is attractive from a trade standpoint, especially for the tourism industry. Let’s just hope the spoils trickle down to the poor doctors who need them.

This currency drama is almost as exciting as watching all those Cuban telenovelas that don’t exist because no one has any money to make them; much like a telenovela, it will end in marriage, but instead of two ridiculously attractive people, two currencies will merge. It remains to be seen if the union will be a happy one.

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image: Reuters/Mike Segar

Lately Rand Paul has been churning out almost as many bizarre scandals as our beloved Mayor Rob Ford. The only difference is that, while Rob Ford does stupid things, Rand Paul says stupid things. And these things are not only stupid, but in many instances dangerous and awful. In fact, it is truly worrying that any elected official should go around propagating such hateful crap.

Paul’s latest incident occurred yesterday when he was caught summarizing the plot of Gattaca in a speech using words taken pretty much ad verbatim from Wikipedia. And, honestly, even if I had stopped that sentence at “speech,” it still would have been weird! (He was trying to make the point that a future with legal abortion and scientific breakthroughs will lead to the widespread practice of eugenics. In case that wasn’t obvious.)

One of Paul’s pet projects is a holdover from his father, former Representative Ron Paul, which is catchily named “Audit the Fed.” Actually, Ron Paul also wants to reinstate the gold standard and stop the theft that is inflation, but junior is taking a more moderate position, which apparently entails refusing to vote in favour of Janet Yellen as Chair of the Fed unless Congress also votes on a bill that would provide more oversight of the Fed. That nasty, scheming Fed.

Actually, I will grant him that. It has always puzzled me that an unelected entity has so much power over something so important. Though this is separate from the issue of lack of oversight at the Fed, which I personally don’t think is a problem. But we half agree on something, so that’s kind of a thing. I also didn’t mind his filibuster against drone strikes on Americans on American soil. Ok, fair enough.

However, one of the things I cannot accept is his relentless fear-mongering about an impending WAR between Muslim and Christian countries. In a speech at the Value Voters summit, Paul used his time to warn Americans about the impending war on Christianity that will be perpetrated by Muslim extremists, the numbers of whom he estimates at around 100 million. Leaving aside the fact that he makes no mention of how he arrived at this number, where is the evidence of this Muslim conspiracy against Christianity?

Ugh.

Well, the Boston Marathon bombing, for starters. Duh. An attack by two Chechen Muslims on athletes from 90 countries is undeniable proof of a vast, looming Muslim invasion of America. It doesn’t matter that, as Dean Obeidallah rightly points out in his article in the Daily Beast, that if this had anything to do with Christianity, they would probably have struck one of Boston’s numerous churches. Also, why did they choose one of the more internationally flavoured events for their attack? Nope, replies Rand, a strike on American soil is a strike against America, and, therefore, against Christianity. Hm….so I am beginning to understand.

America = Christianity

100 million Muslims = extremist

1.6 billion Muslims in the world

Therefore:

6.25% of the world’s Muslims are raring to battle the Christian Empire of America. That’s more than one in 20. I’m pretty sure that one in 20 Muslims have more important things to worry about than destructing Christianity. But I could be wrong.

In any case I don’t understand what he’s so worried about–according to most sources, around 80% of the Americans identifiy as Christian, which adds up to around 246 million people. So for every one Muslim extremist, there are 2.5 righteous American Christians. Outnumbered! Phew.

But wait. What kind of stupid idiot would show up for Paul’s war against 100 million nonexistent jihadists? Surely not all the Christians in America are that dumb. And sure enough, according to a poll that I just made up in my head just now, a mere 8% of America’s Christians would show up for the fictitious war. Oh shit–now they are outnumbered. Good thing the 100 million extremists are imaginary.

Yes, jihadists exist. Hundreds of millions of them do not, and most Muslims are as worried about them as Rand Paul is. Warmongering is not a good way to deal with religious differences, as all of history forever and ever has taught us. In fact, it is exactly this exclusionary, us-against-them attitude that contributed to the alienation of the Boston bombers from American society. (Though what they did is obviously unjustifiable.) I would argue that the isolating effect of America’s gradual slide toward a less communal, more every-(wo)man-for-himself society played a way bigger role in this whole thing than religion. And if Mr Paul is the best America has to offer, then they’re going to have to treat their immigrants (and citizens) better–they’ll need them!

(NB: Sorry Americans. I know there are a lot of smart ones of you out there; I’m not talking about you.)

Puerto Rico’s strongest export? Charisma.

Watching Puerto Rico’s steady slide toward default is like watching a slow-motion car crash. “What slide toward default?” most people will ask. Ah. The one that is being covered by not one single respected American publication because no one in America has thought about Puerto Rico for around 115 years, or since America took possession of the newly liberated Spanish colony. I had to learn about PR’s bond crisis through a series of articles in The Economist, and even the New York Times relegated the news to some pseudo-section called Dealbook. Whatever that is.

Puerto Rico’s situation brings two comparisons to mind. The Economist draws a comparison to Greece as “a chronically uncompetitive place locked in a currency union with a richer, more productive neighbour.” Moreover, Puerto Rico’s public sector is bloated (surprise, surprise), and it’s debt-to-GDP ratio is 70%–higher than any other American state. And while PR is not a state, it is also not a country and it’s treated by the US as a state. Technically, it’s a territory, and though its residents are citizens of the United States and pay with the greenback, they cannot vote in federal elections. Exhausted yet?! I am.

The second comparable situation is the string of bankruptcies declared by a handful of California cities and, more recently, Detroit. However, as that weird Dealbook crap points out, Puerto Rico cannot declare bankruptcy due to its territory status–it’s in a “legal twilight zone.” This article is from weeks ago but it reports that Puerto Rico has essentially LOST ACCESS TO THE BOND MARKET. Of course, this could not have come at a worse time, with the shutdown of the US government and a near-default of federal US bonds. But now that’s all over (for now) and, still, all anyone can talk about is Ted Cruz and Miley Cyrus. Enough!

See what I mean about the charisma?

All of this could be solved by granting Puerto Rico US statehood, an option that its citizens, who were historically loth to fully join America, approved in a referendum in 2012. However, like all issues that must go through Washington, this one will almost certainly result in partisan squabbling and eventual gridlock. Puerto Rico votes Democrat, and Republicans will not tolerate an influx of democratic senators, reps, and electoral college votes. And so again, US politicians will act in the interest of ensuring their party’s continued success rather than in the interests of their constituents.

Because, though politicians are not accountable to Puerto Ricans, this decision will still hurt the people that do have the right to a federal vote. In the event of a Puerto Rican default (proposed by Matt Yglesias), investors will lose out. This includes a not insignificant number of US citizens’ pensions and mutual funds. And if PR chooses instead to cut its citizens off from social spending, the US will probably have to use tax dollars to prop it up anyway. Puerto Ricans don’t pay federal taxes, so that’s all on you, America. (:

In general, this crisis really underlines the shitty shittiness involved in PR’s status as a US territory. Puerto Rico has no control over its monetary policy or exchange rate, which would be very helpful right now in restoring some competitiveness. It is subject to US labour laws, which are not really applicable to an economy as uncompetitive as PR’s. (The minimum wage in Puerto Rico is pretty much equal to the average wage.) Reforms are supposedly being passed, but there is only so much a governor can do. The tax incentives for American manufacturers to set up shop in Puerto Rico expired in 2006, and politicians appear to have just kind of forgotten to renew them, or to do anything else helpful for that matter. If Washington doesn’t start paying attention, something really stupid is going to happen–something that will require making it rain on PR from Washington’s rubber-band wallet. And that’s not good enough for a territory that produces the most pop stars per capita in the world.

Come on Ricky–buy some Puerto Rican bonds!

It is common practice in most classrooms for the instructor to assure students there are no stupid questions, but that’s just not true. My favorite stupid questions as of late invariably relate to the revelations that Canada and the US have been spying on a bunch of our allies, most notably Brazil and Germany. Both of these nations have demanded “answers” and “explanations” from us. What the hell do they expect us to say? The answer is that we are incredibly shitty, but I guess that’s not quite what they’re looking for here.

However, I remain slightly confused as to what they expect us to say, as no explanation or answer is really going to help anything at this point. Most of these demands likely have to do with not wanting to be perceived as weak by their own citizens and by a world in which spooks are waiting in the wings for a moment of vulnerability, at which point they will swoop in and impose communism. Or Nazism?

Where is Agent Devlin when we need him?

But maybe Brazil and Germany’s leaders honestly think that there is a perfectly reasonable explanation that will exonerate Canada and the US and let relations get back to normal. It is in this hope that I present this list of possible (probable) explanations for the reports of espionage by Canada and the United States. Because “we are incredibly shitty” just won’t cut it.

More than friends? He wishes.

President Obama has a huge crush on Angela Merkel and wanted to see if she had a boyfriend

Obama went as far as to tap her cellphone when he found flirty texts from French President Hollande in Merkel’s inbox. Chill out, Obama–you guys are both married! I know you both share an awkward love of beer and being leaders of countries, but will that help you choke down the rouladen and liverwurst? Fall back, Obama. If she wasn’t interested before, she sure isn’t into you after this little stunt!

The Canadian Press

Harper was trying to protect Brazil from Nazis

As much as it looks like a case of industrial espionage, the real, top-secret reason for Canada’s surveillance of Brazil’s mining and energy ministry was to protect Brazil from an imminent Nazi invasion. Maybe it seems like I took this from the plot of the Cary Grant movie Notorious, but sometimes reality imitates art. This explanation is likely true, as Canada’s confirmed BFF Israel has been monitoring the situation for some time and was able to warn us in time. So Brazil owes us a big thank-you hug! …but maybe send us chocolates instead–we wouldn’t want Harper to end up with an awkward secret crush on a fellow head of state like some people.

https://i1.wp.com/blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/files/2013/09/bidenmexico5.jpg

Reuters/Edgard Garrido

The US spied on Mexico because Joe Biden wanted insider info on potential bro Pena Nieto

Yes–this is far-fetched. However, when you’re 70 years old and have a tendency to run your mouth, it can get lonely, especially when your boss is busy macking on a stern German lady. It was discovered last month that the NSA hacked into Pena Nieto’s email while he was still campaigning for the Mexican Presidency. Obama has professed to have no knowledge of this spying (does this imply that he knew about the other stuff?), so that leaves Biden. This guy left the US in the middle of the debate over whether the US should strike Syria’s government to visit Pena Nieto, though he cancelled a scheduled trip to Panama soon after. And look at how happy he looks there! Is that because he learned from sifting through Pena Nieto’s private emails that the Mexican President prefers chilaquiles and a michelada after a night of heavy drinking? I’d say he’s in as long as he can speak Spanish better than George W. Bush….but a drunken pigeon can speak Spanish better than Dubya, so Biden’s good.

The next big Mexican show: El Jefe y El Tarugo

George W. Bush actually initiated the spying on Mexican officials to improve his piss-poor Spanish

“But wait!” the discerning reader will exclaim. “It is reported that the NSA initiated its surveillance on top Mexican officials years before the bro-bug bit Biden!” Yes, discerning, alliteration-loving reader. It was actually Dubya who dreamed up this spying scheme in a bid to learn to speak “fancy-style Spanish.” The hapless former President found he could make himself understood when asking for a hotel with two single beds, but ran into trouble when he tried to discuss foreign policy or other smart-person stuff. And when he tried to speak of these things in Spanish, he was even less successful. He tried to enlist the help of Rosetta Stone, but concluded that it would make more sense to spy on officials to learn authentic “Mexico talk.” His reasoning was that Mexicans seem to have different ways of saying things. For example, he heard Spaniards refer to him as “el Presidente de los Estados Unidos,” whereas in Mexico they frequently called him “ese pinche pendejo.” Further confusion abounded when former Mexican President Calderon referred to Bush simply as “el tarugo ese.” Dubya may have to take this riddle to the grave….

The US put France under surveillance due to reports of animal abuse

After learning that the French for real eat frog legs, top US officials commented: “WTF?? That’s an actual thing? We thought it was just a racist stereotype!” They then began monitoring France’s communications because of the enormous threat this gastronomical practice posed to frogs everywhere. One of the US government’s top foreign and domestic policy initiatives has in recent years been the protection of the rights of animals everywhere….ok I’m fooling no one with this crap.

Canada and the US spy on their allies because we are shitty.

There is no plausible explanation that justifies it. There is no Hitchcockian plot twist executed by Cary Grant to save our dignity. But who needs dignity when you can make a boatload of cash by conducting industrial espionage on your allies? Haha sucker-fool allies–now who’s the tarugo?

I know I had some harsh things to say about Canada recently; I went so far as to call it a d-bag and compare it to a belligerent child. I have had something of a change of heart, and I owe it to The Economist‘s offbeat use of the word “sexy” to describe Canada.

The Canadian Press/Adrian Wyld

The event that inspired the elevation of Canada to sex symbol status was the announcement of a free trade agreement between Canada and the European Union. Hot damn! I was beginning to think that the agreement to which Harper has been alluding for some time was nothing more than a mythical yet wondrous figment of Harper’s imagination. The unicorn of trade agreements.

sadhillnews.com

But it turns out that I was wrong, and Harper was just playing it close to the chest for a change. Heh. Of course, not everyone will be happy about this deal: there are those who believe that protectionism, not liberalisation, is the path to a thriving local economy that actually benefits locals. There is a lot of worry in particular about Ontario’s troubled manufacturing sector, especially its automotive industry. An influx of cheap European cars is probably bad news, but opinion is still surprisingly divided over the harm vs good that will come of it because, on the other hand, Canada can now sell more of its cars to Europeans.

In any case, this is exactly the sort of cyclical argument on free trade in which I do not wish to engage. Economic and political integration between nations is usually a good thing, and free trade foments both. People hold up the subprime mortgage crisis and subsequent eurozone crisis as examples of inevitable consequences of financial globalization, but I would argue that these events were more a result of lax regulation in the US and debt-to-GDP panic in the eurozone. That is, their actual cause was not financial integration between nations, but isolated cases of stupidity, the effects of which were exacerbated by linkage. So, to me at least, the argument against financial linkage should more rightly be one against stupidity.

One could argue that if linkage exacerbates shocks, then that is reason enough for nations to withdraw, but it is not that simple. There are enormous political and economic benefits to integration, and isolation is looking nearly impossible these days. As technology changes the global landscape ever more radically, it is becoming increasingly difficult for nations to shield themselves from the reverberations of economic shocks in far-off lands, even when their laws in theory should. And when we look upon one of the world’s most isolated nations, North Korea, it becomes apparent that isolationism is not a good look for a modern economy. (Though there are obviously other factors at work in North Korea’s case.)

KCNA

Unfortunately, the complete opening of trade borders that some predicted would result from globalization has taken a stumble following the financial crisis of 2007. Far-reaching, multilateral trade agreements are increasingly being replaced by bilateral or regional pacts, and many countries’ knee-jerk response to the recession has been to tighten capital flow rules and impose prohibitive tariffs. Which is so unsexy.

The sexy thing for governments to do now would be to collaborate more fully in the task of building an international governing body that we can all agree on. Since the Harper government insists on undermining the UN at every turn, perhaps it could be a forerunner in establishing a viable alternative–in that case Canada would instantly be promoted to “dead sexy” status. An international governing body would empower governments to tell the US to regulate its shit, and the eurozone to learn basic economics instead of listening to Rand Paul. One would hope.

Canada is still a douchebag for spying on Brazil–that needs to happen less if we are hoping for increased integration–but I suppose Baird’s comments on the fraudulent Maldives elections were warranted. The election was really really fraudulent, and it appears that no other country really minded–or were they just too busy worrying about their US bonds? I begrudgingly award kudos to Baird for speaking out. Though I still think some tact in other instances would do wonders.

Yesterday someone sent me an online petition to “remove Stephen Harper as PM of Canada.” That’s when I realized I should take it down a notch. I’m not his biggest fan, but he’s not at Putin or Maduro level. Sometimes he even does things that don’t completely enrage me. And he may turn out to be our sexiest PM yet–especially if he gets a real unicorn for Canada just like he got us those pandas.

I recently did a design project where I re-branded Mexican TV network Televisa. The old logo is supposed to be an eye looking through a television screen. I did several different logos and sent them to my instructor with an explanation that basically said they would probably piss off most Mexicans who saw them.

Exhibit #1:

televisa_hollywood

“Blasphemy!” Mexicans will say. We are not some cheap copy of the US.

…which brings us to Exhibit #2:

televisa_mexicanos

This is the one that I knew would cause the most controversy, but perhaps it’s also the most telling. Mexicans are fond of accusing Televisa of meddling in an already flawed political system; the most recently elected President, Enrique Pena Nieto, appears to have been the beneficiary of favorable coverage on Televisa. So the relationship between network and nation is an especially fraught one for Mexicans, and they are not likely to appreciate a logo that ties the two so closely together.

But, really, no media outlet is completely impartial, and the question becomes whether the bias is obvious or well-concealed. Some biases seem pretty harmless, such as the CBC’s left-wing bias as alleged by Ezra Levant(!). Some are a little more suspect, such as Venezuelan network Venevision’s sudden swing to the Chavista camp in 2005, and some are downright insidious, such as North Korea’s KCTV. Despite this, I have never heard anyone speak as bitterly of media bias as Mexicans do about Televisa’s skewed coverage.

Granted, Televisa has a 70% market share of the Mexican broadcast market. And The Guardian’s 2012 report that Televisa actually sold favorable coverage to their longtime political bedfellows, the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI), is disheartening to say the least. What I find interesting about this is that every single Mexican I have even spoken to about this (too many to count) is aware of and furious about this situation. Perhaps this is just my own personal bias, but I get the distinct impression that the majority of Mexicans know how things go down between the PRI and Televisa. Are there uninformed masses of which I am not aware? Perhaps.

If my conclusion is correct, then why on earth did Mexicans vote the PRI into power? And should receiving favorable coverage be a reason not to vote for a party? (If the PRI paid for it, then, yes.) There are a few more interesting parts to this story that don’t add up.

Once in power, one of Pena Nieto’s first proposals was a bid to de-monopolize the telecoms industry, which would spell disaster for Televisa. And, lo and behold, the damn thing actually passed in June! Why would the PRI attempt to dissolve a monopoly that served it so well in the past?

Another part of this story that doesn’t sit well is the odd half-retraction letter that The Guardian and Televisa jointly issued in February of 2013. The letter basically states that The Guardian’s reports of the PRI buying favorable coverage from Televisa were “impossible to verify beyond doubt”, and at times blames these reports for causing the unrest in Mexico during the elections. Perhaps the June 7th reports sparked some unrest, but the real shitstorm began on May 11th, when Pena Nieto was booed off the stage at a university for failing to adequately address students’ questions on his record of misuse of force against protesters. I find something wholly sinister about the tone and very existence of the letter, which was obviously the product of an extended legal struggle between the two outlets. Perhaps that’s just the Mexican in me….

Despite their deep mistrust of Televisa, Mexicans will sit down every night to watch their favorite telenovela (or favorite five telenovelas in my case)–in many cases, even the men will watch! Mexicans’ intense relationship with Televisa serves as a cultural rallying point and a way to unite a nation that is surprisingly individualistic in many ways.

televisa ad 2

And the men aren’t too bad either…

At each opening of Parliament, the ruling party is given the opportunity to address Canadians through a representative of the British monarch. This is called a Throne Speech. It’s a great chance to say vaguely flattering things about Canadians to distract them from the fact that the government has done the exact opposite of what it proposed in the last speech. Actually I don’t know if that’s always been true, and after trying to read the most recent Throne Speech, I am in no mood to read more. Now I understand why Rob Ford was sleeping at work: He was reading that stupid speech.

Our government recognizes the value of a competent public serv….SNORE!

Let me clarify: I care deeply about the politics of our country. I just think that they could do with some spicing up–and truthifying–whenever Harper is controlling the content. Who could forget his performance in the 2011 Federal Leaders Debate? Snooze–shut up about the dumb economy already!

So without further ado, I present my revised, truthified version of Harper’s 2013 Throne Speech–Chad Kroeger and all:

Honourable Senators,

Devaan Ingraham / The Canadian Press

Members of the House of Commons,

Fred Chartrand / Associated Press

Ladies and gentlemen,

Peter J. Thompson / The Ottawa Citizen

Let us begin this day together by honoring in silent shame the union of two of our most obnoxious citizens, Avril Lavigne and Chad Kroeger, in holy matrimony. May you keep your spawn far from our land. I suggest China so you can “keep an eye on them” for an advantage in trade negotiations and whatnot.

I come before you today as a proud Canadian in a nation that has an unverified yet numerous number of these. I bear the happy wishes and deep affection of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada. Prince Harry also says cheers and asks how stringently are our laws on public nudity enforced?

Parliamentarians, you gather today with the medium confidence and obscenely low expectations of Canadians. Remember that our nation has embraced a unique set of indelible qualities that you can choose to disregard in your deliberations in this Parliament if you are having a bad day or are still a little bit drunk from last night.

Consider this: We are inclusive. We are a nation of 35 million people gathered from every part of the world. We let British criminal Conrad Black come live here even after he clearly stated that he would rather be trampled by a herd of wild boars than live in Canada. We welcome the contribution of all stateless criminals, regardless of ego size. Canada is large enough for everyone! (Where everyone=white rich dudes.)

Consider this: We are selfless. Giving lies in our very nature, which is why Nigel Wright hesitated not one moment before whipping out his personal chequebook to cover Mike Duffy’s improperly claimed expenses. It may have cost him his job, but it gained him a spot in Webster’s Dictionary beside the phrase “taking one for the team.” And that’s how we Canadians define selflessness.

Today, as we contemplate our 150th anniversary, the eyes and ears and expectations of over two dozen Canadians with nothing better to do turn toward this Parliament, in trust that those who stand here in their place will amuse them more than Seinfeld reruns or an online job application.

Let us not disappoint. And with that spirit and direction, let us turn now to the present.

Two and a half years ago, Canadians gave our Government a strong mandate: a mandate to launch an economic action plan that had no tangible result except to bolster the sign-making industry; a mandate to eliminate superfluous copper from our nation; a mandate to get some adorable pandas; a mandate to in fact change Canada’s name to Harper Canada for clarity and simplicity.

macleans.ca

Despite ongoing uncertainty and general cray-ness from beyond our shores, our Government remains focused on these priorities. We made tough choices-the rightish choices for Harper Canadian families and kittens. The results are clear: more Harper Canadians have Harper Canada’s Economic Action Plan pamphlets than ever before; families are receiving a $4/year tax return for signing their kids up for ballet lessons; our financial house is having a bumpin’ afterparty unfettered by stupid, heavy, dumb pennies.

This is Harper Canada’s moment; together we will seize it by hiding it in an eleventy-million-page Omnibus bill so that by the time we take possession of it there will be nothing anyone can do.

In the wise words of Harper Canadian “musician” Chad Kroeger:

“Against the grain should be a way of life
What’s worth the prize is always worth the fight
Every second counts ’cause there’s no second try
So live like you’ll never live it twice”

We must seize this moment to secure prosperity and more pandas–MILLIONS OF PANDAS–for Harper Canadians now, and the penniless generations to follow.

Harper Canada for the win!