February 22, 2006

Political blur

Parliament through the gate

Another photo from when I wandered around the downtown after the big snowstorm a few weeks back -- this one a shot of Parliament Hill through one of the gates at the southeast corner.

Ottawa [view large]

Posted by anatole at 12:42 AM | Comments (0)

February 13, 2006

Art on Ice

My exhibit at Art on Ice

Shaddow puppets? ... I take a photo (right) while someone points (left) at one of my photos. As my friend Madhava said, "Metaphotography makes for great blog content." So there you have it.

This past weekend I participated in Art on Ice, a Winterlude event. It's the first time I've ever displayed my photos anywhere off-line, and it was a hoot! It was a spectacular day -- perfect temperature, smooth ice, and not a cloud in the sky. Quite the contrast to last weekend's slush-a-thon. As a result, there were huge crowds out on the canal and stopping in on Patterson Creek to check out the art. I was impressed by the calibre and diversity of art on display (check out "Nuns vs. Dragons" and other work in Bhat Boy's Envisionist Gallery, for example, or "Factory Recall" and the like at Andrew King's studio). Some artists had even made the trek from out of town!

Thanks to everyone who stopped by -- family, friends, and complete strangers! -- including for all the kind words and support. Special thanks to Miriam for putting me in a frame of mind to do this (and then helping with the physical framing too!), to Kathy for the hot chocolate, and to organizers Christopher Griffin and Pam Connolly.

If you picked up one of my cards and are visited this site for the first time, welcome! Have a look around and feel free to leave me a comment!

Ottawa [view large]

Posted by anatole at 09:35 AM | Comments (1)

February 12, 2006

Integrity is always just around the corner

That's my slogan for the first week of the new government. "Integrity is always just around the corner."

I don't understand it. A few of my friends have written to me wondering why I haven't said anything about it. It's because I don't get it. Why this opening move? It's like a bad political joke: "A floor-crosser and a Senate appointee walk into a bar ..." or perhaps "What do you get when you cross a ex-military-industrial-complex lobbyist turned Defence Minister with a Francophonie Parliamentary Secretary who doesn't speak la belle langue?" Sure, they're wordy ... but the punchlines are killer!

So seriously, now. What the hell? Was it really that necessary to have Cabinet members from Montreal and Vancouver but not Toronto? Did the Minister-in-absentia really have to get the high-spending-and-recently-scandalized Public Works post of all things? Was there no juggling of candidates that would have put bilingual Cabinet members where they needed to be? Was Gordon O'Connor really the only candidate qualified for the defence post?

There is the school of thought that says Harper was willing to weather a short-term storm in order to get the strongest possible Cabinet (a long-term payoff.) There's another school of thought, though, which says that Harper just blew most of the political capital which would have allowed him the chance to play for the longer-term end game. When your entire campaign, the ethos of your party and your leader, and your first major priority and policy objective are all centered around accountability, this isn't exactly an irrelevant short-term storm.

In short, I don't think this is going to go away quickly. There is relative quiet around Senator Fortier, but that will likely end when the House sits in April and he's not there to answer questions. Emerson, on the other hand, is right in the thick of it, and his unflinching denials that he did anything even remotely questionable are not helping. He is being seen as either tremendously stupid (or, more charitably, completely naive or insane) or staggeringly disingenuous. It can't help that Peter MacKay's jumping to his defence has allowed people to bring up MacKay's er, principled destruction of the Progressive Conservative Party. Let alone the obvious contrasts and comparisons with the Belinda Stronach defection last year.

Bottom line? Almost nothing smells worse than blatant hypocrisy, and Canadians are sniffing something mighty foul out of Ottawa these days.

I leave you with these charming quotes from the circus that was the first week of the Conservative government. I would provide commentary on them but, really, it's too easy.

  • David Emerson: "I don't understand why they would go to such bizarre lengths as to raise that kind of issue [repaying the Liberal association's $96,755 for the campaign] when in fact I had done so much and raised so much for the Liberal Party. [...] I would like the Liberal Party to contemplate how much they are going to pay back to all of the people who contributed to the Liberal Party because I was out there doing the fundraising for them."
  • Peter MacKay: "What David Emerson did, I would suggest, is different, in the sense that he has done this early after the election in hopes of continuing the important work that he was doing inside a government which he was obviously very disillusioned with. [...] Unlike other moves, it didn't happen at a critical juncture that propped the government up. There wasn't that sense that there was strict reward or leadership ambition."
  • Garth Turner: "Speaking of offices, after today I'm expecting the Whip will be assigning me a renovated washroom somewhere in a forgotten corner of a vermin-infested dank basement in Ottawa. That should go well with my seat in the House of Commons that will be visible only during lunar eclipses. [...] I think it is now safe to say my career options within the Conservative caucus are seriously limited. If you would like a course on how not to be popular in Ottawa, then take a seat."
  • Michael Fortier: "I think if you look at the French media, they're quite happy with what's taken place," he said. "If you look at the English media, and I haven't read it all, there's still some people chasing wild stories. At the end of the day, it is what it is. The Prime Minister asked me to do this and I agreed to do it and I'll just do it."

If this were in the U.S., Jon Stewart would be having a friggin' field day right now.

Posted by anatole at 11:03 PM | Comments (1)