Rants: Things and stuff that really tick us off

Posted May 18, 2012

Here is a collection of rants that affect us all. It is a grass roots look at things that collectively look at our ability to live comfortably without the interference of government or other forms of authority.

*  Why is the Toronto Star being hypercritical of the police controlling the G20 riots in Toronto? Its cluster of mini-Stars including the Guelph Mercury, Kitchener Record and Hamilton Spectator dutifully apes the mother ship’s point of view. Old proverb: When momma is unhappy, everyone is unhappy.  So much for the loss of an independent press in those communities.

*  Why is Maclean’s magazine’s six-page genuflection to Conrad Black coming “home” after being kicked out of the U.S. upon completing his sentence, an affront to all of us? He’s not a Canadian, he’s a convicted felon, and a member of the House of Lords…over there. On top of that, he is a member of the Order of Canada. Some citizen, some political cuckold.

*  The perils of calling Rogers cable and spending valuable time while trying to solve your problem.  Anyone who has dealt with this company has experienced the frustration of waiting on line, being given mixed messages and coming away with a feeling of: “Why am I dealing with this bunch?”

*  A pox on those Quebec students who for three months have done the collective whine of the entitled generation and thrown a few smoke bombs to halt the Montreal subway system. The government gave them a pretty good deal but they still feel empowered. Wanna solve the problem, Montreal? Call in the Toronto cops.

*  Why have Canadian retailers waved the white flag saying they cannot compete with lower U.S. prices on similar merchandise? Solution: Shop in Buffalo, Detroit or International Falls, Minnesota. Save up to 30 per cent and Canada Customs lets you bring back $200 after 48 hours. I’d take jerry cans to fill-up with gas before crossing the border. Oh yeah, pick up some Glenmorangie scotch at $40 US, the full litre size, at the duty free.  If you are scotch noser, the 750-milliliter bottle of the same stuff at the LCBO is more than $60.

*  Why should we pay an extra 13 per cent HST tax for power, furnace oil, vehicles, weddings and funerals? Come to think of it, our tax system allows the governments to spend more and, raise more taxes.

*  The whole green energy business that is foisted on us by Dalton McGuinty, who has never met an NDPer he didn’t like, is confusing and expensive. In the hinterland the folks are complaining about the giant propeller driven wind farms. Complaints range from how the cow’s production and other human afflictions are affected. In Guelph there is a solar panel manufacturer that may be unable to compete when similar solar companies have gone bankrupt due, in part, to low cost Chinese competitors. Don’t hold your breath.

*  Why are gasoline prices still high despite the price of crude dropping by $12 a barrel? By my reckoning, the price of a litre of the regular 87 proof should now be $1.04 a litre.  Five years from now with more and more electric and hybrid cars on the roads, the petro-gougers will be begging for our business.

*  Why can’t we have a North American wide TV channel selection? We allow U.S. culture to penetrate our sensitive angst in so many ways, why not unlimited TV? The answer my friend is blowing through the wind of the bureaucracy of the Canadian Radio and Television Commission. Big brother trying to control what we want to hear and see. Did I mention the communications conglomerates that are in the business of controlling our rights to see and hear? And charging an arm and a leg for the privilege

*  Why do we allow food-marketing boards to determine the price of milk, chicken, beef, pork and eggs? It’s the ultimate of protectionism that prevents fair competition and drives up prices to support the producers. These are the people who have enjoyed this monopoly for many years.  It’s time to open the markets to North American competition. Why should Canadians pay premium prices for basic goods?  When eggs cost $5 a dozen and butter $5.67 a pound, it’s no wonder we resort to Kraft dinner.

And folks, you thought I was only interested in matters of Guelph. We’re all in this together.


Filed under Between the Lines

9 responses to “Rants: Things and stuff that really tick us off

  1. paul phelan

    Well written and thanks

  2. David Birtwistle

    Mr.Barker:Surprised that you neglected to note the sad state of securities commissions’ support(?) for retail investors (i.e.,you & me) in the Canadian financial markets-recommend reading Bruce Lively’s book “Thieves of Bay Street”,published by Random House.Hopefully the current government will continue their attempt to create a national securities regulator even though their first attempt was ruled unconstitutional-investors need an “ombudsman”to give more protection to their investments.

    • David:

      While I rarely agree with Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, his is right about having a nationa securities commission monitoring the business of public markets. Recent history has shown how the fall of Nortel and Bre-Ex to name a couple could have been avoided if there was a tough Federal securities commission monitoring those companies.

  3. Farmer Power

    There is always what to complain about. Nevertheless, we live in the most democratic, bountiful, peaceful country in the world. You don’t like it here? You’re free to leave! Otherwise offer and be part of solutions and quit your ranting! By the way, marketing boards protect our farmers who need a profit margin to maintain the family farm! Otherwise, USA would flood and control our markets and food would still be expensive. Why are ‘so called’
    environmentalists’ so ignorant of economics and realities? (As reflected in you questions). Support you local farmer.

    • History has aptly demonstrated that monopolies do not serve the public interest. If high prices of monopoly controlled food is saving our farms and those operating them, then Ontario’s farmers become the most subsidized industry in the province. A place where high prices of basic foods are controlled by self-serving marketing boards.

    • Media watch

      Agree 100%. Food is not expensive because of marketing boards! Food is expensive because farmers have many EXPENSES (fuel, feed, seeds, sprays, cleaners & labour!). Canada brings workers from Caribbean countries b/c no one wants to work on farms! Farmers cannot afford the minimum wages demanded by LABOUR UNIONS! In reality, our food prices are very cheap compared to other countries, BUT the ignorance is as rampant as dandelion puffs and other weeds!

    • Sorry Media watch, I can’t agree that our basic food prices are cheaper than say, the United States, where competition keeps consumer costs down and farmers seem to surviver economically.As for dandelions, another flood of seedlings will spread the scourge of this unsightly and noxious weed for miles around.

  4. Farmer Power

    Farm Marketing Boards are misunderstood. A successful marketing board must establish reasonable returns for farmers and work to keep other provinces & USA from flooding the market.This means the hardworking farmer that takes all the risks and hopes crops will succeed can make a small modest profit. In this way, the family farm continues! When farmers do not profit, they must work outside the farm and eventually sell the land to a developer. Notice that in summer, the price of local produce is so cheap: a basket of peaches costs the same as 3 peaches did in winter! Do not begrudge our local marketing boards. They are working hard, risk taking family farmers trying to maintain their land! Has anyone asked a farmer about this? Or do some writers ignorantly and ABSURDLY assume that words like ‘company’, ‘board’, ‘enterprise’, ‘government’, ‘competition’ are BIG BAD PEOPLE! Support you local farmer!

    • Farmer Power: I believe most people agree that farming is hard work and subject to the uncontrollable whims of bad weather. But many non- agrarian workers in the province share a host of job related problems such as layoffs, unfair labour practices. Most of which they have little or no control. It may be convenient to blame the labour unions for labour’s high costs, but one does not have to look too far back in our history to see how labour was exploited by unscrupulous owners of businesses. Indeed, we could suggest that the Ontario farmer who produces consumer food is in fact a closed shop union whose pricing is dictated and guaranteed by marketing boards.

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