Monthly Archives: September 2008

Petiquette

Off and on dogs end up in the news, usually when people are attacked in some way. Inevitably the media latches on and worries the question to death as to whether this breed or that should be banned, put down or punted to another planet.

Personally, the people in the baby poo yellow house a few doors from where I live should be punted. They have one of those little tufts of fur for a dog, barely bigger than palm sized but with a mouth on it that you can hear for blocks. Mr. Dog Owner (they got this critter when their daughter left home) thinks it’s cute to walk his mop and let it run after the cats and sniff them. Luckily the cats are smarter and faster, and leave. He also thinks it’s cute to let the thing yap for hours, getting all excited and probably jumping up and down like it’s spring loaded. I don’t know though, because I’m usually trying to sleep in at 9 on a Saturday morning, the inevitable time for the yapster to begin.

Sure, some dogs are more “talkative” than others, but just like kids, you can train your mutts not to bark (kids can be taught to be polite). It’s not cute to anyone but the englamored pet owner when their wee snookums does its noisy tricks over and over and over again. So, folks, take your dog to school. A bad dog usually has a bad owner.

I think it should be mandatory that every dog owner has taken lessons on how to train and discipline their dog. Taking a dog for a walk means respecting the space of other people and dogs around you, and being able to call your dog off should an altercation begin. Socializing animals is imperative and an off-leash park for dogs does not mean that your dog can intimidate other dogs and people.

Petiquette means that your dog will come when called, obey commands and won’t attack every moving thing it sees as a threat. I was with friends sitting on the grass in an off-leash park. A dog came up and pissed on my bag and then ran off happily. One of my friends went over to talk to the people about what their dog did. They were unrepentant, believing that since they were in a dog friendly park it meant that their dog could do anything it wanted. Hello, people, knock your head on a brick wall! Parks are for people first and foremost. I should have gone over and pissed on those people.

Don’t presume everyone likes dogs, or wants them in their vicinity. It’s not okay to tote your dog with you to anyone’s place, unless you ask first. Even if it’s an outside do, there are a myriad reasons why dogs might not be welcome. Space, other animals, delicate objects, cherished gardens, allergies, bratty children, are just some reasons to leave Fido at home. I have friends who have brought their dog to my place when we’re barbecuing. They haven’t asked and some day it’s going to be a problem. If this was last year when my other scaredy cat was still alive, it would emphatically have not been okay and they would have been told to take the dog to the car. I like the dog but there are times and places for dogs, and asking is just plain considerate.

Dogs aren’t children and do not get the same rights of accompanying a parent everywhere. They may be no more emotionally mature or intelligent than a two-year-old, which means you have to be in control, but they aren’t children. Oh, and they are not freakin’ fashion accessories. A co-worker once said that someone was a yappy as a Yaletown dog. An apt description because in Vancouver, Yaletown is the nouveau glitzy trendy place for condos and restaurants and people spending too much money on clothing just to say they spent too much money.

Putting a Gucci diamond/rhinestone studded collar on Boopsie and a nice little matching coat and booties to match, borders on vomitous. Dogs aren’t dolls. Tossing them into a matching carrying case doesn’t make you cool. Having a big, mean looking dog doesn’t make you tough. All living beings that we make ourselves responsible for, should be treated well. Leaving them in hot cars or cooped up in cute little cases and dumb outfits doesn’t serve them well. Oh and driving with your dog on your lap while talking on your cellphone goes beyond idiotic to downright dangerous. I’ve seen it often enough. If your dog can’t stay where it belongs while you’re driving (and that’s not your lap), then go and get some training.

If you’re driving a car or walking a dog, taking a course is a great idea. Like I said before, this isn’t limited to big dogs as the only dog to bite me was a dachshund. Every time I see a bad dog, I know that most of the time it’s because there’s a person who lacks discipline and politeness themselves. Be considerate, take care of your pets and control them.

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Politics: Crossing the Floor

The news reports today that David Emerson is considering whether he should run in the upcoming election. He’s stating the strain on his family life. But I can hazard a guess why he’s taking a big think over this. David Emerson ran as a Liberal in the last federal election, in a Vancouver riding.

Once he was elected, within days, he crossed the floor to become a Conservative. Not halfway through a term when he was disagreeing with his party’s practices but days after winning, before parliament had even sat. The people who elected him protested vociferously and said a by-election should have been called. Harper studiously ignored this blatant disregard of scruples and not only happily embraced Emerson into his minority government but made him a minister. You can bet the price for crossing the floor was a cushy ministerial position.

So, David Emerson, why are you really considering whether to run or not? Because the people in your riding haven’t forgotten your betrayal and you can bet your life that you won’t get any votes from them again. Sure, maybe, just maybe the Conservatives in that riding would vote for you but it was already shown that there were more Liberals than Conservatives. Let’s call a spade a spade. There’s no way in hell that you’ll win. Better to slink away now with your minister’s pension and chalk one up to being a sneaky bastard.

Sure, people have crossed the floor before in politics, but never before the sessions even began. Often those people are looked at askance by their political cronies as those you might not be able to trust. After all, once a turncoat, possibly always a turncoat. Yet, it hasn’t hurt some careers. Herb Dhaliwal and John Turner are two that come to mind.

Still, that Harper encouraged and allowed such a floor crossing brings into question the integrity of our political system. We could have an election where everyone ran in a riding for the party most likely to win there. Some ridings often vote the same way time and again. Then once the election is over, all those elected politicians could do a wholesale line dance and cross back and forth. Then after a few days everyone could re-tally and see who really won the election.

But of course, the people wouldn’t stand for that. Or would we? We’ve protested before loudly and in number. And overall our governments (the local Liberals when we protested all the cuts that Gordon Campbell made, and with Emerson) have ignored us, blatantly doing whatever they want, even though the voice of the people, those they are supposed to represent, have shown their displeasure.

And this is another reason why Canadians aren’t enthused to vote in the elections. Conservative or Liberal, there will be more sneaky business, underhanded dealings and plain disregard. It’s a good thing to remember when Stephen Harper is touting the shiny, better, more wholesome side of his government.

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Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea: Canadian and US Politics

Well, it looks like both countries will be moving towards an election because Stephen Harper is going against his own wish of a set date for elections (as the US does) to avoid having his government raked over the coals in the next session.

People are talking about the excitement of US politicians as opposed to the same humdrum rhetoric of the Canadians. Actually, they’re most talking about the fresh new aspect of Obama than the same ole political claptrap of men in suits. Let’s face it, in most cases, it doesn’t matter if you vote Conservative or Liberal, because they’re really all going to do the same thing. That’s how Canadians see our politics and the last election had something like a 64% turnout.

Part of the difference is that we have leaders for our political parties throughout the four years from one election to the next. So we know that Stephane Dion would be the next prime minister if the Liberals win and that Stephen Harper will be if the Conservatives win and that Jack Layton will be if the NDP win. We get tired of hearing about them. There’s no mystery, (the two big parties even have a guy with the same name though one is anglo and one franco) no big rev up to who will win the race as the Republicans and Democrats do it. (It’s also a lot less expensive in the campaigning aspects).

If we look at John McCain, he’s a lot more of the same old boring with a full military background, though he’s considered a bit of a maverick. You don’t see military in politics as often in Canada. He pulled a surprise move with choosing a running mate who is a fairly inexperienced, new senator. And she’s a woman. When you look at it, he almost had to do this when the Democrats were going to make history either way, with either a woman or a African-American. McCain needs to make his campaign look fresh too and make history and the only way to do it is to have a female running mate.

Of course Canada had its first woman Prime Minister back in 1993 with Kim Campbell, who really was set up as the fall guy (or woman) for Brain Mulroney’s destruction. Mulroney, was in his own way, unknown to the Canadian public when he ran for office. He has that gift that Obama has; he’s a good orator, but then he’s a lawyer and they’re often practiced at acting. And Mulroney can definitely act. He did it recently when he was being investigated in the Carl Hans Schreiber affair. I didn’t believe a word of the theatrics though.

Obama is a great orator and Hillary Clinton is pretty damn good. Now Hillary is a lawyer too and in Canada, all the prime ministers since Lester B. Pearson (1963-68) have been lawyers except for Stephen Harper. (People always make jokes about trusting lawyers and yet we vote them in as our leaders.) He has degrees in economics, whereas Jack Layton, Stephane Dion and Barack Obama have degrees in political science. Could that be a sign of the new future; people who have actually studied how politics works?

All I can say is that like most Canadians, I’m sick and tired of the double speak, the hollow promises and lies. No wonder no one wants to vote. They think it won’t make any difference. A fresh new look would be good. Voting for the Liberals or the Conservatives is pretty much six of one, half a dozen of the other. But if Obama or Clinton were running here, I’d certainly be voting for either of them.

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