Monday, September 29, 2008

the day brad trost came to the knitting circle...

Today's soundtrack:
"Lover's Spit" by Broken Social Scene
"July, July!" by the Decemberists
"Rebellion (Lies)" by Arcade Fire

Yesterday, Brad Trost came to talk to the knitting group, of which I am a member. He's the incumbent Conservative MP for Saskatoon-Humboldt (my riding). Naturally, I had a few questions. Top of my list was the government's anti-intelligentsia bias that seems determined to paint Stephane Dion as a hapless professor and to claim that all academics who disagree with Harper et al are nothing more than liberal elitists, perched in their ivory towers. Trost danced his way around the question while awkwardly fiddling with the Canada pins he'd brought (he made a lovely pyramid of pins several times throughout the afternoon). Dael, a fair more eloquent member of the knitting group, managed to get at the point I was attempting to make in my question. He was ignored by Trost, a move which solidified, in my mind, Trost's status as a bigot. But I think the point came out eventually, although perhaps only in my mind, that academics and the so-called "elite" of Canadian society (still not sure who these "elite" are, and Trost was good enough not to define his terms beyond the broad, useless strokes) that agree with the Conservatives are "ordinary people". Academics and the "elite" that disagree with the Conservatives are liberal effetes who don't understand the real world.

Well, I feel better. Don't you? It's always nice to have your opinion confirmed, especially when your opinion is that your opinion doesn't matter to those in power. In fact, the not-so-subtle subtext of the afternoon had my feminist butt ushered back to the kitchen by Trost.

Melissa, another member of the knitting group, brought up a very good point about the child-tax credit (which is, in reality, only $75. Trost said taxing the tax credit was in order to protect the Conservatives "from the left"). In defense of the anti-universal childcare platform of the Conservatives, Trost cited the example of his friend who lives rural (re: farmer), who has 3 children and a wife. I asked what the wife did and he looked at me with a mix of disdain and apathy, and said "she takes care of the children". Well of course universal childcare wouldn't help that particular family. The wife doesn't work outside the home! The point of universal childcare was to help the majority of Canadian families where both parents have to work outside the home. Staying at home is a luxury that is not a reality for the majority of Canadian families.

But I, as an Ivory Tower elitist, have no conception of the reality of the Canadian family. Clearly the Conservatives have this one under control.

I wanted to ask Trost why the sparse Conservative platform was simple pandering to key groups that they want to make gains in, rather than a comprehensive plan that will help all Canadians. Trost, however, was chomping at the bit to get out of the coffee shop and back to the Chamber of Commerce, where the good ol' boys would pat him on the back and stroke his wounded ego. Regardless, the measly tax relief offered to families buying their first home showed the Conservative bias and innate bigotry. A heterosexual couple (judging by all the information I've seen) buys a house on their 2-career income. Of course, when she gets pregnant she'll have to stay home with the kids as there is no universal childcare. Now with only one income and the expense of raising children, this house they bought with the "help" of the Conservatives is unsustainable. The Conservative dream would have these "ideal" families broke within ten years.

Good plan. Glad to see they've got it all under control.

I feel better. Don't you?


There is a way to avoid all this, however. Scott Ruston, the NDP candidate for Saskatoon-Humboldt, came earlier yesterday to... well, I was going to say talk to us, but he didn't. Trost talked at us. Ruston listened. In Melissa's blog post, she mentioned how comfortable Ruston seemed, completely relaxed and interacted with us as though we were all old friends. Ruston's platform wasn't just platitudes and apathy. He is, by far, one of the best candidates (NDP or otherwise) that I've ever come across - and I've been going to All-Candidates Meetings since I was old enough to sit still. None of us felt belittled or ignored. Our concerns were valid and were treated with the respect they deserved.

If there is anyone else who reads this blog that is from Saskatoon-Humboldt, I encourage you to park your vote with Ruston this election. There simply is no one better qualified to represent our riding.

For the rest of you, on October 14th vote early and vote often. Let's prove the over-confident Conservatives wrong and deny them the majority they believe they deserve but certainly haven't earned.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

kate versus the ladybug

Today's soundtrack:
"Be Mine" by R.E.M.
Ninth Symphony by Beethoven

Outside my office window the trees are just starting to go a little yellow. In a few more weeks I'll be able to see Thorv again. It's one of those absolutely glorious, blue-skied September days, but not because of anything I'm doing, though. I've been sitting in my office reading up on eighteenth-century beliefs about sensibility and the body and, occasionally, keeping tabs on a ladybug that heard from the fly that there might be some kind of way out of here.

I've been getting up at 6:30am (okay, for the past couple days, 7am, but still!) and putting in a real day's work. I think this might be the secret to academic success because I seem to be getting a lot done. More than that ladybug, anyway. My point is this: today, life is damned good.

Here's a sneak peak at my sister's socks:

They are ridiculously pink. Almost blindingly pink. She'll love 'em.

P.S. - Happy Birthday, Dad!