In between volcanoes and tornadoes, yes we can...

Welcome back;
It's been a whirlwind of a month and a long time since I've posted. My travels have taken me from one end of  the country (St. John's Newfoundland) to the other (Vancouver) with stops in Toronto, Edmonton and Washington DC. Then the second week.....
However, just when the world seems completely out of control (yes including you Arnold!) with tornado season sowing its destructive path in Missouri and elsewhere, what happens to top it off? A volcano in Iceland erupts (a different one than last year no less!). So maybe that wacko that said the earth was going to end last weekend got it slightly wrong.
Obama Searches for his Apostrophe 
The visit of President Obama (searching for the apostrophe tour) was a smash hit in Ireland as it was destined to be. As an Irish ex-pat myself, I couldn't help but be proud of the welcome they gave the First Couple, and how they, in turn, wowed them. Take a look at this column from the Irish Independent to get a flavor of what it meant for the Irish. He's had a great couple of weeks in terms of his personal biography - he not only proved he was American born, but also he found his Irish roots.
Meanwhile back in Canada...the Senate inaction.....
The Harper government is settling into its majority government phase, setting off a firestorm over the appointment of three former candidates to the Senate. the fact that one of them was a defeated MP and two had been appointed to the Senate last year and then stepped down to run for the House of Commons triggered an avalanche of protest. Some thoughts on that:
1. Their real sin was in stepping down and running for office. If they had just shut up and remained in the Senate it wouldn't have been such an 'outrage'.
2. Although they quite obviously did not know they would be appointed back to the Senate, apparently they should have turned the offer down on the premise that they are 'soiled goods' because they decided to um.... face the electorate.
3. Although they are not fundraisers for the Conservative party, they are apparently 'bagmen' as the continually outraged Pat Martin would have it. One - Fabian Manning - is a former Newfoundland provincial Minister, and the other - Larry Smith - is former Commissioner of the Canadian Football League. Same thing eh? The third Senate appointee, Josee Verner, is a former Conservative Cabinet Minister who was defeated. Surely there should be shame there!
4. The fact that the Prime Minister unilaterally changed Senate appointments to a maximum eight year term, instead of a cash-for-life lottery is um....well terrib uh...unilateral of Harper. [although I have suggested that to help de-fuse it, he should deduct the several months that the re-appointed Senators have already served from that eight years].
5. Finally, as has already been suggested by Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, there is nothing stopping the provinces from taking Alberta's lead a number of years ago, and holding an election to determine who their next Senate appointment might be. For years, former Prime Minister Jean Chretien refused to recognize Alberta's elected Senator [Bert Brown] and received very little criticism for that. When it comes to the crunch the cognoscenti don't respect incremental reform of our unelected chamber. It's all or nothing.

So we all look forward to comprehensive change of the Senate under the majority government watch of Stephen Harper. Even if the provinces hi-jack the process with unrealistic Constitutional demands, at least he will have made it a signature move on his part. And if he goes down fighting, it is definitely better than avoiding the fight.
Until next time...

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