Mayday! Mayday! (Quick Hits for May 1st)

Yesterday was Erin’s thirty-fourth birthday. We celebrated quietly by heading out to Rona and getting stuff for the garden, including a nice patio rug that looks much better than our concrete deck. My hay fever allergies hit badly that afternoon. Either the tree pollen count must be at its height, or there’s a smog day happening. Probably the former, although these days, thanks to previous allergy shots, it’s only during days of heavy pollution that my allergies really act up. Anyway, I know I sneezed a couple of times during this week’s installment of the Bloggers Hotstove (which I encourage you to check out), but hopefully I wasn’t a walking advertisement for Allegra D.

Tomorrow, Vivian will be six months old. The girl is now standing thanks to her swivel playpen, and she’s started the game of drop-the-toy-dad-will-pick-it-up that seems to keep her entertained for hours. She’s got a full head of hair, and seems determined to fight sleep. She’s normally an angel, but she can get so crabby during the middle of the afternoon when she clearly needs to sleep, but doesn’t want to miss a moment in thie big wide world. As always, Erin is a regular shutterbug.

I’m working on the two articles I told you about earlier for Business Edge and preparing for the launch of The Unwritten Girl, and I’ve recently sent out invitations to the launch parties in Toronto, Ottawa and Waterloo. Did you not get an invitation? Well, consider yourself invited anyway. The Waterloo premiere launch looks like it will share time with a blogstraviganza. Greg Bester and Greg Staples might be getting a visit from Idealistic Pragmatist and the launch event might be a good place for bloggers to gather and meet. I certainly don’t mind extra visitors at the launch. After the event, we can all walk over to the Red Lion pub at the Heuther hotel for food and drink. So consider yourself invited to that as well.

Before I forget, thanks to Greg Bester for his kind review of The Unwritten Girl. I’m really glad you enjoyed the story.

I have a backlog of things I could talk about. There’s a book review that I’d like to post tomorrow, as well as comments on the latest Battlestar Galactica and Doctor Who (yes, I did get to see the second season months in advance; don’t worry, I will still watch the show when it comes back to the CBC — probably multiple times), but I can only post these if I can fit these in, so I ask your forebearance.

I will add one more comment to the flag and casket flap. As I said on the Bloggers Hotstove, I think Stephen Harper’s problem is timing more than anything else. I consider the decision to clarify the policy on the lowering of the Peace Tower’s flag to be small potatoes, and I’m willing to be convinced on the merits of keeping the press away from the ceremonial arrival of soldier caskets at CFB Trenton, especially since the press are not banned from the departure of said caskets from Afghanistan, but the two together just sent the wrong message, especially two days after the death of four Canadian soldiers, and I’m surprised that Harper would make such an elementary mistake.

The fact that Harper does not appear to have consulted the families of the fallen soldiers is a third strike against him. You should check out this article in the Globe and Mail. I myself am not comfortable with what Lincoln Dinning said during his son’s funeral. Far be it from me to stand in front of the anger of a grieving father, but I think he politicized the issue too much. Still, it does knock back one of the last arguments in favour of keeping the press out of CFB Trenton: respect for the soldier’s families. If they oppose Harper’s move as well, then what is Harper thinking? And I can’t say that I found the argument that convincing to begin with. I’ve heard people suggest that a reporter might stick a microphone in the face of grieving family members, and that simply hasn’t happened in the other times we’ve brought fallen soldiers home.

Another point I wish I had raised in the Hotstove is that while I am unconvinced that the softwood lumber deal is as good of a deal as we could have or should have gotten, I wouldn’t go as far as Greg Bester in his anger over American trade policy. Despite the fact that we almost lost $5 billion and more due to the Americans’ unwillingness to follow their own trade agreements in this issue, we still derive considerable benefit from trading with the Americans. I believe it is more important than ever to hold the Americans to their agreements (and it would be nice if they would realize how much they’re hurting their own businesses with their proposed restrictive border crossing policies), but most of the time these guys have been good to us. We’ve benefitted a lot from them, as they have from us.

That being said, if the Americans don’t want our lumber, we should consider selling it to a developing superpower like India (again, I’d far rather invest in India over China since India is a democratic nation and China is not). And it’s only sensible to try and develop other markets, to make us less reliant on the American economy. Even without the strong-arm tactics of certain American lobby groups, it’s unwise to tie yourself to a single star. It isn’t guaranteed to soar 100% of the time.

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