Canadian Federal Election Survey 2015

Canadian Federal Election Survey 2015

Which candidate for Prime Minister of Canada do you believe:

  1. is the most undemocratic?
  2. is the most fear mongering?
  3. is the most culturally destructive?
  4. is the bootlicker of the wealthiest multinational corporations?
  5. is most likely to silence the science and scientists that protect Canada and Canadians?
  6. has the most money to spend on designing a media campaign?
  7. would prefer that Canadians are politically disengaged?
  8. would prefer that the masses are uneducated?
  9. would sell out Canada and its values for a Trans Pacific Partnership deal?
  10. manufactures distractions and crises that evoke worry and suspicion?
  11. is likely to sacrifice the democratic process by selfishly proroguing parliament if things don’t go their way?
  12. would be the worst offenders at pressuring their MP’s to vote along party lines?
  13. should never be a leader of a country?

Take the survey.  Share the survey.  Talk about politics.  Get informed on the details behind the fluff.  Stand up for an enlightened society by championing research, education, political protesters, whistle blowers and the arts…these things make Canada great. Think.  Finally, VOTE, and/or protest loudly, cleverly and conspicuously…but do it.  Good Luck.

Thank you for taking the Canadian Federal Election Survey 2015.


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Canoe Program at Arrowhead Provincial Park

I was lucky enough to lead canoe programs at Arrowhead every year from 2004 to 2009. One experience that really stood out was “Paddle the Big East” in 2005 (or 2004) , with author Bob Henderson as a special guest, in which we took a huge urn (80 cups) of Tim Horton’s coffee with us! Myself and co-leader Tim, portaged Stubbs Falls  with the urn which Bob Henderson thought was hilarious…a first for Bob!

Other authors were invited on these experiences; like Hap Wilson,  Carol and Bruce Hodgins , and  Max Finkelstein. Unfortunately, Hap Wilson was always running some wild Arctic river during the summer so could never make it! Max couldn’t come for the trip but did come and do a great presentation called Canoeing a Continent.

We had some good times sharing the little patch of water known as Arrowhead Lake and occasionally the Big East and Little East Rivers in Arrowhead Provincial Park. Myself, a half dozen co-leaders and over 1000 paddlers (over the years) spent time together on Sunday mornings during the summers from 2004 to 2009. We watched the mist rise as we loaded our canoes and we took the day’s first paddle strokes while miniature mist twisters spiraled up off the lake in the morning sun. We learned a lot about the lake, its place in the region and wildlife, but mostly we learned about ourselves and how we could just “be”, while out there floating in the lake. We watched clouds, told stories and occasionally I would break out a surprise snack that we could enjoy while rafted together in the middle of the lake.

I want to thank everyone who participated in Canoe in the Mist, Paddle the Big East, the Canoe Rodeos and presentations at Arrowhead about canoeing.  Leading canoe experiences was one the best things about being an interpreter. . Most of the joy for me was leading others to discover a joy in nature that they had never known.
Doug McColl
Canoe Trip Leader
Experience Builder

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Elizabeth May; here we go again!

Its instant replay time for Canadian federal election 2011 and the media blocking Elizabeth May from a leaders debate. Reason enough for the consortium to let her in is that May’s Green Party is an emerging and popular one that would get more votes if it were not for people voting strategically. They are not the fringe party that the consortium makes them out to be…but I believe the consorium knows this already. True, the democratic process has not favoured them, but their popularity is on the upswing and everyone knows it. (Check out this; ) Here’s why I think the consortium is really “saying” that they are blocking her;  two words…”marketing and promotion”.  This is likely because it creates newsworthy controversy that pumps up the debate in the media, popularizing it so that people hear a lot about it. As long as the debate controversy continues so does promotion of the leaders dabate! And its not just the consortium getting all the publicity for their debate but Elizabeth May too! She can ride the controversy and gain a bigger piece of the public eye. In the last federal debate May fought into it as an underdog, held her own and in the opinion of many she came off as the winner, knowing the issues inside and out. I doubt many would have doubted her ability as a leader after the debate. My biggest criticism of May is that she might come off as a somewhat quirky personality; albeit a kind, authentic, intelligent one. Quite Canadian actually. I really believe that the Greens are a positive, rising force in Canada and that Canadians want to be seen as more green than their current leaders are facilitating. Many Canadians are embarrassed by the current political environmental policy and inaction of government. Fear of the unknown is all that is stopping many people from voting Green; that or the belief that their vote must be strategically made to ensure that the greater evil doesn’t take a seat in some ridings. Never-the-less, come a few days before the debate I believe a shiny green light will burn through the consortium’s inhibitions of allowing Elizabeth May into the debate. The other leaders may scoff and stomp, but most Canadians and the consortium will glad that she’s there.

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August 2, 2009; Canoe in the Mist

dark skies, sunny spirits

dark skies, sunny spirits

The dark skies were frequent companions during the cool, wet July and first few days of August. It was good to get out on the water without getting rained on.  A high flying loon warbled out its mournful flight song as it popped over a hill and crossed the sky above the lake.

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Carbon Capture

Regarding Carbon Capture from Coal (and other places)

The following was my complete response to Bob Williams Bnet article about carbon capture as it relates to coal.

Click here to view Bob’s article.


Its painful to watch and listen to these hot issues play themselves out.  What someone is really looking for is something that doesn’t and never will exist…which is a way to keep using more and more energy, to make more and more stuff and keep everything as usual without anyone ever really having to face up to the reality of it all.


Carbon capture (cc) while possible is a red herring. The promotion of the idea appeases the public by giving them what I coin as “environmental hope”. Whether anyone believes cc is viable or not it is irrelevant because it serves to divert attention from other environmental problems that have real solutions that could be easily handled with technologies and other strategies right now. Our governments are not really interested in solving the real problems by promoting practical and viable ideas  because these would continue to reduce demand on energy and materials. While this is truly what is needed in terms of the environment, it doesn’t fit into the equation of greed and the illusion of wealth, which is really the real agenda. 


Carbon and coal are “inseparable” therefore, if carbon capture is adopted as a viable means of greening energy production it becomes a new layer of energy consuming technology in and of itself.  Everyone pays for it and it becomes entrenched in power production to maintain the environmental quality standards.  I understand its not cheap and since lots of money is flowing into into R and D for it, we’ll see lots of players lining up at the trough. I do hope something good and viable and feasible comes out of it. It would be great if coal could be made cleaner, if coal is something we need to use on such a large scale.  But with carbon capture technology we will use even more coal to get the same electrical power generation.  This equates to even more coal extraction projects, open pit mines, etc.





Here is a quote taken from a government of Canada publication  regarding the problem I have just stated indicating innefficiencies that increase fuel use by up to 40%:


“All technologies as applied to energy generation effectively reduce efficiency, increasing the amount of CO2 created (and therefore necessary to capture) per unit of energy produced. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has estimated that the increase in energy required to capture the CO2 is between 10% and 40% depending on the technology; the natural gas combined cycle requires the least and pulverized coal requires the most.(4) Capturing CO2 is the most energy-intensive phase (and therefore the largest contributor to CO2 releases and costs of energy production) in a complete carbon capture and storage mechanism.”

(Tim Williams, Science and Technology Division
10 March 2006)


Furthermore, it could increase the cost of energy by  over 90%. Again this is taken from another research paper prepared for the Government of Canada:



“Overall, it is estimated that capturing, transporting and storing the CO2 from a new gas- or coal-fired power plant would increase the cost of electricity generated by that plant by between 37% and 91%.  This translates into a CO2 mitigation cost of US$30-91/tonne, making CCS a comparatively high-cost method for mitigating carbon emissions, at least for the time being.  The IPCC report warns that because there is “relatively little commercial experience with configuring all of these components into fully integrated CCS systems at the kinds of scales which would likely characterize their future deployment,” these cost estimates are highly uncertain.

(Frédéric Beauregard-Tellier,Economics Division,13 March 2006)






Canada is very interested in carbon capture for use in Alberta Tar sands.  I’m not sure how dirty the enery from the tar sands are compared to coal but I know its giving Canada a bad reputation on the global energy market. Once again though, while a nice thought, carbon capture merely adds to the already expensive process of getting fuel from this resource. I don’t have the exact figures at hand but the current cost to produce a litre of fuel from tar sand is roughly insane give or take a few idiots.  I can’t imagine proposing anything that would add to the cost…that would be crazy!


Even if all the carbon was captured, the millions of hectares of nature consumed by stripping the earth will never be returned in our lifetime. The air will still contain other contaminants that escape the process and contribute to health problems.  Finally and unfortunately, I think the effort is being promoted for the wrong reasons while mascarading for the right ones, therefore it is designed to deliver a facade of benefits while changing very little for the better.


People will likely label me pessimistic but revisit what I have said in 5 years from now and you will see what I mean without me having to write a text book about it. 


Link to reading from the Alternative Power Blog: Carbon capture and storage “being oversold as a panacea”

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Unemployed for Christmas

Its not as if this is really anything new for me.  The nature of my work has made cyclical lay-offs a fact of life and this time of year has often found me between contracts.  This year is harder though since my winter contract got totally cut.  Its not great comfort, but at least I can say that I’m not alone.  If you are one of the thousands of people who has lost your job recently; my heart goes out to you and your families in these difficult circumstances.

In the best of times, this time of year brings with it added pressures and stresses for even the most resourceful and resource rich individuals.  Personal and family commitments can throw us into conflict with those who we would otherwise avoid.  For separated families with children there’s the jockeying for holiday visitation and the competition between parents for scoring “gift points” with their kids.  Will people like my gifts and can I afford the post holiday credit card bills are popular concerns? There is pressure to put on a good show and make the holiday special.  And then there are the prolific ad campaigns by charities begging for toys, food and money to brighten the Christmas of a needy family; no pressure there.

When household income stops flowing in just a bit before Christmas many are likely asking themselves questions like, “How will I make my mortgage payment?”  or “How will I ever find a job in these hard times?” , among many other hard, cold questions that leave the asker with few warm or easy answers.  Add to these all the stresses already mentioned and you may wonder if the words happy and holidays belong on the same page let alone together as a phrase.

So if I’m speaking directly to your situation, I’m not going to hand you all the clever cliches that people handed me over the years when I lost a job (these cliches usually came from people in higher places) I was never sure if these witty little quips were supposed to make you or the speaker feel better.  My favourite to this day is,  “When one door closes another one opens”.  I’ve heard it several times and I can’t help but wonder if these people ever watched the Price is Right, “Tell ’em whats behind door number two Johnny…”

“Well Bob, its a box  of Eskimo Pies and a Yak!” …wah, wah, wah, waaaaaahhh!

The fact is we don’t know what lies ahead.  We don’t always chose which doors open or close…or even if another door will open.  My only advice is to be open and honest with yourself, and your loved ones.  It might be hard for some time so your going to have to build your team and if you’ve been neglecting your team-mates, well now is the time to make amends.  You will need the support of friends and family.  This can be a time of renewed closeness with loved ones, so pay close attention to the people around you and you may be rewarded with riches of other sorts.

If you are like me you will need a creative outlet…I like to blog, write songs and play guitar.  If you are like me you will also need a physical outlet…I like to run and cross country-ski.  If you are like me you will also need to feel that you can share your gifts with other people. Blogging helps me in some way do this but so does volunteering or even helping my wife with things.  Finally, if you are like me, feeling that your skills and character are valued is very important.  I am energetic, creative and passionate and when it seems like no one needs that anymore it is hard. If it is a lengthy period or you don’t find suitalbe work, it can be devastating to your self-worth.  I understand very well that the loss of  my job is not about me personally, but it affects me personally.  My boss didn’t have to say I wasn’t valuable anymore…but someone up the line did…or society did…or I’d still be here.  So don’t agonize about that, the conclusion is the same.

Here is what you can tell yourself:

I am a good person and I will share what good I am with those around me.

I will never give up.  I owe it to my kids, my wife and myself to use this one chance in life that I have to do something with it.

I will nurture myself.  Now is the time to put an old resolution into action…quit smoking, exercise, change your diet, perhaps become a vegetarian.

I will have faith in my tomorrow.  If a door won’t open, You may have to keep knocking or knock on another.  Eventually I may have to cut a hole in the wall and put in my own freekin door! but I will create a future – I will.

I will be patient and I won’t expect miracles, but I won’t expect crap either (so don’t take any!)

I will stand up for myself.  My esteem may be low because I have lost a lot; and it feels like the people around me can’t count on me the way they used to, but I am the same as anyone else, and I am the same person that I used to be even if some days I feel a little less.

I can accept help and ask for it if I need it.  I can graciously accept a gift with a smile and warm handshake.  I don’t have to feel indebted or try to repay it…these things trivialize the sentiment of the gift giver.

Love.  I will love and appreciate the people who I hold dear.  I will let them know it through my words and actions.  They are my greatest resources and whatever else fails I will have loved and been loved.



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I sense much fear in you young Harper

Oi.  If you scroll down through my posts, you’ll see a picture of Prime Minister Harper’s head pasted onto a body of a cooked chicken.  That was to symbolize his cowardice when he took a desperate stand against the Green Party’s participation in a televised pre election debate. He came off then as a man afraid of being exposed for what he is…and now as he is about to lose his ruling government to a coalition…he is showing it again.  If you watch him in parlaiment as he lashes out at the opposition, you can see him spewing his fear as he tries to put it into everyone else in earshot.  I suppose George W. Bush taught him a thing or two about wielding the sword of fear at the masses.  Like the insecure bully who wants to hide his own fear and weakness so does Harper govern by using fear to intimidate the Canadain public into keeping his party in power.  Its a pathetic thing to watch.  The coalition that was just formed to overthrow the Conservatives does have weeknesses, but it is transparent in its existence.  It was  not born out of fear, but of non-confidence in a government that arrogantly pushes people around when it can’t scare them into submission.  Master Yoda could certainly see through Prime Minister Harper,  perhaps the PM should watch Star Wars again (or even for the first time?).  Maybe he would see that his dark side and weaknesses are more visible to more Canadians than he thinks; and perhaps to the people who are watching from around the World.

My advice to Stephen Harper and his Conservatives would be to admit your msitakes. You look childish in your attempt to conceal what is obvious.  Don’t try to deny that you are going down, you’ll only do more damage and pull people in with you as you struggle while your getting deepeer into believing your own crap.  And one more thing.  Try working with people…collaboration is key in these troubled times and in any time for that matter.  In your arrogance, you may fool some people some of the time, but now you are only fooling yourself.  Let it go…if anything, its your grappling for power that makes Canada look politically unstable to international eyes.

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