Canada is a 1st World country. We have resources; we have the rule of law and a peaceful democracy; we have universal Medicare; we have social safety nets for those unable to support themselves. Where we may fall short is ensuring liveable incomes for many who do work for a living. The minimum wage in Saskatchewan is $10.72/hour and will be $10.96/hour October 1st. Alberta’s minimum wage is $12.20/hour and will rise October 1 to $13.60 and then to $15 a year later. There’s been a lot of talk about whether a $15 per hour minimum wage should be in place everywhere and if so, is it bad or good for the economy.
100 years ago this week a bill was introduced in the House of Commons whose purpose was to raise money for the war effort, that being the First World War that had been raging since 1914. How was this money going to be raised? Canadians would pay personal income tax for the first time and the tax would be reviewed a year or two after the war was over. The war ended the next year, in 1918, but as we know only too well, income tax stayed forever.
So much fuss has been made over this year being Canada’s 150th birthday. The federal government is reported to have spent around half a Billion dollars to commemorate the coming together of Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick to form a country under one Parliament in 1867. Internal factors that encouraged confederation included an expanding population, the need for economic development and better transportation such as an interlocking railroad, and problems stemming from political deadlock due to separate governments.
Many quotes and sayings that have stuck with us through the years are not factual. Karl Marx is quoted as saying, “Religion is the opiate of the masses”, but what he said was, “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people”. Even though Tom Hanks used the well-known phrase in the movie, “Houston, we have a problem”, astronaut Jim Lovell didn’t say that exactly but rather used past-tense, “OK Houston, we’ve had a problem here”. Teddy Roosevelt’s quote, ”Walk softly but carry a big stick” is similar to what he really said, “Speak softly and carry a big stick”.
I know I get serious a lot pointing out some of the unfairness and inequality that I believe exists around us, so today I thought I’d start off the week with some puns, you know, the use of words that suggest two interpretations and might even provoke a chuckle: A guy walks into a bar with a slab of asphalt under his arm and says, “A beer please, and one for the road”. Two antennas met on a roof, fell in love and got married. The ceremony wasn’t much but the reception was excellent.