Who cares about Senator Brazeau in all this snow, snow, snow, snow, snow?

Feb 8th, 2013 | By | Category: In Brief

GANATSEKWYAGON, ON. FRIDAY, FEBRUARY8, 2013. 3 PM ET. I have now shovelled twice, and it’s still coming down. I hope the forecast that it will end early this evening is right. But even if it is, I’m guessing I‘ll be out shovelling probably two more times, at least. I can in any case appreciate the truth in such headlines as “Storm hitting southern Ontario causes closures and accidents” and “OPP [ie Ontario Provincial Police] urging drivers to stay off the roads.”

There is some consolation in news that “as much as 40 centimetres of snow is possible in Nova Scotia.” (The maximum call here in the Toronto region is about 25 centimetres.)  Then there’s the still worse prospect that a “wide swath of New England, including northeastern Connecticut, Providence, Rhode Island, and the Boston area, will likely see 60 to 76 centimetres.”

Earlier this morning, during my first shovel, I told my most beautiful neighbour about the Boston prospect, and she beamed “I’m jealous.” I was jealous myself when I noticed the headline “Boston bars see booming business in snow storm …  Lincoln Tavern & Restaurant in South Boston, which normally opens at 5 p.m. on Fridays, welcomed its first guests at 11 a.m.”

This particular Boston headline also reminded me of Stephen Colbert’s wise advice on TV last night, about the disaster relief  kit the affected parts of the nation ought to be assembling, in preparation for the great Nor ‘Easter snow blow of February 2013. Along with shovels and band aids, he recommended a bottle of Jack Daniels Tennessee Whisky. I prefer Ballantine’s Scotch myself  — a glass of which I have just procured, to protect me from all further elements.

* * * *

Senator Patrick Brazeau leaves a Gatineau courthouse after a court appearance February 8, 2013. (Dave Chan for The Globe and Mail).

With such protection in hand (and throat), I am also finding today’s Canadian political news slightly less annoying than usual. Consider, eg, these eight key current items on the unreformed Senate of Canada (which must be, by almost any measure, one of the most appalling institutions in any place that claims to have what our Canadian Constitution Act, 1982 calls a ”free and democratic society”) :

(1)”Senator Patrick Brazeau: PM Harper says he feels disappointed by senator’s arrest on assault charges” ; (2) “Senator Patrick Brazeau to be forced on leave after charges … PM Harper is ‘appalled’ by charges against Brazeau of assault and sexual assault” ; (3) “Senator Patrick Brazeau crashes after years of boorish behaviour: Tim Harper” …  It’s not 20-20 hindsight to say we all saw the Patrick Brazeau crash coming. The question is why Stephen Harper made him a Senator in the first place” ; (4) “The likes of Senators Patrick Brazeau and Mike Duffy tarnish the Senate’s good work” (a recent inconclusive report on why so many consumer prices are higher in Canada than the United States is said to qualify as “good work”) ; (5) CBC’s Rex Murphy slams Senator Mike (where does he live) Duffy” ; (6) “With its reputation in tatters, the Senate’s future grows shakier” (more un-acted-upon wisdom from the eminent John Ibbitson?) ; (7) “A popular vote for the Red Chamber?” (a sign of hope from Canada’s Pacific Coast, in spite of everything else?) ; and (8) “Senate urged to clean up as problems mount” (mmmm : is anyone really paying any attention, even or especially in the unreformed Senate itself ????).

Here are four additional headlines from recent online adventures that would cause me some further grief, if my generous dosage of Ballantine’s Scotch were not taking some wonderful benign effect: immediately (1) “Most Canadians don’t believe a ‘simple majority’ should be enough for Quebec to separate” ; (2) “A new poll done exclusively for QMI Agency shows that voters in Canada continue to remain divided largely along the same partisan lines as they did in the 2011 general election” ; (3) “Canada loses jobs for first time in six months …  The labour force shrank by 57,500 in January, the largest drop since April 1995”; and (4) “Is Canada’s party discipline the strictest in the world? Experts say yes.”

Politics, however, is never the most important thing in life. In my advancing age I cannot quite remember how I first discovered the work of Chelsea Shanoff. But it compensates for a lot of recent dreary Canadian political news that she “is a diverse Toronto-based saxophonist, with a strong interest in contemporary music. Chelsea holds a Masters of Music degree from Arizona State University, where she studied saxophone performance with Dr. Timothy McAllister. She received her Honours Bachelors of Music degree in saxophone performance from the University of Toronto in 2009, studying under Dr. Wallace Halladay. Chelsea currently teaches saxophone at the University of Toronto; she is also the saxophone teacher at Havergal Collegiate Institute, Cardinal Carter School for the Arts, and Interprovincial Music Camp.”

Toronto-based saxophonist Chelsea Shanoff, by John Packman.

On such a snowy day especially, I strongly recommend : (1) “Patrick Power and Chelsea Shanoff playing Trees Without Leaves by Jordan O’Connor” ; (2) “You. We. I. for voice and saxophone by Mitch Renaud” ; (3) “Klezplosion 2010: Moskowitz Loops” ; and (4) “Dumka No. 1.”

As to just where Canada, Quebec, Calgary, Vancouver, Toronto, Winnipeg, Montreal, Halifax, and/or the rest of the global village is actually headed these days, I would not want to hazard a guess, even suitably fortified by an agreeable glass of Ballantine’s Scotch. What I know with utter certainty is that I will shortly be going out to shovel snow again. And from this mission I do expect that I will return — if only to shovel snow again!

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