Best Premier Ever: Nova Scotia Edition

As part of Calgary Grit’s annual summer poll, I’ve offered to be the first round blog to establish the best Nova Scotian Premier. The winner will go on to face those from the 9 other provinces at Dan’s blog.

To make things manageable, I’ve only included the 10 longest-serving Premiers. We can have debates about the merits of using time as a qualifier, but history tends to reward those that stick around the longest, and so too will this contest. It actually works out pretty well, including a reasonable cross section across time and partisan affiliation. The cut off for inclusion worked out to be 5 years in office, rounding to the nearest year. The wrong side of the line includes two forgettable premiers that would later go on to be forgettable Prime Ministers in the gap between Macdonald’s death and Laurier’s election and Russell “15 seconds of silence” MacLellan.

Any how, my original plan had been to have a short bio for each (with snarky comments of my own added in), but the Deathly Hallows was a better read than I expected, and J.K. Rowling seems to be paid by the word. What evs’. In the meantime, wikipedia links will do, though I do recommend reading the Dictionary of Canadian Biography entry for the older fellows- the link should be on their wiki page- as they are written by actual historians rather than nerds in their parents’ basement people like me. I will endeavor to have something up later tonight of my own creation.

Voting will be by rank, so feel free to set the order as you see fit. I’ll leave it to run until the end of the week. Remember, as with Nova Scotia politics in general, a certain amount of gerrymandering is expected, so: vote early and often.

The Candidates (by years served):

George H. Murray (1896-1923)

Angus L. Macdonald (1933-1940; 1945-54)

William S. Fielding (1884-1896)

John Buchanan (1978-1990)

Robert Stanfield (1956-1967)

William Annand (1867-1875)

Gerald. A. Regan (1970-1978)

John Hamm (1999-2006)

Edgar N. Rhodes (1925-1930)

Alexander S. MacMillan (1940-1945)

The poll itself can be found here.

Ongoing SOCAN Hilarity

So, SOCAN is asking hairdressers and barbers to pay them a fee to play music in their shops. They apparently did the same last year for dentists.

I suppose this makes sense, I’m sure that my barber has to pay a library rate for his dated copies of Maclean’s.

Radio Topics, July 17

Same CKCU time, CKCU channel- 93.1fm in Ottawa; for all the rest.

One year ago Israel marched into Lebanon to retrieve it’s two kidnapped soldiers.

It seems in Turkey that writing a song which critisizes a high school exam is a crime
. Even if it is a good song.

Conrad Black is found guilty and is probably going to jail. Somewhere Jean Chretien is smiling.

Bush’s choice for Surgeon General gets grilled in US Senate hearings.

Ottawa group to keep handing out Crack pipes despite City Council canceling the program.

Howard Hampton and the NDP call for public dental insurance.

Polaris Prize short list announced and it is very…white.

Ottawas refuses to back UN declaration on rights of Aboriginal Peoples.

Bluesfest (kinda) post

Radio topics will be up tomorrow morning, I promise.

I also have more detailed reflections on bluesfest and the polaris prize, including a conversation between Adam and I on the greatness of (the) Joel Plaskett Emergency. For what it’s worth, despite my Halifax allegiances my initial Polaris vote would go to Julie Doiron, though I am still working my way through a couple of albums. Again, more on this later.

But I do want to say this:
I went to Bluesfest on Saturday, and spent much of the day there, often in the rain. Amanda Rheaume was spectacular, if unexpected on the River stage. Similarly, Amos the Transparent will be my find for the festival. Patrick Watson sounded too much like a Parachutes-era Coldplay, though I could have just been wet and miserable.

But I think that the new standard by which I will judge live performances is that, if, and only if, I am really enjoying a show, but the front-person on stage is having more fun, then that set is officially wicked.

Jim Bryson was having that kind of fun.
Though I didn’t get pictures (new camera + rain = no photgraphic evidence), the last songs random-on-stage-dancing-dudes, plus Jim wandering through the crowd with a Harmonica, was tres cool.

That said- perhaps the better test is willingness to stand in the cold rain for 5 hours to see someone, even though you could walk home and back and still catch the good show after putting jeans and sneakers on.

Or maybe that’s the test for being an idiot.

Either or.

Value for Money

Posted without comment, from highlighting mine:

The cost for the design and construction of six-to-eight APVs has been budgeted at $3.1 billion CAD, an amount that is testament to the high cost of doing business with the Canadian shipbuilding industry. Comparably, the construction costs associated with eight proven Svalbard-class vessels would be (at current exchange rates) approximately $850 million CAD, based on the unit price previously mentioned. The motivation behind this decision by the government is to provide maximum benefit for taxpayer’s dollars (by paying three-times the price of the benchmark design for Arctic patrol vessels), and to provide benefits to regions dependent on the “ailing” Canadian shipbuilding industry. The procurement will conform to the Canadian Shipbuilding Policy Framework, which will require the federal government to procure, repair, and refit the vessels in Canada, so long as there remains a competitive domestic marketplace.

Allright, I will comment. Presuming these numbers are accurate, the question now becomes whether or not we will get 2 billion dollars of local development out of building ships within Canada, and whether or not we would have gotten more regional development for our dollar had we used the money in another fashion.

I have no particular problem with using major capital projects to perform secondary local development purposes, nor am I particularly enthralled with the prospect of spending lots of money in another country and seeing none of the side benefits. But in any case we must ask whether the extra money we spend sees a real return on our investment, or whether we could have used the difference  in a more efficient way somewhere else.

Those are, after all, the kinds of decisions that governments are supposed to make.

Radio Topics, July 10

As always, Tuesday from 7am-9am on 93.1fm in Ottawa, for all the rest. We’re back in the old studio, so podcasting should resume this week as well.

Josh Prowse will be on the show to talk about his experiences on the Otesha Project.

Now we can protect all our coastlines with patrol boats… apparently Icebreakers just weren’t what the Navy wanted. However they did want the frigates retro-fitted.

If you elect John Tory and buy gas then every cent of it will go towards building and maintaining roads.

Paralyzed man in Vancouver seeks to avoid deportation by claiming sanctuary.

Pope Benedict to bring Latin back.

Canada uses more weed than the rest of the world and it seems has started arresting more people for smoking it.

Bicycle enforcement blitz in downtown Ottawa
. Wear your helmets.

White Stripes play secret show for sick kids at the Bronson Centre.

Pro-sports teams hurt local economy.

Bluesfest Musings

I skipped Joel Plaskett’s Barney Danson set last night, but based on the strength of his set on the Roger’s stage, I regret not coming earlier- he was in the groove, and an encore so unexpected I’m pretty sure that the MC got yelled at for allowing it. It was pretty awesome.

 Also, Jack White is phenomenal.

 Some other musings

1) While it is nice to have the screen to see what is going on, the MOD-style text message crawl is really annoying. I also question the nature of any relationship which uses this medium to get engaged.

 2) I am firmly anti-chair, and will push ahead of people until I get a reasonably good view. However, I do this well-before the show begins. If the show has already started, I don’t try to push my luck and make it to the front. General Admission doesn’t mean that you have to shove away the late comers 40 minutes into the set of the headline. Don’t be that asshole.

3) If you are that asshole, please actually pay attention to the show. If you have to step on my girlfriends feet multiple times and stand directly in front of her (indeed, so close that she can count the threads in your castro freedom hat), at least pay attention to the fucking music. Don’t have loud conversations on your cellphone about how you are at the show. Don’t flirt with the girl you brought, even if you are planning on leaving 30 minutes before the show ends. Those are all things that could very easily be done somewhere else, where I am not trying to listen to music. A concert, believe it or not, is not like going to Zaphod’s after the band is done. Note, I am not complaining about those that sing along. If you want to sing, I am cool with that; I’m not that big of an asshole.


Important other questions

So, the Prime Minister was in Halifax today to announce a refit program for Canada’s frigates. Starting in 2010. It will last 7 years. It’s important work that needs to be done, and I guess it satisfies the other objective of giving a reason to be in Halifax while at the same time not talking to Rodney Macdonald. It’s like that time in High School where I showed up to a friends birthday party, and specifically and visibly avoided talking to someone I was having a snit with.

Wait, that didn’t happen. Becuase I was not 6.

In any case, here are some interesting questions that the CBC article does not answer:

1) What does this mean for the Destroyers, which presently perform a command and control role in the Navy. They are getting close to 4 decades old, and were last modernized before most of the current crop of ships were commissioned. It would have been nice to see an announcement about replacing them as well. Will they be retired, meaning fewer ships in the navy, or will they be kept longer?

2) Why was the Prime Minister wasting his time with an announcement for upgrading something?