Thursday, August 30, 2012

That was one long walk in the snow Justin

If Warren Kinsella is right, and I have little reason to doubt him, then Justin Trudeau is going to run for the Liberal leadership. Given how long it took him to reach this decision I thought perhaps he was waiting for winter to arrive.  That way he could follow in his father's footsteps by taking a walk in the snow before making making up his mind.

Pierre Trudeau of course took his famous walk in the snow before announcing his departure from political life back in February of 1984.  I think it would have had a nice symmetry to it, combined with an interesting dichotomy.  The old man exiting the Prime Minister's office in the same way that the son aspires to it.

As for rumours that JT will insist on his team being all forty years of age or younger, I'm ambivalent....besides which I don't really care.  I can see positives and negatives to such a move.  The obvious negative is that it will eliminate some very experienced people.  The positive is that a lot of that experience is in running losing campaigns.

I do think he's the best choice for the LPC.

Choosing where to invest and with whom - Its about rapport

Yesterday I wrote about Garth Turner and his website Greater Fool. I told you about his current Canada wide tour where he's hosting seminars and (no doubt) giving lots of advice about where people should be investing their money. Given the cost of the seminar, (free) I have little doubt that there will be lots of brochures and pamphlets on chairs and tables, all flogging a variety of investment products. And likely salespeople waiting nearby.

In my opinion, probably not the best way to be making important financial decisions.

In a previous life I worked in the financial industry, so obviously I have some opinions on this subject. But don't expect me to be touting one investment over another. I'm not going to suggest that segregated funds beat mutual funds, that term insurance is better value than universal or whole life...or the reverse, that's not what I'm writing about.

Suffice to say with financial planning and investments there isn't one size fits all.

So what is important? 

Things like tolerance for risk and time horizon. What are your financial plans and goals? A 60 year old couple looking to retire in the next few years will have different needs as compared to twenty somethings with a child on the way and looking to buy their first home.

At the end of the day its about relationships in my opinion. Its about finding and working with an individual in whom you have confidence, trust, and rapport.

So then, what company?

There are more choices now than there ever have been. Years ago the answer was simple, go to the bank. For some that may still be the preferred option. Personally I think at least equal consideration should be given to the individual you're dealing with, there are lots of reputable companies offering investment and financial products. And with the banks, its rare that a representative will meet you at your home, at your convenience. Further bank employees might get promoted or moved, while individual consultants representing many established companies operate as their own proper businesses.  

And with many companies you can bundle numerous products together, which often leads to significant savings. We've all heard the ads about bundling car and home insurance to save on premiums. Well now there are strong companies that will bundle more than just home/auto insurance. You can now get mortgages, life insurance, RRSPs, RESPs, TFSAs, GICs and more...all from the same firm providing insurance for your residence and vehicles.

And as with the banks, your money is insured.  

I'm now living in Québec, and when I was out shopping for a new car La Capitale was recommended to me for auto insurance. They're a perfect example about what I'm talking about in terms of offering a whole suite of financial products and services.

I will reiterate the point I consider most important in all this. Its all about confidence, trust and rapport.

I will add one more, accessibility. Financial markets can be volatile, and so can people's lives. Whether its a change in your personal circumstances or a major event in the markets, I strongly suggest working with a representative or consultant who makes time for their clients.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Garth Turner's advice - Worth what it costs?

Its been a while since I blogged on Canada's housing bubble, which might seem odd given that there are finally obvious cracks showing in this nation's real estate market.  If those predicting a significant correction in house prices prove right, (guilty) its certainly been a long time coming.

That's the thing with bubble markets, even though a particular asset class might be grossly overvalued, so long as people keeping pumping money in, the balloon will keep stretching.  In the case of Canadian homes there's been plenty of incentive to push prices even higher over the past three or four years.  Thanks to government securitized loans (CMHC) our supposedly conservative banks have been forking over billions in mortgages at super low interest rates and stretching  amortizations out as long as forty years.

Government backed CMHC insurance eliminated risk for the banks, so they've based mortgages on 'stated income' and haven't even been bothering to inspect the homes they're financing, a simple postal code check has been the preferred method.

You probably know a few geniuses who boast about how many properties they own, I do.  These amateur part time landlords are convinced they can't lose, nothing different from what happened in the US during the housing boom down south.

I've said all this before of course, as has Garth Turner on his very popular blog Greater Fool.  I've mentioned both him and his website many times, suggesting its very much worth taking a look at.  I now somewhat regret the suggestion.

I say 'somewhat' because I'm still reading it and still enjoying it.  The writing style is very engaging and often hilarious, the pictures he posts on each entry alone are often worth the visit.  But I now want to qualify my suggestion of visiting Greater Fool with some advice of my own.

Be wary of any advice offered free of charge, often times you get what you pay for.

I've worked in the financial industry before, and while I wouldn't say the problem is rampant, there is a degree of sleaze out there and one should always be cautious.  There are always shills out and about flogging their products as the nextest and bestest investment vehicle with promises of returns that will outperform the overall market.

I don't think I've ever done that here myself.  While I have agreed that housing has been significantly overvalued over the past three years, I haven't ever suggested where one might invest their money after realizing significant gains from selling or borrowing against the equity in a home.

Garth, well that's his stock and trade it seems.  His favorites for the last while have been banks and REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts).

Thanks to the incredible run Canadian real estate has had, there are a lot of Canadians sitting on a lot of capital, capital that's tied up a house.  In other words is isn't liquid.  And this is where Mr. Turner comes in.  Not only does he typically suggest crystallizing those windfall tax-free capital gains by selling, he is then full of advice on where to invest the money.

Right now he's on a Canada wide tour, packing them in for free seminars in hotel conference rooms.

I'm not suggesting to someone planning to attend to take a pass, absolutely not.  There's nothing wrong with arming yourself with as much information as possible, even if the advice is seemingly free.  I say seemingly because I'm one of those cynics who believes there is precious little in this life that is truly free.

Promotion of investment vehicles is a big industry, and there are a lot of people out there with significant net worth who are anxious about the overall economy, not just the value of their home.  Its easy to fall prey to promoters who sound genuine but are really nothing more than commissioned sales people, no different from the real estate agents Mr. Turner so often derides.

Its a jungle out there, beware of strangers bearing gifts and free advice, even when they're hip and ride into town on a motorcycle.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Some Quebecers like their politicians soft

How do you like your eggs? Hard boiled, once over lightly? Me, I like mine scrambled usually.

But what about the men and women elected to public office? The most recent polling numbers suggest that about 28% of Quebecers prefer their politicians to be soft, at least on the issue of independence.

François Legault used to be hard for separation, a real pitt bull. Now he says he changed his mind, he's no longer in favour of sovereignty. Does that mean he's hard for Federalism now? Well, no...not exactly. He's not really a Federalist either, instead he's using the word Nationalist to describe himself.

Nationalist...WTF does that mean?

Only in Québec. The political vocabulary in this province is different from what I'm used to, being a transplanted Ontarian. If someone tells me they're a nationalist, I would take that to mean that they're proud to be Canadian.

Mais pas içi.

In Québec's political culture you're either a federalist or a separatist. Either you're for Québec remaining a province in a united Canada or in favour of Québec separating and forming a new country. That's not to say there isn't some nuance allowed, your position can be either hard or soft.

I'm talking about politics here.

Whether one is a soft separatist or soft federalist, it really means the same thing. You swing both ways depending on the circumstances and wording of the question. A sort of political bisexuality if you will.

Hard is of course, just hard.

Jean Charest is hard, no question. He is a federalist through and through. Pauline Marois as well, although the opposite kind of hard as befitting a member of the opposite sex perhaps.

But François Legault? Well, there's no other way to describe his stance on this all important issue other than Soft.

Its nothing but political gamesmanship in my opinion, or as it is put here, chicanery. The CAQ leader is trying to walk both sides of the street, and so far its working. Like a Texas hold `em player who has made it to the final table, he sits happily with a decent size stack while the other two main players go all in.

I don't think the electorate here was expecting sovereignty to be a major issue. I suspect Mme Marois and the PQ would have preferred that the question of creating a new 'nation' via a referendum remain on the back burner . That might have allowed her to pick up Federalists in favour of protecting and promoting the French language and Québec culture. But the emergence of Québec Solidaire and to a lesser degree Option Nationale (the world National even swings both ways) forced her to put her chips in play.

Charest for his part has never left any doubt about his convictions on the question of Canadian unity.

September fourth is next week, and we'll know the results then. Who knows, in Québec politics maybe soft is best? It might make François Legault the King maker or perhaps even the King.

And if a vote on independence comes at same point, maybe there's some medication the CAQ leader can take to firm up his....uhm resolve.

Legault's CAQ party filling Separatist sails

Quebec Liberal party supporters could be excused for perhaps thinking that the idea for the creation of François Legault's CAQ party was to split the federalist vote.  After all the new political entity was created by an old Pauline Marois' cabinet colleague and separatist firebrand.

Thanks to Legault's easy answers campaign lots of traditional Liberal support is moving the CAQ's way.  And while voters may like the platform, its not like the CAQ has any hope of being elected.  At best Legault can hope to hold the balance of power in a minority PQ led National Assembly.

All those promises of one thousand new family doctors and major cuts to Quebec Hydro will never come to fruition.  Students and teachers worrying about going to war over proposed changes to education, with hours extended to 5 can relax.  Those are just populist ideas designed to woo older voters and they have no chance of ever needing to be acted upon.

That's not to suggest that the CAQ hasn't been an integral player in this election, far from it.  Unless you're ready to totally dismiss the current polling, as Jean Charest seems willing to do, then Quebec is going to elect the Separatist PQ with either a minority or a majority.  

Personally I think the chances of a majority are better than 50/50 as things stand now.  Its being suggested that the Liberal leader can't even count on winning his own seat.  If the PQ does form a majority the rest of Canada can get ready for a whole new round of Federalist - Nationalist battles, and a hit to investor confidence to boot.

Too bad Monsieur Legault abandoned the cause, the old François would have loved the thought of a reborn majority mandate for the separatist PQ, but then maybe.....Nah, no conspiracy theories today.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Québec - What happens after a vote for independence?

For some, perhaps for most, the question of Québec separation is a dead issue.  There are many who believe that the referendum in 1995 was the last kick at the can for those who want a sovereign Québec.

And they're probably right, maybe.

For my own part I view separation as still being a possibility, albeit unlikely.  I do think that the so called 'winning conditions' the likes of the Parti Quebécois envision can still come to pass.  I wrote about it recently here:  Québec's road to independence.

In broad strokes I think the winning conditions for a yes vote on independence would  be: 

1) The election of a majority PQ government
2) Deterioration of relations between Ottawa and the Québec government with Ottawa refusing to cede control of responsibilities like immigration and the administration of Employment Insurance.
3) Increased unpopularity of the Federal government in Québec.
4) The creation of a form of Québec citizenship with the possible disenfranchisement of non French speaking voters.

Doesn't seem like such a long shot viewed in that light does it?  

Some might point to recent polling which has the PQ only in minority territory.  However the electorate is volatile so I'm not going to put too much stock in polls.  Just witness Alberta's recent election.  On top of that I consider PQ voters as being perhaps more motivated.  And the PQ itself is likely more organized than its rivals, in particular the nascent Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ).  
So let's assume the PQ forms a majority and that a referendum does come to pass, with Québec voting for independence at some future date.  What then?

I'm no constitutional lawyer or expert, but this is what I think we'd be looking at.

Immediately after a vote for independence there would be euphoria for hardliners, uncertainty for many, and outright fear among some.  The island of Montréal would be in turmoil, with some packing up to leave and others vowing a referendum of their own.  Native communities likewise would be clamoring for the right to make up their own minds as to whether or not they want their lands and their citizenship to be accorded to Canada or Québec.

In short, there would be big trouble, and likely in my opinion, violence.  The hard line separatists having waited so long to finally win a vote for independence would not take kindly to those looking to rain on their parade and things would get ugly.

I have trouble seeing clearly what happens beyond that to be honest, but I have a pretty good idea.

The reaction in English Canada would be mixed as I see it.  Some would be saying good riddance, while others would take up the cause of the aboriginal and anglophone communities.  The east coast would be in angst over the complications of being part of a geographically divided confederation.

While all this hand wringing and debate is going on in Québec and in the rest of the country, I envision Québec's National Assembly voting on a unilateral declaration of independence, and naturally passing it based on the PQ's majority status.

English Canada would be in uproar citing the Clarity Act, with Québec waiting anxiously for recognition from foreign countries.  

Nobody would be happy, except for lawyers who would be having a field day.  

It could take years to settle, and I have no idea who would the winner would be.  The only thing of which I'm certain is that there would be plenty of losers.  The toll on the economy would be devastating as Canada would become like a leper as far as foreign investment is concerned.  

The comment section is open and I don't engage censorship so I'll leave it to readers to have at it.  I will delete those comments which are overly profane or of a threatening or menacing nature however.

Whaddyer think?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Why this voter is going with Québec's Liberals and Jean Charest

This will be my first time voting in a Québec election, and as everyone who reads this blog knows, (all four of you) I take my democratic franchise very seriously.

Given my lack of first hand knowledge of Québec politics I thought it would be best to inform myself as much as possible and to not dismiss any one party automatically, including the separatist Parti Québecois. In fact I was giving serious consideration to Pauline Marois' and the PQ until recently and explained my reasons with the following post:

The PQ lost this voter on several issues, one big one being citizenship.  Mme Marois' party wants to bring in a form of citizenship for Québec residents, with facility in the French language being a requirement.  She proposed at one point precluding non-French speakers from being allowed to run for political office in the province.  She's been all over the map, seemingly making up policy up on the fly, and later back tracked saying all current Québec residents would automatically have citizenship under her proposed plan.

What really scares me is the thought of a potential referendum, and then finding out that those who don't fit the PQ definition of Québecois(e) being disenfranchised.

Sorry Pauline, I believe in democracy.  If voters aren't happy with a candidate because she/he doesn't speak French, (or for any other reason) then they don't have to vote for that individual. C'est simple!!!

There were some Pequiste ideas I really liked though.  Term limits for Premiers and mayors being one, and limiting political donations to $100 per individual with no tax credit being another.

As for the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) and leader François Legault, I find them far to wishy washy, trying to be all things to all people and as a result they end up being nothing as far as I'm concerned.  Is Monsieur Legault separatist or federalist?  It strikes me he is trying to be both, and that doesn't cut it with this voter.

Finally that leaves the Liberals and Jean Charest.  But it isn't good enough to be voting against individuals or parties, you also have to be voting FOR something, and there's plenty that I like about Québec's current 1st minister.  

His handling of the student strikes and his willingness to make tough decisions is one prime example.

While I think the law banning protests was over the top, Monsieur Charest showed genuine leadership in my opinion.  Attempts to negotiate and to be conciliatory were made, however too many of the student groups were totally intransigent, a point even made by a member of the PQ.  

And of course his forthright and unwavering commitment to federalism is another.  In this election we have the PQ for those who want Québec to separate, the Liberals for those who want a united Canada, and the CAQ which wants both....or neither.

There's no perfect party, and certainly no perfect platform.  But this newly minted Québec voter will be marking an X next to the Liberal candidate's name with zero hesitation.  

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Marois contre Legault face à face...For all the marbles?

With the Liberals seemingly bleeding, Jean Charest is reported to be trailing badly in his own riding, the debate between Pauline Marois and François Legault takes on even greater significance.  It seems quite possible that the winner might be able to find that elusive traction to carry him or her to power on September four.

The battle lines were drawn early, Legault presenting Mme Marois as the Queen of the Status Quo, while Mme Marois painted a picture of the CAQ leader picking fights with almost every sector in his efforts to clean up government.  

Sadly at about the half way point in the debate I lost the stream from the's website, thus this will be a short and....half assed commentary.

I thought the PQ leader was performing better than Monsieur Legault, she was far more composed with her former colleague than she seemed with Jean Charest. That's not to say there wasn't acrimony, there was example being Legault's decision to leave government and the reasons.  But overall the tone was not nearly as heated as the two previous debates.

I should note however, that while I thought Mme Marois was out dueling M. Legault, the on-line voting taking place on the website had the CAQ leader far ahead with over 60% saying his was the better performance.

The debate is still going on, however my live stream is still not working.  I will post this now and add to it later if I'm able to continue watching.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Legault contre Charest - face à face - A game changer?

This was Charest's Waterloo as I see it, win the debate and the world is your's, lose and...well, perhaps the end of a brilliant political career.  I won't beat the metaphor to death, but Legault played the role of Wellington in taking the debate.

Charest was almost always on the defensive.  The liberal leader certainly tried to counter attack, and he landed some serious blows.  One example would be the merger of Provigo to Loblaws, the loss of another head office to Québec, but one that took place when Monsieur Legault was in government.  This was in response to Legault's attack regarding the number of head offices leaving the province.

Québec's first minister, perhaps feeling the heat or needing an audience that was more receptive, repeatedly directed his answers to the moderator.  The CAQ leader was every bit as aggressive as Pauline Marois in yesterday's debate, but Legault's blows were landing and he was more effective in blocking the counter attacks.

This was the debate in a nutshell, Legault attacked and Charest defended and attempted to counter and put the CAQ leader on his heels, but without success.  

The debate was won by François Legault, of that I have little doubt.  As is typical, it wasn't a knockout, Charest as a debater is too skilled.  But in the opinion of this blogger Charest needed to win, and I don't think he did.

If Legault has an Achilles heel its over his history as a hard line separatist.  Charest repeated his line of the CAQ leader being a hard line sovereigntist for 40 years and in 4 seconds switching to federalism.  But I think the talking point that Legault repeated over and over, that Monsieur Charest..."hasn't delivered the merchandise" will resonate more with voters.   

Checking the Journal de Québec's on-line tally Legault comes out on top, 60 to 40%.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Charest contre Marois face à face and toe to toe

I just finished watching the one on one debate between Jean (or is it John) Charest and Pauline Marois.  My first thought is that I'd love to see this format at the federal level, with party leaders going toe to toe in a series of debates instead of the usual free for all with four or five speakers all fighting for the viewer's attention.

So who won?  That's the question everyone asks at the end of a debate, and I won't vacillate and qualify my answer, I'll put it right out there.  Jean Charest won, not a knockout but I'd wager that if there were three judges keeping score of blows landed and punches thrown, that the current first minister of Québec would be ahead on all of them.

I couldn't help but envision M. Charest as a child called into the principal's office for a severe talking to, but he came prepared. The only area I found his answers lacking was his assertion that the French language is not losing ground in Québec.  Donne moi un break la, Monsieur Charest, tiens...guess what...c'est claire que ça c'est un fait.  

On the economy they went back and forth with the Liberal leader taking shots at the PQ`s stewardship of the economy when Mme Marois and the PQ were in government.  Mme Marois in turn landed some blows over the government's fiscal record over the past nine years.   RESULT, DRAW

On the student protests, Mme Marois has chosen the street and cast her lot with the protesters.  Charest defended himself well against accusations that he is incapable of achieving consensus, and that his government was intrangient, citing examples of modifications and accomodations that were proposed and rejected by the most militant factions of the student movement. Charest was forceful in asserting his belief that 5 out of 25 students who wished to continue attending classes during the strikes be allowed to do so.  RESULT CHAREST

On governance, Mme Marois' proposals for fixed elections dates and term limits resonated with me, and if Charest gave a reasonable answer, I missed it.  RESULT MAROIS

On protection of the French language and culture, Mme Marois carried the day.  For those who consider the protection of French as a language and the Québecois culture a priority, it was no contest as I mentioned at the start.  The French language is retreating, denying a fact made Charest look weak in my opinion. RESULT MAROIS

As for independence, no big surprises.  Mme Marois stated her belief in an independent Québec with Monsieur Charest saying independence is not something Québecers are concerned with during these difficult economic times.  RESULT DRAW

That's what I remember right now off the top of my head.  The level of acrimony was incredible, and I was genuinely sick of hearing Charest continually attempt to cut in with Mme Marois, Mme Marois, Mme Marois.  I'd love to know how many times he said it, my guess would be close to 500.  There were times where his countenance bespoke a man close to losing control, but he held it together.  

I don't think the Liberal leader won over any Péquistes of course. Tomorrow's debate against the CAQ's François Legault could very well define this election and determine the Liberal's chances of a return to power.  

A final note, while I called this a decided victory for Mr. Charest based on my own viewing of the debate, an on-line poll on the Journal de Quebec's website (I watched the debate via the paper's on-line stream) had Charest ahead at roughly 57 to 43 per cent.  

Québec's road to independence

A while back I shared my opinion on Québec sovereignty, expressing the view that independence is inevitable.  Well, my opinion has changed.  I wrote that particular entry back in April of 2009, over two years before moving to Québec City in October of 2011.  If you want to go back and check it out, here`s the link:

I no longer think sovereignty is assured, but at the same time I do think under the right conditions, that the separatists might still be able to garner fifty per cent plus one in a vote.

When I bring up the question of Québec independence with friends, colleagues and acquaintances here the reaction is typically pretty much the same.  They`re fed up with the debate, the arguments, and all the acrimony that goes with it. Sovereignty is an issue that has split up families and ended friendships.

Still, it simmers just below the surface as evidenced by the popularity of the Parti Québecois and the emergence of other, even more strident sovereigntist parties.  

By my reckoning (carefully unresearched and completely devoid of any scientific method) about 20-25% of Quebecois are die hard separatists.  No matter the timing or wording of the question, close to a quarter of the population would vote for independence. Another 25-30% are strident federalists who will never vote to take Québec out of confederation.  

That leaves somewhere around 50% as either soft federalists or soft separatists who could go either way depending on the question and the timing.  Those who think the issue is dead should hearken back to the aftermath of the first referendum back in 1980.  After the No side romped to a 60% victory many thought the issue was settled, and then were stunned in 1995 when the Yes side came within a whisker of winning.  

How might separatists win over enough soft support to win?  A lot would have to go right, but here`s the path as I see it.

Firstly the Parti Québecois would have to win a majority mandate, something that polling indicates is a very real possibility come the fourth of September.  Pauline Marois' party is currently sitting in the low 30% range in support, but with the upstart CAQ party siphoning off Liberal votes, we may be looking at a scenario similar to what happened in Ontario when Bob Rae`s NDP won a majority by splitting up the middle.

With Mme Marois installed as Québec's first minister the stage would be set for her promised demands of more autonomy from Ottawa:  taking over EI and immigration policy for starters.  Would Ottawa give control of a program like EI to Québec?  I highly doubt it.  Employment Insurance is a program that takes in billions more in premiums than it pays out in benefits, with the difference going into general revenues.

I doubt any federal government in Ottawa would be eager to give up on this cash cow, be it Conservative, NDP or Liberal, especially with proposed rule changes that will shrink benefits even further. Likewise with immigration policy.  While immigration doesn't generate revenue the way EI premiums do, I still doubt Ottawa would be anxious to cede control.

And that would give the PQ the script they're looking for.

M. Charest has been in power for nine years and there`s a whole generation who would be hearing the separatist manifesto for the first time, in newspapers, on the radio and television news.  

'Québec shouldn't have to go on its knees begging to Ottawa for the right to make decisions about notre pays!!!  We deserve our own place in the world, as an equal member of the global community.  Why are we paying taxes to Ottawa and having to live with the choices they make for us?  Enough with the duplication, and the cost.'

You don't have to agree with those statements, but if they're repeated often enough they do start to take root with a lot of people.  Just think back to some other propaganda we've heard federally like: Not worth the risk and he's not in it for you. And I doubt there would be another huge unity rally in Montreal to save the day again.  English Canada is fed up, especially Conservatives after Québec bucked the blue wave sweeping the country.  

Which brings me to the other winning condition for separatists, a Prime Minister in Ottawa who is incredibly unpopular in Québec, as is certainly the case now with Stephen Harper.  His name comes up as often as that of Charest or Marois in this election, and it isn't flattery.

Its still a long shot, and a lot would have to fall the way separatists would like, but I don't see it as impossible.

Thoughts on the Québec leaders debate - Charest bounce coming?

To this anglophone ear, listening to to the debate on CBC French language radio 106.3 FM here in the capital of the nation, it struck me that Prime Minister Jean Charest performed very well.

This was the first of four debates, with the leaders of four of Québec's political parties, and the only one with Québec Solidaire's Françoise David taking part.  The format was what we're used to seeing, with all the leaders facing off against each other in turn and tackling issues like the economy, corruption and protecting Québec's language and culture.  

Some thoughts on the combatants:

The winner?  Could be I think.  In a debate with two current and one former separatist, Québec's first minister was not shy about going on the attack.  He took some shots certainly, over issues of corruption and about protecting Québec's interests in Ottawa.  But he fired back about working with Ottawa and boasted of Québec's solid recovery from the financial crisis.  

His best shot was at François Legault, leader of the upstart CAQ party, and a former Parti Québecois cabinet minister.  Charest`s remark about Legault`s forty years as a fervent separatist whose now crossed the street resonated with this listener at least.

Québec might soon have its first ever woman at the head of its government, if current polling holds through to voting day.  And befitting someone who has four children, she came across as a very protective mother, one whose child (in this case Québec) can do no wrong.  Listening to the PQ chef, one would be excused for thinking that life in Québec is horrible and that the French are second class citizens, if not in the province certainly in Canada.

The PQ line is well known, wresting even greater powers from Ottawa and again pushing and advocating for sovereignty, with a referendum to take place when the conditions are conducive.

From this blogger's point of view, a political opportunist.  One who advocated tirelessly for sovereignty, but who recognizes that the people`s appetite for that endless debate is perhaps gone forever.

His pledge is that the CAQ will clean up government, fait le ménage.   That`s the issue around which he's framed his campaign, but the PQ had its share of corruption charges when he was sitting at the cabinet table as a PQ minister.  

She appears to be taking the long view, realizing her chance at electoral success is limited at best during this election.  I imagine she is hoping to win her seat and to be a greater player in the years to come. Pushing even harder for independence than the PQ and advocating an agenda which she unapologeticly calls leftist.  

This voter hasn't made up his mind yet however.  I am hopeful of being able to listen to the one on one debates to follow, particularly those involving Charest with Marois and Legault.  

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Thanks for the good times Dalton - Now Piss off!!!

Its hard not to think of Ontario teachers as a bunch of gold diggers, with Dalton McGuinty as a sugar daddy fallen on hard times.

The teachers unions used to love the self styled education premier.  And why not?  He doted, and spent oodles on them. Jobs were protected in the face of declining enrollment by reducing class sizes and bringing in all day kindergarten.  Kaching Kaching, Dalton had the money and he was willing to spend it.  Wage increases, job security, keeping the plan that allows sick days to be banked for a windfall at retirement.

But then Dalton fell hard times, his government facing a $15 billion dollar shortfall.

"I know you're used to the Lexus dear, but the KIA is nice".  Predictably perhaps, teachers want the Lexus.

I'm not without sympathy for teachers, far from it, I know too many.  Both my siblings teach high school in the GTA as well as a brother in law, and my best friend teaches elementary north of the city.  There are a lot of good teachers out there, individuals who dedicate themselves to the profession and who work long hours during the school year and during the summer at improving their qualifications.

Reality as they say, sucks sometimes.

If Dalton was thinking he could bank on the good will he built up over his government's past generosity...yeah right.  To be fair pretty much everyone suffers from a sense of entitlement, teachers included.  When you've built your lifestyle and plans around certain financial expectations it can be hard to make adjustments.

The McGuinty government certainly is going to have to adjust, no longer will the Ontario Liberals have the rock solid support of those in the teaching profession.  

Friday, August 17, 2012

Yarmulkes ha-jibs and burkas OH MY!!! Get a grip Pauline

I'm not big on religion, oh I go to church from time to time, but I'm not religious about it.  

As far as I know I don't wear anything that is even remotely symbolic of any faith.  That is unless there's a cult out there somewhere whose adherents wear socks that don't match, in which case I'm a zealot.  I honestly don't get it.  Do some people expect God or some holy representatives to come down and collect up only those wearing yellow baseball caps or whatever?

Well, it seems Pauline Marois and the Parti Québecois has an answer to this burning question.  The PQ leader is saying she'd ban the wearing of all overtly religious symbols like turbans and ha jibs in the workplace.  

This is just plain stupid with a capital S.  Pauline, c'est stupide, c'est fou en esti, c'est....Marde, that's the end of my French vocab on the subject of things idiotic.

When exactly does a scarf become a ha jib anyway?  I used to work with a young woman who matched her religious observance of wearing the head scarf with an incredible flair for fashion.  I don't give a rat's posterior if the doctor I'm seeing is wearing a yarmulke, only if he can cure whatever ails me.

And its duplicitous to say the least that the PQ is in support of hanging a crucifix in the National Assembly while at the same time appearing to pander to the xenophobic tendencies of much of its base.  

I don't think Pauline Marois is a racist, I want to be clear on that point.  If this was about banning just the burka, no problem.  The only people who should be wearing that archaic head to toe covering are those working outdoors in Val D'or, from December to March, provided its wool lined.

The PQ chef deserves kudos for her handling of Saguenay mayor Jean Tremblay's rantings about a PQ candidate in that area being from Algeria and having a name that's difficult to pronounce.  She called for a public apology from this moron and cited Benhabib's exemplary integration into Québec society.

The solution Mme Marois is simple, just admit you effed up, it happens to everyone.  If your opponents try to hammer you on the issue, apologize and move on.  Leadership is about recognizing mistakes and learning from them, Monsieur Charest has certainly made his share.

But if you do get elected and proceed with this incredibly stupid idea, please exclude unmatched socks.  


I've never been a huge fan of Marineland anyway...

I've been to Marineland once, and also to Seaworld in Orlando on one occasion as a child.  I won't be going back.  And frankly, I wish I'd never gone in the first place.

By now you've likely heard about the allegations of poor conditions and sick animals at the Niagara Falls area attraction. The Toronto Star published a revealing exposé on the park this past Wednesday, citing evidence from former employees.  

But even if the killer whales, dolphins, sea lions and such were in perfect health, there's something that strikes me as inherently wrong about penning up creatures and training them to do flips and dives for big bucks at an amusement park.  Marineland isn't cheap, a family of four costs over $150, and that's just admission.

I'm not even a big fan of Zoos, although if they're regulated they do serve a purpose I guess, especially with endangered species.     

I wonder though...Would be reading about this story if Marineland was the property of a major news outlet?  Somehow I doubt it.  It makes me wonder how many stories get spiked because of centralized media ownership.  

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

An anglophone 'pur laine' considers voting Parti Québecois

For those unaware, I moved to Québec City back in October of 2011, and I am about as English Canadian as you can get, given that my ancestors came from the four corners of Great Britain. And yes, I am considering voting PQ in the September 4th election here.

Why?  I will explain.

Firstly, I am staunchly Federalist and would not vote for Québec to remove itself from Canadian confederation.  Yes I am aware that the PQ is a separatist party and that their ultimate goal is for an independent Québec.  However in the immediate term that is off the table, and even if it were  on the table conditions here are not currently conducive to the separatists winning in a referendum.

So then...Why?

Because I have been in love with Québec's language and culture for a long time, and because I do not want to see this province assimilated into the Anglo-Canadian mainstream.  Some might rail against the language laws that are currently on the books, and bristle at Pauline Marois' promise to strengthen them.  

I do not.

I wanted to move here, and when the opportunity arose I jumped at it.  I believe that 'when in Rome you do as the Romans do'.  By extension 'when in Québec, do as Québecers do', and Québec is French speaking with its own unique culture.  

Stephen Harper's Conservative government introduced legislation that recognizes Québec as a unique nation within Canada, and I agree.  Cent pour cent.  Canada is not a dictatorship, I was not forced to move here, and I have yet to meet anyone who was.  I'm not a fan of the 'love it or leave it argument', however common civility in my opinion dictates that you don't move somewhere and then try to change or adapt it to YOUR liking.

I held the same opinions when living in Ontario about those emigrating to that province.  Fortunately in my experience, most new Canadians are eager to adapt to their new home and work hard at learning the language and the ins and outs of Canadian culture and nuance.

But in Québec, a lot of Anglos do not.  There are plenty of English speakers here who don't even make a pretense to learning and using the French language.  No doubt they have their reasons, but I disagree.  

Now, with all that being said, my mind is not yet made up.  I have a soft spot for John Charest.  I like the man, or at least his public persona.  Québec's current Prime Minister in my eyes looks like a man who listens, like someone who does not demonstrate the usual arrogance, which is all too common among the political breed.

And although it doesn't factor much into the equation, I prefer the PLQ's slogan of 'Pour le Québrec' to the PQ's 'A nous de choisir'.  I detect an underlying xenophobia to that 'nous' (us) and I'm not sure whether I'm included in it.

As for the CAQ (Coalition Avenir Québec), they're not on my radar. François Legault's party rubs this voter the wrong way.  I'll write more on that later.  

After the fourth call Rogers fixes the problem....

Last week I wrote about how my cell phone was being inundated with blank text messages from the same London area cell number. After three calls to customer support I thought a better name would be Rogers Customer rape.  I was told that to block messages from a specific number that I would have to pay an additional $5.00 per month for a call management subscription.

I refused and found I could at least temporarily stop the messages by dialing the 519 number and, I guess, otherwise engage that phone.  But then a new number, this time in the 613 area code, started doing the same thing...blank message after blank message.

So I took a deep breath, and called Rogers again.

This time I was speaking to Theresa, (she gave me permission to use her name) in Ottawa.  And she was able to fix the problem, in fact any one of the previous CSRs with whom I spoke should have been able to as well.  I simply had to log onto 'my account' from the phone itself and choose the 'extreme texting' option at which point I was able to register the two offending numbers and lo and behold, no more annoying blank texts.

I lambasted Rogers in my last post, so to be fair I should express my gratitude.  I won't go that far however, not with Rogers the company.  Theresa on the other hand was outstanding, extremely professional and even credited my account with 50 free long distance minutes over the next couple of months as her way of apologising for my earlier troubles.

I probably won't be renewing my contract with Rogers when it comes due.  But the only reason the possibility has been upgraded from never to remote is because of this one CSR.  

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The 8-8 fire at the Freedom Tower that wasn't. A failed conspiracy?

When I first saw reports of a fire on the 88th floor of New York's new Freedom Tower, built to replace the twin towers...well let's just say it caught my attention.

On the 8th day of the 8th month on the 88th floor a fire was reported just before 8 am.  That certainly is a lot of number eights. The terrorist attacks of 9-11, the 7-7 attacks on the London transit system, all seemingly neatly packaged around convenient numbers, I didn't think the convergence of all these number eights could be mere coincidence.

And the news was all over the place.  Some media were reporting a false alarm, others that the NYFD had put a fire out, some said the building was completely vacant, others that the person who called in the report had merely seen the arc of a welding torch, in a building that was vacant.

Amidst all these conflicting news stories, I saw on my Google news feed this headline from the Jerusalem Post:   90 firefighters battle blaze at WTC site in NY  

Thinking however that it might not be available (and it appears it no longer is) I cut and paste the article for later reading.  Here is the text of the article:

Report: 90 firefighters battle blaze at new WTC site in NY 
08/08/2012 15:33 
Some 90 firefighters were fighting a blaze that broke out on the 88th floor of Manhattan's One World Trade Center (1WTC) on Wednesday morning, NBC New York reported. Currently under construction, the sky scraper is being built at the site of the World Trade Center towers that were destroyed in the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.
The New York Fire Department said the fire was reported at 7:45 a.m., NBC NY reported. The cause of the fire was unknown.

Now I don't consider myself to be a tin foil wearing conspiracy theorist, but I don't consider myself to be naive either.  All these stories, and especially the one in the Jerusalem Post, well they got me to thinking.

As near as I can gather the fire was reported by a citizen at 7:45 am.  If there was supposed to be a fire at the Freedom Tower, 8am would seem the logical time given all the other number eights present.

Is it possible that a diligent citizen thwarted some very nefarious plans?  Had another 15 minutes elapsed would there possibly have been New York city firefighters battling 'a blaze'.  If a fire had erupted who would have been blamed for it, and what would the fall out have been.

Some serious questions to ponder me thinks.

Fire at 1 World Trade Center: maybe yes, maybe no. Confused?

Still a confusing story, but its getting clearer.  From the Christian Science Monitor.

Fire at 1 World Trade Center: maybe yes, maybe no. Confused?

WTC fire, too many conflicting stories....

I'm reading all kinds of different stories right now, some reports say the fire was a false alarm, others that it was welding, yet others that 90 firefighters have brought the fire under control. 

Fire at World Trade Center likely a false alarm | CTVNews

Authorities: Fire at World Trade Center main tower in New York

I'm reading right now that the fire is under control, but still I have to admit to being a bit unnerved.

The eigthh day of the eighth month on the eighty eighth floor, just before eight am, that is freaky.

Authorities: Fire at World Trade Center main tower in New York is likely a false alarm

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Having an issue with my Rogers cell phone. They'll fix it...For a fee!!!

What a great day I had today, let me tell you about it.

My cell phone basically shut down this morning, sometime before it was to sound the alarm I have set for 6 AM.  The reason? Hundreds of text messages were inundating my inbox from a number somewhere in southwestern Ontario.  When I woke and got the phone working I had over 100 messages that were unread and my memory was maxed out.  

The 100 plus messages were all blank and all from the same phone number.  Naturally I deleted them, which freed up my receive even more blank messages from this same number.  

Bah da ding ding ding.  That's the tone I have set for incoming messages on my phone. 

Bah da ding ding ding, bah da ding ding ding, bah da ding ding ding, bah da ding ding ding, bah da ding ding ding, bah da ding ding ding, bah da ding ding ding, bah da ding ding ding, bah da ding ding ding.

Hustling to get out the door I switched the phone to vibrate and shoved it into my pocket.  The tingling sensation in my pants was the only joy I would have today.

Having shut off the phone I called Rogers' customer service from work, and they actually fixed the problem...for a few hours.  The messages don't seem to be coming from a company or business, rather from someone in the area of London Ontario with a Bell Mobility account.  

The representative called the number sending the messages and that seemed to resolve the problem.  And so I thought that was the end of this little adventure.  But the messages restarted  later in the day around 3PM, so I called customer service again.  They told me they couldn't block the number for some reason, and as the work day was over I called the London number myself using my calling card, and I came home.

I hadn't even parked my car when the messages started coming yet again, bah da ding ding ding, bah da ding ding ding, bah da ding ding ding...I had taken the phone off vibrate.

Thankfully one of my neighbours was on her back porch and I was able to use her phone to call the London number and stop them once more.  Seven rings or so then the standard voice mail greeting with a male identifying himself. Then I called Rogers once more to get this problem solved.

And that's when the fun started.

The gentleman with whom I spoke had exceedingly good customer service skills, unfortunately he is employed by a company that seems to only believe in servicing its customers if they're willing to pony up some more cash.

All I wanted Rogers to do was block this one particular phone number from sending me messages, that's it.  If it meant that calls from that number wouldn't be received either, hey...that would be fine.

It was politely explained to me that in order to block messages from that one number, I would have to subscribe to a call management service at a cost of $5.00 per month.  If I wanted the CSR said he could block ALL my messages for free, which would mean the package I have which includes unlimited messaging would be basically a waste.  

I have two phones with Rogers, my own and one for my son and my bills are around $100 per month, often more.  Apparently that's not enough.

Rogers has the ability to fix the problem, but only if I pay them extra to do it, which is a joke in my opinion.  And as a result, they'll be losing out on about $1500 a year in revenue all because of an idiotic $5 monthly fee.

The contract on my phone is up come October of next year, I wish it was sooner of course.  As soon as I'm able I'll be disconnecting from Rogers and switching to a company that has no contracts and one that knows how to provide customer service without charging extra fees to fix simple technical issues like this one.

The thought occoured to me that I hear complaints similar to this one all the time from many people, but strangely I never see or hear anything about it from mainstream media outlets.  But then of course Rogers is a huge advertiser and itself a media company, and journalists don't bite the hands that feed them.  Even if an intrepid reporter wanted to do a story like this I have no doubt it would be spiked.

Hopefully some people will be reading this via an internet connection provided by Rogers, I love irony.  

University of California Prof and author calls Sikh temple bombing 'Christian Terrorism'...and I agree

A funny thing happens when people get old, many lose their sense of fairness.  Something you hear from children almost every day is: "That's not fair", and oftentimes they're one hundred per cent right.

Of course they're just kids, and as we grow older many of us come to accept that the world isn't fair, because...well, that's just the way the world is.

Some people are born into wealth, power and influence and can achieve almost anything, even if they're drunken drug users who have bankrupted previous business ventures.  And others of course are born into abject poverty, with only a slim chance of success hinging on iron clad will, self confidence and perhaps a measure of divine providence.

But as I digress, as I so often do.

The words terrorist and terrorism get bandied about a great deal these days in our mainstream media.  And in almost all cases the stories being reported are about adherents of the Muslim faith.

Ask someone what images come to mind with the word terrorist and you're likely to get a description of a male Muslim, probably bearded and wearing a turban.

That's the way the our world is.

Many Muslims will assert that terrorism is against the tenets of Islam.  That those advocating violence or jihad have perverted the teachings of their prophet Mohammed.  Okay, but that doesn't matter, our mainstream press will still brand any atrocity committed by a nominal follower of that faith as 'Islamic Terrorism'.

So what about Wade Michael Page?  You know, the guy who just gunned down six innocent members of a Sikh Temple.

This man has been revealed as a Neo-Nazi white supremacist who was on his own 'jihad', if I may borrow the Islamic term for holy crusade.  A holy war against those outsiders who were polluting his white Christian Ah-Muhr-Ica (that's the way you pronounce it in red neck).

Shouldn't this news story be treated as Christian terrorism?  If Mr Page had been an Arab from the middle east, and had the victims been attendees at a Christian church, do you think the media would have refrained from calling him this an act of Islamic Terrorism?

Yeah right!!!  Let's be fair, what's good for the goose after all.

And I'm not alone in thinking this, Mark Juergensmeyer thinks so too.  He's a Professor of Sociology and Director of Global and International Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara and the winner of the Grawemeyer Award for his book "Terror in the Mind of God".

You can read his piece here:  Christian Terrorism Comes to Milwaukee

Monday, August 6, 2012

Christian churches speaking out on Northern Gateway- Why are evangelicals silent?

Some of Canada's Christian churches are giving voice to concerns over the Northern Gateway pipeline, in particular to the potential hazards it poses with respect to aboriginal peoples and wildlife. 

Kairos Canada has put out a primer for its member churches called: Ethical Reflections on the Northern Gateway Pipeline 

Kairos is a interdenominational organization with a mission statement that calls on Canadian churches to work for justice and peace. 

Member churches include: The Anglican Church of Canada, the Christian Reformed Church in North America, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Mennonite Central Committee of Canada, the Presbyterian Church in Canada and the United Church of Canada. 

United, Anglican, Lutherans, Catholics, Presbyterians....Where are the fundamentalist and/or born again evangelicals? You know, like Baptists, and Pentecostals, the churches that proclaim to be gospel and faith based. I don't know why they're not speaking out, (if they are please comment and link it up) but I have some thoughts as to a possible reason. 

I've written before about the marriage of the neo-conservative ultra pro-business lobby with evangelical Christianity, and I think that's why I haven't been reading about prominent fundamentalist Christians voicing concerns over this pipeline.

One such post was: Is Evangelical Chrisitanity the Trojan horse of neo-conservatism. And another was the review of a book by Yale graduate Jonathan Dudley:  "Broken Words" Understanding the grip Neo-Cons have on evangelicals. 

I'm not expecting evangelical Christians to lend their voice to those taking issue with the Northern Gateway pipeline, because that would mean breaking ranks with their neo-conservative and very pro-business masters. 

Perhaps there's nothing to be concerned about anyway.I mean its not like pipeline leaks and breakages occur very often. Okay, a couple happened back in June of this year in Alberta, and you can read about Enbridge's leaking pipelines in the Financial Post -HERE-.

But that's still only six in about a two year time span, which means only one every four months. In other words, NO LEAKS three months out of every four for the past two years. Hey, with a batting average like that you get a ticket to Cooperstown!!! 

After all, the Bible tells us to conquer or subdue the Earth. While we're at it why not cover it with black ooze? If you'd like to read the Kairos report: CLICK HERE. 

I'm betting many evangelicals don't consider Kairos member churches really Christian anyway. If you're a real Christian you sit down and obey authority and power, just like Jesus did.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Retiring baby boomers...Society's malignant tumour?

Canada's baby boom is said to have commenced way back in 1946.  I myself was born 20 years after the start of the boom, and having just celebrated my 46th birthday that means the front end of the baby boom is now hitting retirement.

What does this mean for our society as a whole?  I'm afraid the picture isn't a pretty one.

Boomers are, in the opinion of this lowly blogger, the most spoiled generation ever.  Because of their huge demographic footprint every government program and marketing strategy begins and ends with the question:  

"How will boomers react"?  

That's the way its been for the past 50 or so years, and I don't see it changing.

Just look back at the last few decades and its not hard to picture boomers as a swarm of voracious locusts, gobbling up everything in their path, and in their wake leaving a wasteland.  

In the late sixties and early seventies boomers started driving, and soon there was an energy crisis.  Then later in the seventies when they left the nest, vacancy rates for rental accommodation reached all time lows.  In cities like Toronto finding an apartment sometimes meant paying an illegal broker.  

When the eighties rolled around and boomers started earning more money they began buying houses and taking out mortgages in droves.  And because of the increased demand for money interest rates went sky high, in the neighborhood of 20%.  Of course once those houses started to get paid off boomers started looking for a return on their deposits.  But supply and demand is a bitch, with banks loaded with capital and with demand for borrowing on the decline, interest rates tanked.  Gone were the 10% returns the banks paid their parents.

Then came the stock market boom of the nineties as the "me me me" generation sought a higher return on their investments.  And everyone knows how that worked out...with the crash in 2000/2001.  Boomers move in, they gobble everything up, and they leave destruction in their wake, that's the way its been and that's the way its going to continue to be unless history stops repeating.

So what do we have to look forward to over the next ten, twenty, perhaps forty years?

Population experts are telling us that within twenty years nearly one in four Canadians will be over the age of 65, retired in other words.  I doubt many of us following behind will be retired by that age however.  I'm guessing we're going to be working til 75 or 80 to pay for the care and maintenance of this generation that never worried about downloading costs onto future generations.

Some boomers will likely be clogging the workforce too, given that studies suggest roughly half of all boomers don't have savings plans in place.  No wonder its so hard for many young Canadians to find remunerative employment, 50 and 60 somethings won't leave the table and give up their seat.  

Of course if home owning boomers need cash, I guess they could sell their houses to finance their golden years.  Won't that be a pretty sight?  If the numbers I'm reading are accurate roughly half of the people hitting retirement could be selling their houses over the same time frame.  

No defined pension, inadequate savings to finance retirement, but a paid off house that you can't eat.  YUMMY.  The RE market in Canada is already at about the same place the US market was at back in 2007/2008 when we started slutting out sub-prime government insured 40 year mortgages with zero money down.

Boomers looking to exit the housing market in significant numbers could easily to turn Canada into a colder version of Arizona.

But if you're a boomer, don't worry about it.  Just push the cost onto the backs of your kids and grandchildren.  

And I didn't even mention the taxation that's going to be required to keep government funded health care afloat.  

Some great old shows on Youtube

I have a confession to make, I....uhm, I err...I don't have television. 
Man, that felt good! 
Now that I'm opening up here I guess I should clarify, I actually do own a TV, that is to say the box..its an old gray coloured thing, but I don't have cable, satellite or anything that will deliver programming to the screen. It has a built in DVD player, so occasionally I will watch a movie, but other than that it currently serves as a plant stand and to occupy space on a piece of furniture that serves as a TV stand.
Since moving to Québec City in October of 2011 I have been without television programming, and I rarely avail myself of the medium except on rare occasions when I go to a bar or tavern to catch a sporting event. But lately I've found a nice substitute, and am rediscovering some great old TV shows from 'back in the day', on YouTube. Cable companies like Rogers, Cogeco, Shaw and Videotron probably won't be too happy if others join me in disconnecting the idiot box, but all of them do provide connectivity to the Internet. 
One show that is a real gem is 'The White Shadow'. Its a show about a journeyman NBA player who suffers a knee injury, and rather than winding down his career coming off the bench, he takes an offer to coach at a ghetto high school in inner city LA. Even better is the fact that you can watch complete episodes without having them in installments, some programs on YouTube are downloaded in three or four parts, sometimes even more. The show only lasted three years, but then the players couldn't stay in high school forever. As good as Ken Howard (the coach) was as an actor, the players were equally talented and compelling. I don't think viewers were interested in investing in new characters who would be gone after just one season or two. 
Below is a link to the pilot episode of the White Shadow, embedding it wasn't allowed. Try not to laugh too hard at the fashion of the day. It was 1978 after all, only a year after Disco fever had taken hold with the release of John Travollta's Saturday Night Fever. 
I'm also embedding the pilot episode of Lou Grant, another great old show about a Los Angeles daily newspaper. And I'll include one other, one of my favourite old comedies from back when music was still on vinyl: WKRP in Cincinnati. 
Happy viewing. I hope you like.