Since winter has eliminated the possibility of writing about our vegetable garden, the next best prospect is a subject that is near and dear to my heart – stupidity. My wife says I excel in that field of study.
As a topic, stupidity is fascinating because it is not limited to a particular age, sex, position or socio-economic status. It can afflict any person, anywhere and the results range from laughable to history-changing. Furthermore, it pops up at the most unexpected times and can be entertaining or downright frustrating to observe or deal with at a personal level.
I was reminded of this subject while reading about the actions of our federal Liberal government last week. Our spendthrift prime minister continues to find new and creative ways to waste taxpayers’ money, one of the most recent being a $5.6 million outdoor rink on Parliament Hill. It is part of celebrations honouring Canada’s 150th anniversary and the rink will be in operation a total of 84 days. The original life expectancy of the facility was only 26 days (Dec. 7 – Jan. 1) which would have put the price tag at $215,000 per day.
However, public concern about the exorbitant cost apparently caused the Liberals to extend the operating time of the rink to the end of February. As a result, the overall daily cost boils down to approximately $66,670. That’s not bad for an outdoor rink if you are a Saudi prince and money is no object.
The financial breakdown for the facility is $2.37 million for the design, construction and dismantling of the rink. It will be donated to a vulnerable local community according to Heritage Minister Melanie Joly, but how a community will be able to annually fund such an albatross remains unclear. Another $958,000 was earmarked for project co-ordination, staffing and general labour. $849,000 was set aside for logistics, technical services, site support and miscellaneous purchases and services. $117,000 was budgeted for operational expenses. A whopping $1.3 million has been allocated for promotions, general administration, and travel and accommodations for 32 peewee house league teams from across Canada that will compete in a tournament.
It’s actually great value – a real deal and money well spent – according to our Heritage Minister. Joly said the project will support important programming for children and communities across the country that cannot access skating rinks. She said the additional cost of almost tripling the time the rink will be in operation is unknown at this point.
However, it is not really relevant since the Liberal government has no qualms about driving up our national debt and letting future generations pay it off. The construction of a multi-million dollar, temporary skating rink on Parliament Hill is an absolute waste of tax dollars since it is only a short distance from the Rideau Canal that doubles as a spectacular skating surface in the winter months. The stupidity of the Trudeau government in this matter is alarming!
I have made my share of stupid decisions over the years, but a person would suspect groups of people that band together to form boards, councils, agencies and governments would make sound decisions. Considering the different viewpoints and opinions of its members and the wisdom they have, governing bodies should be able to make sound decisions. However, that often is not the case.
Consider the case of the Toronto District School Board (TDSB), which followed a provincial directive to review any and all team names and mascots that could be offensive to First Nations. According to an on-line story at thestar.com, the school board considered the matter and decided in their due diligence that the title of chief had to go. The offensive word is being replaced by the term manager. No longer is there a chief financial officer, chief academic officer and chief communications officer as those offices are now all “manager” positions. The project began a few years ago in response to recommendations made in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report. The title change includes 12 positions in professional support services.
The school division’s curator of Indigenous Art and Culture, Dr. Duke Redbird, says the changes in title more accurately reflect the duties of the position. He noted the historical significance of the role of chief in Indigenous communities and how non-Indigenous people used the word chief as a derogatory term in the past when referring to students with an Aboriginal background.
When asked if the word chief should be swapped out across the board, Redbird said, “It belongs to the English language. It belongs to the settlers. We do not have a problem with their use of their word for what they want to describe in their communities. We are only grateful to the Toronto District School Board, that they saw that it could be used in a derogatory term against our students.”
At the risk of sounding racist, I have to say that eliminating a longstanding title such as chief that could possibly be used in a derogatory manner is stupid. It’s tantamount to removing the word apple from the dictionary because some natives use it in reference to a First Nation individual they feel has endorsed white man’s values and is “red on the outside and white on the inside”.
Instead of eliminating words and terms that could possibly be offensive, let’s put that effort into eliminating stupidity and B.S. at all levels.