04.23.2010 08:25 AM

April 23 bits and pieces

  • The Decentralized Centre: CP veteran Steve Mertl – who shares my fondness for big dogs, and less so tiny yappy ones – discovers that Harper’s PMO has now seeped into places other than Ottawa.  Norman Spector, me and a few others don’t ever recall that happening with any Prime Minister, going way back.  When we were in power, we shut down regional ministerial offices.  The Harper guys, meanwhile, expand them.  Interesting contrast.
  • Lobbyists lobbying: I’m a lobbyist.  Also lobbyists, or lobbying, are the Salvation Army, the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, Oxfam Canada, the Lung Association, the World Wildlife Fund and every Canadian university.  What gives lobbyists a bad name, mainly, are people/organizations who try to pretend they’re not lobbying, or registered lobbyists, when they are. It’s only a dirty word if you act like it is.  That, among other things, is the legacy of Rahim Jaffer and his ilk.
  • Border buffoonery: During the course of various cross-border jaunts over the years, I’ve encountered some very polite border guards.  Increasingly, however, I’ve dealt with some – on both sides of the border – who are rude and crude tin-pot dictators who, among other things, have used exaggerated “terrorist” threats to justify their rude and crude behaviour.  They need to be reined in, big time.
  • Sex sells: Sorry, Adam, but you’d be among the first to say “The provincial Liberals have failed because they haven’t put the brakes on their bureaucrat’s sex ed proposals.”  Instead, you and others are now saying we “failed” because, um, we did. Some days, you just can’t win.  (Even when sex is the subject matter!)
  • The iPhone i-Leak: I was a bit suspicious about the story about the over-refreshed Apple employee who “lost” a prototype of the new 4G iPhone in a bar.  I mean, these guys at Apple are more secretive than an invitation-only get-together by the Yakuza, the Cosa Nostra and the NSA.  I grew more suspicious when I saw what the “accident” did to their stock price.  Anyway – looks like others were suspicious too.  And, yes, I’ll get it when it comes out: it may be a trick, but it’s a fun trick.


  1. Kevin says:

    Well, Lufthansa has some sympathy for the hapless iPhone loser:


  2. Brian says:

    Warren, you should lose your iPad in a carefully pre-selected bar downtown.

    I’ll agree to “find” it at a pre-arranged time, and in exchange, I’ll give you millions of dollars worth of free media publicity talking up all of the brilliant content you’ve created using its many tasty apps.


  3. Catherine says:

    About lobbying, and Rahim Jaffer.

    Mr. Jaffer testified, in front of the committee, that he and Harper had a discussion after the election, and he promised Harper that he would not register as a lobbyist.

    Yet, the Harper bench is using the excuse that they ‘assume’ that those they do business with, are registered.

    How do they square that, with the evidence of Jaffer and Harper’s agreement?

  4. gretschfan says:

    Re. Border buffoonery. I’ve generally had good experiences with CBSA over the years, but there was one instance where the abusive, threatening behaviour of the guy behind the counter was totally uncalled for. In essence, it was clear that this guy was acting this way simply because he could. I considered filing a formal complaint but figured I’d only wind up on some flagged list, so grudgingly I let it slide. Abuse of power does happen…but I’m equally hesitant to hamstring the other 98% of officials from being able to do their job.

  5. parnel says:

    The answer to border buffonery is a NEXUS card. I now never ever speak to or have dialogue with border buffons. Beware though, the people who handle the Nexus program are all buffoons but that’s a one time deal for 20 minutes of your time.

  6. Aurelia says:

    I had an incident several years ago at the airport where I was harassed by border guards. I’ve felt sick with anxiety ever since, every time I ever have to go to a government office and deal with anyone in that department. I keep emergency valium with me in case I have to even drive near an airport. They have so much information on us all, which I do expect from the government. What I didn’t expect was that they’d randomly bring personal things up while questioning me, just because I happened to take vacation and have the temerity to cross a border while doing it.

    I’m terrified of them.

  7. Tceh says:

    Border buffoonery:

    I’m in and out of the country on a regular basis. Some easy to remember points:

    1) Turn off the radio, roll down the window and pass over the documents.
    2) Give them your undivided attention and use common courtesy as you would any other human being.
    3) Answer the questions accurately and honestly, be prepared to back up declarations with receipts. If the other party turns out to be an A-hole, be cool. He’s looking for a reason, not necessarily a good one to bait you. Don’t take the bait. This episode will be over before you know it if you stay cool. Refer to point 2…

    I roll thru in 60 seconds or less every time. In some countries this process takes hours and involves extensive searches. Try crossing a border in Africa where the wrong visa/stamp or ‘military’ clothing means you will get shaken down for cash. It’s a breeze here in N America by comparison.

  8. Elizabeth says:

    They have no sense of humour – something like an antsy German Shepherd, so treat them with the same kind of respect. Keep your distance, don’t look them in the eyes, and give them what they want – and when you leave, walk backwards; looking anywhere but their eyes.


  9. Ronald O'Dowd says:


    Well, we’ve had our share of incidents with a small minority on both sides of the border. However, most agents over at CBSA and CBP are pretty decent but occasionally there are exceptions…

    Our Canadian agents have much less power than their American counterparts. We also have a greater right of appeal. As many of you know, you can be permanently banned from the U.S. at Pearson. That’s the kind of unilateral discretion (raw, naked power) conferred on U.S. agents.

    In other words, check your ego at the car door or airline terminal. One other important thing: and yes, the cameras are rolling at the Duty Free. A word to the wise!

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