On baggage, bureaucracy and brokenness
I agree with everything you say. Pollievre is not my kind of politician but unlike the other party’s leaders he wants change, not more of the same. I was recently at a private event with a former Liberal cabinet minister. They said the bureaucracy is broken and worse by the day, claiming federal bureaucrats have been taught that doing nothing is better than doing something as you only get penalized when you take risk. As a dual citizen who resides in Toronto but lives half time in US, I find both systems broken but at least in the US we rise up and protest against bureaucracy; in Canada if you were to do that you’d be put in the “basket of deplorables” that the trucker protesters are in. I was quietly judgmental against the vaccine hesitant and in hindsight I regret this and am angry that our PM continues to scorn them. Thanks for being a voice of reason. p.s., I am so done with Air Canada our airline monopoly. I use Porter or the US Airlines even when it takes longer. p.p.s. Put Apple Airtags in your checked luggage with Air Canada. The last time I flew with them they said my bag never made it from YYZ but I could see it made it but was put on the wrong carousel!
This is a great piece. I love the dichotomy of status-quoists vs brokenist. Virginial Postrel in her book "The Future and its Enemies", I think was on to this similar divide with those owning a statist mindset and the dynamists.
However, I have my own theories for what drives this (other than some baked-in personality traits of individuals to be more change-averse vs more change-attracted) ... I think it is simple a tilt toward where a person feels his bread is most buttered (or his perceived position on the social dominance hierarchy is best served).
There is that old Chinese saying: "Hard times create strong men that create good times that create weak men that create hard times." You can see this cycle repeat throughout history... the good times create an attraction to that status-quo as more people are better served by it. However, it also weaves a protective layer around it and begins to limit new entrants. A growing cohort of people perceiving to not be well served by the status quo then shift to brokenism... and then maybe nihilism.
In my view the missed opportunity is the lack of understanding for the need for constant adjustment limiting the growth of the protective layer. The brokenists, instead of going full deconstruction and scorched earth, should band together to demand the bureaucratic walls to access be carefully dismantled. I say carefully because too radical of moves will risk economic chaos as the system does not have time to adjust... and also because those well-served by the status-quo will be motivated to fight against the changes.
We need a de-regulatory commission that is perpetual and constant. We need to get back to celebrating the entrepreneur, the risk-taker, the enterprising upstart... and not giving king and queen status to those that consolidate power through administrative and corporatist overreach.
Great quote from Ayn Rand: "Men have been taught that it is a virtue to agree with others. But the creator is the man that disagrees. Men have been taught that it is a virtue to swim with the current. But the creator is the man that swims against the current. Men have been taught that it is a virtue to stand together. But the creator is the man who stands alone."
Watch Elon Musk and learn. Also note those against him and learn. We are broken because those against him have consolidated too much power and control to protect their self-interests. But we are also broken because those connected to the side of not-well-served are made to war within by those protecting the status-quo.
Reminds me of the fall of the Roman empire. The elite and their servants partied and did not understand the peoples needs, large plague, ineffective leadership, fracturing of political regions, loss of military strength, economic deterioration, toxins in the water supply, etc. Sound familiar?
Excellent piece. I found myself having an immediate "ah-ha moment" as I read, as if a sort of loggerhead in my perception was broken through. The woke-ness agenda has struck me as such bizarrely radical 'throwing out the baby with the bath water', that status-quo-ism has seemed the only alternative. Yet I'm seem constantly at odds with many arguments put forth by that very camp. The term "hollowed-out" evoked an image that seemed so appropriate and really fit my inner perceptions that have lacked enough clarity to to quite lay hold of. So many of our institutions continue to develop on the periphery while their core values of existing for the sake of society have died and rotted away. And that image, while offering me no answers to what can and should be done, does seem to fit so well.
"Our political class needs to stop ignoring this situation, and start a country-wide conversation about where we go from here."
Speaking if where we go from here, I"ve been thinking where I can go and resettle my family. I"ve been thinking of the German Jews that left early and those that waited.
“Things are broken” alright-and where else to look but the top, for cause? I have, as many of us have surely, followed what I could of the testimonies at the POEC. Lots of damning (but unsurprising) revelations about government manipulation of the public narrative (“don’t drive out the crazies”-Pat King and Bauder to lesser degree, the obvious targets the other organizers tried hard to distance but couldn’t get to leave); so-called ‘jounalists’ encouraged to “dig up all the dirt they can find about organizers”from before the trucks were halfway across the country-but still the enforcement agencies got caught with their pants down and embarrassed, with their underestimations regarding sheer size and volume of the outrage. How to the last all the levels of police and intelligence services could find nothing to justify invoking the Emergencies Act-lining up to shout ‘It wasn’t us’; ‘We hadn’t exhausted out tools’-scurrying for safety like rats from a ship, showing by this that they were all against using it-because if they were for it they wouldn’t be tripping over themselves to disclaim association; then at the end, our petulant child who won’t be told ‘no’ claims ‘no one told me not to use it’-well, who that he’s surrounded himself with, in the wake of Jody and Jane’s career demises, would? Lametti? Who arrogantly refuses to answer questions but talks over counsel to run out the clock and condescends when confronted by texts that ‘Marco’s talking, talking, talking’-that ‘Marco’s being a good soldier’-taking the heat because he talks while Lametti sits in the bushes, and thus, throws Marco under the bus? Freeland, she of the punchable smirk when announcing massive account freezes-twisting her face into a pretzel but always the idealogue’s zeal, wide-open doll’s eyes, trying to respond to Honner’s probes regarding economic harm from supply-chain issues from evidence - without perjuring herself or worse, agreeing with his conclusions? And finally, Trudeau denying he’d ever called ALL the unvaccinated names-just those ‘vicious extremists’. All to defend keeping vaccine mandates. For an illness his wife survived without one; he’s survived 3 times despite vaccinating and I’ve had worse hangovers than what that put me down with-also after vaccinating. When will, finally, a widespread forensic audit be imposed across all these elites’ personal finances especially the Trudeau Foundation, plus his families’ holdings and investments, tracking 1) pharmaceutical company and vaccine research and development stock holdings 2) source, through all the layers of shell corporation, of where the ‘cash for access’ Trudeau fundraisers started out from? I think we’ll find at the bottom of all this-as always-greed and lust for power. I doubt I will stop being very coldly deeply angry about this for as long as I live.
After reading your excellent article, I mused that a subtitle could read "Air Canada has a lot of baggage." And as some rulings in the USA have ruled that "corporations are persons," if Air Canada was a person, how many years of therapy would it take for Air Canada to deal with all of its baggage? Systems, like the one Air Canada has put in place to find lost luggage, are woven together by people who can't question their assumptions; By committees lost to 'group think,' and habitually tone deaf. It's as if bureaucracies are peopled by employees who've all been through an Asch Test (https://www.verywellmind.com/the-asch-conformity-experiments-2794996)
Another casualty of the brokenness if the collapse of conversation that wades into the possibility of divergent views. I remember attending a lecture by former Texas governor Ann Richards in 2001. In a Q&A after her talk she was asked what she thought about George W. Bush being elected president. She replied "Whatever you think about George. W, Bush, you're right." Her remark drew laughter from the Vancouver audience. But, it also was a comment on the sharp political divide in America in the spring of 2001.
I've followed the Public Order Emergency Commission closely and am troubled by a government that sees fit to "broaden the definition of a threat to national security" in order to declare a national emergency. What do we do when our Prime Minister testifies that he'd heard a lot about a "so-called plan, that there wasn't any actual plan," and that the RCMP "so-called signed off" on the "so-called plan." And then to watch Ontario Provincial Police lawyers present the 73-page plan the cabinet had received - of course almost entirely redacted.
What do we do when existing laws allow the OPP to clear the bridge at Windsor by FEB 13, and the RCMP indicate they are clearing the blockade at Coutts (AB) (with protesters only staying until morning of FEB 15 to clean up any debris, port-a-potties, etc.), when CBSA reports show all the border points on morning of Feb 14 had "no issues?" When 102 vehicles had been removed from Ottawa city streets by noon, Feb 14th, according to the agreement reached by the city with protest leaders - and the schedule of protest vehicle removal would have seen all vehicles removed (most to Arnprior and rural spots) except for Wellington Street) by end of FEB 16.
What to do when reasons given by cabinet ministers and senior PMO bureaucrats for invoking the Emergencies Act are due to "the presence of children," "unknown interiors of trucks," "honking," (which had stopped by Feb 8 after Ontario provincial injunction that ruled the protest was legal),
when a prime minister tells the nation that he never called the protesters or the unvaccinated names?
The brokenness of corporations, of government is reflected in a lack of transparency, a lack of accountability.
While the Rouleau Commission allowed us to hear the lies bureaucrats and cabinet ministers made under testimony, what is the takeaway? If a government does not like the threshold for declaring an emergency, it can change the meaning of the words in a law to mean whatever it wants it to mean. It claim to have sought a legal opinion to invoke the act, and keep that legal opinion classified due to cabinet confidentiality. I watched as some senior PMO staffers, when asked how they would define "threat" or "threat to national security," responded by saying "I decline to answer that question."
For what ever value my comment may have on your Substack forum, I won't be sharing my thoughts with most of my 'historic friends' in my address book. They exist behind a firewall where seldom is heard a discouraging word - where the Narrative is god. Which reminds me that 'Freedom of Speech' has become another casualty. Should I venture outside my 'bubble' and have a walk outdoors with a historic friend, best to begin by asking "what do you think I should think about x?" The irony is that these are the same people I walked with on various protests in the 60's, 70's and 80's who once wore 'Question Authority' buttons.
Tara Henley is the only Substack I have signed up for but I am so tired and disappointed with Substack writers as in this case Tara Henley who feel compelled to let us know that the conservative they refer to is seriously flawed and they (the Tara Henley’s & Bari Weiss’s guests) have serious disagreements with In this case Pierre Poliever. Why not just say “I’m not in lock step with any politician but I am heartened to know that “cyz” politician is recognizing and acknowledging issues that I’m concerned about. I find Substack mostly refreshing but until they get over this inability to give credit where credit is due thing I will never be all in with them. Guess they want us to know that their liberal cred must be obvious to their cloud of supporters. I assume that many Substack readers are like me - finally finding another more logical take on things. But the progressives have got us into this path to absurdity and it will have to be dismembered piece by piece to have any hope of a more sane society which most of us long for.
Air Canada's motto: "We're not happy until you're unhappy."
Read Seamus O’Regan’s arrogant faux outrage about being ‘sick and tired’ hearing about people freezing in our winter because they can’t afford furnace fuel; recall he’s one of Trudeau’s chums, even a groomsman at his wedding, naturally part of Trudeau’s’crony ministerial’ appointments. First thought was one of those haughty brats replying with ‘let them plug in their baseboard heaters then’ -the energy equivalent of ‘let them eat cake’
Reading about the brokeness of our institutions in this article leads me to recommend a fantastic book called the Lords of Easy Money. It is about the inner workings of the FOMC (US equivalent of the Bank of Canada). If you want an inside look at an institution that is broken, read or listen to this book. The author is writing mostly from the point of view of one of the previous governors of the Fed, and is both dispassionate and shocking. The actions of the world's central banks, lead by the Fed, is at the foundation of much of the inequality and social unrest we see today.
Thirty-five years ago I joined a small group of people for a month-long trip around the Soviet Union. We landed in Moscow, because all foreigners landed in Moscow. And left via Moscow. We were used to getting our luggage when we got off a plane, but to our amazement, some members of the group did not get their luggage for some time. The huge lime green phone we used to try to track it down revealed only that there was a labyrinth somewhere possibly near the airport full of luggage. No idea how or when missing luggage would be retrieved. But it did show up sooner than Tara’s luggage did. In my view, there is no acceptable excuse for failure to deliver one’s luggage at the end of a trip. This failure is indicative of systemic rot and corruption. I suggest that we somehow need to be less tolerant of nonsense wherever and whenever we find it. Call it what it is. The political realm is just one avenue in need of reform. This Substack is a positive step in that direction.
The biggest electoral surprise was many of those who supported the harshest locked downs (Quebec Ford, Various Australian states) saw those very leaders win large majorities 🙀
Wow this pretty much perfectly sums my exact sentiments at this time. Leaving the country and living off grid is looking more and more attractive. Our recent travel plans were similarly complicated- and it all stated before setting one foot at the airport. Hours and stressful hours on the phone to secure what should have been a simple digital transaction.
PS we then also lost our baggage on the flight to Italy and Italian bureaucracy was never not broken. The saving grace were the Apple trackers we had in each piece of luggage which told us far ahead of any airline or airport involved where the bags were located. I will never leave home without those trackers again.
However as a testament to how sick and broken everything is I have read about these trackers also being use to stalk unsuspecting women. Drop them in a woman’s pocket at a party and you know her every move. Sick sick sick.
Resonating, for sure. It's the constant daily annoyances and obstacles that, when added up, start to tell a tale. My flight this week went smoothly, but as I sat nervously wondering if my clothes for an important business trip would arrive, I pondered the futility of safety theatre, and reminisced with longing about the days when I could pack a huge bottle of shampoo in my carry-on, throw it on the x-ray tray still in the back-pack, and walk through security wearing my coat and boots. Meanwhile, back at home, UPS was busy delivering a package to nobody: after 1 hour of conversations, a bit of yelling and 3 separate assurances they would wait to show up until I was home. And meanwhile, back in Ottawa, our PM was busy denying that he'd called the unvaccinated names, even though anyone who can watch a video and has the most rudimentary understanding of French would know that he absolutely did--and the worst kind of reputation-damaging names in a so-called 'progressive' environment. It seems likely he'll get away with that level of contempt for millions of his constituents (as PM all Canadians are his constituents whether he likes it or not). Contempt for fellow humans appears as a common theme amongst the situations your piece outlines, whether it is causing a minor 'first-world problem' annoyance, or a major systemic (and potentially deadly) mess.
Reminds me of one of Tom Waits' best... Tom Traubert's Blues. https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/tomwaits/tomtraubertsblues.html "No one speaks English and everything's broken..." Waltzing Matilda indeed.