header image
The world according to David Graham


acva bili chpc columns committee conferences elections environment essays ethi faae foreign foss guelph hansard highways history indu internet leadership legal military money musings newsletter oggo pacp parlchmbr parlcmte politics presentations proc qp radio reform regs rnnr satire secu smem statements tran transit tributes tv unity

Recent entries

  1. PMO Staff Run Government; Ministers Represent It
  2. On A Mostly Harmless Birthday
  3. The Trouble With Political Communications
  4. Politics: War By Other Means
  5. On the function of Social media
  6. C-18 is an existential threat, not a benefit, to democracy
  7. On Missing A Little More Than A Sub
  8. The Realpolitik Of Open Nomination
  9. What Is An Open Nomination, Really?
  10. Alberta election about identity, not policy
  11. The Trouble With Electoral Reform
  12. Mr. Bains Goes to Rogers
  13. Question Period
  14. Why do lockdowns and pandemic restrictions continue to exist?
  15. Parliamentary privilege: an arcane concept that can prevent coups
  16. It's not over yet
  17. Trump will win in 2020 (and keep an eye on 2024)
  18. A podcast with Michael Geist on technology and politics
  19. Next steps
  20. On what electoral reform reforms
  21. 2019 Fall campaign newsletter / infolettre campagne d'automne 2019
  22. 2019 Summer newsletter / infolettre été 2019
  23. 2019-07-15 SECU 171
  24. 2019-06-20 RNNR 140
  25. 2019-06-17 14:14 House intervention / intervention en chambre
  26. 2019-06-17 SECU 169
  27. 2019-06-13 PROC 162
  28. 2019-06-10 SECU 167
  29. 2019-06-06 PROC 160
  30. 2019-06-06 INDU 167
  31. older entries...

All stories filed under musings...

  1. 2006-04-07: April 7th, 2006
  2. 2006-05-19: May 19th, 2006
  3. 2006-05-21: May 21st, 2006
  4. 2006-08-14: Brief thoughts for the new week
  5. 2006-10-01: A few quick thoughts on super weekend
  6. 2006-10-13: From dog days to doggone debates
  7. 2006-12-06: Winter!
  8. 2007-01-08: Happy new year, and stuff
  9. 2007-03-08: Abolish Daylight Saving Time already
  10. 2007-12-03: Mmmmm.... poutine!
  11. 2008-01-23: Wingnuts 'R' Us
  12. 2008-04-06: Making Ontario a leader
  13. 2008-04-08: Pearson's airport link a head-scratcher
  14. 2008-04-15: Free bus service, and a transportation forum
  15. 2008-04-29: Guelph throws another $126,000 at free parking
  16. 2008-05-21: Notes from sick bay
  17. 2008-10-24: Assorted thoughts on leadership, recessions, and highways
  18. 2010-10-18: Resettled
  19. 2019-11-12: Next steps

Displaying the most recent stories under musings...

Next steps

Welcome back! Almost a decade since my last entry, this site is back on.

It has been an interesting decade.

In 2009, I started working for an MP in his constituency office.

In 2010, I moved back to Quebec and looked for, and found, work on Parliament Hill.

In 2012, I met Mishiel.

In 2013, I decided to seek the Liberal nomination in Laurentides--Labelle, the riding where I grew up and where I had moved back to live.

In 2014, I had a daughter, and then won that nomination.

In 2015, I won the election and became the Member of Parliament for Laurentides--Labelle.

In 2018, I was acclaimed to run a second time in Laurentides--Labelle.

In 2019, while my vote percentage and raw numbers rose, I was defeated in the Bloc wave.

So, as I consider my next steps, I will go over some of those events and post some analysis of that time and what happened, and backdate entries based on publications and Hansard from my time in office.


musings 173 words - whole entry and permanent link. Posted at 20:06 on November 12, 2019


I have left Guelph and resettled in my home province of Quebec... ish. From my new perch in Hull I can see the Library of Parliament across the river in Ottawa to one side and Gatineau's casino in the other. One of those I find quite interesting.

Naturally one of my first tasks in arriving here is figuring out the rail network in town and figuring out the transit system. But in Ottawa/Gatineau, the latter seems totally unnecessary, at least from where I am. It's a 25 minute walk to downtown Ottawa, even faster on a bike, so I guess I'll learn about the buses when it gets too cold... the rail, on the other hand, was more than a little bit of a shock and I'll get into it more later, but let's just say: new city, same old stupidity. Gatineau has ripped up the rail line through town just recently in order to put in a transitway. Makes sense, I guess, except that that rail line, on the other side of the river, is the same one used by the O-train. And if you keep following it, you'll intersect with the rest of the country's network rather quickly. Going the other way, the tracks go to Montebello, Lachute, and Montreal via Ste-Therese. Could that track have had some potential? Sure, but using the right of way for a transitway, at least, is not a total waste.

I have quite a bit of learning still to do to find my way around this town and if anyone wants to meet up here let me know! I'm on facebook and can be reached at the email address at the bottom of this page.

More to come, of course.

musings 289 words - whole entry and permanent link. Posted at 15:10 on October 18, 2010

Assorted thoughts on leadership, recessions, and highways

Today is the 79th anniversary of Black Thursday, the first of three miserable days on the stock market that signalled the start of the Great Depression. With that, rules for the Liberal leadership race about to come forward, and new developments on the highway construction front, there's lots to talk about these days.

First off, let me say that, given the choice, I want this man to run for the leadership of the Liberal Party.

With that out of the way, down to business.

This week, Ontario posted a deficit of $500 million for the first time in a few years. I have never made any secret of my disdain for deficits, and when I see a provincial government spending more billions on building new highways than you can shake a stick at go into deficit, I really have to scratch my head.

As I have noted many times before, Guelph is currently subject of, or is close to, four major highway projects: new Highway 24 (Cambridge-Brantford), new Highway 7 (Guelph-Kitchener), new GTA West corridor (Guelph-Brampton), and realignment and upgrades to Highway 6, in four separate sections each with its own EA, from south of the 401 to north of Guelph city limits.

Last night was the 4th Public Information Centre for the first of the four sections of Highway 6 to be upgraded. I am disappointed to, again, see no consideration whatsoever for the need to connect the Hanlon industrial park to the nearby rail network, which would involve crossing the Hanlon near one of the interchanges being proposed and therefore would need at least some level of planning or preparation within this environmental assessment. The changes proposed in PIC #4 for the Hanlon in their latest "preferred plan" call for a two-way service road to run between Stone and Downey Rd on the west side of the Hanlon, connecting up to Woodland Glen Dr., and the associated construction of a large retaining wall through several back yards along Old Colony Trail.

From a traffic flow perspective, it's definitely an improvement over previous plans, but from an environmental and social perspective for that area, it's a definite setback. This never-ending balancing act is frustrating to me.

I maintain that the investment in highways is a colossal waste of money if we are not also investing to at least the same level in transit infrastructure, which here and now necessarily means rail. If the as-yet unbuilt Hanlon industrial park were to connect to rail, which could be accomplished for the cost of one or two interchanges on the highway, the highway improvements would have a net long term benefit. The rail access would allow businesses to come to this industrial park to get material out of their trucks and onto the tracks, not just move it between trucks. I am all for road infrastructure improvements that help people and businesses get off the roads, but against highways for the sake of highways. Similarly, if passenger service were restored to the line between Guelph and Hamilton, some of the car pressures on Highway 6, which runs parallel to the nearly unused tracks for the entire affected area, would be reduced.

I found out just yesterday that there is an environmental assessment public information centre on Tuesday the 28th from 5-8pm at the Springfield Golf and Country Club on Gordon discussing upgrades to Maltby Rd, which would be an ideal right of way to connect the Guelph Junction Railway to the Hanlon industrial parks with minimal cost or disruption. Tracks could easily run on the edge of the road within its right of way.

With the recession coming very much as I predicted a couple of years ago, dead-end highway projects like the Halon may finally be put on hold. Given half a moment of reflection, if we are going to go into deficit to finance infrastructure and create jobs, then we should be doing so in such a way as to have high capacity, low environmental impact, low cost transportation solutions running at the other end of the recession. It remains my belief that our existing road system would be adequate if we invested properly in rail transportation rather than heavily subsidising roads while leaving rail to fend for itself.

The reality is, though, that we will continue to rip up rails in Canada and build highways nearby. This week, work began in ripping out the Kinghorn subdivision, a 195-mile railway line that was abandoned in 2005 connecting Longlac to Thunder Bay. The track itself was primarily used as a detour route in the event of problems in northern Ontario, but its removal demonstrates that we, collectively, have still not learned our lesson in rail removal. While difficult to prove, I believe Canada remains one of the few countries, if not the only one, left in the entire world still ripping out more railway lines than we are putting in.

Earlier this week, the first federal leader of a party to meaningfully recognise this reality and put it in a platform, was pushed out of the leadership of his party in a victory of politics over policy. The Liberal platform this past election included huge sums for infrastructure, and a plan to ban the removal of railway lines like the Kinghorn sub. While this horse has largely left the barn, the Kinghorn sub demonstrates that it is never too late to close this barn door.

This leads me to my next point, which is about the leadership of the Liberal party.

We should have rules handed down soon about the structure and length of the third Liberal leadership race in recent years within a few days. While pithy, Jamie's assessment is bang on and I hope some of the suggestions in his post are reflected in the rules.

Personally, I would like to see 50% of all donations to each leadership campaign be handed over to the party in lieu of a deposit, and no spending cap coupled with a ban on coming out with any debt whatsoever. We need a leader capable of fundraising as much as any other skill, and that is one way to weed out poor fundraisers. The debt lesson is a hard learned one as some of the last round of leadership candidates still have not finished paying theirs off, and I would suggest that to enforce such a no debt requirement, any candidate who still has outstanding leadership debt by the time they reach the convention be excluded from the ballot.

And on the topic of enforcement, you can read my latest presentation, this one to the Guelph Police Services Board on Thursday the 16th on behalf of the Community Volunteer Patrol, an organisation you should get involved with.

And by the way, why do so many drivers not normally get winter tires that requiring them in one province could cause such a massive shortage?

elections environment guelph highways leadership money musings politics transit 1155 words - whole entry and permanent link. Posted at 14:35 on October 24, 2008

Notes from sick bay

I have a cold. It is most annoying but, at least, nearly passed. At any rate, a few quick notes to break the monotony of an unupdated blog, on bikes, highways, Lafarge property, Dion's carbon taxshift plan, Guelph Reads, and our local planning priorities...

- I've purchased a new bike to replace the one I've had since 10th grade, which in turn was a hand-me-down from my brother, which in turn was a hand-me-down from my grandfather. After years of it being mothballed, I brought it to a local bike shop to be brought up to spec, and was told that the bike was "unsafe" based on the various parts of the frame that were bent and deformed. He noted, accurately, that the bike "doesn't owe you anything". Fair enough. New bike arrives Friday, and is a 21-speed Miele TT250 with disc brakes, shocks, and an aluminium frame. What will I do with such modern technology?

- On the recommendation of Royal City Rag host Jan Hall, I have been accepted to the GTA West Community Advisory Group. This is a committee that is ostensibly going to help the province plan the GTA West highway corridor, although they're calling it a transit corridor, from the top of the Hanlon to highway 407. After my rather fascinating experience on the Hanlon expressway workshops, this should be most interesting.

- Guelph City Council's decision on the Lafarge lands is coming down on June the 3rd at 7pm. I will be unable to attend this meeting, as I will be at the first GTA West CAG meeting at that exact moment, but I would like to encourage council one last time to reject this proposal until the developers take the railway lines straddling the property as an asset rather than as a liability, especially in light of our pending GO service. This service may not extend all the way to Waterloo region and Lafarge land's importance as the park-and-ride will never be greater than if the service only runs as far as Guelph.

- I think Dion's carbon taxshift proposal is a good idea. While I am wary of addicting government to bad things -- personally, I think the best way to move everyone to sustainable technology is to tax the hell out of sustainable technology and thus make government make policies that force their use so the government gets tax revenue -- in the short term, I think it's a very good idea. For those saying careful, taxing people at the pumps is a bad idea, we should do it indirectly by taxing heavy-emitting corporations who will then pass the cost on to us, I say we should do both. The idea is to dissuade people from using polluting technologies, and exempting people who are using polluting technologies because discouraging them from using them discourages them doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me.

- Guelph Reads has announced this year's winner. The book Guelphites have elected to read is Clive Doucet's Urban Meltdown.

- Guelph is planning to revise its list of fiscal priorities. I note with interest that Wilson St. lot has dropped to very low priority from the extreme urgency it seemed to have recently, and that Guelph Junction Railway expansion has moved up the list. Perhaps the city will indeed consider stretching the Guelph Junction Railway to the two vast Hanlon business parks. One can hope.

musings 573 words - whole entry and permanent link. Posted at 14:57 on May 21, 2008

Guelph throws another $126,000 at free parking

This time it's in presumed lost revenue from parking tickets for parking overnight on city streets, if that's any comfort. A rough tally of what we're planning to spend on driving in and around Guelph over the next few years is now at a minimum of $481,312,500.00 of announced programs.

$400,000,000.00 - estimated cost of new Highway 7 between Guelph and Kitchener.
$50,000,000.00 - estimated minimum cost of Hanlon upgrades (only between Clair and Wellington, three other sections will be upgraded/built in the near future).
$30,000,000.00 - estimated minimum cost for two 500-stall parking garages downtown.
$686,500.00 - approximate lost revenue to the City from having free 2-hour parking downtown during business hours.
$126,000.00 - lost parking ticket revenue from allowing overnight parking without calling 836-PARK for permission, for the next six months, added to the list at last night's council meeting.

For reference, Guelph Transit has a budget of $18,155,960.00 this year, of which $10,315,909 is projected to come from fare and other revenue (such as on-bus advertising), for a net expense of $7,840,051 taxdollars this year (according to page 24 of the City's budget). All things being equal, our general subsidies into cars in Guelph and area (not counting things like existing road maintenance) over the next couple of years would allow the various levels of government that are currently preoccupied paving over the region to make riding the bus free by paying all of Guelph Transit's revenue -- for approximately 46 years. Incidentally, that's only slightly more than the number of years of monthly bus passes each parking space in the new parking lots will cost.

So effective is our road investment in Guelph that to attend the council meeting last night, in which Council agreed to give up our dependency on $126,000 of revenue from violating our parking laws, that I needed to drive the 6 km from my home to City Hall. I could have taken the bus, of course, but with Guelph's ingenious 40-minute peak-hour service, I'd have had to leave over an hour earlier than I did to arrive on time for council's sitting.

Canadian Auto-Workers Union, take note! Guelph is doing its part to ensure more cars get and stay on the road.

guelph money musings transit 378 words - whole entry and permanent link. Posted at 21:20 on April 29, 2008

Free bus service, and a transportation forum

Laura over at the Merc's City Hall blog notes that the one day a year Guelph Transit does not charge bus fare, ridership rises almost 50%. Why do we charge transit fares again? Oh ya, to fund parking garages. More meat for discussion at the upcoming Guelph Transportation Panel discussion at 10:00 at the ICC on May 13.

guelph musings transit 65 words - whole entry and permanent link. Posted at 13:49 on April 15, 2008

Pearson's airport link a head-scratcher

Toronto Pearson airport is very close to one of the busiest passenger train lines in Ontario, the Georgetown GO line. At least 16 passenger trains per day pass Canada's busiest airport already, yet not one of them stops to service it. Why?

There has been discussion for years about a new airport link running from Toronto Union station to the airport, rather than starting with using existing trains. It would involve grade separating and dividing Weston-area communities, and a strong NIMBY movement has been fighting it on what seem to be reasonable grounds. Such an airport link would be kind of frustrating for those of us who live west of the airport anyway, as it would require us to take the train past the airport into Toronto, transfer, and take another train back out to the airport. Who thought that one up?

Just a couple of years ago, Pearson spent a rather large sum of money to build an inter-terminal monorail system. For some reason, it does not seem to have occurred to anyone that these tracks should connect to the nearby passenger line.

We have examples of this kind of silliness all over Canada. Here are a couple of the ones I am most familiar with...

London, Ontario's airport is straddled by two railway lines, essentially one at each end of the runway, one of them being the same passenger line that goes by Pearson, not to mention passing right through Kitchener and Guelph. That'd make an interesting airport link, now wouldn't it?

Dorval airport, recently renamed Pierre Trudeau airport, in Montreal is connected to Via's Dorval station by a shuttle bus. Its counterpart, Mirabel airport, built in the early 1970s and closed to passengers a few years ago, however, has two things: train tracks, and a train station. But they're not connected to each-other. In fact, this stroke of genius is summarised best by the wikipedia article on that airport: "From the furthest reach of the parking lot to the airplane seat, one can walk as little as 200 meters. A train station was also built in the basement for the planned TRRAMM service, right below the main passenger concourse. Today, it is used as an employee parking lot."

We've got a lot of work to do.

Update: Dorval airport also has a bit of a stroke of genius. While there is a train station next to the airport, you cannot take the train to it from downtown Montreal, or to downtown Montreal from it. You can, however, do so from the Toronto side. Montreal's commuter trains skip Dorval station, and Via won't let you buy a ticket between Montreal and Dorval -- you can only get on going west, or off going east. Sheesh.

musings transit 462 words - whole entry and permanent link. Posted at 15:25 on April 08, 2008

Making Ontario a leader

If Alberta can lead North America in both the production of tarsands, the dirtiest energy source known to man, and green energy, what is stopping Ontario from being the North American leader in both car production and the development of mass transit systems? Food for thought...

musings 50 words - whole entry and permanent link. Posted at 17:45 on April 06, 2008

Wingnuts 'R' Us

Apparently articulated autoracks -- 150'-long freight cars that carry new automobiles on three sets of wheels instead of two -- are the cattle cars of Nazi America. Just take a look at this Craigslist post!

These cars, called Auto-Max by their manufacturer, are a relatively new breed of freight car designed to hold more new automobiles more efficiently than the older more familiar usually yellow two and three-level autoracks. They are used by Honda in Alliston, Ontario among other places and are no more sinister than the cars that ride in them.

While the US may well be on a road away from democracy, Auto-Max cars are hardly the nature of the threat.

musings 116 words - whole entry and permanent link. Posted at 16:27 on January 23, 2008

Mmmmm.... poutine!

It is, apparently, the 50th anniversary of one of Canada's only domestic delicacies: the fatty, tasty, wholly nutrition-free poutine.

Poutine, that is, poo-tsssihn, is one of my personal favourite foods. No trip across the border to my native Quebec is complete without indulging in at least one. It's as much an institution as Cal's Pizza -- on the 117 in Val Morin, Schwartz', or, St-Viateur bagels.

To date, though, in 8 years living in Ontario, I have yet to find anywhere that makes a poutine that comes even close to a true Quebec poutine. Surely it isn't that hard to make!

musings 103 words - whole entry and permanent link. Posted at 02:16 on December 03, 2007

Abolish Daylight Saving Time already

Let's get rid of Daylight Saving Time, and timezones too, while we're at it.

Standard time is in use around the world now and most of the planet has the peculiar habit of adjusting the clock to borrow an hour of morning sun for the evening during the summer months. The former part makes sense: all of us having a roughly shared time system is useful for modern society. But why DST? What ends does it really serve? And why do we split the world into 24 timezones and a couple of half timezones? Wouldn't it be easier if we all shared the same hour and minute, not just the same second?

Why don't we abolish DST and timezones altogether? If the whole world shifted to Universal Time Coordinated (UTC), timezones and daylight saving time would no longer cause any disruptions, and having the entire planet on a shared clock would mean it would mean regions would become accustomed to making and adjusting their own schedules within that clock. For example a typical workday here in Ontario might be 14:00 to 22:00 while in Turkey it might be 06:00 to 14:00.

Daylight Saving Time would be moot as we would all set up our schedules to best reflect local lighting conditions. Many people already use UTC in, for example, the aviation and computer industries, and in this globalised economy it only makes sense to do so.

Goodbye, local time, UTC's time has come and it isn't shifting an hour this weekend.

If we can't at least get rid of timezones and DST, perhaps we could at least shift to Daylight Saving Time, call it Standard Time, and stop changing it?

musings 285 words - whole entry and permanent link. Posted at 13:58 on March 08, 2007

Happy new year, and stuff

Happy new year! With the first week of 2007 already over and not having posted a blog entry in several weeks, it's time to get a few disjointed thoughts down for later consideration.

musings 219 words - whole entry and permanent link. Posted at 14:08 on January 08, 2007


Winter is finally here in earnest! We have accumulated a couple of inches of snow this morning and it is showing no signs of letting up. About time!

musings 29 words - whole entry and permanent link. Posted at 16:35 on December 06, 2006

From dog days to doggone debates

The Alter Boys have come up with a great scheme to help Stphane Dion and his dog Kyoto take on the intensity-based hot air output of the tory government, Iggy wants to go step on another landmine, and the municipal election is heating up.

leadership musings politics 348 words - whole entry and permanent link. Posted at 03:59 on October 13, 2006

A few quick thoughts on super weekend

As super weekend winds down, there are a few things on my mind about what's happening.

leadership musings politics 538 words - whole entry and permanent link. Posted at 22:03 on October 01, 2006

Brief thoughts for the new week

As another week begins, a few topics are nagging me for discussion. Perhaps I'll get to some of them later in the week. Among them...

- There are around 30% more Israeli troops in Lebanon than there are coalition troops in Afghanistan.

- A mid-term election is imminent in the US and Bush's people aren't looking too hot, as evidenced by the incredible new hand luggage restrictions for air travellers in the various Shrub nations. The Daily Show's take on these events was probably the most sane of any.

- Dion's blog endorsements are just flying.

- This rather long leadership campaign has a huge potential advantage nobody has yet mentioned (that I have seen, at any rate) -- it allows "front runner" candidates to flame out early, before they take the party down with them.

- Harper should be in attendance at the AIDS conference. It's summer, I'm sure he's not too busy to at least pretend to care about major world issues. His sovereignty trip to the Arctic was scheduled after the AIDS conference, I'm sure. After firing his cook for no apparent reason and his pilot for asking him to turn off his blackberry on the plane (where there's no cell phone reception anyway), his aides probably didn't feel it was a very good idea to tell him he would do well to go to the conference.

- Wajid Khan's appointment as a Middle East advisor to prime minister Harper is a strategic coup for the tories, but Khan should be wary of the lessons recently learned by Bush-aligning democratic senator Joe Lieberman in the US.

- My street is currently torn up and all the cars parked on it are a kind of dirty brown. The work crews spent all Friday packing it down with a steam roller, rattling my house for much of the day, and then abandoned it for the weekend, surely to do it all over again today.. in fact, they've already started. The lane nearest my house was re-paved just a year or two ago and had not even begun to show signs of wear. The rest of the road was not particularly bad, either, so I'm not sure why the city decided it was necessary to rip up and redo our road in the first place.

- Perhaps the US auto industry wouldn't be in such dire trouble if they made cars people wanted. Smaller, fuel efficient vehicles that last longer than the warranty are the new "in" thing. Large, gas guzzling SUVs and 8 cylinder cars with no visibility are out.

- I went on a trainspotting outing yesterday for the first time since my scanners were stolen, catching 11 freight and 5 passenger trains at Paris Junction. Saturday, I caught a train between a wedding and its reception, whetting my appetite for more -- and surprising the crew by standing track-side with a camera, a big grin, and a full suit and tie, next to a muddy brown car on an industrial street on a weekend...

- The local papers have recently noticed that we have train tracks through town, and they have the potential to host... commuter trains. Funny, that.

- Last weekend I attended the Progressive Bloggers meeting in Guelph, which was a lot of fun. Kudos to Scott and Shoshana for pulling it together. It was great to meet all of you that came, and I'm looking forward to the next opportunity.

- CBC Radio promoted a Wiretap episode in which someone asks how to prevent their father from reading their blog. I didn't listen to the episode, but to me the obvious question is: who else do you think is going to read your blog, anyway?

musings 627 words - whole entry and permanent link. Posted at 13:01 on August 14, 2006

May 21st, 2006

A friend pointed this article out to me about Canada's military role in Afghanistan and more generally in the world. It's a worthwhile read.

musings 27 words - whole entry and permanent link. Posted at 21:59 on May 21, 2006

May 19th, 2006

Well, at least we don't have this kind of crap to deal with in Canada. Update: the story's been pulled, and denied.

musings 25 words - whole entry and permanent link. Posted at 14:42 on May 19, 2006

April 7th, 2006

I've decided to finally get around to making the site a blog instead of random anachronological musings.

musings 20 words - whole entry and permanent link. Posted at 12:25 on April 07, 2006

(RSS) Website generating code and content © 2001-2020 David Graham <david@davidgraham.ca>, unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. Comments are © their respective authors.