The Aloha President

Just found out I'm supposed to be working on a piece for our upcoming issue about what Obama's presidency could mean to our Prime Minister. And that got me thinking, screw Harper, what does Obama's election mean to me?

Well, despite what the supermarket tabloids would have you believe, the guy's from Hawaii. And that means we could be in for a long overdue revival of Tiki culture. Heck, if the Wall Street Journal can be trusted anymore, then one has been brewing for some time. Now, maybe it's the mai tai in me but if that's the case, all I have to say is, Hau’oli makahiki hou! (That's "happy new year," by the way.)

Could this perhaps finally reverse the tide of faux-Irish pubs in which our country is awash? Don't get me wrong. Few things make me happier than to swill beer surrounded by Guinness posters and Harp logos while Great Big Sea plays overloud on the soundsystem. Oh, those things never get tired. But just once I'd like to go out and order a fogcutter and have it come to me in a moai mug with a little parasol. And sit on wicker.

It's not like that's without precedent, even in this city. Why, the Regina Inn was once home to the Ky-Tiki Polynesian Theatre Restaurant, one of western Canada's last great tiki lounges. That image in the top left is the cover of its menu. I've also included pics of the cocktail list and a swizzle stick as further proof of Regina's luau legacy, all courtesy the collection of Mimi Payne via the Critiki website.

Flaherty's Double-Dog Dare

Now that Iggy and his Stooges are backing away from the coalition, Jim Flaherty is designing a budget that's top-heavy with government tax cuts. Which is a standard Milton Friedman-esque budget that will be top-heavy with tax cuts but will have little to no stimulus package. And Iggy will smile, roll over, and play dead.

Tax cuts aren't the economic answer. If you're scared you're going to lose your job, you're going to stop spending, no matter what tax breaks the government may offer. If you think your job is safe, then you'll buy that house or car. That was the lesson that should have been learned from Flaherty's cut to the GST. But Flaherty is a Conservative. Conservatives never learn.

Six In The Morning

Nope, not the time (gawd forbid I'd be up before 8:45, ever), the number of stories I'm linking to in this post. Here's how the world's looking to prairie dog this wintery morn:

DIFFERENT STROKES The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives releases a teaser for its annual alternative budget, which calls for public sector investment in our struggling economy. Meanwhile, the actual government likes the idea of--surprise!--tax cuts, and they're meeting with the Canadian Taxpayers federation today to talk about how this is a super idea.

GOLD STRANGLEHOLD Sketchy goaltending? Suspect defence? Feh! Canadian hockey players are unstoppable, again.

MEET SENATOR SMALLEY He's smart enough, he's good enough and doggone it, people voted him in.

GOD DOESN'T TAKE THE BUS British atheists (some of whom are, apparently, incredibly hhhot, see above pic) make their point with a blunt new ad campaign that's Richard Dawkins-approved.

MANDRYK VS. HUBICH The Leader-Post's political writer pokes Saskatchewan Federation of Labour leader Larry Hubich in his Tuesday column. Hubich says auto CEOs, who carted off wheelbarrels of money last year as their industry swirled the toilet bowl, should be thrown in jail and their workers should run the business. Mandryk calls this "idiotic, self-aggrandizing rhetoric that makes no sense to anyone." I'll agree with that--reasonable people probably don't think overpaid CEOs should be jailed. Shot, maybe, but not jailed.

PLEASE STOP KILLING PEOPLE War sucks. Ceasefire now, please.
(edited by author to fix idiotic misspellings)

Credit Where Credit Is Due

Though Premier Wall's floating a trial balloon (and we'll have to wait for the next provincial budget to see if his thoughts become government policy), his idea of sharing one-fifth of the PST with municipalities makes a lot of sense. And dollars.

First of all, Saskatchewan's municipalities have not only been chronically underfunded (especially since the Romanow-era cutbacks, in response to the debt left behind by the Devine Comedy of Errors) and are facing big problems resulting from a crumbling infrastructure and (in the case of Weyburn, Estevan, Swift Current, Regina and Saskatoon) increased economic and population growth. While Lorne Calvert's government provided a few more shekels to municipalities, it all appeared done on a catch-as-catch-can basis: municipalities couldn't bet a guarantee from the province that there would be as much money coming their way in the next fiscal year. And why was that? Did the NDP believe that the province would suddenly fall into recession? Or did the NDP believe that they the better arbiters of what municipal governments should be doing with their money? A bit of column A, a bit of column B.

Wall says that the provincial government should be able to provide the equivalent of one point of the PST to municipalities. This would mean, says Regina Mayor Pat Fiacco, that the municipal revenue pool would increase by $40 million, and that municipalities would have a steadier flow of cash from the provincial government.

So, from here, Brad Wall appears to be doing the right thing. Before there's a killing frost in Hell, however, let's see the details.