• I posted an edited version of a photo of this bottle of Pils to several social media sites earlier tonight. As usual there were plenty of happy Pils fans but also a smattering of people looking down their nose at a mass market [...]

  • It’s one of the oddities of Canadian politics, Liberals and New Democrats talking to American political professionals is fascinating but when Conservatives do it…..well that’s just wrong. We can see that playing [...]

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  • On Monday night I flew home from Toronto via Porter and found out I was in seat 7A. It made me laugh, all because of this song. I posted the photo of my seat assignment but some people didn’t get it. So enjoy this perfect [...]

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In praise of Canadian beer

- November 16th, 2014

Pils skinnyI posted an edited version of a photo of this bottle of Pils to several social media sites earlier tonight. As usual there were plenty of happy Pils fans but also a smattering of people looking down their nose at a mass market beer.

Let me be blunt, we have way too many beer snobs in this country today.

I’m not just talking about those people that enjoy let’s say a craft beer or an import, I do as well. I’m talking about those people that think those are the only things to drink and anything less is beneath them.

It’s beer people. It’s fermented grains for crying out loud.

Granted some beers are better than others, no doubt, but sometimes a beer is popular because it meets the needs of the population.

For the past several years I’ve laughed as many people with the attitude I describe have waxed eloquent about beers like Stella Artois out of Belgium. Stella is a fine beer but it is the Molson Canadian or Budweiser of Belgium. In my mum’s hometown of Glasgow they sell it in ASDA, Britain’s Walmart quite cheaply, currently £6.67 for 10 440 ml cans.

So what we have are people that would never drink a Bud or Canadian paying a premium price to drink Belgium’s version of the same. I’ve been drinking beer of all kinds for a long time and I’m not sure I’ve tasted anything out of Belgium that I’d try again over something brewed in this country.

This isn’t a reverse snobbery, I’m not saying only the popular brands are worth drinking. I used to frequent a bar in Hamilton called Chester’s Beers of the World, it was the first place I’d ever been where the beer menu was longer than the food menu. They carried beers of all kinds – the popular and populist kind and smaller craft beers – and whatever you ordered was fine.

I started drinking Guinness as a teenager, which believe it or not, was long before the Irish pub craze started and Guinness became a standard drink here. But like Stella it had a reputation as a finer kind of beer. As much as I liked the stuff I couldn’t help laughing at all these people giving what was an Irish peasant beer a high class status.

We do it all the time.

Like everything else beer styles come and go. Once upon a time the most popular beers in Canada were brands like 50 or Export, ales not lagers. That changed a long time ago, attitudes have not.

 

Canadian beer used to primarily tilt towards the stronger tasting ales while American beer has long favoured lighter tasting lagers or Pilsners. This difference, and a difference in how alcohol was measured in the two countries, helped push the myth that Canadian beer was significantly stronger. Canadians long ago dropped 50 for Blue and then Bud or Coors Light (those two American brands being two of the top selling brands in Canada.)

Yet we still have people that will brag about how much stronger Canadian beer is without realizing that on average the amount of alcohol by volume is now quite similar.

Here’s my rule for beer. Drink it. If it tastes good then drink some more.

I don’t need my beer to come from a far away village where a secret family recipe has been guarded for centuries by monks who speak a dead dialect of a language no one else can remember. I just want beer.

As far as Canadian beer is concerned, after years of favouring imports, craft brews and lots of other kinds of beer I can honestly say we make some fine beer in Canada and that includes Pils, 50 and Ex.

 

 

From gun newbie to enthusiast to activist

- November 16th, 2014


Rod Giltaca took up shooting late in life but made it into his business as an instructor. Now he’s getting political in the face of injustice.

Eliminating contact sports

- November 16th, 2014


In addition to a push to ban fighting in hockey once again there is also a push to shut down football because it is violent.
What do you think? Can we have sports that still have an element of violence.

CBC investigation mandate is a very weak one

- November 6th, 2014

CBC announced earlier this week that Toronto employment lawyer Janice Rubin will be heading up an investigation into allegations of misconduct at CBC. We wondered about the task Ms. Rubin was asked to do and requested the terms of reference. At first CBC wasn’t interested in sharing, today they passed them along.

Having read them and thought about them I have several concerns.

1. This is not a mandate to investigate but a mandate to react to whatever people bring to Ms. Rubin.

2. She cannot deal with issues outside of Jian Ghomeshi. If someone works in another part of CBC and has been harassed they cannot bring their concerns to Ms. Rubin. If they do then Ms. Rubin will direct them to the human resources department.

3. Ms. Rubin is pretty much restricted to listening to whatever people have told her. If they inform her of allegations of wrongdoing and she approaches a CBC staffer to ask questions CBC is not requiring employees to talk or co-operate, a fact confirmed in a follow-up email by a CBC executive.

Overall this looks like a pretty weak mandate. Add to that CBC saying they will only release recommendations and not findings and this has the appearance of a cover-up. See the terms of reference below for yourself.

Mandate

Janice Rubin will be engaged by CBC/Radio Canada to carry out the following mandate

(a) Current and former CBC/Radio Canada employees who worked on the “Q” or “Play” programs during the period in which Jian Ghomeshi hosted these programs and who have complaints, concerns or experiences they wish to share regarding harassment, discrimination, violence or other inappropriate workplace conduct during their work on these programs will be directed to contact Janice Rubin.

(b) Janice will make available to such employees an accessible and secure telephone number (with sufficient voicemail capacity) and email address through which they can contact her directly and she will acknowledge receipt of each message sent to her as soon after receipt as is reasonably possible

(c) Janice will arrange to meet each employee as soon as possible. Some employees may only wish to discuss with her their concerns or experiences without any further action being taken. However, if any employee has a specific complaint that they wish to have investigated, she will do so in accordance with applicable CBC/Radio Canada policies. Janice will gather all of the material facts, including the identity of all individuals involved, the specific conduct complained of and the date(s) and time(s) on which such conduct occurred.

(d) Janice will conduct all of your meetings as confidentially as possible. CBC/Radio Canada will fully co-operate with Ms. Rubin in completing her mandate and will ensure that she has access to any CBC/Radio Canada personnel to whom she may require access, and any CBC/Radio Canada documents to which she may require access, in the course of completing her mandate.

(e) Following the completion of her investigation, she will prepare and deliver to CBC/Radio Canada’s Vice President, People & Culture, or other individuals designated by CBC/Radio Canada, a final written report which sets out:

(i) A summary of the complaints, concerns or experiences shared by her, maintaining confidentiality to the extent possible;

(ii) Ms. Rubin’s findings to the extent you are able to make them with respect to each specific complaint that you are asked to investigate; and

(iii) Ms. Rubin’s recommendations as to any steps CBC/Radio Canada should take to resolve the complaints, concerns and experiences shared with her and to prevent similar issues from arising in the future, including any recommended changes to CBC/Radio Canada’s policies and procedures related to harassment, discrimination, respect in the workplace and workplace violence and the investigation of these issues.

(f) Following delivery of Ms. Rubin’s report to CBC/Radio Canada, she will meet with CBC/Radio Canada to discuss the same.

(g) The scope of your mandate may also be amended by agreement.

VIDEO: The nanny state wants your meat

- October 1st, 2014


Nova Scotia wants to shut down small slaughterhouses and stop the raising of chickens at home.