Crude Observations


They’re talking about us! They’re really talking about us! Yay! Oh wait. That’s not what I wanted…


What exactly is he on about now you might ask? And you would be justified in asking. Allow me to explain. These past few weeks has seen something that, in my many years as a self-aware denizen of this country we call Canada, I have rarely been witness to. And that is the rest of the world actually paying attention to Canada. Unfortunately, in this instance, it isn’t in a good way.


Usually, Canada hits the largely American, sometimes international news circuit as more of a quaint curiosity. A result of, for example, our sporting or Olympic prowess, like when we win hockey gold. On those occasions, the coverage is shallow and short – “Canada wins gold, Nation Rejoices” accompanied by incorrect pictures showing a hockey riot in Montreal or Vancouver. Sometimes we host the Olympics and the international media will run a story about pot-smoking snowboarders or show video footage of some red-headed dude chugging beer out of a pitcher.


Sometimes we have an election that someone outside of the country cares enough to pay attention to. Sample coverage – Trudeau wins election accompanied by a superficial paragraph or two about his socks, hair, or how his mother partied with the Rolling Stones.


Sometimes late-night hosts will find some reason to mock us mercilessly and the story will get traction for a week or so and make us feel important. Like that time when David Letterman discovered there was a guy named Dick Assman who owned a gas station in Regina, ran a picture and brought the guy to New York to be interviewed on his show (I told you I’m old). And for a brief interlude we were the centre of the late-night universe.


And sometimes, well sometimes we manage to do such a monumentally boneheaded job of ruining, I mean running, our country that a whole bunch of people around the world sit up and take notice. Usually with a puzzled “WTAF Canada” reaction. Fortunately, those occasions tend to be few and far between.


Like those times we had referendums on breaking up the country.


Or that one time a bunch of truckers, egged on by the grifter/charlatan underbelly of the Far Right whackadoodlery of the country and (checks notes) the Official Opposition Conservative Party of Canada, decided to “occupy” Ottawa and take the economy hostage by blocking border crossings. The time that all levels of government and security services did such a terrible job managing the ensuing mess over a period of 19 days that the Federal Government was forced to dip into its bag of egregious overreaction tricks and declare a National Emergency thus giving themselves outsized powers to bust up the protests, seize bank accounts and otherwise ruin the lives of those deemed supportive of these illegal acts.


For the record, that time was called Tuesday. And the world, as they say, took notice.


After all, it’s not everyday that a sleepy, wealthy, comfortable, polite democracy like Canada decides that it’s time to light its hair on fire and bring every single festering grievance relating to the pandemic, restrictions, dissatisfaction with government, wedge issue and petty annoyance out into the open to mingle with all the kooks and freaks who in normal times stay under the free men of the land survivalist rocks that they have been inhabiting for years.


But that’s Canada for you. When we go off, we do it in style.


So, if you are a follower of media such as myself, you got treated to a barrage of “news” and coverage from outlets such as CNN, Fox, CNBC, Al-Jazeera, Russian Television, China State News, the New York Times, the Washington Post and even the Joe Rogaine Podcast. All asking the same question: “WTAF is going on in Canada?” Legit question, and all these outlets had their own opinions of course. All predictably biased. Not many in favour of martial law (or marshal either for that matter).


It’s not a good look. I suppose the only saving grace is the entertainment value in finally seeing how little any of these outlets actually know about Canada, as it seems they all went into some remote filing room to get the dusty old box off the shell labelled “the other country in North America” and pulled out some old Pierre Trudeau pictures, a curling instruction manual and some stale Timbits. Well at least they managed to spell Ottowa correctly…


I know the old saw says that “there is no such thing as bad publicity” but let me tell you right now and for the record – there sure as sh** is such a thing as bad publicity.


And that’s what we are getting.


Whether it’s Trudeau being shamed by the New York Times, our joke of a Question Period being mocked on Tucker Carlson, CPC MPs shamelessly self-promoting on Fox News, our Justice Minister saying we will be targeting bank accounts of “Pro-Trump” supporters of the convoy (come on man, are you that dumb?) or Bob Rumson wannabe Pierre Poilievre cynically gadflying around telling everyone how much he loves freedom and truckers while trying to data-mine potential supporters, our dirty laundry is out there for everyone to see and not just because we’re currently sitting in a portable hot tub IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STREET! (BTW, if you don’t get the Rumson reference, I suggest you watch The American President, which I presume is where PP borrowed his shtick from).


As I write this, there is a massive police operation underway in Ottawa to clear out the convoy protestors. Arrests are being made, bank accounts seized, children taken out of harm’s way (who brings their kids?) and vehicles being towed. It is what a majority of Canadians expected to be done three weeks ago before the world had a chance to catch on to the lunacy unfolding here. It’s what I expected would happen after the crowd got their chance to lawfully and peacefully deliver their legitimate and supportable grievances against the government and before the far-right cosplay got a hold of the movement. It’s what should have happened earlier and would have avoided the national embarrassment of having to declare a national emergency to clear the streets and risk dramatic escalation of a now well-entrenched and hardened group of protestors. But what do I know.


I mean seriously folks, I think we may need the Emergencies Act just to put all the crazy back in the closet. Then maybe try and convince the rest of the world that it was all because we ate some bad shrimp.


Then we can get out of the limelight and get back to what we do best. Be ignored by the world at large. Complain about our government. Smugly look down our noses at those “crazy americans – that would never happen in Canada”. Celebrate when the Leafs get eliminated from the playoffs. Drink beer, pour maple syrup on our beaver tails and say “eh” aboot 10 times a day. You know, be Canadian.


Following on that theme of just wanting things to be over, and in light of these unprecedented times, we here at Crude Observations Central Command (COCC) have come to the conclusion that the situation on the ground, so to speak, is serious and cannot continue unaddressed. It has been a giant distraction. It is a clear and present danger to my ability to write blogs. It interferes with my subject matter research and, to be completely honest, it’s all as annoying as anything can be. I need to break the cycle and move on.


But before I reveal my plan to get back on track, I present to you balcony guy. This anonymous Ottawa resident I think summarizes what many of us want to say, to the protestors, tot he counter protestors, to the government, to the media, to the world at large. Go home, leave us alone. Time to move on. NSFW by the way.


Now that that is done, here’s my genius plan.


To reassert control of the narrative and to hold myself to account for you the reader, we at the CCOC have decided to invoke a heretofore never used set of editorial directives that we had designed, but never thought we would have to invoke.


It’s called the Crude Observations Emergency Editorial Act and it’s some serious stuff.


Here are the rules that must be followed. And the penalties for transgression. They are severe.


  1. If something is worthy of being mocked, it must be mocked without mercy. Mocking may not be driven by partisanship. Mocking must be apolitical because every party is worthy of our scorn and derision. This includes municipal, provincial, federal and international governments. Mocking of China and Russia may be deferred if your personal security feels at risk.



  1. No more than two consecutive blog entries can be about the same subject. It doesn’t matter whether a crisis or scenario worthy of scorn and mockery (see rule #1) continues on during that period, more than two is too much. Just stop it. If it’s a long-unfolding train wreck, rest assured there will be ample opportunity for follow up commentary.



  1. It’s called Crude Observations for a reason. People want to hear about the energy market. That’s why the whole thing started. So, each blog MUST include energy content.



  1. It is understood that subject matter may be hard to come up with since this is the first extended period of time where the blog is being written during what can only be called a bull run for the energy sector. Tough luck. The precedent for a weekly blog has been set. Suck it up buttercup. There is always something to write about.



  1. The energy transition is happening. You must write about it at some point. It won’t bite.



  1. At least once every two months, the Blog must go on an unhinged rant about something that is really getting under your skin. Subject of course to Rule #1.



  1. Wherever possible, try to be economical with words. There is word count in the bottom left corner of word. When it exceeds 1950, that’s too long. Get. To. The. Point.



  1. Disagreeing is allowed. Being disagreeable is not.



  1. Take a lesson from Reader’s Digest. Laughter is the best medicine (dude – how old ARE you?). Get back to having fun with the blog. And be funny. Especially while adhering to Rule #1.



  1. Not really a rule, but… Natural gas will always disappoint. Deal with it.




The penalties for breaking the above rules may include:


  • Temporary suspension of blog writing privileges.
  • Freezing of expense accounts for such things as cell phones, hockey tickets and/or Sandwiches from Alumni (this one really hurts)
  • The reinstatement of proof-reading
  • The temporary suspension of commenting rights on the Stormont Twitter account
  • A ghostwriter
  • Jailtime


Thankfully the Emergency Act will only be in place for 30 days, although it can be arbitrarily extended forever. I am hoping I can abide by these completely inane rules because some of the punishment seems unduly harsh.


But at least these new measures will address the underlying root problems of a wayward blog. Just like the Trudeau Emergency Act is going to put a stop to the wingnuttery that gave rise to the Convoy from hell. What could possibly go wrong? It’s not like these things ever have any real-world consequences.


For those of you with a long weekend, enjoy. Those without, too bad!


See you next week when the topic will be Ottawa Occupied, whose fault is it really…


Ouch! Already punished.


Fine. Next week I’ll write about Joe Biden’s bizarre fixation on Saudi Arabia to solve his gas price problem while completely ignoring tight oil. And why that’s a good thing for Canada.


1949 words.

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