Yesterday a court ruled that for the first time since 1999, Ontarian hunters will be able to hunt bears this Spring. The Spring Bear Hunt is coming back. Bears better watch out. Starting tomorrow. Thursday, May 1st, 2014. Numerous City Councils support the program. Our elected officials are endorsing the murder of innocent bears.
In April of 2012, I came across a bear myself. I was walking home from my friend's house, and I walked through the catwalk on Fields Square, into the forest around Grove Crescent. I heard the weirdest noise. It was a growl. Then, it appeared. A bear. A black bear. It was gorgeous. A true gift from nature. I walked towards it, ignoring the advice of countless people to "slowly back away from the bear." Yeah, no, I'm Matt Kot, I don't back away from anything. The bear looked at me. He and I were about ten meters away from each other. I could see his face so clearly. My heart melted. I seen his face for a total of three or four seconds.
He ran. Down the path, towards the Grove Crescent townhouse complex, where I could hear a bunch of the neighborhood kids playing outside. I knew that if the bear revealed itself to the children, there would be a panic. Luckily, the bear decided to go behind the townhouses, running along through the backyards. Nobody knew about the bear until I showed them pictures.
I ran along with the bear, knowing that the creatures could potentially be dangerous. I guessed that what I was following was a cub. But I sensed that his (or her) mother (or father) was nearby. I jumped over one big pile of bear poop, and seen that the bear entered the churchyard right near the townhouse complex. I prayed that no kids would see the bear. The kids liked to play in the churchyard all the time, it was a wide, open space. Perfect for a meeting area. But today, the bear was there, running into the gulley at the back of the churchyard. I continued following it.
In this day and age, people are addicted to technology. I can't put down my iPod. I need the music to soothe me. I need the wifi, I need to be connected to my Facebook friends, to my twitter followers, to this website. An overwhelming majority of people are the same way. People can't let go of their cell phones, their tablets, their iPods. Technology is a new obsession that we can't shake off. We're too far in.
Not even ten years ago, the world was a much different place. Kids climbed trees, built forts in the forests. My, how the world has changed.
Today, Parks Canada announced that Canada's National Parks would be getting WIFI HOTSPOTS. Yes, wifi in the wilderness. People go to these national parks to get AWAY from the stresses of work and technology. Good ol' fashioned tents and bonfires. Now, that's in jeopardy. Of course, many people can opt to not bring their cell phones or tablets or computers, but with the wifi hotspots coming to a park near you, the great outdoors won't be so great anymore. The hotspots, they're going to tempt people.
If I wave your favorite fatty food in your face, you'll eat it, even if you want to lose weight. Why? Because it's right in your face. Same with the wifi hotspots. Technology has invaded the last truly peaceful place people can go to be away from it.
Parks Canada made a very troubling choice. They chose to create distractions, people will be paying more attention to Facebook than to Canada's majestic landscapes. Disgusting.
In the summer of 2013, Paula Deen was going through hell. Her cooking show was gone, her sponsors were abandoning her every day, the world's media was against her. She was a “racist.” No, she's not a racist. People of her generation say the n-word quite often, even today. The media has been very harsh on Ms. Deen. She didn't deserve to have her life taken away from her. She seems like a kind and caring person, she looks almost motherly. She's a good woman, she's not a racist, yes, she said some words that make her SOUND racist, but in reality, she's a gentle soul, being punished for saying a few words here and there.
Donald Sterling, he's an ignorant man. What he said wasn't right either. He tells his girlfriend not to bring any black people to his team's games. The LA Clippers themselves even staged a silent protest against their owner. But Mr. Sterling, he was having a private conversation. What people say to their girlfriends or boyfriends or family members, it's really none of our business. The media has destroyed Don Sterling, just as they did Paula Deen.
They both deserve second chances to prove that they're good people. Mark Sanford, the former North Carolina governor, he ran away from his duties and slept with a mistress, yet the people of North Carolina still elected him to the US Congress. Rob Ford, in Toronto, he said much worse things than Paula and Don did, yet there's a real chance that the people of Toronto will give him another four year mandate.
As Hillary Clinton, the former US Secretary of State put it: “A lot of serious news reporting has become more entertainment driven and more opinion-driven as opposed to factual.” Truer words have never been spoken. The media just wants more views on their pages, they don't give a damn about facts, they don't care about using their influence to make society a better place. No. They pick on people, they're bullies. Paula and Don, they were punished quite harshly for the words they've said. Now it's time to let them rebuild their lives, let them learn from their mistakes, and give them a chance to show us that the media was wrong about them.
Before I start writing about gas prices, I owe my loyal readers an apology. For days, you've been coming to this website, and for days, you've seen the same article. I'm truly sorry if I've let you down, and I humbly ask you to continue having faith in me and my blog. The reason I haven't been writing much is because my grandmother is in the hospital and the last week has been hectic. Now, without further ado, let's talk energy.
Here in Sault Ste. Marie, as you see in the picture, the price of a liter of gas at most stations are one tenth of a cent away from the $1.45 mark. Prices haven't been this high in many, many, many months. Just last month, according to www.ontariogasprices.com, a liter of gas was $1.29.
Sixteen cents may not seem like much to you, but the average vehicle holds between 50-70 liters. Say your vehicle has a 55 liter gas tank. To those that use imperial measurements, that's 14.5 gallons. So a month ago, it took $70.95 to fill up your car. Now, in a sizable amount of cities in the province, no, in the entire country of Canada (except Alberta, where gas is almost ALWAYS under $1.30,) it would cost $79.75. Those pennies, dimes and nickels, they add up. In an economy that still isn't 100% stable, money is something people shouldn't just be throwing away.
So, will gas prices go down? YES. Experts are telling the national media that Canadians should expect relief by summer. Will gas prices go back down below $1.30? Not really. The world's gas supply is shrinking, demand is growing. It costs more for the big companies to drill deeper. Absolutely gas prices will gradually go up. Yes, this week was an unusual spike. Yes, prices will go down for now, but remember, it wasn't too long ago Canadians were paying less than a dollar for gas. In 2010, gas prices were 95 cents a liter. You will NEVER, EVER, EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER see that again. EVER. It's impossible. Unless...
Well... The world could always buy cars that run on resources other than gas. Ethanol. In Brazil, the nation does not rely on foreign countries to supply their fuel. No. The Brazilians supply their own fuel. Ethanol is made out of SUGAR. The South American nation harvests crops, and they make fuel for their cars out of those sugar crops. ANY COUNTRY IN THE WORLD CAN DO THIS. ANY COUNTRY. The world can run on ethanol.
It's a cleaner alternative to gas. That would be the solution to bring gasoline prices back under a dollar. Stop using gas. Use ethanol. Sure, there aren't many ethanol fuel stations, but eventually governments will want to steer their countries into using less energy to preserve the planet,so I predict that in the next decade, ethanol will be introduced into the wider fuel market. The world would be a better place. A greener place. A more peaceful place. Nobody has to go to war over gas. Just grow sugar. Grow the economy by hiring farmers to harvest the sugar, there will be more harvesters than oil rig workers. It's a good idea. Ethanol energy, it really is the future, friends. It really will happen. And soon.
USA Today reported today that in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donetsk, citizens who are Jewish were given flyers that ordered them to register themselves. Consequences of not registering include citizenship being revoked and deportation. Sound familiar? As the Second World War broke out, Jews across Europe were forced to register themselves. Then they were forced to wear the Star of David. Then they were shipped to Concentration Camps. Then over six million Jewish citizens in Europe were murdered. Most gassed to death.
Of course, it is very unlikely that the pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine are going to start an “ethnic cleansing” campaign. People call Putin the new Hitler, saying that the Russian President's actions in Crimea are very similar to the German leader's actions in 1938, when the Nazis invaded Czechoslovakia. But Vladimir Putin wouldn't let a holocaust happen, would he?
According to USA Today and other articles, the pro-Russians are reassuring us that Jewish citizens are in no danger whatsoever. But can they be believed? Or will history repeat itself.
Read the USA Today article by clicking here.
At this time every year, the snow goes away and winter leaves behind a mess. Actually, today Sault Ste. Marie is covered in snow, so we have to wait just a little longer for the mess to show itself. But when we do start seeing the roads, it's never a pretty picture. Potholes, potholes, everywhere. So far, I'm delighted to say, the City Public Works Department has been on the ball filling the potholes in, and for that, I say thank you!
But the fillings are not a permanent solution. No. Next spring, when the snow melts again, we'll see those same potholes, and a few extra ones too. Certain roads need to be repaved. Kerr Drive between Chambers Avenue and Hardwood Street absolutely needs to be redone. The potholes here were filled up, but I fully expect the road situation to be much worse next year. Here's hoping that one of the City's road projects for the 2015 budget is Kerr Drive.
But Kerr Drive isn't the only bad road in Sault Ste. Marie. And beyond. Across this great nation, this winter has caused millions upon millions upon millions of dollars of damage. There are roads elsewhere in Canada that are much worse than my own road. The CAA (Canadian Automobile Association) for years has been urging the municipal and provincial governments to spend more on roads. The Ontario Worst Roads campaign is a chance for the people of Ontario to vote for the worst road in Ontario. Thousands and thousands of people vote, and the results are shared with the municipal and provincial governments.
What the government does with those results, we won't know until the results are in. But according to the CAA, “Since the inception of the campaign in 2003, 90 percent of the roads nominated to the annual list have been repaired or are scheduled to be repaired.” So this campaign is a good tool. Anyway, if there's a road that you feel needs to be repaired, click on the link below, and vote for Ontario's worst road!
Before social networks began appearing in the early 2000's, the world was a happy and peaceful place. Teenagers didn't spend over half their time checking Facebook or Twitter. They played video games. The Legend of Zelda on the Gamecube was always my favorite. And it became my little brother's favorite game too. He doesn't have Facebook yet. And to be honest, I hope he never creates an account on that website. Ever. No. That would be tragic.
Why? Because after the online social media revolution, The world began to crumble. The world became a dumb place. People aren't as intelligent now. People aren't as kind and generous and caring now. In one decade, our world has transformed. And not in a good way. People choose to judge a person not by their actions, but by what the person posts on Facebook. It doesn't matter if I gave a thousand dollars to charity and spent a hundred hours a week serving people at the local soup kitchen, one Facebook post can destroy my entire reputation.
The moral of the story is this: Watch what you post online. People will judge you quickly and harshly. And sometimes when people are so harsh in their judgments, there are consequences. The number of suicides in the last decade has increased. Not dramatically. But still, when 3,500 Canadians kill themselves each year, and over 30,000 Americans do the same, that is cause for concern. Here in my own city, there have been over a dozen suicides since 2010, and I know for a FACT that Facebook comments are partially to blame. We need to stop hating. Hating has consequences. We need to accept people, embrace them, we don't need to love each other like hippies, but we need to co-exist, we need to be more kind, less judgmental.
And we need to focus on the better things in life. If the world didn't spend as much time on Facebook, I'm sure that people would be happier. Suicides would be prevented. The world would be a much better place.
Today I submitted my dream chip flavour in the Lay's “Do us a Flavour” contest. I thought long and hard about which flavour could possibly get votes. Nothing sweet or sugary. Potato chips are meant to be salty. After thinking for over half an hour, I thought “deep fried beef raviolis.” When I used to go to the bingo, I always bought the raviolis, and they tasted AMAZING! If a large amount of people vote for my flavour, I'm confident that a majority of Canadian chip-eaters will absolutely fall in love with the Beef Ravioli potato chip!
#BeefRavLays will be a Canadian snack-time favourite, just you watch.
Vladimir Putin once said this:
“Above all, we should acknowledge that the collapse of the Soviet Union was a major geopolitical disaster of the century. As for the Russian nation, it became a genuine drama. Tens of millions of our co-citizens and co-patriots found themselves outside Russian territory.”
This was in 2005. Here we are, nine years later, and Putin's Russian Federation has re-taken control of the Ukrainian region of Crimea. 60 years ago Crimea was given to Ukraine. Russia took Crimea back. The referendum where over 90% of the people voted to rejoin Russia, there's evidence that the ballots were tampered with, pre-marked.
Imagine this: Someone gives you a gift. The gift that you were given was in the giver's family for generations. The giver at the time felt that you deserved the gift. Time goes by, and you've become used to the gift, you admire the gift every day, it's something that has become a part of your life. Now imagine that the person who gave you that gift, suddenly wanted that gift back. You didn't want to give it back, it's your gift, it belongs to you. But the giver demands that if you don't give it back, he will use force to take it from you. VERY reluctantly, you give the gift back to avoid further conflict.
This is what Russia has done to Ukraine. Russia has taken back its gift. If the Ukrainians balked, Russia had its forces on standby to seize the country by force. A couple of minor scuffles broke out, but it was a largely peaceful takeover. Unfortunately, Putin isn't satisfied with just Crimea.
It is looking more and more likely that the Russian Federation will soon invade eastern Ukraine. Kharkov, Donetsk, Odessa, those areas will probably be under Russian control in the not-so-distant future. The Russian opinion polls show that the vast majority of the people want to re-establish the Soviet Union. Re-take regions that were once Russian territory. The economic consequences would be severe, yes, but Vladimir Putin would solidify his legacy as a Russian hero, the man responsible for the rise of the Second Soviet Union. And to the Russian president, all that matters is power, control, legacy, and expansion.
I never met the man. But he was on TV quite often. And when I seen him talking, I felt confident that Canada was in good hands with this man. He made Canada a more economically stable country. While the rest of the world crashed in the Great Recession of 2008, Canada was sailing smooth waters, and Finance Minister Flaherty was the captain of the Canadiana. His decisions made Canada one of the most respected countries in the world. For three years in a row, while he was Minister, Canada was named the world's most respected country. We didn't fall during the recession, we prospered.
The man was for the little guy. Under his Ministry, the federal GST (Goods and Sales Tax) was lowered from 7% to 5%. Less taxes= more money in the pockets of Canadians. Canadians spent more, more money went into big companies, big companies hired more Canadians. For years, Canada's unemployment rate has been much lower than the American unemployment rate. We have Jim and his Economic Action Plan to thank for that.
Minister Flaherty was the best man to handle Canada's finances. And every time there was a federal budget to be unveiled, there he was, green tie and new shoes. It's a weird tradition, but it shows that the man isn'tt just a number cruncher, he's a human. He wasn't out of touch with Canadians. He was one of us. And I respect that. Rest In Peace, Mr. Flaherty, and thank you for your service to Canada.
About The Author
Matthew Frank Kot was born and raised here in Sault Ste Marie. He first starting writing articles for Soonews.ca in early 2008, becoming the city's youngest columnist and journalist. He then went on to write for Local2, and for a short time had his "MATTer of Opinion" column on SaultOnline.com. Matthew was very involved in the 2010 and 2014 Municipal Elections and wrote several opinion pieces about important issues. In 2011, Matthew started Sault Transit Reform and has continued advocating for a better transit system since then.