Let Freedom Rain (But Not Freeze on the Ground)

I hadn’t experienced much in the way of winter ice until I moved to Ottawa. I’m not talking about the ice storm, I’m talking about those few days in Ottawa towards the beginning and end of the season when you wake up to a slippery world outdoors, with ice coating the steps, the walkway, the sidewalk, the road.

It’s both terrifying and depressing, a real life version of the nightmare we’ve all had where we’re trying to get away quickly, but we’re trying to get away quickly by moving very very slowly.

Ottawa’s an interesting sell these days, I guess. Like most places in Canada, inland, with the obvious exception of the far north, we won’t be affected as much by climate change as, say, the southern United States. Apparently, residents in places like Arizona are being actively encouraged to move to better ground. I don’t know what it does to property values when governments start urging citizens to pull up stakes, but I wouldn’t want to be a homeowner in Arizona these days.

And can you imagine what’s going to happen to house insurance in coastal communities? Ouch, baby. It’ll be like 9/11 all over again all the time. And I refer here to my friend’s home daycare insurance, which skyrocketed after 9/11 (here in Ottawa) thanks to those bloody terrorists.

(Read an article recently by one Daniel Hopsicker that talks about what was going on at the Florida flight school attended by the 9/11 terrorists, who were also heroin runners. I know – WTF?!)

So owning property in Ottawa is probably a good thing, insofar as long term financial security goes, but our back patio is like a skating rink and I won’t risk the walk to Mac’s to get milk for coffee, so actually living in Ottawa isn’t such a good thing today.

My Conservative friend, the webmaster of Sooey’s, has come to hate the ice of Ottawa almost as much as he hates climate change scientists and Liberals and lefties and government (except when it’s under the control of other Conservatives, even if they’re reactionary, corrupt, incompetent, spendthrift Conservatives like Stephen Harper). But he has roots in Ottawa, and his dream is to own a million dollar home here one day.

To each his own, I guess. I’m cool with my humble abode that isn’t likely to either increase or decrease much in value. I certainly feel like one of the lucky “haves”. There’s nothing quite like being born middle-class to keep you middle-class and although I’m certainly several rungs down the ladder, financially, from where my mother was at my age, it doesn’t matter.

My mother is several rungs down the ladder from where she was in 2008, too, so I guess it all evens out.

I don’t pay any attention to financial advice because it doesn’t make any sense to me any more.

Wow, three “any”s in one sentence.

The sooner my beau and I can pay off our mortgage, the happier I’ll be. After that, I’m not ever going to invest any money unless it’s direct from me to somebody else.

Did you know that banks charge a record-keeping fee now? Imagine, banks consider record-keeping an extra.

Capitalism is great, except when it’s awful. The leaf blower, to me, represents the downside of capitalism. The leaf blower doesn’t meet a need, and yet it has a negative effect on the environment and human health. But there it is, for sale in stores across the continent (although I believe it’s been banned in California).

(Heh – I wonder if it’s legal in Arizona? Or do they have leaves in Arizona…)

But add to the leaf blower home ownership in these climate changing times. There are days now in Ottawa when one dare not go outside. My friend would claim it’s been ever thus, but what hasn’t been ever thus is the accumulation of problems generated by the short-term profit motive that also characterizes our climate changing times.

Also, not having any idea where money invested is going. For instance, unionized teachers in the United States, it turns out, are invested in the weapons industry. Who knows what nasty and evil capitalist enterprises that offend humanity I’m invested in. I don’t. What I do know is bad enough. My beau and I are customers not just of Enbridge, but of Direct Energy. Direct Energy we can do something about, hopefully, but what do we do about Enbridge? Recently, the housing committee I’m on discussed solar panels for the common roofs of our townhouse development. But that appears to be a no go because of how the developer set up the sale of what used to be rental properties.

Imagine that, Ottawa has a no-clothesline by-law (Kanata), but no by-law forcing developers to install solar panels on all new roofs, let alone allow collectives of property owners to do it as individuals should they so choose.

For that matter, why aren’t solar roof panels mandatory? Roofs are mandatory. Why not roofs that help save the planet from the fossil fuels industry?

Oh right, that’s socialism. Or communism. Whatever. We can’t do it because it isn’t capitalism. Also, for ideological reasons, it’s essential to Conservative politicians that the energy monopoly stay firmly in the grip of the fossil fuels industry.

Developers in Ottawa are a spoiled and profiteering bunch. A handful of hatefully rich and powerful companies seem to own everything and everybody, most significantly, everybody at city hall. But that’s capitalism, isn’t it, public subsidies.

Anyway, the gun mess south of the border really drives it home, doesn’t it. More massacres results in more gun sales and more profits for the men who sell them. Climate change negates the value of property in one location, increases it in another. Products are made that fill no need and cause lots of damage and they sell like hotcakes. Financial advisers tell us to invest in retirement, then the market crashes to wipe out retirement savings and the Conservative government responds by increasing the age at which Canadians can retire.

It’s taken me a while, but now I follow my own counsel (as a former boss used to put it). I’m a glass half full type, an optimist, and I believe the world will go on in one form or another. I’m a people person, too. But I no longer believe that the world continuing and people continuing are one in the same good thing. I don’t really care anymore if humanity survives. We had a good run, but we’re too much for our habitat.

That’s the real lesson of Sandy Hook, I think, that no doomsday scenario can compete with the awful inevitability of capitalism.


1 Comment

  1. Woe betide anything that takes the oil industry down. I won’t be surprised, if they come up with an excuse to ban solar panels.

    I did put money aside for my retirement. However, those investments are pretty much worthless. If you have RRSP’s? A withdrawal, the government will take a percentage off the top. Then it is added to your income. Seniors don’t have many tax reductions, so you lose another chunk of your RRSP’s for income tax. The government takes your pension investments, away from you. I am just sorry I didn’t put my money in my checking account. I would have been far better off. My other investments, don’t even pay for the accounting costs.

    Canada has the highest cost of living, in all of the America’s. Young family’s are struggling to barely keep their heads above water. Saving for retirement in Canada, is a laughable joke. We are not permitted the corruption, our government enjoys. You retirement funds you went without for your golden years, is really saved for corrupt government to rip you off for.

    Corrupt greedy banks, mines, big business and especially big oil, get billions of our tax dollars. They are also given, huge tax reductions. This was watched on the House of Commons TV channel. Harper now does his dastardly deeds, behind closed doors. Everything, but everything is a secret in Harper’s corrupt Canada.