Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Some observations from the weekend

I had reserve duty last weekend. As usual I stay on Base Trenton and drive out to our ops area in Prince Edward County. To do so I have to cross a railroad overpass on the western edge of the City of Belleville. This riding is held by a Conservative.

On Saturday morning I noticed one of the "Economic Action Plan" signs with vague references to bridge improvements next to that overpass. However, there was no sign of any kind of construction activity. No equipment, no construction warning signs, not even a worn out orange cone.

I found this odd. That sign was not there a month ago when I had my last reserve duty. So it is very recent. I began to wonder who begins a major construction job in November? The answer is no one. The freeze/thaw cycle plays havoc when you are pouring concrete so in all likelihood not much or even no work would be done on this bridge this year. Instead the work would be done next spring, probably beginning in earnest in May.

That had me thinking that the Federal government's fiscal year ends on March 31. No work will probably begin on this bridge until May. So, is the money slated for this bridge improvement really going to be used? Has the money already been transferred knowing that it would not be used during this fiscal year?

I am really looking forward to the Auditor General examining this whole Economic Action Plan. The sooner she does it the better.

Anyway, Saturday morning I arrive at our Ops area, with my fellow reservists, to discover that a vital piece of equipment for our work is in pieces and unservicable. Apparently, an engineer took it apart on Friday and went home before putting it back together again. We called that engineer to come and fix our equipment so we had to wait until he did so.

In classic military fashion, having no work to do until the thing was fixed, we all sat down, drank coffee, ate Timbits and talked. It took awhile to fix the equipment so it was a long conversation covering many topics. Included amongst those topics was the giant novelty cheques fiasco and I swear I did not bring it up. I will save you the details but I will let one of my fellow reservists speak for the consensus of the group when he stated; "It really does not bother me that the Conservatives put their logo on these government cheques but it pisses me off that they seem to think Canadians would be too stupid to notice. I cannot support people who think I am stupid."

One of my fellow reservists is an air traffic controller in Montreal. He controls the upper level airspace. He is one of those people who prevents your airplane from hitting another while you enjoy your delicious airline meal and the latest Hollywood blockbuster.

At breakfast on Sunday he mentioned that he had been talking to the plane carrying the Royal Couple last week. The conversation ventured to how he has talked to the airplanes carrying Stephen Harper on several occasions. He knows this because the plane carrying him always has the call sign of CanForce One. (How original)

So he stated; "Yep, I have told the pilots of the planes carrying Steve what to do."

To which another sitting at the table stated; "Then maybe you should tell him to go and slap the douchebag sitting in the back."

There was much chuckling and nods of agreement from those around the table.