Dictionary entries are filed alphabetically: choose a letter to view entries. The dictionary contains 600 entries.
R v. Morgentaler (1988) — one of the more intelligent Canadian Supreme Court decisions — decided that Canada is better off without abortion laws, on the constitutional ground that there is a class of important personal decisions in which the state ought not to interfere. Despite predictions that the country would collapse into social chaos at the hands of hordes of fetus-murdering Medeas, the Canadian family continues to wobble along pretty much as before. A few hardy souls claiming direct access to God continue to loiter outside the bubble zones of the few clinics courageous enough to provide this medical service, and from time to time they go over the edge, but… See [Obscenity], [Day, Stockwell].
Several years ago, Dooney’s Dictionary defined abortion in Canada as follows: “R v. Morgentaler (1988) — one of the more intelligent Canadian Supreme Court decisions — decided that Canada is better off without abortion laws, on the constitutional ground that there is a class of important personal decisions in which the state ought not to interfere. Despite predictions that the country would collapse into social chaos at the hands of hordes of fetus-murdering Medeas, the Canadian family continues to wobble along pretty much as before. A few hardy souls claiming direct access to God continue to loiter outside the bubble zones of the few clinics courageous enough to provide this medical service, and from time to time they go over the edge, but…”
We stand by our definition, of course, but it’s time to update it. 2013 marked the 25th anniversary of the R. v. Morgentaler case, with its memorable decisions by Chief Justice Brian Dickson and Justice Bertha Wilson that determined that Canada’s abortion laws violated a woman’s constitutional right to “life, liberty and security of person.” A quarter-century after the elimination of laws restricting choice on abortion in Canada, a national poll reported that a majority of Canadians are satisfied with the present legal status and have no desire to revisit the debate. What was once a dangerous practice and a dirty secret has become a standard medical service to be decided by women and their doctors. That puts Canada in stark contrast to its American neighbour, where abortion continues to be an (over) heated topic of debate and legislation.
One of the principal and eponymous figures in the case, Dr. Henry Morgentaler, died on May 29, 2013, at the age of 90, occasioning encomiums to his memory across the country. The Polish-born Holocaust-survivor became the heroic Canadian physician and pro-choice activist whose efforts to ensure women safe and accessible medical services with respect to abortion eventually led to the highest court in the land, where Morgentaler’s actions were vindicated.
Something that no longer exists in Canada’s post-accountable financial sector and has become as rare as hen’s teeth in the Federal government. If it finally comes time for a public adding up of two plus two, don’t be surprised if all those Lexus and Mercedes-Benz owning accountants and accountability boosters get panicky and seek protection from whatever level of government they happen to own. Naturally, once accountability went extinct, the Harper government passed a new federal Accountability Act, the equivalent of claiming that a large flock of dodos are alive and well somewhere in the wilds of northern Saskatchewan.
The response to this crisis is a long standing Canadian version of dithering-while-Rome-burns, except that it is our forests dissolving from airborne sulfuric acid, and our lakes dying because the water is too acidic to support biological systems more complex than the ones involved in making pulp and paper products. Acid rain is a currently unfashionable but solvable problem. It hasn’t been taken seriously because both our governments and our industrial chiefs believe that the general public hasn’t got the attention span of a milk cow. The result has been a twenty-year multigovernment Alphonse & Gaston jamboree so dumb it wouldn’t get a laugh in a milking barn.
Gravel-voiced androgynous Vancouver musician distinguished by his ability to discover and cover the musical equivalent of absolute neutral. Adams illustrates what Canadian culture will be like if it becomes wholly defined by the marketplace: Joe Cocker without drugs, alcohol or demons, management by middle-aged guys who think lunch with Tina Turner is a religious experience, rock ‘n’ roll for chartered accountants and mutual fund managers. It promises a vast middle ground swept by background voice and violins plus a base that stretches from our fingertips to eternity yet is without perceptible highs or lows.
Most Canadian cities have streets and business firms named Adanac. Bet you won’t find a Setats Detinu Drive in the U.S. or a Rue de Ecnarf in France. Is a country that resorts to spelling its name backwards in order to provide sufficient appellations for thoroughfares and corporations suffering from terminal poverty of imagination or a national learning disability?
Aggrieved White Guys
A group of generally well-heeled, expensively educated but physically inept males who work in or close to the mass media, sometimes having been placed there by wealthy parents or mentors. They are often characterized by facial fat and the belief that they are victims of a conspiracy of black and Asian women, homosexuals, communists and other marginalized yet mysteriously powerful minorities able to take over the government and prevent aggrieved white guys and their families from experiencing the world the way it was forty years ago. It is tempting to dismiss their current chic as Revenge of the Nerds, but their aggressive rancour and their influence argue for less balanced responses. See [Conservative Intellectuals], Doug Collins, [Coren, Michael], Mike Duffy, David Frum, Vaughn Palmer, Michael Walker, and on, and on, and on…..
Disgraced Canadian Armed Forces regiment that lurched so far out of control during a brief assignment in Somalia in 1991 that the government was forced to disband it. Mulroney’s Conservative government didn’t have the courage to cashier its members, and they’ve been dispersed to infect the rest of the armed forces with the same sort of insolence and racism that led to the regiment’s disbanding.
Recent vintage passenger jets purchased by Air Canada from a Euro consortium, supposedly to the giveaway of other Canadian aerospace assets to Boeing. Their planes tend to rattle while in flight because their parts are fabricated in six different countries and therefore don’t quite fit together, and have been known to run out of fuel in awkward situations. There is some suspicion that airbuses also cause embarrassing Swiss bank accounts and Caribbean recreational properties to appear in the hands of Canadian politicians and their advisors.
In the early 1980s, Canada had four functioning Canadian-owned airlines, one publicly owned, and a raft of independent charter and regional carriers. Then the industry was deregulated, supposedly to foster competition, cheapen fares, and open up the marketplace. Result? We’re down to a single major air carrier, and it is a virtual subsidiary of a larger American air carrier. Meanwhile, 90 percent of regional carriers have been gobbled up, so that it’s now difficult to get on a plane in Canada that isn’t controlled by offshore profit vampires. Hey! What happened to the cheap fares and the competition? And what do “deregulation” and “open up the marketplace” really mean?
Former oil-rich sector of Prairies where citizens don’t believe in taxes, foreigners or other parts of Canada. Albertans think consciousness-raising is a matter of slapping people across the side of the head with the Bible, subjecting them to motivational speeches by blow-hard former Alberta premiers, their sons and/or former radio talk-show hosts, and preparing them for the eventual war between the city-states of Edmonton and Calgary.
Recent University graduate and Stephen Harper’s first mistress of Environment originally put in charge of dumping Kyoto and raising pollution levels across the country, she is now in charge of depriving Canadian workers of rights and privileges. She has the thickest head of hair in the Canadian parliament—not much of an accomplishment–but there is a long-standing suspicion that there’s little between her ears you couldn’t stuff a mattress with.
The reason why this term is unfamiliar is that U.S. immigrants to Canada are about the only immigrants we have willing to be unhyphenated citizens.
Most Canadians believe that Americans are friendlier, wealthier, smarter and less subject to taxation. In fact, Americans are victims of exponentially higher crime rates, less civilized social security, no visible health care and are being squeezed as brutally by multilateral corporate trade agreements as everyone else in the world. Americans tend to admire Canadian institutions, but worry about possible communistic origins. Americans who really admire Canadian institutions, values and lifestyles tend to emigrate to Canada and become almost the only Canadians who give a damn about protecting the country’s institutions, values and lifestyles. See [Murkans], [Amer-Canadians]
Journalist who deploys the most let-them-eat-cake political rhetoric this side of Diane Francis and Erza Levine now burdened by a jail-bird husband. Appears to be the only member of the conservative intelligentsia who has a sense of humour, and among the few who displays any sensible delight at exercising wealth and power. And she’s still beautiful, even if most of it surgically-aided.
Canadian parliamentary Idiot-of-the-Month for May, 2001 for his rejection of Parliament’s unanimous appointment of Nelson Mandela to honorary Canadian Citizenship. Anders took his position because he believes Mandela is a Communist and a terrorist, and called him a poster boy for multicultural political correctness. Never mind that Anders accusations would be essentially accurate if he’d put the first two in the past tense: Mandela was a Communist, and South Africa’s Apartheit government did force him to acts of terrorism before it sent him to prison for 20 years. The questions nobody seems to have asked have to do with what Canada was while the Communist terrorist Mandela was rotting in jail because of Apartheit, and whether or not we should be offering Mr. Mandela our apology rather than draping him in our flag. Another unasked question is whether Anders is more dangerous to democracy than our previous parliamentary Idiot-of-the-Month, Tom Wappel.
Hamilton born and raised MPP and current Ontario NDP leader. Horwath gained the leadership of the Ontario NDP by deploying the suicidal slogan of “We will not adapt!” She then parlayed her approachable personality and single-parent identity into serious gains in the 2011 Ontario provincial election, mainly because her opponents, Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty resembled a shifty-eyed grin-while-speaking car salesman and Conservative Tim Hudak, spent the campaign as Mr. Bean with the famous Christmas turkey poised above his head while he shouted less-than-brilliant slogans like “elect me!”
Canadian-owned communications satellites reputed to be in the sky over our heads at all times. Canadian communications satellites have a tendency to go off-line whenever new channel applications are before the CRTC.
Canada’s very own Wayne Newton. Believed by a solid majority of middle-aged and elderly RV owners in Eastern Ontario to be a Canadian national treasure.
Anne Of Avonlea
PEI’s most lucrative export, a national treasure or a lesbian costume/soap opera, depending on which washroom walls you’re reading. Key Canadian export to Japan.
Where it occurs in Canada, a serious problem for livestock farmers. Where it appears in Canada’s media or in the minds of Canadians not directly involved with livestock, self-inflating hysteria.
(aka global justice movement) a tiny collection of young do-gooders and old-left radicals looking to halt the corporate juggernaut. While it was a small coalition of activists from every conceivable progressive campaign or leftist tendency, it seemed to attract a bandwagon chic that brought sizable numbers of middle-class white youth to its mostly monotonous and cheerless protests. The sight of young people on the streets who weren’t just rioting over a sports event was probably why the media gave them so much coverage – warranted or not. That their protests were manifested in purely symbolic ways meant that they seemed to accept the inevitability of the ‘end of history’ and the replacement of civil culture and enlightened self interest with corporate capitalism. Because the anti-globablists are starting to pass up symbolic protests to fight for social justice by actually communicating with their fellow citizens – who happen to have a vested interest in humanity, ecology, and harmony – is a sign of maturity. Perhaps history isn’t over quite yet.
Nominally, activists on payroll. This can be a good thing, if the activism is local in origin and focus, and is aimed at direct improvements to the quality of life, and/or when the activists on the payroll don’t communicate primarily through acronyms. It’s no accident that the word “activist” easily evolves into the word “asshole”, and the most unpleasant assholes to be around are generally the overly active kind.
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, a post-FTA quasi-government think-tank dedicated to compulsory tariff-free trade (only in financial services) and other globalist faves. APEC conference delegates and organization officials consciously represent “economies” rather than “countries”. Don’t confuse this organization with the Association for the Preservation of the English Language in Canada, a far-right anti-Quebec offshoot of the already-out-of-sight-right National Citizen’s Coalition which is now locked deep in the Conservative Party’s closet, or with OPEC, the oil producer’s cartel that made the Saudis so rich they were able to create and fund the Taliban without anyone being willing to risk pointing the finger at them for doing it. Sensible people should be equally nervous about all of these organizations.
Vestigial and highly antiquated body no one had the courage to remainder after WW II and which no government now has sufficient will to put a leash on. Before and during WW II, Canadian armed forces were treated alternately as lab and wharf rats by the Allied High Command, sent on suicidal raids and quartered in the worst available conditions to keep them away from British women. The current version is exclusively drawn from rural populations in Alberta, Quebec and Newfoundland, a demographic which might leave Canada without any armed forces if things go badly for federalists in the next few years. Is that a problem or not?
Winnipeg media mogul who owned and ran CanWest Global until his death. His takeover of Conrad Black’s Canadian newspapers, including the National Post, was a strange moment in Canadian media history, and not just because Asper as a long-time Liberal Party backer would have hired V.I. Lenin and Tim Buck to host a talk show if it got ratings high enough to be profitable–or qualified under the CRTC guidlines as CanCon enough to get tax rebates. Black’s open desire to run an ideologically-driven newspaper cost him millions, and Asper couldn’t stop the bleeding, even though he shifted the editorial policy to make the paper indistinguishable from the Jerusalem Post. After his death control over CanWest devolved to Asper’s children, who didn’t realize that media convergence was just another meaningless slogan, and ran even its profitable parts into the ground.
Free trade code word moaned frequently during Free Trade negotiations by Canadian negotiators. Freely translated, it seems to have meant “hump me hard.”
Athabaska Tar Sands
Hey! Isn’t Alberta the province that has squealed the most hysterically about government intervention sullying the entrepreneurial elan of the private sector? So how come it also has allowed untold millions in government subsidies to be sunk into a cockeyed scheme to extract oil from its icy northern sands to pump into a marketplace that demonstrably doesn’t want it. Along with Peter Pocklington, who had a money hose stuck in the side of the Alberta government treasury for 20 long and lucrative years, it kind of makes you wonder what they’re really squealing about…
Canada’s best-known writer has a big brain and an unerring sense of what guys are playing with in their pockets. For reasons unknown, she’s become the first public figure ambitious assholes attack when decrying Canadian culture. When she was younger, she gave a credible impersonation of Miss Piggy whenever buzzed. More serene now, she merely writes decent novels filled with lucid if conventional English sentences and exudes acid-laced common sense in the face of incoming lunacies of all sorts. These are unfair questions to ask, but is Atwood a greater writer than, say, South Africa’s Nadine Gordimer? What kind and quality of novels would she have written had she been born a white South African, a Czech, or simply twenty years later than she was?
Recently invented Bank holiday that has replaced the November 11th Remembrance Day observances. Having a holiday in August is an illustration of our newfound social pragmatism: the weather is better than in November and the tourism industry campaigned hard for it. Never mind that there’s nothing to celebrate in early August, except the suntans Health Canada says we’re not supposed to have.
The Auto Pact
Supposedly a trade pact that blew up on the Americans, it is actually a function of monetary policy, or was until Brian Mulroney pegged the Canadian dollar artificially high and caused an exodus of auto manufacturing to Ohio and anywhere else in the U.S. and Mexico where the incest rate is abnormally high and wages are low. The Auto Pact still exists, mainly as a tribute to the power of inertia.
The Arrow was an all-Canadian state-of-the-art fighter plane cancelled in 1959 when John Diefenbaker, faced by U.S. diplomatic pressures to allow U.S. missiles onto Canadian soil, not only blinked, but rolled over. Canada has been an American military satellite since. The ghost of one of these planes is supposedly patrolling the bottom of Lake Ontario hoping to be discovered by roaming CBC documentarians.
Awards Galas And Dinners
The Canadian media and business communities in the 1990s have become as vulgar and as crazed as Americans are when it comes to shameless self-congratulation and self-promotion of its achievers and celebrities. While Canadian media award galas are used as occasions to suck up to the multicultural community so they can ignore them at funding time, business award ceremonies are generally occasions to reassert the importance of having aging white guys firmly in control. The relative degrees of insincerity and jibberish in both kinds of galas are indistinguishable. See Genies, Junos, Geminis
Superbland federal Liberal MP, lone star of the West, and utterly ineffectual protector within the Chretien Government of decency and good sense. Axworthy was supposed to be the guardian of the Canadian social net in the post-Mulroney era, but because he couldn’t stare down Paul Martin, Jr. and his herd of deficit-crazed closet Thatcherites in the Chretien government cabinet, the post-Mulroney era never began, and morphed seamlessly into the Stephen Harper era. Axworthy remains living proof that alphabetical order of surnames is a key to electoral but not political success.