What colour is the national mood ring?

Let us all hope that life can return to normal — although maybe with 50 per cent less vitriol and backstabbing.

Carolyn Grant

After an emotional week in politics, let us all hope that life can return to normal — although maybe with 50 per cent less vitriol and backstabbing.

In any event, MPs are back to work, and the political life of the nation goes on. Let’s check up on tidbits from across the country, shall we? What colour is the mood ring?

Here’s an interesting one. An independent study has found that when communicating with taxpayers, Revenue Canada is often indecipherable, sometimes threatening, and full of gobbledegook. Gobbledegook is the scientific term used by a New York-based consulting firm, which conducted the study. I think it means piffle, twaddle or poppycock.

Now having myself been the recipient of such a letter, informing me I was about to have the pleasure of being scre.. uh, audited, I can only say I agree with the study’s findings. Especially the threatening part. The tone of the letter was ‘we have finally caught up with you, cheating infidel, and now you will pay’. It was not a nice letter. And after finally figuring out all that this particular tax agent required, I sent all the information in and was promptly denied my tax return and told I owed Revenue Canada money. That letter was pretty clear. All claims denied. Good times. Can’t wait for tax time to roll around again, although apparently Revenue Canada has promised to clean up their act by February. We’ll see. My personal mood ring on this is still the darkest black.

Over in Manitoba, Premier Greg Selinger can only be referred to as embattled. And it’s not just the opposition trying to bring him down. Half of Selinger’s NDP caucus wants him gone as well. Selinger’s misfortune comes about because he raised the provincial sales tax and the populace is not impressed. It is interesting, in the topsy-turvy (there’s another of those scientific terms) world of politics, how sometimes something like a one percent rise in the sales tax can bring a career to an end and at other times the voting public shrug it off. Just depends on the mood of the day I guess. Manitoba’s mood ring is also dark this week.

Also interesting was the Toronto mayoral election, with the results proving polls correct. John Tory took the win. Not surprising. He came across as sober and competent, which was a change Torontonians were no doubt looking for. What perplexes me is that Doug Ford came second, leaving Olivia Chow in the dust. I just do not comprehend that at all. I mean, even if you lean right politically, Doug Ford? In some ways he comes across even worse than his brother, the former Mayor. Bullying behaviour, blind allegiance to his brother no matter what, he was a loose cannon at Toronto City Hall often dropping bombs to the press before his brother the Mayor was even aware of them. Yet he beat Olivia Chow, with her long political resume, by 10 percentage points. Toronto’s continuing love affair with the Fords remains a mystery to me. In fact, I wonder if Rob Ford hadn’t had his very unfortunate health diagnosis, if we wouldn’t be looking at four more years of Mayor Rob Ford? A perplexing city. Thankfully, I do not live there and therefore will not have to explain how this all came about. Toronto’s mood ring is a confusing mix of contradictory colours.

Closer to home, it appears that some of the promised LNG windfall is going to have to wait. British oil and gas producer BG Group PLC says it will possibly be ten years before it goes ahead with a liquefied natural-gas export terminal in Prince Rupert.

The company says the timing isn’t right, which I think is the business-world equivalent of “it’s not you, it’s me”. Eighteen LNG terminals have been proposed for BC and none have got the go ahead.

For a government that ran on promises of LNG riches this is not good news. LNG was to carry us to great wealth and prosperity and now the timing isn’t right. I think the mood ring on LNG just went from rosy to dark blue.