Friday nights have changed

December 3, 2014   ·   0 Comments

Sometimes writing ideas strike me at the craziest of times.  The other Friday night my wife was working so I had my sleeves rolled up for some intense parenting.  I was just about to make the kids some gourmet grilled cheese for dinner when one of them asked if that was all I knew how to make!  I fixed their little red wagon and made them KD and spider dogs right from scratch.  I wasn’t even tempted by the stuff I could have warmed up in the fridge.

It got me to thinking about how my Friday nights have changed.  I wouldn’t trade my time with the kids for anything but a decade ago I would have been spending my time much differently.

It was about a decade or so ago too that the federal Conservatives decided that they would try to develop a profile of their typical voter.  As I understand it, the thought process was that if they could figure out who their typical voter was they could tailor policy accordingly.

What they discovered was that their typical voters were male, mid-thirties, likely to play fastball in the summer and hockey in the winter.

They might drive a sports car like a Mustang or a truck like a Silverado but it would most certainly be domestic.  I am absolutely not making any of this up, they nicknamed him “Dougie”!

It would appear that Dougie is now all grown up.  He is likely married and might have a son in hockey (named “The Rocket” in our house) and a daughter in dance (who we call “princess”).

His carefree financial days as a bachelor are behind him and worries about taking care of the family are what is important to him now.

If we think about how Dougie’s life has changed it might give a hint into some recent changes to tax policy as well.  Increases to the baby bonus, tax credits for children in sports and watered-down income splitting will benefit households like ours to the tune of about $3500 per year.  That isn’t chump change and breaks down to about $70 per week.  That’s more than an average freelance columnist makes in a week (I haven’t a clue what good ones make).  It’s enough to afford the payments on one of those new Caravan’s that are all the rage these days since car seats are a tight squeeze in the back of a Mustang convertible.

I’ve read a lot of criticism from the lefty set who say that these cuts will only benefit the rich and that’s a bunch of hogwash.  They are aimed squarely at the over-worked and under-appreciated middle class.  They are trapped with the choice of huge daycare costs if they both choose to work outside the home during the day or far-reduced income if one decides to work part-time to avoid those costs.

If I wasn’t concerned about ending up on some terrorist watch list I’d send the Prime Minister a Christmas card and thank him on behalf of Dougie’s everywhere for the early Christmas gift.

Doug Harkness



Abandoned Pet

A cat – male, fixed, grey with black stripes across his body – appeared at our farm door a few days ago wanting IN and food.  We can’t tolerate a cat in our farmhouse; so he remains OUT, but he persists in leaping onto our window sills asking for shelter and meowing plaintively.

He’s clearly house-broken, friendly and – when he first appeared – healthy, with a great leaping ability.  But yesterday a large coyote visited, looking for a meal; the cat sought shelter in our drive shed, the door of which was partly open.

Someone obviously decided to rid themselves of a cat and dropped him off in the countryside, perhaps hoping he will be taken in by a sympathetic farmer.

We telephoned the OSPCAs in Orangeville, Erin and Hillsburgh, but they all refused to accept the cat, pleading too many cats already in their inventories.

I think it’s inhuman cruelty for an owner to toss a pet into a rural setting.  This cat will die of starvation or cold, or will be eaten by a coyote.  None of those options is painless.  I hope no more pets will be discarded like this handsome animal.

Charles Hooker

East Garafraxa

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