Quebec, Democrats, Sinkholes and Friday #Shoutouts

The best phony headline of the week, “Quebec roads invade Ontario!“, and with the discovery (by a driver who didn’t see it until he was in it (luckily he is fine)) the Ottawa Pothole season begins early! If you have not seen the pictures, one of my posts this week includes this massive hole that you normally see elsewhere (read Quebec), but I have included it as well at the bottom of this post.

Speaking of La Belle Province, as I said, it’s like Cirque du Soleil, entertaining, spectacular, but no one really understands it all. The wacked out gun man killing someone during Mme. Marois’ speech was insane (even for Quebec) and I do not wish to trivialize the death of his victims either, but even I didn’t see that one coming. The PQ minority election (with not enough seats to create any kind of viable coalition) is pretty much the best result that could have come out of it. There will be another election fairly soon, but who will lead the Provincial Liberals? Better still what will Jean Charest do now that he has resigned? Will the former Federal PC “leader” run for the Federal Liberal leadership? If you can have a former NDP Premier running, why not a former PC leader?!? Never a dull moment in Quebec.

Down South the campaign starts in earnest with the Democrats rolling out “Slick Willy” (Bill Clinton) to try to kickstart the Obama campaign. I note the Republicans haven’t pulled George Bush (W. or Senior) out of the woodwork, but they are talking of Ronald Reagen a great deal (i.e. Romney is like Reagen in 1980), not sure Romney can pull off a good Gipper imitation (and Mrs. Romney is No Nancy Reagen).

Back to school week here in Ottawa goes relatively well, other than holes in the ground opening and swallowing cars, the world returns to a level of normalcy. The next long weekend to come is Thanksgiving? That is a little disheartening.

Weekly Recap

None of my posts disappeared in a sinkhole this week, but there were some good ones:

And thanks to those who added me on Twitter I am now over 1160 folks who follow me, holy liftin! If you join my “Twitter Posse“, you might notice I am also re-Tweeting some posts from the French Media as well (hell, if I am learning the language, shouldn’t we all?).

Check out my Facebook page and find us on Google+ as well (but no I didn’t buy Facebook stock). The page includes many different posts, not just my own (kind of like this Friday post, but all week-long), and I have changed it a little bit too (note the new background).

Links for the Week

Crazed gunmen, global economic headwinds, real hurricanes, and continued lower interest rates were in the news, but what did my favorite writers write about:

Other Bookkeeping

Potholes

Quebec Roads invade Ontario!!!

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Have a look at my micro-blog on Twitter, where you can see a whole plethora of good articles and pithy comments by me as well. Twitter feed where I re-tweet many great articles by some of my featured writers (and make the occasional odd or off colour commentary on life (in 140 characters or less)). I am also on reddit, Tumblr, Pinterest and other Social Media sites (look for the BigCajunMan userid) as well.

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Quebec and 1976 All Over Again?

Growing up in Quebec in 1960′s and 70′s I feel I got to experience a unique piece of Canadian (and very much Quebec) history, and today, will we see a step back to 1976? No, I don’t think so, comparing now to 1976 when Rene Levesque swept into power is very much comparing apples and avocados. In 1976, the PQ election was effectively the antithesis of the Quiet Revolution, and a very different time.

There are some similarities, in that there is a feeling of corruption in the Quebec Liberal Party (which was rampant in 1976) and from these the feeling of a need for change, but Quebec is very different from the Quebec in 1976. In 1976 Maitre Chez Nous was only an idea, now Quebec is a different place (for the better? I don’t know, but it is not the Quebec I grew up in).

As I have said while Federal Politics is a three-ring circus when it comes to shenanigans and silliness (witness the “Harper Government” and all of its retribution against its critics), Quebec politics is much more like the Cirque du Soleil: much more spectacular, far more dramatic than a regular circus, and at the end of it all, no one is really sure what the heck they saw, or what the heck they are witnessing (but you are always entertained).

Drawing, cartoon | O.K. Everybody take a valium! | P090-A_50-1004

OK, everybody take a valium!

 

A PQ majority will lead to a great deal of collective hand wringing in some of Canada (and more likely a great deal of, “… if they want to go, let them go!”) but there is also a sentiment in Quebec that the Harper Government wants the PQ to win (I never got a good explanation why, but for some reason it didn’t surprise me either).

A PQ Minority will lead to what we have in Ontario, stalemate and not much being done for about two years and then another election.

Is another result possible? Yes, this is Quebec after all, and more than once the Provincial Liberals have been declared dead before an election, only to have them come back from the dead (how else do you explain Robert Bourassa being reelected Premier after being summarily dismissed in 1976?). I love Quebec politics, and the funniest part is to watch non-Quebec pundits try to overlay Canadian sensibilities onto the Quebec political scene, it just does not work!

Financially, there are evidently folks holding off buying houses until today’s results are final, but will it mean another mass exodus from La Bell Province? Not likely, but it could mean for a lot of fun and games for a few years that is for sure (and yes, maybe even another Referendum).

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Random Thoughts: Shake, Rattle and Roll

Tsunami on Fake Lake?

Yes, much humor has come from the Great Earthquake of 2010, one of which was that the Fake Lake they built in Toronto for the G-8, had a Tsunami on it. The other good joke was that Ontario shifted slightly to the left due to the new HST. We also saw that CPI increase was a little lower in May, which is good, but mostly due to Gas and Energy costs moderating. My guess is from the astounding silence no one wants to admit they are a Big Fat Personal Finance Panda.

What was new in the land of Financial Blogging? Lots of interesting new facts and another roller coaster weeks on the markets cause more interesting discussions, like the following:

  • Michael James spoke of Costly Liars at the Front Door discussing the onslaught of folks at our front doors wanting to look at our water heaters (and possibly slam our Natural Gas or Water Heater bills). Never buy anything sold to you door to door, is a simple motto to live by.
  • Speaking of Hot Water Heaters the Canadian Capitalist had a “Tony Soprano moment” when his hot water heater gave up the ghost and dumped a lot of water in his basement. He described his predicament and also savings in Installing a New Hot Water Heater, pointing out it ends up being cheaper to buy one, than to rent one.
  • Preet discusses even more Hot Water in The $57,000 Lake Revealed, sorry no Hot Water Heater, but a lot of Hot Water for the Government for building a lakefront set in Toronto, because they didn’t want to let the press into where the G-8 summit is being held.
  • Larry MacDonald shows that even the most professional of us in the world of money can get caught up in Lotto Fever with his article 1 in 1 chance of becoming a millionaire, ok it’s a trick on his part, but it’s a good post.
  • The Canadian Couch Potato points out that Not All Indexes Are Created Equal and be careful with Indexes and Index Funds, to make sure you choose a good index to go with, in your passive investment strategies.
  • Can you eat well on $25 a day? Canadian Dream: Free at 45, does an Experiment on Eating on the Very Cheap, interesting idea, a little synthetic, but still an interesting experiment.
  • The Frugal Trader over at Million Dollar Journey wants to know your opinion on An Increase in CPP? and whether you agree with it. I think it’s an interesting idea, but I suspect Canada’s Medical System is going to bankrupt the government LONG before CPP does.

Giveaway Coming Soon

Someone kindly gave me a copy of Quicken 2010, and given the year is half over, maybe it’s time I actually gave it away, so stay tuned, I will announce this huge contest soon.

Weekly Reminder

Remember that if you enjoy these weekly review of useful links in Personal Finance and Investing to subscribe to my twitter feed where I retweet many great articles by some of my featured writers (and make the occasional odd or off colour commentary on life (in 140 characters or less)). Also remember my RSS feed is available too, for those who enjoy reading without looking at my archaic page lay out.

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Whole Lot of Shaking Going on in Ottawa


For those who didn’t feel it, Ottawa was shaken by an Earthquake on Wednesday afternoon. It was actually an interesting event (not the first one I’ve lived through here either), and the reports so far have some simple damage in some areas, and my guess would be many foundation cracks that may not be discovered for a good long while (or until there is a lot of rain).

Given an Earthquake is an act of God (in Insurance terms), most home insurance policies exclude this damage (at least mine does, if anyone thinks otherwise, please chime in, I would be glad to hear from other folks).  My guess would be you would either have to have an Earthquake “rider” in your policy that you must pay for, or better still have a separate Earthquake damage policy.

How many such “riders” or separate policies are going to be sold in the next few weeks in the Ottawa area? My guess would be, quite a few, if they are cheap-ish, since I think we have just seen that Ottawa can get some very active Earthquakes (given this one was allegedly 5.0 on the Richter scale).

Intensity Map

Intensity Map of Earthquake Area

Moral of the story: Go read your home insurance policy and figure out exactly what is and is not covered by your policy, and plan accordingly.

Happy Saint-Jean Baptiste Day to mes amis en Quebec, enjoy La Fete Nationale.

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Weekend Video: October 39 Years Ago

Were you alive in October 1970? I was, and I lived through the October Crisis, and actually remember it, and since it is October, let’s remember this important time in Canadian and Quebec history. Given that Mr. Cross was Trade Commissioner this has a little bit to do with Finances, however, no this isn’t really topical, but still an important piece of Canadian history.

I remember this because I remember a school chum’s Dad was a Member of the Legislature and when I went to a birthday party at their house, there was a machine gun on his front lawn and some large soldiers there as well.

Action: The October Crisis of 1970 by Robin Spry, National Film Board of Canada

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