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Ricky Blue's Other Life
Ricky Blue
Ricky Blue
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is a Montreal-based humorist, singer, and writer. He and partner George Bowser are the famous Bowser and Blue comedy act. Here's his bio from their Bowser and Blue website.

Ricky Blue was born in Liverpool, England, but raised in Maine, New Jersey, and Toronto. He has an MA in English from Concordia University. He has been involved in bands and media music in Montreal for over twenty years. In 1981 he won an international 'Clio' award for excellence in advertising.

He once appeared on television naked.

His life had no real meaning, however, until he began to play with Bowser and Blue. Rick plays guitar, mandolin, and harmonica, and sings in a rather pleasant baritone when George will let him.

His columns are archived here

Posted 01.21.06

RICKY BLUE

Deciding who steals our tax money - what's the alternative?

There is an election on! Hard not to notice with all our politicians rushing to outdo each other by proudly announcing how many millions they are going to spend. I'm thinking: Hey it's our money, Santa Claus!

But that is what a Canadian election is all about:

Who is going to get their hands on all that tax money and how they will spend it. And, sometimes, who will get caught with their hands in the till.

And lots of money has to be spent to find out who will get to spend all the money.

Rallies are being held. Advertisements are being aired. There is air travel, dinners, hotel rooms, and limousines. Our journalists chase the politicians around the country. There are debates, speeches, interviews, press releases, and town hall meetings. And perhaps as you have watched the spectacle unfold you have asked yourself this question: Is it really worth the millions of dollars it costs us?

I say yes.

This sometimes unbecoming ritual absorbs all the potentially lethal energies of society's major troublemakers. Instead of engaging each other in physical combat they are forced to compete for our votes in words. Only by persuasion can they get what they want: power. They cannot do it by murdering, jailing, or kidnapping; as is the norm in so many other countries.

We have the same social and economic forces that have pulled apart many lesser nations - and there are so many lesser nations out there, aren't there? But elections replace the violence.

Think of it. In many countries the Bloc Québécois' option has caused bloody Civil War. It happened to the United States. But here in Canada, it has merely created a character that looks like a cross between the Man from Glad and Dracula to engage in a stunning public display of ingratitude and hypocrisy with no sense of shame.

In many countries the unfortunate gap between rich and poor has led to bloody revolution followed by decades of totalitarianism and genocide. Like the Soviet Union.

Here in Canada it has only led to the smooth yet fuzzy Jack Layton promising to protect seniors and children by spending more money than anyone else. In many countries the nostalgia for a return to old-fashioned religious values can lead to executions and beheadings. Can you say Middle East?

Here in Canada it has given us a chubby and benign Stephen Harper who, in a dazzling display of self-discipline, has managed to go for six weeks without saying anything stupid. In fact, without saying much of anything at all.

And in many countries an incumbent leader facing the possibility of a loss after so many years in power will destroy his own country before admitting that he bears any responsibility for the reasons of his own unpopularity. Zimbabwe springs to mind.

But here in Canada we only have the new Liberal leader paying for the sins of the former liberal leader and feeling compelled to mount one last laughably desperate attack ad campaign that no one in the country is buying.

It has been said that war is merely politics by other means. I say that politics is war by other means. Better means.

We can watch our nation's troublemakers mud wrestle over our values and our money harmlessly and bloodlessly. Yes, it costs a bundle. But it is far better than the alternatives.

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