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Ukraine, The

Don’t let this go to your head, but a couple of years ago a survey of opinions in the Ukraine indicates people over there find Canadians “sexy.” .

Unfair Elections Act, The

The first and main thing to note about PM Stephen Harper’s proposed Fair Elections Act is that everybody who knows anything about elections thinks that it’s unfair.

"Ruthlessly partisan" Pierre Poilievre

(“Ruthlessly partisan” Pierre Poilievre.)

As Leonardo di Caprio says in The Wolf of Wall Street about some scam he’s just about to tell us about, “You really don’t want to know the details.” Same thing for the so-called Fair Electons Act, the Conservative government’s massive 242-page package introduced to Parliament last February by Democratic Reforms minister Pierre Poilievre, a politician described by a fair-minded conservative columnist as “among the most ruthlessly partisan ministers in a government filled with ruthless partisans.” (Andrew Coyne, “The Tories were right to be nervous,” National Post, Mar. 7, 2014.)

The main points of the proposed law are 1) it makes it harder for people to vote by demanding more stringent voter ID; 2) it reduces the power of the independent Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand; 3) it may prohibit Elections Canada even from encouraging voters to vote; 4) it allows political parties and partisans to spend even more money than they do now; and 5) it does nothing to fix the gaping holes in the net that caused the “Robocalls scandal” of a couple of years ago, whereby some Tory operatives attempted to trick voters into voting for them.

Chief Electoral Officer and "referee" Marc Mayrand.

Chief Electoral Officer and “referee” Marc Mayrand.

To add insult to injury, minister Poilievre said that the bill would ensure that the referee of fair elections — a reference to Chief Electoral Officer Mayrand or the Commissioner of Elections Canada, the independent officer who investigates allegations of wrongdoing — “not wear a team jersey,” implying that Elections Canada was biased and playing favourites.

The inept hockey metaphor brought Mayrand into the rink. In what were described by the press as “uncharacteristically frank remarks,” the Chief Electoral Officer lashed out at the government, saying the proposed law would completely “take the referee off the ice” and could make it harder for some citizens to cast ballots, especially marginalized voters, such as the poor, the elderly, young people, and certain ethnic groups.

“The only jersey I think I’m wearing, if we have to carry the analogy,” said Mayrand, with evident distaste, “I believe is the one with the white and black stripes.”

Although the government tried to stickhandle the bill through Parliament in stealth mode, the opposition forced some committee discussion of the proposal, as well as testimony from Mayrand, who, according to columnist Coyne, “simply shredded [the bill], almost line for line, proposing more than two dozen amendments that woud effectively rewrite the bill.” By the time he was done, said Coyne, “very little of the Act was left standing.”

Nonetheless, Harper dot.gov still controls the arena, owns the richest team, sells the programs, and is intent on stealing the puck from the Hab-Nots. (The Dictionary unreservedly apologises for the final pun.)



Union Members

Elderly workers identifiable by the amount of recreational technology parked in their garages, and by the fact that they’re overweight and leaning toward the Canadian Alliance Party. Anyone who can think of a reason why people under 40 would join a trade union kindly contact the CLC. Urgent.

University Professors, Tenured

The last outpost of delusory Marxist optimism left in Western civilization. Aside from the tiny minority of serious scholars, university teachers and intellectuals and a slightly larger underclass of sessional instructors who simply teach their classes scramble for wages and have nervous breakdowns, Canadian universities have become a zone of educational and intellectual misrule, populated by cranks of all political persuasions trying to decide whether it’s more important to impose a Dictatorship of the Correct, have free dental care for tenured faculty, or ensure that faculty offspring be able to study both classical and modern ballet. Nobody, meanwhile, is getting much of a university education in the sense that Cardinal Newman intended, and the universities aren’t exactly cranking out better citizens. On the other hand, does anyone out there want to shut the universities down so we can go with television and/or the aggressive commercial barbarisms that are our only apparent alternatives?

Upper Canada College

If you don’t believe Canada has a class system, check the number of political, corporate and cultural Visigoth who graduated from this ivy-clad downtown Toronto factory for closet homosexuals and industrial captains.