Sunday, May 31, 2009
Terry said he was now concerned that the Obama administration "will use Tiller's killing to intimidate pro-lifers into surrendering our most effective rhetoric and actions."
Like murder, perhaps?
PS. Pro-lifers (because lets face it who else is it likely to be?) do what Al Qaeda has been unable to do in eight years--strike at a symbol of American Modernity--and Raphael is still talking "honor killings".
What Jack Layton has done is to give the Conservatives their way out. The NDP tables the bill. The Conservatives offer an amendment or two (no doubt already agreed to, in advance, between the Conservatives and the NDP). The Liberals offer their own amendments. Votes are taken. With NDP support, Conservative amendments pass. Liberal amendments are rejected. No election.
Go for it Jack. But bend over, its spanky time!
(PS. the rest of the Janke post is bullshit.)
Canadian politics tends towards the most boring possible outcome. Still, Hudak is a Mike Harris mini-me that hates human rights. Easily dealt with, therefore.
(hint: to figure out how this will wind up, ask yourself where the Hillier vote will go when he drops off the ballot. It won't be to Ms. Elliot. She's too damn Liberal.)
Saturday, May 30, 2009
"I think [Mr. Hudak's] policy proposal could lead to a one-issue election and I don't want that to be the one and only thing focused on," Mr. Bibicis said.
Common sense is not entirely dead among the Ontario PC leadership candidates.
Note that Ontario does not have a section 13 analogue, although you are not allowed to publish material announcing an intention to discriminate (like signs reading "No blacks need apply" and that kind of thing). Since there is no other one element of the Ontario code that excites Speechys the way a hate speech provision would, PC candidates, if they want to go trolling for the Speechy vote, have to take the more radical approach of a Hillier or a Hudak (ie. abolish the whole thing).
The debate has dragged in Finland’s minister of culture and sport, Stefan Wallin. He recently told the Helsinki newspaper Helsingin Sanomat that the support given to the museum shouldn’t be perceived as approval for Lenin’s totalitarian administration (about 10 million Finns died under Lenin, almost half due to starvation). “This is one of dozens of special museums that the state supports and has done so for a long time,” he said.
The average population of Finland during Lenin's lifetime: about 3,000,000. A point already noted by a reader and not yet corrected. Also worth noting: Lenin spent time in Finland, but never ruled over the nation, and hence, it was never "under" him in any but the physical sense.
Friday, May 29, 2009
IMMEDIATE PERMANENT RESIDENCE STATUS
TO ALL CAREGIVERS
GIVE RESPECT! DIGNITY! INTEGRITY! TO THE
3 COURAGEOUS CAREGIVERS
STOP THE ABUSE
STOP THE EXPLOITATION
EXPOSE AND DISPOSE RUBY DHALLA & FAMILIES'
ABUSE AND EXPLOITATION
TO 3 CAREGIVERS
RESIGN! RUBY DHALLA! RESIGN!
I rather think concentrating on Ruby and the Dhalla family over-personalizes the issue, and will probably hurt their broader efforts in the mid to long term.
In any case, Ms. Gordo (one of the three caregivers who has made accusations against the Dhallas), who wasn't going to be speaking to the media anymore, is speaking to the media.
On banning them:
...my understanding of how Twitter works is that anyone who puts the '#roft' in their message will automatically contribute to the feed. I'm not sure if people can be banned from it.
My understanding of twitter is even less than this guy's, so I don't know if he's correct or not. Anyone want to give it a try?
And then I suppose the next question is: how much subversion can you cram into 140 characters?
Here is an entirely sober, but also very politically incorrect, opinion: a large fraction of this discrepancy between Democrats and Republicans can be explained by the significantly larger fraction of Democrats who are black. There is a strong, persistent, and relatively unabashed level of animosity in the black community toward Jews. (The animosity flows the other way, too.)
I find it telling that, despite discussing cross-tabs on educational attainment and party affiliation, the article never once dares to mention race.
One theory I occasionally entertain is that 9/11 brought about a sea-change in attitudes towards Israel and the Palestinian resistance, and this has had a spillover effect on attitudes towards Jews in general, primarily among the American/Canadian Right.
Before that date it seemed easier to argue that the Palestinians were entitled to their intifada, even when this involved the employment of suicide bombers. Afterwards, after being on the other end of a series of suicide attacks, a larger segment of the U.S. Republicans (and maybe Candian Conservatives?) are likely to have a visceral, negative response to such arguments. Pro-Israel sentiment has therefore generalized to Pro-Jewish sentiment.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Linda Leatherdale, the former veteran Toronto Sun money section maestro, has a new job at Cambria, 'the fastest growing quartz surfaces brand and company in North America.'
Kent Hehr, Liberal MLAA for Calgary-Buffalo:
Mr. Hehr: Thank you very much, Mr. Chair. I bring this amendment.It is again a recommendation by the Sheldon Chumir foundation that returns an element of free speech to our way of life here in Alberta and is, I believe, really the way our society is meant to operate and how we are supposed to best communicate ideas. Ilook to the Sheldon Chumir foundation, who studied this issue long and hard. I, too, agree with their recommendations, and that’s why I bring them forward here. Free speech is a fundamental right in this society that shouldn’t be intertwined very easily with our human rights commissions.
Many of the most virulent criticisms leveled at human rightscommissions over the last few years concern provisions that seek tomake statements of opinion illegal. Some of the high profile caseshave concerned opinions on the part of the Christian right about theevil (in their eyes) of homosexuality and cartoons and articles perceived by some Muslims to be offensive or even, according to their faith, blasphemous. We do not endorse the sometimes offensive views expressed by people and organizations who havecome under attack pursuant to legal provisions such as section 3 ofthe HRCMA. But we do have grave misgivings about the threats to free expression inherent in such provisions. Accordingly, they have offered some revisions, which you see before you in the act. Really, these are sort of changes, but the nuances are clear. This will return the wording of our act to the pre 1996 version
The Deputy Chair: The hon. Minister of Culture and Community Spirit [, Lindsay Blackett].
Mr. Blackett: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Fundamentally the government caucus believes in free speech. We’ve had a long discussion, and [yada yada yada..]
Note that the Stelmach Tories have 72 of the 83 seats in the Alberta Legislature. The fate of amendment A4 was entirely in their hands. Note that the whole process of Bill 44 was an exercise in balancing off the rights (pandering to?) Alberta's Socon and Gay communities. Speechies got sweet FA. Suck on that, Speechies.
Most of the people involved in the whole affair are dead. But not Beattie. He was just 23 in 1965, so he's just 67 today. He lives in Ontario and works as a paralegal. I've read hundreds of pages about his antics, both from the Toronto Star's archives and other sources, including Bialystok's book on the subject. That gave me the media's side of the story and the CJC's side of the story. But it didn't fill in all the blanks.
So I phoned up Beattie the other day and, to my surprise, he spoke with me. I'll write a more substantial piece about that conversation later, probably in a newspaper.
I am not going to bother to "refute" Beattie's story. That would be like engaging with a Nigerian email scammer in the hopes that this one really IS the wife of a rich dictator. If you really want, Mitka applies some of the old disinfectant here. But, really, can Ezra troll any lower? This whole Speechy War has degenerated into a freak-show.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Steven Chu, the Nobel prize-winning physicist appointed by President Obama as Energy Secretary, wants to paint the world white. A global initiative to change the colour of roofs, roads and pavements so that they reflect more sunlight and heat could play a big part in containing global warming, he said yesterday.
From the new city by-law adopted just today:
The purpose of the Eco-Roof program is to provide incentives to commercial, industrial and institutional (ICI) property owners so that Toronto’s building stock becomes more sustainable and better adapted to climate change. The program is intended to complement the proposed Toronto Green Roof Bylaw and the Green Standard (formerly the “Toronto Green Development Standard”) by encouraging owners to take advantage of their roof space. An “eco-roof” would include green roofs that support vegetation and cool roofs that reflect the sun’s thermal energy.
One of the things Mayor David Miller has accomplished that doesn't suck.
May 25, 2009
To the Filipino Community:
No amount of smear campaign or false allegations can erase the hard work, kind support and commitment Dr. Ruby Dhalla has given and continues to give to the Filipino Community in Brampton . Dr. Dhalla is the outspoken advocate for human rights and the rights of women, immigrants, seniors and the youth. In one way or another, Dr. Dhalla has touched the lives of many Brampton Filipinos. If I let what I read in the media affect my way of thinking, then I am prejudging Dr. Dhalla and not giving her a chance. If I let the allegations from the two caregivers and the Toronto Star smear campaign die a natural death, then I have just done our own community a disservice.
I feel that these caregivers are being manipulated, used and abused by people who stand to gain politically and financially. Why should I sit on the sidelines and watch and let this happen? So that other caregivers can do the same, and so that other politically-inclined individuals can also manipulate other caregivers. So that another family can be hurt and damaged? Do you want your daughter, sister, niece, mother, or aunt to be manipulated like these two caregivers? It is time to stand for the truth and tear down the smear campaign against Dr. Dhalla.
I think these two caregivers were promised, or were tricked into believing, that they would get protection regarding their immigration status in return for the allegations that they have presented. They did not think about the extent of damage they are doing to the Dhalla family and other families; they did not even consider the repercussions their actions might have on the caregiver program as a whole. They are selfish individuals and all they wanted was landed immigrant status. There are proper and honest ways of achieving landed immigrant status, and damaging a family is not one of them.
They have allowed themselves to be pushed and manipulated, at the expense of the caregiver community, the Filipino community, and many employer families. They have set a poor example to the caregiver community and to the Filipino community as a whole.
Now, many prospective employers will have second thoughts or be scared of sponsoring caregivers. They have crushed the hopes and dreams of many families in the Philippines and elsewhere. The community has many unanswered questions directed to these two caregivers. With their statement wanting to be left alone and to go back to their normal lives, where does that leave the community?
I acknowledge that abuses in the caregiver program are rampant and have been happening for the longest time with both the Canadian and Philippine governments doing nothing to stop the abuses. I have seen, heard and read about abuses of non-payment of wages, short-payment of wages, long hours, non-caregiver duties, inadequate sleeping quarters, dummy employers, unscrupulous agents, released-upon-arrival caregivers, physical and sexual abuses, and under-the-table jobs. There are many community agencies working towards reform for the caregiver program. Dr. Dhalla is one of the MPs who acknowledge that the program needs to be reformed. Are we just going to throw away the hard work that various community agencies have done towards these reforms? We are making inroads towards these improvements. We need Dr. Dhallaâ€™s support for the good of many.
So let us stand and support Dr. Dhalla and her family in this trying time. If we truly want reforms in the caregiver program, let us not care who gets the glory, let us cast away all political ambitions, let us forget financial gains, and let us stand as a united community in support of the very people who have supported us.
Ms. Juby, in addition to offering her support for Ruby Dhalla via the act of distributing this email, has "withdrawn" from her position at the Caregiver Resource Centre.
(Update: Terry Olayta informs me that Ms. Juby's resignation from the CRC is unconnected with the Dhalla affair.)
Meanwhile, the story continues to perculate in the MSM: Nanny quit, made sham claims, first boss says.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has agreed to meet with representatives of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union in Ottawa on June 2nd - the day thousands of forestry workers will join in a march to Prime Minister Stephen Harper's office.
...rogue immigration consultants who are not authorized to practice, but continue to do so, collect a fee and make their clients sign official documents in lieu of themselves.
...which seems a bit tangential to Dhallagate, so who knows if Ruby's name will come up. But one of the industry reps, Terry C. Olayta, Coordinator of the Caregiver Resource Centre, has already demanded Ruby's resignation, and this seems to be the official position of the CRC. Will he renew the call?
Kadey will be live-blogging the gory details.
Update: The meeting was called off afer an hour when Mr. Olayta and one other witness failed to show. One thing we did learn is that Ruby's nannies never filed a complaint with the CCA (Canadian Live-In Caregivers Association). This goes with a complaint not filed with the Ontario Ministry of Labour.
I suspect this "scandal" will pretty much burn out now.
O! Alberta! But they've paved the streets and they actually spend a fair bit on their educational system. Furthermore, they will be amending the parental rights clause of Bill 44 so it will be more difficult for young Earth creationists (for example) to haul teachers before the Alberta Human Rights Commission:
His changes say that for parents to be notified, the class must be "primarily and explicitly" about religion, human sexuality or sexual orientation.
The word "primarily" is new. It means (or so Blackett hopes) that no child can be taken out of any class just because one of those topics happens to come up.
"This is not meant to get Johnny out of math class because you're upset with the teacher, or get Johnny out of biology class because you don't want the teaching of evolution," the minister says.
The changes, he promises, make it clear that teachers are not prohibited from making "indirect references" to the hot-button subjects.
They will still be free, for instance, to talk about gay rights in a social studies class or religion in a conversation about science.
"We are going to make it clear that our intention is not to interfere with a teacher's ability to have discussions with students," says the minister.
"They should not feel threatened or under duress."
Finally, as if to show how silly all this has become, the act will now refer to classes about "human sexuality" rather than just "sexuality."
Actually, this last bit is not at all silly. Every kid in Alberta wants to know how the dinosaurs did it. Its actually a bit of a mystery. Good to know that Alberta teachers will be able to have at the subject in an unconstrained fashion (lots of hissing and whooping).
PS., there is still the issue of whether a parental rights clause like this should be lodged within the Alberta human rights act in the 1st place, but it looks like that train has left the station; third reading could come within weeks.
And here's one final piece on the implications of the legislation.
Not that there's anything wrong with that. We mustn't attempt to divide Canadians on their choice of caffeinated beverage. But still.
Monday, May 25, 2009
His demands can be found here.
PS. One of them is that Canada "match U.S. tax credits to the industry for the use of alternative fuel". That's the whole "black liquor" thing I've been writing about.
Last week, on behalf of Justice Minister Rob Nicholson, I introduced Bill C-31. This legislation [...] proposes to streamline the identification process in police stations, allowing the fingerprinting and photographing of persons in “lawful” custody who have not yet been charged or convicted of specific offences.
Read that one again. You haven't been charged. Maybe you never are. Yet the police have your prints and mugshot.
The relevant text is here.
PS. This piece from the Niagara Falls Review claims that:
According to the Conservatives, the change would only apply to serious crimes like murder, kidnapping and sexual assault.
Well, specifically, they apply to any "indictable" offence. Not that it makes a difference.
The Bloc will take whatever inducements it is given; the NDP will wear its best shit-eating grin. In the end, and it will be a ways down the road, we will talk about how the Tories were trapped by their own legislation (Bill C-16, the fixed election date legislation), which prevents a government from going into its year 5 death spiral.
But until then, get used to what you see. Because what you see (Stalemate! Caretaker Government!) is what you're gonna get.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
After that, I went north to Nanaimo where I spoke to about a hundred folks up there over lunch.
Nanaimo Daily News:
"In the end, I said: 'You know what, they may be done with me but I'm not done with them,'" Levant said, drawing loud applause from about 60 guests at the Coast Bastion hotel ballroom.
About right. I think I will call it The Levant Conjecture.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Of course, Ms. Dhalla has just sealed her nomination in Brampton-Springdale, so I doubt a resignation is in the cards.
Finally, this story from last week, in which Ruby's brother Neil Dhalla was accused of firing one of his staff when they became pregnant, seems to have dead-ended. There has been no follow-up on CBC or elsewhere that I am aware of, although plenty of fake outrage from Conservative bloggers. If any of the various sub-threads to this story reek of Tory interference, this is the one that reeks most--a frivolous sounding OHRT complaint launched in the midst of the controversy. Who if anyone urged on the complainant?
Canada has threatened trade action against the United States over a massive "black liquor" tax credit to its pulp and paper industry that has distorted global pulp markets.
In a statement Thursday, International Trade Minister Stockwell Day said Canada has joined the European Union, Brazil and Chile in demanding that the credit, estimated to be worth between $4 billion and $8 billion, be withdrawn.
If you remember, this is the "alternative tax credit" buried in the 2005 highway bill that subsidizes American pulp & paper companies for dirtying up their production processes by adding diesel to the lignin sludge their mills produce as a by-product and then recycle as a clean-burning fuel.
Rather disappointing is the fact that yankee enviros have written very little about this issue (other than a few short pieces I remember seeing at Grist). Don't know if its because it has gone under the radar in all the struggles over Waxman-Markey, or whether there's a little bit of protectionism in their mental makeup.
Friday, May 22, 2009
What I learned and loved about Canada, I learned through these people working far from home, their humanitarianism, civility and good intentions. I wanted to give my kids the opportunity to learn the same values as these great Canadians; I wanted them to earn the same respect I felt for the Canadians I met. What at first was an outside perception, today is a Canada that I embrace, a Canada fit for my kids’ best future.
[Preston] Manning would not comment Wednesday about the upcoming Wildrose Alliance leadership contest.
Although he has been touted as a possible leader of the small conservative party, Manning has reportedly turned down the job.
Reconsider, Preston. Please.
Update: But has he strayed too far left?
The fellow through whose hands the letter passed en route to the care givers resource center, Rodel J. Ramos, seems to be known as an advocate for domestic workers within the Filipino community, and occasionally writes for a few local Filpino media outlets (will try to find the links on this). Nothing too damning on the group's message board, although there was a desire to see the issue maintain its media profile after those committee hearings last week, as well as a desire to remain above the Liberal/Tory political mudfight.
Meanwhile, this statement from the lawyer of Magdalene Gordo and Richelyn Tongson, two of Ruby's nannies, has been floating about the net for the past week or so. It looks like Ms. Gordo does have a history of complaining about her employers:
Third, it was most recently alleged by Ms. Dhalla’s lawyer that Ms. Gordo previously made similar allegations of mistreatment with respect to a former employer. Presumably, this allegation is being advanced to make the point that somehow Ms. Gordo is less credible because she had alleged mistreatment previously. It is shocking that this allegation has been made at all without the identity of the accuser being known. Regardless, Ms. Gordo confirms that she did work for the family in question for 1 month following which she complained that she had been forced to work on Christmas, Boxing Day and New Year’s day but had not been adequately remunerated.
Finally, the last paragraph makes it sound like the two nannies will not be taking any legal action against Ms. Dhalla.
Ms. Tongson and Ms. Gordo will not be making any further statements or comments at this time. While they are happy to have had the opportunity to tell their story and for the extra attention it has brought to the plight of caregivers in this country, they wish to return to their regular lives and to concentrate on the families for whom they presently work.
So it is to be trial by TV.
The guy is irony free.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
O! what a sorry bunch.
(But, on the other hand, it gives an insight into who the real target of these ads might be--down-market types.)
Canada's human rights commissions, federal and provincial, for their efforts to censor speech that merely 'offends.' Given enormous powers by the state, even to issue gag orders for life, human rights commissions and tribunals are not bound to give an accused the same rights they'd get in a court of law. The accuser has their case paid for by the state, while the defendant must pay out of pocket, even when the charges are absurd.
A Pertinant Fact:
Prince George, B.C. – A Prince George man has had his human rights complaint against the Treasure Cove Casino, its owner, some employees and the BC Lottery Corporation, dismissed. Glenn Miller has also been ordered to pay $1,000 each to; Mr. John Major, Steve Leach and Treasure Cove Supply Limited.
Because you think you are winning the debate they initiated, and that debate will continue until the ads stop running (not when the chattering classes grow tired of them). So you want your counter-argument in the news as well for as much of that time-frame as possible. At this point I think the Libs would like to keep these various CPoC attacks center-stage as long as they can; the ads provide a nice contrast with what Ignatieff is up to these days.
By the way, aesthetic merits aside, what is the point of a website like Ignatieff.me? Is anyone but the hardest of hardcore poli-junkies going to ever visit it more than once? Unless you're going to run a continual stream of updates, it essentially becomes a one-off gag. And the official party website exists for that kind of thing (updates, not gags).
This isn't just a Conservative fault. It seems parties are continually launching static web-pages that nobody is likely to visit a 2nd time. I don't see the point to it.
Also, Perezhudak is a neat site, where we learn that Randy Hillier got bounced from the Ontario Legislature last week "after calling Liberal cabinet ministers liars". We also learn that Randy is writing for CanadaFreePress. A good sign, then, that his supporters are crazy.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
"Heading to an Ontario Press Council meeting. Should the press council have rules about online commenting on stories?"
Having viewed a wide variety of racist, libelous and downright guttural comments on media articles and, in YouTube's case, videos, host moderation is much needed across the board.Who is accountable for libel, slander and hate messages in the online abyss?
Well, if you're the website for a major newspaper the answer to this last question is "You are!", so I wouldn't be at all surprised if enhanced policing of comments doesn't come into effect within the next year or so, whether the mechanism is a press council or something else. At the very least, a paper's comments section should be swept every couple of hours for libellous material.
Now he's BACK! And he wants to be King!
JESUS CHRIST: WRONG ON TAXES, WRONG FOR THE HOLY LAND
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
The Human Rights commission is not working as intended. It needs to be fixed, not annihilated. People need access to a system that will help them against wrongs without having to enter into our expensive legal system.
But the abuses must stop. Section 13 needs to be repealed. Giving the Commission the right to investigate the views and opinions of the citizens of Ontario threatens the freedom of expression and is counter to the importance of that right in Canadian society. Freedom of expression is a core value of democracy from which all other rights naturally flow. Without that, our democratic system of government itself is at risk.
The message that needs to be sent is clear - the PC Party of Ontario is inclusive, not reactionary, and the Human Rights Commission needs to be refocused on it original mandate.
Either Mr. Klees mistakenly believes he has some ability to change Section 13 of the CHRA,or he is thinking of the interpretive section of the Ontario Code, where 13.1 prohibits you from publishing materials announcing an intention to discriminate: Signs Reading "No Blacks Need Apply", and the like.
Option #1 seems most likely. Klees seems to think there is only one commision, and in any case, the Ontario Commision has recently handed off any investigative duties to the Ontario Tribunal.
That's what you get announcing policy on Facebook.
In any case, they're all Randy Hillier now.
Their report was that he had "from nine to 17 followers." (I've pasted a jpeg of the story at left.)
That's it. That was the menace. And given that there were three other Jewish groups (including the CJC) that had "infiltrated" Beattie's "party" -- and that's not counting any police -- one has to wonder if there were any real members other than Beattie at all.
From May 18th:
...according to the RCMP, Beattie's "Nazis" actually didn't have any membership at all -- just "supporters", maybe 50 of them all told. Now, we know that one of those supporters was Garrity, so that leaves 49. And we know that at least three other Jewish groups has their agents at his events. So we're probably under 40 now. And then, obviously, the RCMP had their agents there. Are we still at 30 "followers" in the entire Toronto region? I'm not even sure if that's true -- for these followers didn't actually follow Beattie to, say, his public rallies.
Up from one person to dozens, in and around Toronto. Not enough to overthrow civilized rule, clearly, but a decent-sized street gang at least, and certainly worth the CJC and police paying some attention to.
But what I really want to know is: where is Ezra digging up this stuff? The notion that he is doing "research" in the TO Star's online archive is not plausible. Ezra don't do research; typically, he recycles bullshit. So where, in this case, is the bullshit coming from?
Well, "the entire tale of the Canadian Jewish Congress and the Canadian Nazi Party" will be related in Marc Lemire's soon to be release magnum opus Silencing Thought: The Human Rights Industry's War on Freedom of Expression. So Lemire is my guess as to the source. It wouldn't be the 1st time for Ezra.
In a competitive market, discrimination is costly to the discriminator. An employer who refuses to hire workers because of race, religion or ethnicity restricts his own choices and imposes a disadvantage on his firm. Meanwhile, his competitors gain by being able to hire from a larger pool. The same logic applies to restaurateurs turning away potential customers, or landlords refusing to lease to people of particular categories. (I'll never forget the experience of owning rental property in the recession of the 1980s; I would have rented to Martians if they had showed up with a damage deposit.)
The argument applies no matter how rampant prejudice and discrimination may be. Those who discriminate impose burdens on themselves and confer advantages on their competitors. Competitive markets don't immediately abolish discriminatory practices, but they tend to erode them, not by trying to enlighten bigoted people, but by making discrimination unprofitable.
I should say to start I have lived in a very non-competitive housing market--Toronto in the late 80s, where a land-lord cord charge you $400 a month for a cot next to the furnace--and at the time ran into a mixed race couple, one very pregnant, who could not find a place that would rent to them. I gave them a few phone numbers to try, and wished them luck.
(If I remember correctly, a "balanced" rental market is about 5% vacant. Toronto's current rate is 2.1%, hasn't been competitive in at least 25 years.)
Now, that's just an anecdote, but Flanagan himself is offering nothing but deductions from sterile economic theory. To assume that 1) people make these kinds of decision rationally, or 2) will not routinely make rational or at least calculated decisions on the basis of values other than economic values (religious values, for example,which might entail a disapproval of Martian sexual practices), or 3) can never become wealthy enough to indulge their prejudices... is naive in the extreme.
More generally, this "if we didn't have human rights laws the market would make human rights problems go away" is the same line of nonsense Ezra peddles. I'm surprised Flanagan didn't try to blame it all on the Canadian Jewish Congress.
This is what is ironically called a "real world" compromise, in which we understand perfectly what techniques would be needed to make a world of vastly greater human dignity, beauty, mutual support and happiness (though, perhaps, a wee bit less ludicrously funny), but the "real world" of politics interferes to make a thorough bureaucratic muddle of it all.
Then quoting the N.Y. Times:
Cap and trade, ... is almost perfectly designed for the buying and selling of political support through the granting of valuable emissions permits to favor specific industries and even specific Congressional districts. That is precisely what is taking place now in the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has used such concessions to patch together a Democratic majority to pass a far-reaching bill to regulate carbon emissions through a cap-and-trade plan.
The upshot is a lot of short term gain spread around to specific people, and a balancing amount of unnecessary extra long term pain spread around to nobody in particular. This is the activation energy of politics.
But then seeing the "why" of it all:
The dominant factor in the present circumstances is the upcoming Copenhagen negotiation. It makes a great deal of difference to all the other countries whether the US shows up having made real substantive cuts, by which the participants will mean, exactly, large symbolic actions that might eventually lead to real substantive cuts.
How much better off will this leave grand gesture us than did the grand gestures of the past, most notably Kyoto?
Oddly, much better, since Damocles' sword has slipped much lower, and since America would not find itself explicitly rejecting international cooperation. Maybe some of these theoretical cuts will eventually exit the "real world" of politics and enter the other (unreal?) world where the actual radiative properties of the atmosphere are changing at an unusually high and climbing rate.
Well, but that isn't the only reason for C&T over a Carbon Tax. For example, as Krugman notes, the former has already been tried once (at least) and been successful: in the case of sulfur dioxide (SO2), which contributes to acid rain. The 2nd reason is more philosophical (although, I suppose, broadly political as well). It is that C&T systems are (and have been sold politically as) more capitalistic than a carbon tax. We live and die by markets: C&T creates a market, and fuses that market to the existing ones. Thus all the virtues of capitalism are unleashed upon our particular social problem (AGW). So, although the effects of C&T vs. a tax are identical, the path to those effects are by a route more congenial to The West's reigning ideology.
Monday, May 18, 2009
...the journalist turned expat turned politician also urged far greater engagement with India and China than at present; [...] an honourable withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2011;
[Q:] How would you stand on Afghanistan?
[A:] Our brave soldiers have sought to secure a safe Afghanistan for the people. But I feel we've done our turn. It's time to end our mission in 2011.
...are from May 13th, I eagerly await His Iggyness' response to Peter Mackay's announcement today that Canada may well stay in Afghanistan beyond its 2011 military mandate.
I just spent Saturday afternoon trying to convince Ms. O'Malley that you would display political courage one day, Iggy. The clock is ticking. Don't let me down: tell 'em no.
Otherwise, not a bad article in South Asian Focus. Iggy's insightful-stuff-to-boilerplate-ratio is fairly high, and his questioners ask him a couple of fairly decent ones re Tamil/Sikh terrorism.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Meanwhile, a few adults within with Ontario Tories are wondering about the wisdom of front-runner Tim Hudak modelling his campaign platform on that of right-wing yahoo Randy Hillier in his call for abolishing the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal:
"I think they're going to look at this and say, 'you're pulling another John Tory move. You picked a hot-button issue that's going to blow up in our faces just as the school thing did,' " [the anonymous Tory insider] said.
For what its worth, you can see Hudak shifting right on this issue over time. In August he was insisting that the Tribunal clear its backlog by ignoring the free speech cases on its plate (I don't have numbers but I imagine they are low to miniscule); now he wants to chuck the whole human rights process over-board and replace it with "a court-based system operating under the rules of evidence" with "specially trained judges".
Put more specifically by Clark Savolain of the Hudak campaign:
To protect the human rights of all Ontarians, he would transition the Ontario Human Rights Commission and the Human Rights Tribunal construct to a court-based system, similar to the existing Domestic Violence and Family Law courts.
Some pretty obvious short-comings to this idea:
Sorry, so do you expect to provide funding or support to legitimate victims of discrimination so they can make claims in civil court? For example, if an employer tells me he will only hire me if I perform sexual favours, right now, I could go to the Human Rights Tribunal and claim gender-based discrimination, and sexual harassment. Are you going to provide the legal support so I can file a similar claim or do you expect all claimants to hire their own lawyers at a rate of $300 or so an hour? Isn’t an open system where claimants can go as individuals provide much more access to justice?
I consider myself a Conservative and a supporter of Tim. Up until the past two years, I never paid much attention to the Human Rights Tribunal or Commission, or really even the Code because it never affected me. That was before my husband was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder 2 at the age of 44.
We believe the employer, the Union and the arbitrator violated my husband’s human rights. We have now filed an application with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. Tim has spoken publicly about assisting the middle-class family. We are it! We cannot afford a lawyer that costs $350/hour nor are we eligible for legal support. Where can we be heard if not the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario? What does Tim suggest we do?
Don't know if Kinsella will be operating the McGuinty war-room next time around, but I suspect he's chuckling away somewhere in some dark cave even now. Who cares whether or not the next Tory leader is Randy Hillier, as long as that leader embraces the Hillier agenda?
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Later, I spent a very enjoyable and informative couple of hours drinking alcohol with Macleans Magazine's blogging superstar Kady O'Malley. It will probably take a week to process all the political info I picked up during that time.
As an aside, Ms. O'Malley is ultra-cool, immensely charming, but really, really tiny. Thankfully, I didn't try to hit on her or wear a lampshade or anything stupid like that.
Later today I will be meeting with several Ottawa power-players and discussing the state of the revolution. Regular readers shall await instructions as to when and in what manner to rise up. Keep your Birkenstocks and lattes at your side, brothers and sisters, for soon we march!
Friday, May 15, 2009
Yet there they remain on the Maclean's website.
So let me say it one more time: Mark, you made a mistake. You laundered a boatload of crap passed off as "research" by white supremacists and reproduced it in Canada's national news-magazine.
Admit it and have Kenneth Whyte take down that post.
Eighteen-year-old artist, Michael Wurstlin agreed to create the final artwork for Trivial Pursuit in exchange for his five shares.
And suddenly I am reminded of something I read just yesterday:
"When you're down in the polls, when you're presiding over the worst collapse in employment in recent memory, when you've got record bankruptcies everywhere you look, the thing you're going to do if you're in government and responsible for this mess is change the channel and that's what they're trying to do," Ignatieff said in Toronto last night.
"Is that serious government? Is that serious politics? That's the kind of government we've got."
The Tories and Mr. Würstlin seem made for one another.
Galactus is a regular petition whore.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
11.1(1) A board as defined in the School Act shall provide notice to a parent or guardian of a student where courses of study, educational programs or instructional materials, or instruction or exercises, prescribed under that Act include subject-matter that deals explicitly with religion, sexuality or sexual orientation.
[Teachers] had a problem with the wording . . . when it talks about instruction and instructional materials. Some teachers take that to mean any instruction," said Blackett.
"We're looking at how to clarify that."
Not quite sure what is meant here, but my guess would be the teachers are concerned that parents might be able to request an opt-out where, for example, a biology text containing a chapter on Darwin was being used even though the class in question did not concern that chapter.
Meanwhile, Rob Breakenridge laments. He's quite right that AHRC opponents like Bishop Henry have sold their souls over this bill (which the Bishop supports with caveats), but this part is baloney:
Just when it seemed that public demand and political will would finally result in a reining in of the province's much-maligned human rights regime, the Alberta government has fashioned a resurrection of almost Biblical proportions.
Public demand? Or the demands of a few hundred journalists, fringe righties, and blogosphere scribblers?
You know, one thing politicians know how to do better than anyone is count votes. The Stelmach government looked around and realized that the over-haul of their Human Rights Act would involve balancing the demands of the Gay and SoCon communities. If Speechies got stiffed (and they did), that's because the Stelmach government realized there weren't enough of them to be worth the fuss.
(And of course the Aryan Guard marched this year with renewed strength. That helped change a few minds in caucus, I am sure.)
His response thus far seems pitch-perfect:
"On a day when we've got record bankruptcies, (when) we've got unemployment skyrocketing, all this government can think of doing is running attack ads on me," he said. "This is the old style of politics. We are in the middle of a serious economic crisis. This government needs to grow up and do its job properly."
Spoken more in sorrow than anger, obviously.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Our ever stupid CPoC, not having learned the first time around, is using a remailer that lets you send emails from the new site, alerting people to the new site. A few hints:
a) "Your Email" can be anything. It doesn't have to really exist. That's also the line that seems to have the most characters available to you if you want to compose and send a subversive counter-message.
b) The "To" line gives you about 15 characters.
c) The "From" line seems to have more characters available than the "To" line.
d) The text of the email you send will be boiler-plate:
Your friend stockwell day thinks Michael Ignatieff is just visiting. Michael Ignatieff has made his choice: after over 30 years away he has come back to Canada, but only if he can be Prime Minister. In short, he’s just visiting.To find out more visit http://www.ignatieff.me/. It's not about stockwell day. It's just about him.
Unfortunately, there doesn't seem much you can do about to change this text, but your subversive message WILL appear in the header info of any email you send from the site.
So use your imagination and send "the gift of Iggy" to all the reporters on your contact list. Make the story of the new website and new ad campaign be that they are idiotic.
Not much excitement from the usual Speechy gang. I guess they are starting to smell the bullshit. If a Tory majority in Alberta won't move, what hope is there in Ontario? (Answer: none. This is a transparent attempt to out-flank Randy Hillier in time for the PCPO convention.)
And to the folks at the G&M, I can write a column people will actually read to the end for half whatever Christie charges you. Give me an email and I will send you my CV.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Ms. Valesco was at a meeting in Toronto on April 25 when one of the caregivers, Magdalene Gordo, told Ontario provincial cabinet ministers Peter Fonseca and Kathleen Wynne about her alleged travails at the hands of the Dhallas.
She was also at a roundtable the following day, April 26, with Mr. Kenney.
'It was supposed to be a meeting to discuss the live-in caregiver program in general with the nannies and some of the advocates from my community,' said Ms. Valesco.
None of the caregivers who have complained about Ms. Dhalla participated, nor was Mr. Kenney told about their situation, she said.
'We were not able to talk about it because there were so many people around the table so there was not a lot of time,' said Ms. Valesco. 'It was really in our agenda to talk about it, but unfortunately there were so many people, we were told that we were only allocated about five minutes.'"
Here's a picture of Ms. Valesco at the meeting in question. She's the one in the scarf next to Jason Kenney: And here's an account of her presentation at that meeting:
Pura Velasco, organizer of Caregiver Support Services, and a former caregiver herself who has been advocating for two decades for the rights of caregiveres, emphasized to Minister Kenney that the live-in requirement without status is the “heart of the problem” of the program. “Even if the provincial government tries its best to implement the employment standards, without status in a live-in condition, the confidence of the caregivers to assert their right to basic employment standards is diminished,” she said.
Velasco added that in her written submission to the Minister, she had indicated that she and caregivers would like to work with Minister Kenney and his staff closely, just like what they are doing now with the provincial government. “We have lots of creative ideas in resolving the issues of the caregiver program,” she said, but which would be difficult to thoroughly discuss in a dialogue setting. To this suggestion, the Minister informed the group of the presence of a staff in his Ministry who could also help.
Julius Tiangson informed the Minister of the settlement issues affecting live-in-caregivers and other temporary foreign workers and other newscomers are about economic integration. He spoke of their already limited economic options becoming even narrower through the years, especially when families join them. For this reason, he informed the minister, his agency, as a settlement provider organization, has already submitted proposals based on a number of calls for proposals by Kenney’s department. “ He then requested the Minister to look into a copy of the full proposal which he turned over to Kenney at the meeting.
At this point, Kenney responded to Velasco’s recommendations. Following the series in the Toronto Star, he said he had discussions with the provincial minister and that they had agreed that the Ontario government and federal government will collaborate more closely on issues relating to the live-in-caregivers program. He also said they will consider the Manitoba law with respect to the recruitment agencies.
...which sounds perhaps more extensive than a mere five minute encounter.
Now, one shouldn't got too far with this. Clearly the nannies in question had concerns, and had expressed these concerns to various people, prior to April 2009. On the other hand, Kenney and co. were very swift to milk the issue when it first hit the papers. Did Ms. Valesco really say nothing to Minister Kenney, and was there no contact between the minister and the nannies previous to the story breaking? Note Kenney's slightly weaselly responses to questions as to when and if he had met the nannnies here.
And, on the other other hand, we are three weeks into this "scandal", and no complaints (as far as I know) have been filed by the nannies with the Ontario Ministry of Labor. This whole thing is being decided in the newspapers. If the charges against Ms. Dhalla are to be considered credible, then something more serious than the making of allegations has got to happen.
It seems there now 11% of the stations is considered “good” or “best”, and an additional 20% is considered “fair”. The question that now arises is: When you only take temperatures measured by these stations, how would the average temp graph of the twentieth century look? Does it differ, and how much? Is a warming trend still visible?
Damn good question. And one that you would think Anthony would attempt to answer in the report itself. So why not? Why wait? Because Anthony already knows the answer, and he doesn't like it.
Mr. Blackett: Well, Mr. Speaker, I know one thing: I don’t pretend to speak for the Premier[...]if you have a question about what the Premier said, I suggest that you ask the Premier that question.
Mr. Mason: Well, I keep trying, Mr. Speaker.The minister knows that those things are subject to interpretation.It is the interpretation of what is religion that is at stake here.
As an aside, if you are wondering what interpretation of Bill 44 turns a biology class into something that deals explicitly with religion, here's Bishop Henry, who thinks it does not go far enough:
...all education is faith-based to some extent. It's time to ask why the opinions of the majority of the citizens in Alberta are being ignored, i. e., "why should the faith of the atheist and agnostic be the only and the governing paradigm in public education?"
...which is to say, there is no Truth, only faiths. And apparently the agnostic and atheist faith rules in Alberta. Who knew?
h/t Mr Smith.
"We're saying it's no longer science fiction. It's a reality. "It's also not long before high-density projects without plug-in capability will be obsolete. It will be like buying a TV today without high definition. We think for the purchasers, this project will give them a longer market advantage."
Vancouver Electric Vehicle Association president Gerry Martselos also praised Concord. "EV charging is fast becoming a checklist item for future home buyers, as the majority of EV charging will be done overnight at home," he said in a statement.
Here's the building's website.
Sounds expensive (rigging out your parking spot for recharging costs about $5,000), but still, Vancouver has been been doing a lot along these lines. Probably Canada's greenest city at the moment (love those rooftop gardens on the condo buildings).
Monday, May 11, 2009
1) Begin diplomatic pressure on Sri Lankan government and the United Nations to call an immediate and permanent ceasefire to halt this ongoing medical humanitarian tragedy;
2) Demand the immediate supply of food, water and medicine to people in 'no-fire zone' and internment camps by NGOs;
3) Begin dialogues with both sides to ensure the safety of the 130,000 civilians trapped in the conflict zone;
4) Cease all direct monetary aid to the Sri Lankan government and divert through NGOs to ensure delivery of necessary humanitarian assistance
to the affected; and
5) Use legal expertise to initiate the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) and other means to secure Tamils from the FAILED-STATE, Sri Lanka."
And I am glad, frankly, that Mr. Ignatieff's office seems to have gotten beyond the fact that some of the protesters may be waving inappropriate flags. I find myself unmoved knowing that the guys who did this ...sported emblems approved of by the international community.
When the Coalition decided to try to oust Harper, some of my old friends approached me and asked for help. They convinced me that the prospect of a leftwing coalition government was worse than keeping Harper.
However, once the CPC saw that I was willing to support them in the fight against the coalition, I started to get emails from a gmail address and the person claimed to be a party operative who needed to use gmail because they didn't want our email exchanges to fall under Access to Information.
The first email was complaining about two liberal trolls who were monopolizing the board at the time. He asked for them to be banned, and he suggested that the CPC would help us with our legal troubles if I helped them.
I didn't have a problem with the banning request because they were obviously not conservatives, and they were obviously using FD to promote their own socialist agendas. I explained to the guy in no uncertain terms that FD would never ban conservatives who were speaking out against the CPC.
The next email targeted a few more left-leaning people, only this time he didn't just ask for them to be banned. He wanted me to provide him with their IP addresses because he said that they could make arrangements to get them kicked off the internet.
It ended there.
Even though FD wasn't saving IP addresses anymore, I felt physically ill for days to think that the party that I supported would ask me to do something so immoral. I felt like I was a victim of Stockholm Syndrome and I had almost been sucked in to helping the very people who are holding us hostage.
Interesting if true. It has become evident that much of the "grassroots" response to the NDP/Lib./Bloc coalition was organized from within the CPoC itself, and this would merely be further evidence. I'm not sure how one kicks someone off the Internet (unless they had written something seditious), but perhaps that is not exactly what the original writer meant to imply.
Any of my regulars remember who the "liberal trolls" in question were?
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Another Tory bill to reform the Senate introduced into a Liberal dominated Senate. Given the latest gun registry stuff, this appears to be the Tories modus operandi when they want to introduce legislation they know is doomed to failure. The lack of cheering you hear from the right side of the blogosphere is the sound of people (Tory hardcores esp.) catching on.
And as for the last bit:
This time, Tories are confident their Senate reform bills will pass because the "institutional resistance" they have faced from Senate Liberals will be replaced next year by an appointed Conservative majority.
Well, its false. The Libs lose their majority next year. The Tories don't get one for another couple of years (2011, I think), so Senate Reform is a non-starter for quite awhile yet.
Wonder if this is a matter of the MSM just getting it wrong or Tory sources feeding them crap in the hopes that their political base is similarly fooled when they read it in the paper.
In any case, my guess would be that, come 2011 or whenever and a Tory Senate majority, Harper and Co. find a reason to support the status quo. They've swallowed their principles often enough to assume it will happen again.
Christie will be forced to pay a $2,500 fine and $20,000 in costs to the Society. However, the original payment date of January 2010 has been extended to April 2011.
The original decision can be found here; Mr. Christie's misconduct apparently involved the preparation and delivery of documents. Interesting in that, while Mr. Christie believes in free speech, he doesn't work for free. And while I don't think he is involved in any of the cases I usually write about (other than the recent Kinsella thing), this may well throw a bit of a spanner in the ones he has been working. It isn't cheap to fly in and out of Victoria.
PS. Scooped you again, lads.
H/T to H.
Saturday, May 09, 2009
I got stuck in this on my morning run. Luckily, I was able to hop a bus and caught nothing but a soaking. "Toonie-Sized" is about right. Made a heck of a noise on the bus roof.
One thing I like about T.O. and Eastern Canada in general is you get real, window rattling thunderstorms. Out West it just drizzles for weeks at a time.