The following is an open letter I sent earlier today to the Benchers of the Law Society of Upper Canada (the “LSUC”) with respect to its Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Initiative. The letter more or less speaks for itself. If you agree, I would encourage you to contact the Benchers to share your concerns.
I was struck by a story in this morning’s Star about a recent article published the Third World Quarterly, a scholarly journal devoted to… well… the study of the third world. The offending article, by Bruce Gilley, a Portland State Political Scientist, is titled “The Case for Colonialism” and makes the arguments, among others, that Western Colonialism was “both objectively beneficial and subjectively legitimate in most of the places where it was found”. Furthermore, he criticizes the long-line of anti-colonial scholarship which, in his view, provides a distorted and politically motivated assessment of the merits (or lack thereof) of colonialism. Now his main point about the merits of colonialism is contestable, and I’m not sure I would subscribe to that thesis on balance, though I can’t contest his claim that colonialism had benefits as well as costs. His secondary point, that anti-colonial scholarship is distorted and politically motivated… well… read on.
To read the reaction, you’d think he’d fed a puppy into a tree shredder live on the internet. It’s worth reading Gilley’s piece before considering the response, if only to fully understand how unbalanced it is.
My wife and I had a rare opportunity to escape our children for night out. It did not start well.
One of the impressive accomplishment of the once-mighty Ontario Conservative Party over the past decade has been their knack for losing eminently winnable provincial elections against a wasteful, corrupt and incompetent Ontario Liberal government. With that in mind, the fact that recent polls show the Tories with a healthy (but not enormous) lead doesn’t exactly instill great confidence (particularly given how disastrous the last 14 years of Liberal rule has been for the province).
This post is the first in a series outlining how the Tories can win the next provincial election. Today: Highlighting the abject failure of Liberal education policy.
It’s been a while, but I’m blogging again about Canadian politics, law and world affairs from a distinctly Canadian, conservative, perspective.
“Why the new blog name?” you might ask. One of the frustrating things about being a conservative, particularly a Canadian conservative, is that you’re surrounded by idiots. Sure, there are Liberals and NDPers and a whole collection of lefties who frustrate the hell out of you, but they’re really the least of my problems. It’s the goddamned stupid conservatives (at least, self-described as such) who drive me up the fucking wall. No better way to undermine really good ideas, than to have them advanced by unthinking fools.
To be a thinking conservative in this day and age marks you out as something of a lone wolf, unwelcome among the unthinking sheep on the left – because you’re likely to savage them – but not part of the pack of followers on the right, who turn off their brains and follow the leader (was there every a more pathetic display of this tendency than the disgraceful sight of moderate Republicans voting for Donald Trump?). So that’s me, the Canadian Lone Wolf.
A few weeks ago I had a rant about an utterly attrocious story in the Toronto Star reporting wholly uncritically upon a Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives study which purported to show (but, in fact didn’t) that low-wage employment had increased in Ontario. I had thought it was something of a low point for critical journalism, until I read Mark Sarner’s op-ed piece on ending poverty in Saturday’s Star. Good Lord, if this is the public face of progressive policy, progressives are doomed.
The gist of Mark Sarner’s piece is that we can end poverty with a guaranteed annual income for all. OK, that’s a fair a point, but he goes disastrously off track from there. He proceeds to make the unsupported claim that it would only cost $16 billion to implement such a proposal – less, he claims, than Canadian governments currently spend on social assistance and EI:
The assumption is that we can’t afford to. Are we sure? What would it cost exactly? Answer: about $16 billion a year in today’s dollars. Big money. Yet nowhere near as much as it is costing us now to keep it going.
In total, governments spent $13 billion in welfare payments in 2009, the last year for which numbers are available. Say $15 billion in today’s dollars. Those on EI who are classified as poor account for another $3 billion a year or so. Now add the costs of administration — about $4 billion. All to keep the wheels of the system turning. And turn they do, without end, and without ending poverty.
In other words, we could reduce the societal cost of poverty by $6 billion per year by replacing the existing anti-poverty programs with a guaranteed annual income for all
I know I shouldn’t read the Star. Especially not when it’s reporting on the latest report from the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives (the “CCPA”). Not because I don’t agree with them (it’s no fun reading people you agree with), but because the degree of stupidity and ignorance which oozes from their writing is just traumatizing to the brain of a thinking person.
Consider this story from today’s Star about the CCPA’s latest report about the ‘eye-popping’ shift to “low-wage” work:
The research compiled by the left-leaning think tank shows that the share of Ontario workers labouring for the minimum wage is now five times higher than in 1997. It rose from less than 3 per cent of all employees to about 12 per cent in 2014.
The share of low-paid work has also ballooned: almost a third of all employees in the province are now making within $4 of the minimum wage, compared with less than 20 per cent of the workforce in 1997.
Oooh, that sounds bad, the number of people working for minimum wage has increased 5-fold, surely this is the end of capitalism.
I’ll provide a longer post when I have time, but I figured I’d give an update on the ongoing legal battles between Trinity Western University, an evangelical Christian university located in BC, and certain of Canada’s law societies, including those in BC, Ontario and Nova Scotia.
As I’ve written about ad nauseum before, here, here, and here ,the law societies of Nova Scotia, BC and Ontario have refused to accredit TWU over its covenant of community (i.e., Christian) values which refuses to recognize same-sex marriage. As I’ve noted previously, the arguments put forward by opponents of TWU have generally been high on rhetoric but light on legal analysis (i.e., wrong). Apparently, Justice Campbell of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court agrees, because he concluded, in a judgement released earlier today, that the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society’s refusal to accredit TWU was illegal on the bassis that the decision (i) was unfounded in any legal authority of the NSBS and (ii) violated the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It’s a long decision (though a pretty well-written one), but for casual readers the first 10-20 pages or so have a nice pithy summary of Justice Campbell’s reasons.
This was an obvious decision which anyone with even a passing familiarity with the NSBS’s statutory authority and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (and the jurisprudence around TWU thereunder) would have seen coming. Apparently this group excludes a majority of the benchers of the law societies of Ontario, BC and Nova Scotia, and a majority of the members of the BC bar who voted not to accredit TWU. This is a sad commentary on either the intellect or integrity of the legal profession in Canada.
So, a Missouri grand jury decided not to indict officer Darren Wilson for shooting Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, last summer. I confess that I hadn’t been closely following the circumstances of the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson Missouri over the summer. Sure, I read a few articles about the incident and subsequent protests in the August, but I hadn’t been paying close attention. But, with the release of the evidence presented to the grand jury, I thought it would be interesting to see what the basis of the grand jury’s decision was (as an aside, the evidence is fascinating, and from what I’ve read so far, provides a far more nuanced and subtle portrayal of the incident then has been broadly reported). There’s a lot of evidence, which I’m still sifting through, but what really strikes me, so far, is how different the evidence is from the impression one would have formed from intermittently following media accounts (as I had done). Consider two examples.
I was floored by this piece on slaw.ca this morning by Amnesty International Canada’s Alex Neve criticizing Canada’s alleged unwillingness to condemn Israeli human rights abuses during this summer’s Gaza war. You can make of it what you like, but what struck me was how it so perfectly demonstrates Amnesty International’s intellectual bankruptcy and moral obliviousness. It also demonstrates, no doubt unintentionally, the almost obsessive fixation that many human rights activists have with Israel.