The Problem with PC – Edmonton Bans Aboriginal Writers for Purest of PC reasons

Interesting story out of Edmonton illustrating the dangers of censorship and the Law of Unintended Consequences.   Apparently, the Edmonton Public School Board prepared a “books to weed out” list relating to books and stories about First Nations.  Well, no surprise there, school boards have been banning books since time immemorial.

Mind you, David Alexander Robinson, an award-winning Aboriginal writer, was somewhat taken aback to find his books – dealing with, amongst other things, residential schools – on the list.   No doubt it would come as a surprise to a number of the other award winning Aboriginal writers on the list  Hmm, isn’t giving exposure to Aboriginal voices the sort of thing that school boards are supposed be in favour of?

Continue reading “The Problem with PC – Edmonton Bans Aboriginal Writers for Purest of PC reasons”

You can’t make people pay taxes in your Province – You need to persuade them

I’m forever struck by the stupidity and irrationality of politicians.  Consider today’s example, François Legault, leader of Québec’s Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ), commenting on the decision of Canadian tennis star Eugénie Bouchard to become a resident of the Bahamas:

 “I think we should live where we were born, where we learned to play tennis and pay taxes in our country.”

Continue reading “You can’t make people pay taxes in your Province – You need to persuade them”

Ontario’s Liberals Failed Our Children

The most shameful aspect of Ontario’s former Liberal government was its abject mismanagement of Ontario’s public education system, reflected in the steady, significant and shocking (though, perhaps, not surprising, in light of the content of their policies) decline in math education in this province.

This decline is evidenced, most recently, by the release of grade 6 math test scores showing that only 49% of grade six students are meeting provincial standards. We have an education system which fails to impart key skills to just over half its students. Shocking on it’s own, but all the more so since, as recently as a decade ago, that number was 63%. Similar declines show up in grade 3 math testing and in international PISA test scores. The Liberals took an education system that was not particularly good at teaching math in the first place (that only 63% of grade 6 students made the grade in 2008-09 was scandalous enough) and made it much, much, worse.

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How the Ontario Conservatives Can Win the Next Election – Education

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.

Continue reading “How the Ontario Conservatives Can Win the Next Election – Education”

Good Lord, It’s depressing to read the Star these days – more pathetic progressive policy pieces

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

Continue reading “Good Lord, It’s depressing to read the Star these days – more pathetic progressive policy pieces”

This is Why No One Takes the Toronto Star and the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives Seriously

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.

Continue reading “This is Why No One Takes the Toronto Star and the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives Seriously”

No, damnit, Non-Residents Canadians shouldn’t get to vote in Canadian Elections

I read this piece in the Globe by Semra Sevi this morning making the case for why Canadian citizens who reside outside of Canada for more than 5-years should be entitled to vote in Federal elections.  This is response to the federal government’s appeal of a recent Ontario Superior Court decision in Frank et al. v. AG Canada striking down provisions of the Elections Act which precluded Canadian citizens living outside of Canada for more than 5-years from voting in federal elections.  Both the policy and legal arguments for allowing such citizens to vote are misplaced and ignore the local nature of Canadian democracy.  Continue reading “No, damnit, Non-Residents Canadians shouldn’t get to vote in Canadian Elections”

Why are Egypt’s Crimes Stephen Harper’s Fault?

This morning we learned that an Egyptian court – a kangaroo court, if ever there was one – after what can only be characterized as a farce of a trial, had convicted  Mohammed Fahmy, an Egyptian-Canadian Al-Jazeera reporter, on “terrorism-related” charges and sentenced him to 7 years in prison.  That the conviction was preordained is undeniable.   This can probably be taken for granted anywhere in the Arab world, but even by the low standards of the region, this trial was a joke.   Apparently, Egypt defines “terrorism” as saying unflattering, if accurate, things about its shit-hole government (that the current shit-hole government isn’t much worse (or better) than its predecessor shit-hole government, is really neither here nor there).  Still, Mr. Fahmy’s conviction  in itself, isn’t all that interesting – after all, did anyone really expect a fair trial? 

What’s more interesting has been the response of some of Mr. Fahmy’s family and supporters, who have been harshly critical of Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Mr. Fahmy’s brother’s, Sherif, tweeted Stephen Harper:

I hold you responsible for leaving my brother to rotten in Egyptian prison. Was a call or a public statement that difficult?

Or Tony Burman, columnist for the Toronto Star who said:

The absence of the highest level of intervention, on behalf of the Canadian government has been lamentable. But, there is a chance for reversal…It’s now time for Canada’s prime minister to indicate to Egypt that enough is enough.

More in this vein can be seen here.

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Trinity Western University and Duck Dynasty – Why can’t we get along?

Brandon Ambrosino over at Time has a nice little piece on the Duck Dynasty/Homophobia fiasco that, I think, offers a lot of insight on the recent spat in Canada around the proposed Trinity Western University (TWU) Law School (see my earlier post).  I’d encourage you to read it.

Continue reading “Trinity Western University and Duck Dynasty – Why can’t we get along?”

Religion and Bigotry – Opponents of Trinity Western Law School Say More About Themselves Than They Think

There a minor kerfuffle in the legal community this week over news that Trinity Western University (TWU), a private Christian university based in BC, had cleared the initial hurdles to potentially establish a new law school.  What has been particularly controversial about TWU’s application is the community covenant that TWU requires its students (and staff) sign which includes an agreement not to engage in “sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman” (read gay sex).  TWU’s application to establish a law school has been opposed by many of the powers-that-be in the legal community (including the redoubtable Clayton Ruby and the Council of Canadian Law Deans) on the grounds that, among other things, it would be a breeding ground for bigotry.

The Council of Canadian Law Deans has called Trinity Western’s proposal “fundamentally at odds with the core values of all Canadian law schools.” And in a statement from a coalition of LGBT affinity groups at Canadian law schools, University of Toronto student Marcus McCann called the decision “totally unacceptable.”

“The bottom line is that no law school in Canada should be allowed to weed out gay students,” he said.

Continue reading “Religion and Bigotry – Opponents of Trinity Western Law School Say More About Themselves Than They Think”