My wife and I had a rare opportunity to escape our children for night out. It did not start well.
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 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.
Two stories caught my attention recently and got me thinking about the effectiveness of the Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC), the body in charge of regulating lawyers. As will be clear from other posts, I have a fairly low regard for the LSUC, but I think these two stories give a good illustration as to why.
Jeffrey Goldberg has a great piece in the Atlantic today about the coverage of, and the response to, the Gaza war. Why is it, he asks, that the war in Gaza is covered in exquisite detail by news agencies around the world while a far bloodier war, right next door to Israel in Syria, rages on.
“I was struck, over the weekend, by the lack of coverage of the Syrian civil war, in which the death count recently passed 170,000. By Sunday night, it had become clear that the weekend in toll in Syria would stand at roughly 700 dead—a larger number, obviously, than the weekend toll in Gaza (and more than the total number of deaths in this latest iteration of the Gaza war to date.) I tweeted the following in response to this news out of Syria: “I sincerely hope the @nytimes covers the slaughter in Syria – 700 dead in 48 hours – in tomorrow’s paper. Very important story as well.”
This was my sincere hope, and it was to my sincere surprise that Monday’s newspaper contained no information whatsoever about the weekend slaughter in Syria.”
Ouch, the Gray Lady had that coming.
So the Israelis and the Palestinians are at it again. Here it is, a nice sunny summer, and they’ve got nothing better to do than try (none too successfully, in the case of the Palestinians) to kill one another. Somethings never change. Another thing that never changes is the chorus of critics of Israel lamenting it “disproportionate” attacks on Palestinians. Anytime Israel goes to war with its neighbours, it’s accused of inflicting “disproportionate” casualties on their civilian populations or, and it amounts to the same thing, of a “disproportionate” response, most notably by the British Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg. Continue reading “A Question for Israel’s Critics – What Number of Dead Palestinians is Proportionate?”
The Globe and Mail has a story about noted serial killer, rapist, and general piece-o-shit, Paul Bernardo and his apparent bride-to-be. Wait, bride? WTF?
According to the Globe, this young woman has fallen in love with Paul Bernardo and plans to marry him. According to the story:
The parents said their university-educated daughter “had a number of bad relationships that undermined her self-esteem despite her brilliance. She is looking for someone who will love her unconditionally.”
According to her parents, the woman is convinced of his innocence and asked her pastor about forgiveness.
Sweetheart, if you want unconditional love, you buy a puppy. At worst, he’ll piddle on you carpets. Heck, if you want to live dangerously, buy a pit bull puppy. You don’t marry a convicted serial killer.
The sick thing is, this isn’t uncommon. Apparently, Bernardo has received letters for years from various smitten young woman, and the phenomenon of inmates attracting the affections of (persumably) desperate woman is well know. I swear to god, I’ll never understand woman.
Finally, what does it say about the straight men in the London area that this (evidently disturbed) young woman would rather take her chances with a murderous psychopath than with them. Time to up your game, boys.
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”
Sheema Khan had an interesting article in the Globe today, on the need for Islam to reform to reflect the 21st century in light of the recent incident in Sudan where a young pregnant woman, Meriam Yahya Ibrahim, was sentenced to death for the crime of apostasy, allegedly for abandoning her Islamic faith to become a Christian. Ms. Ibrahim has since been released, no doubt due to the massive international backlash her sentence triggered. In her piece, Ms. Khan tries to make the case that sentencing Mr. Ibrahim to death for apostacy is not in accordance with “true” Islam, and only by returning to the true roots of Islam can Muslims advance into the 21st century. In doing so, however, she (unintentionally, no doubt) makes a damning critique both of modern Islam and modern Muslims. Continue reading “The Trouble with Islam? Or the Trouble with Muslims?”