The DAILY DIGEST: INFORMATION and OPINION from ST. JOHN'S to VICTORIA.
ST.JOHN'S TELEGRAM - Are we there yet?
HALIFAX CHRONICLE HERALD - Preserving McNabs Island
MONTREAL GAZETTE - Stalking victims deserve to be safe
TORONTO STAR - Benefit rules cheat Ontario's jobless
SASKATOON STARPHOENIX -
CALGARY HERALD - The Nature of Suzuki
VANCOUVER PROVINCE - Do-gooders must control own bullying behaviour
We don't `get' native despair
Conditions that led to the deaths of two little girls will persist until mainstream society acts
`Wimpy' Investment Canada needs new mandate
Death of a mill town
Legacy of the Canadian lumberjack comes crashing down after U.S. subprime mortgage collapse
Economic realities will pull us down
Pension experts weigh in on reader questions
How will an economic recession south of the border impact on key areas like retail, finance and manufacturing?
Putting Canadian produce back into the food chain
'Two-tiered' alliance would destroy NATO: Gates
US warning on Nato's Afghan role
The European public needs convincing that Nato's mission in Afghanistan is part of a wider fight against global terror, the US defence secretary says.
Europeans see what America cannot
U.S. tries to end rift with Germany over Afghan operation
Gates stresses not sending more troops won't hurt country's bilateral relations
Germany considers troop reinforcements
Canadians should decide on Afghan mission
MacKay: We're doing good in Afghanistan
Ashdown blames Afghan politics for UN envoy veto
Unworkable constitution has created Afghan turmoil
The Australian (02/09/2008)
Norway closes embassy in Afghan capital after terror threats
The Associated Press (02/09/2008)
Thousands protest in Afghan capital for banned pyramid scheme
US says global Islamic extremism would thrive on Afghan failure
Helmand's Opium Habit Here to Stay
HEALTH CARE RELATED
Poor nutrition dooms children and their countries
Out of the mouths of babes
N.S. Justice Minister: Name youth offenders
Teskey case tested legal system's core
Second trial was necessary in order to uphold the due process we believe in
The perfect murder: Get drunk, don't drive
POLITICS IN THE PROVINCES
N.S. Tories reject senate elections
Premium trouble for Tories
An unwelcome election bombshell for Premier Ed: Auto insurance will jump $200 per vehicle
Sometimes, it's not what is said but where it is said
Ontario's new attorney general, Chris Bentley, wants to make changes to ease frustration in the province's justice system
Is Harper trying to force a spring election?
Dion backs away from election on Afghan mission
Development without security 'pure folly,' MacKay says in jab at Liberals
An election call over Afghanistan? Bring it on
Election needs rejection
There are reasons why both Conservatives and Liberals and should avoid a spring vote
Could Canada's Conservative Government Fall Over Afghanistan?
VIDEOS FOUND AT _ http://www.ctv.ca/politics
CTV's Question Period: Peter Mackay, minister of defence, on his call to NATO
CTV;s Question Period: Liberal Leader Stephane Dion on the looming election
CTV's Question Period: MPs from the three major parties debate timing of a possible election
CTV's Question Period: Nik Nanos of Nanos Research
CTV's Question Period: Journalists debate who stands to benefit from an election
Biofuel crops may worsen global warming: study
- Cash payoffs pitched as way to help preserve trees
- Harper pushes forestry aid plan in Sask. city
- Virgin Atlantic to fly 747 using biofuel
- Scientists study how to turn plant waste into biofuels
- Prairie grass can produce ethanol, study finds
- New energy uses found for sun-drenched asphalt
- Nature Conservancy
- Canadian Renewable Fuels Assoc.
OPINION AND INFORMATION
Teaching kids the consequences of their actions
A grieving mother urges police, parents and lawmakers to take speeding seriously
The U.S. lost Vietnam, but capitalism won
Winds of change pushing U.S. voters
Finding the right words
Definitions for the global warming fanatics who can't tolerate disagreement with their views
Time to rethink raison d'être for bilingualism
If the government believes it's important, it needs to do more to train public servants
The country's next debate should focus on treason
Safe injection sites help addicts survive
Reports from Vancouver are positive, yet expansion appears most unlikely
Birth defects warning sparks row
Mr Woolas warned the problem was "the elephant in the room"
A minister who warned about birth defects among children of first cousin marriages in Britain's Asian community has sparked anger among critics.
THE LEGACY OF JIHAD: ISLAMIC HOLY WAR AND THE FATE OF NON-MUSLIMS
CONCORDIA'S DAVID PARISER REVIEWS ANTI-ISRAEL FILM "CHECKPOINT" RECENTLY SCREENED AT UNIVERSITY OF OTTAWA
Gates resserre la vis aux Européens
Harper prend part au Carnaval
Mission en Afghanistan
Les opposants font entendre leur voix
Mission en Afghanistan
On attend la réponse de Stéphane Dion
Jack Layton annonce que l'écologiste Daniel Breton sera candidat du NPD
Entre Harper et Charest, «il n'y a jamais eu de problème»
. . . a noble and just and necessary cause
. . . a noble and just and necessary cause
Lt.-Gen. Michel Gauthier, chief of Canadian Expeditionary Force Command,
Gauthier agreed the insurgents are having limited success using improvised explosive devices but insisted the fact that they've not put up a real fight in months proves coalition forces are winning.
He says clearer evidence of that will come when the winter lull in fighting ends and Canadian and Afghan troops return to the battlefield in the spring.
ERIC MARGOLIS, COLUMNIST
Canada's calls for 1,000 more NATO troops, and the U.S. decision to send 3,200 marines, will not alter the course of this war, which is turning increasingly against the western occupiers. In fact, the war is spreading into neighbouring Pakistan, a nation of 165 million, stretching U.S. and NATO forces ever thinner.
A primary reason for Gates' recent call for U.S. troops to begin attacking pro-Taliban Pashtun tribesmen inside Pakistan is due to their growing attacks on allied supply lines to Afghanistan.
As this column has reported, over 70% of U.S./NATO supplies come in by truck through Pakistan's tribal belt known as FATA, including all of their oil and gas. Attacks by pro-Taliban tribesmen against these vulnerable supply lines are jeopardizing western military operations inside Afghanistan.
HUNTERS NOW HUNTED
The hunters are becoming the hunted. Cutting off invaders' supply lines is a time-honoured Pashtun military tactic. They used it against Alexander the Great, the British, and Soviets, and are at it again. http://www.torontosun.com/News/Columnists/Margolis_Eric/2008/02/10/4838323-sun.php
____________________________________________Below is the Harper government's motion, to be voted upon in Parliament, seeking to extend the combat mission in Afghanistan until at least 2011. How would you vote on this - yea or nay? And why? I will share the comments on this thread with colleagues on all sides of the House. Garth
THE CAPTION YOU CONSIDER TO BE APPROPRIATE
THE CAPTION YOU CONSIDER TO BE APPROPRIATE
From: Zeb Landon
Subject: Democracy impossible in climate of abuse.
DEMOCRACY IMPOSSIBLE IN CLIMATE OF ABUSE, NEGLECTDear Joe,
Yet more disrespect and devaluation of the electorate:
It's a serious matter that the Canada Elections Act finds itself with so little muscle (and apparently with the government turning a blind eye to it), that an MP can get elected by overspending $30,000 (40% above the legal limit), and receive no significant penalty.
This sets a precedent, so now what if hundreds of federal candidates -- who have the financial means--, use this tactic to get themselves elected in the coming election?
We complain about corruption and lack of democracy in other countries, whilst the bleeding wounds in our own tattered electoral system are forever neglected.
Wounds neglected or abused lead to one thing eventually: death, in this case, death of democracy.
Wajid Khan, former Liberal now Conservative member for Mississauga-Streetsville
For some "Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing"
From: Mary-Sue Haliburton
Subject: Afghanistan feeds despair and cynicism
Hi Joe: (aside comment not to include! I noticed a few typos after sending this, so ask you to replace the earlier version. Thanks.)
Afghanistan Debacle: Is there any Recourse Beyond Despair and Cynicism?
Whether Canada should step up, step down, or step out is of course tied to why our guys were sent there in the first place: the blaming of 911 on Al Quaeda exclusively (although never proven in court, and even the FBI says there's not enough evidence to convict Bin Laden -- if he's even still alive). This was the excuse at the time, but is there any ongoing reason for NATO or any other group, willing or not, to be in Afghanistan, other than to defend the American-owned pipeline? It's evident that they
have not found the alleged perpetrator of the WTC demolition.
Would the Afghans be fighting at all, with each other or against European and American soldiers, if they didn't perceive the foreigners as having invaded for unacceptable reasons?
That question is not discussed in the media because addressing it shows the folly of continuing to mire ourselves into this Vietnam-like morass. We're only supposed to talk about how many soldiers are required for maintaining control, not about WHY they have to be there.
Last fall I happened to attend a seminar, and although it not about politics specifically, one attendee in a round-table group said that he had been in the Canadian forces. He said the reason Canada was in Afghanistan was that because we didn't actually have any troops or resources ready or fit to send into Iraq, going to Afghanistan was the trade-off for being permitted to duck out of the Iraq war "theatre". (Yep, it's theatre all right: endless hours of drama and explosives footage that movie-makers
would have to pay a lot of special-effects guys to prepare, all filmed for our entertainment and to keep us paying those costs.)
Others at the table argued against him, but the ex-soldier was not dislodged from this position. I view this political trade-off origin as plausible. Such a behind-the-scenes factor would leave polticians free to make statements that sound as if the Canadian policy was based on caring about the legitimacy of the Iraq invasion, while all along knowing that the price would be exacted later.
That price is dead soldiers, in addition the financial cost borne by all of us for the vehicles, weapons and supplies. We are not permitted to ask who is the beneficiary.
In Iraq that's foreign (to them) corporations such as Bechtel and Halliburton (no relation!), mercenary forces, and all the unnamed individuals who benefit from graft and corruption, diverting millions of dollars from reconstruction.
In Afghanistan it's the US oil company Unocal which owns the pipeline that crosses that country.
Originally they were negotiating with the Taliban < http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/ west_asia/37021.stm>, but apparently the Afghans wanted too much money; 9/11 gave an excuse to exclude them from any compensation, as well as to exclude the Argentinian company Bridas which wanted a piece of the action.
In 1997, as that link shows, the BBC reported that the "Taleban" had held talks with both American and Argentine-led consortia over transit rights. At that time, an official team from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkmenistan were supposed "to ensure each country benefited from any deal" - but the war seems to have put the kibosh on that. The 1997 BBC report contains this statement: "However, Unocal clearly believes it is still in with a chance - to the extent that it has already begun training
potential staff." (Maybe Unocal's executive had insider knowledge that the plans for invading Afghanistan, already in preparation in the U.S. before 2001, were going to go ahead soon.)
Eventually, some day, there may be a reckoning up of all the costs, human and financial, on both sides. Or maybe it will all continue to be buried and distorted under propaganda from both sides. I am losing hope, and becoming more cynical as regards any political solution. Only prayer is left: prayer for justice and negotiated solution based on knowledge of facts on the ground and determined by the people who have to live in that devastated nation.
Ottawa West - Nepean
From: John Kruithof
Subject: Why an Election Now
A handful of plausible issues have been raised why the Conservatives may want an election now, issues controversial and fodder for debate because Canadians are justifiably divided. The government probably feels confident it can hold its own on those issues.
My feeling is that one subject, thus far ignored, will in the end sway sentiment towards the Conservative Party. That is the age-old practice of buying votes. It is not for nothing that the Conservatives have enacted countless billions of tax savings affecting practically everyone. Wouldn't it be lovely timing to have an election at say, about income tax time, and point out to Canadians how much they are saving under this 'new' government?
From: "Suan H.Booiman"
Subject: Re: Thank you for your email to the CJBC website
To: CJBC <CJBC@courts.gov.bc.ca>, Gordon Campbell Premier of British Columbia <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Cc: Solicitor General - Public Safety John Les <email@example.com>, Nicholson.R@parl.gc.ca
Am aware that the Chief Justice made this decision in 2004, but
all arrogance set aside it is time to face the truth Justice is not
served in this country.
Am sure our Solicitor General and Attorney General should have
a word about that if they indeed serve the people of this province.
While our Justice Minister waits for the opinion of Quebec.
A British Columbian,
204-1220 Fir Street
White Rock BC V4B 4B1
refuse to accept this message
----- Original Message ----- From: "CJBC" <CJBC@courts.gov.bc.ca>
To: "Suan H.Booiman" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Thursday, February 07, 2008 11:36 AM
Subject: Thank you for your email to the CJBC website
Thank you for your email to the CJBC website. As of Monday June 28,
2004, the Chief Justice will not be resonding to email to the Chief
Justice website until further notice. Accordingly, you will not receive
a response to this email.
Subject: press release - very sad announcement in a rich province
REACTION TO THE ED STELMACH CHILDCARE AND FAMILY EMPLOYMENT TAX CREDIT ANNOUNCED FEB 7 2008
by Beverley Smith
longtime children's rights advocate
past president Kids First Parent Assoc of Canada
http://workisee.tripod.com < http://workisee.tripod.com/>
-Premier Stelmach still only values one style of care of children- daycare, by his preferential funding of it over care by relatives, friends, neighbors, dayhomes, nannies or parents. Daycare spaces cost over $10,000 per child per year to set up. He is promising 14,000 of them. He is giving no matching funding to children outside daycare.
-The announcements indicate a continued blindness to the work of taking care of children itself, wherever it happens and to its importance to society.
- The tax credit provided for the poor is of paltry amount, an increase of at most 43 cents a day, is administered too impractically to be of real help and perpetuates the feminization of poverty and the forced dependence of women on men.
A fairer announcement would have been a universal birth benefit, a universal maternity benefit and a universal funding of each child in the province.
Stelmach is playing favorites between children, between types of work and between ways to take care of children. He is therefore undemocratically interfering with choice not enhancing it as he claims.
It is interesting he made this _announcement at a daycare_. It confirms my theory that this government so far has not even admitted 'childcare' happens wherever a child is I would dare him to find a mother at home and announce his vast - empty nonexistent - plan for helping her.
_Funding 14,000 more daycare spaces is problematic for several reasons:_
-it picks a number, randomly and funds those and no others. It is top-down . What about the 14,001st child? Why are some people automatically excluded from benefit?
-it is as some daycare users even said, funding spaces but not ensuring staff. There is already a problem since daycare jobs are low paid, very stressful and simply can't compete in oil-rich Alberta.
-Stelmach's idea of getting immigrant workers is problematic to. It is not racially biased to point out that language competence in this case is actually a job skill.
_The 'family employment tax credit_".
There is already a tax credit for low income families and single parents and he will increase this 10% so it now will be $639 for one child per year,
$1219 for two children, $1569 for 3 children and $1685 for four children.
_The problems I have with this are these:_
-_the base of the benefit,_ being household income. Obviously the government is assuming that people share income but it is not necessarily recognizing the work of taking care of a child that may keep a person from income. Most households have a drop in income at least for a while when one parent is pregnant, gives birth, is home with the baby or even is working for pay fewer hours in order to have some time with the baby. A fair system would show understanding of the work of taking care of a baby by looking at the income of the person taking care of the baby. This is person whose income probably dropped. To assume that a household with one middle income earner and one person with low income is too rich to get any help negates the huge financial sacrifice that the person with the baby is making. And what is worse, it requires this person to be financially dependent on the earner spouse and not be seen for her own work or merit. This legislation then fails to recognize women's caregiving work. Not only does it not even call it work but it links it to the earnings of the other person in the household and judges one person's role only through the qualifiers of another person. It does not value women or caregiving itself.
-_the purpose of the credit_ - on the government website we are told the purpose of this credit is "to provide incentive for the parents of these children to continue to work" - In other words this is not really for children but to enable parents to earn. Its bias is to favor parents leaving not staying with their children. Since it targets the very poor, we also have an irony that even those not able to earn much are still being urged to leave their children, even if giving subsidized daycare for the very poor might cost government more than it would cost to assist one parent to be home with the baby.
-_the purpose of the credit_ - is to encourage 'self-reliance' It is ironic, since if you are taking care of your own kids not having someone else do it, you are taking care of your own, self-reliantly so to speak. But that group is not helped. The group helped is the group that is away from the kids, earning and that is the type of self-reliance being celebrated.
Under the earlier system the maximum amount received for the whole family was $1532 FOR THE YEAR.
-for one child it was $581 for the year - or $1.59 a day for the family
-for two children it was $581 plus $528 - $1109 or $3.03 a day
-for three children it was $581 plus $528 plus $317 - total $1426 or $3.90 a day for the whole family
-for four children it was $581 plus $528 plus $317 plus $106 - total $1532 or $4.19 a day for the whole family
_By the new rates with the whopping 10% increase these rates will now be_
-for one child it will be $639 for the year or $1.75 a day
-for two children it will be $1219 or $3.33 a day
-for three children it will be $1569 or $4.30 a day
-for four children it will be $1685 or $4.62 a day
Let' sl ook at _how paltry those increases are_. They are 16 cents, 30 cents, 40 cents or in rare cases all the way up to 43 cents a day.
This was worth a press release?
Let's look too at _how paltry those amounts are anyway_. What can you buy with even the top amount of $4.19 a day? It is not even enough to pay for two loaves of bread.
-_the administration of the program_
-The benefit is calculated at 8% of family 'working' income- so the _more you earn the_ _more money you get_ from government at the low income levels. This is ironic. If you need it most, you get least.
-It starts to be cut back at a family net income of $26,392. This amount is _not adjusted to_ family size oddly enough. So if you are raising one child or ten the state decides hey you can't possibly need much help if you earn over $26,392. This also is not logical
-it is phased out gradually, reduced by four per cent of your family net income above $26,392, till you reach the point where you get no help at all -a family net income of under $40,917 if you have one child, $54,117 if you have two children and $62,042 if you have 3 or $64,692 if you have four or more. Any cut off has some randomness too it but the numbers that are this odd seem particularly random.
-it _assumes that costs increase only slightly with the birth of a child_. Help is completely eliminated if household income is still at quite low levels.
Let's look at how much the state is assuming it costs to raise a child given that many studies have said it costs about $180,000 to raise a child from birth to age 18- so $10,000 a year.
The second child apparently is allowed to raise the costs $13,200 but the third child is assumed to only raise costs $7925 and the fourth child is
assumed to raise costs by only $2650. This is an odd view of reality given that each child eats the same amount, wears clothes, has to go to school and buy sports equipment and pay for fees the same. Kids don't shrink in size or appetite or importance if they are later born.
-_the administration of the program -_ the cheques, small though they are, come twice a year. They do not come per paycheque, per rent bill, per utility bill but very rarely, in fact so rarely they really don't help people on tight monthly budgets. At least earlier family allowance plans came monthly.
Mr. Stelmach has a rich government, and bound, with the new royalty plan, to get even richer. He would have funded all children. He could have recognized caregiving work itself and valued those who take care of children, wherever they do this vital work.
Instead he has opted for tokenism to the poor, ignorance to the middle class and favoritism of one small sector the daycare user.
===================================Why organs are for sale
Apart from pure economics and lack of enforced social regulation, you mean? The following factors are behind all of this.
1. When one's life is threatened by organ failure, one's desire to get an organ replacement shoots up. High desire multiplied by numerous cases equals high economic demand for "organ materials".
2. When one lives in a large society, one's organs are part of a large pool of organ materials. If that society is poorly regulated (which doesn't mean that the society's unregulated ... it just means that regulation isn't effective, e.g. like in India), then those materials can be procured with much less difficulty than in well-regulated societies. Thus, a large, poorly-regulated society equals large supply of organ materials.
3. After a while, entrepreneurs notice that supply could be matched to demand. A market study confirms that, at first sight, this could yield attractive-enough profits.
4. Now that the market study is complete, entrepreneurs go on to make a economic study, during which they evaluate the costs involved in running an illegal organ-replacement (setting up a marketing network, recruiting and paying both procurement and sales agents, buying or renting equipment and facilities, hiring facilities staff, operating expenses, etc.). If decent profit can be made out of all this (i.e. if customers are willing and able to pay for organ-replacement goods and services, travel costs, etc., trust enough in the quality of those goods and services, and are willing to take the risk that they may get caught (they may need follow-up treatment back home, where questions may get asked)), the entrepreneurs go to the next step.
"Goods and services" package prices (i.e., prices for organ-supply, "installation", and short-term hospitalization for recovery) get set so as to attract enough customers to keep the enterprise busy and for operations (no pun intended!) to be profitable. All other things being equal, profitability is higher when costs are low, so low-cost societies have an economic advantage over high-cost ones in the organ-replacement industry.
5. Now the entrepreneurs make a risk assessment. This involves identifying risks (getting caught by authorities, inability to bribe one's way out of trouble, sales agents getting caught and punished, etc.) and punishments (getting enforceably banned from practicing one's profession, getting jailed, etc.). Since direct business risks are lower in poorly-regulated society (i.e., notwithstanding security risks, health risks, etc.), such societies have a regulatory advantage over well-regulated in the organ-replacement industry.
6. Entrepreneurs conclude that providing goods-and-services organ-replacement packages is best done in low-cost, poorly-regulated societies.
7. If expected profits are high enough to overcome one's scruples or risk-aversion, it's time to go in business.
Makes perfect sense to me! Good thing they teach us ethics and such to MBA students. Otherwise, I might start feeling bad about not maximizing my benefit to mankind by staying here and not going into business in India. (<--FACETIOUSNESS! Please don't take seriously ...)
WINNIPEG SUN - Exclusively black not right
Journalism has two aspects: reporting and editorializing (aka "making sense of it all"). Like anything, the quality of both runs from superficial to profound. (Truth and fallacy, I don't consider here).
I'm not so much worked up about the reporting aspect, but I am about the editorializing one. To date, all that I've read had to do with whether or not it's obvious that "blacks", in their present state, are ill-adapted and incompatible with Canadian society, and even if they are whether it's a good idea to isolate them while they get "normalized" (aka, de facto "think and act white"?!?) To my disappointment, I have yet to see any "editor"/typist bring up the future and inevitable issue: the "black" kids educated "blackly" in an isolated "black institutional environment" having to answer a question at job interviews when they'll have grown up ... "So, you went to black school?" Pretty much the only way to get away from that at the start of one's career is to move away, to somewhere where recruiters either don't know about "black school" or don't recognize its name on a CV. And another issue: should this project go ahead, ALL "black" or "black-enough" people educated in Toronto will have recruiters wondering whether or not they're of THOSE "blacks" who needed special attention.
Still waiting for this to start getting discussed in public (even if I don't live in Toronto) ...
By the way, you'll have noticed that I've put "black" et al in quotes. This is because it's not entirely clear who the "blacks" being talked about really are. Are they Caribbeans? Africans? South Americans? How "black" do they have to be? Do they have to live in certain neighbourhoods, where there being too many "black" bad examples hampers their growing up properly? What IS "blackness"?
At first impression, I'M rather against this kind of thing. But I can be persuaded by reasonable, plausible arguments. So far, the editorial journos haven't raised any.
G7 finance ministers worry over global economy
So? That's comes with the job, no?
GTA Muslims with multiple wives collecting multiple welfare cheques causing outrage
"OK, we're not legally married. But what's the big deal if we all live in the same house?"
Conservative motion offers Dion an exit
Analysts say government's line in the sand was carefully drawn to give Liberals political cover
Or to give him a chance to "escape" from his Party's poor position, at the price of once again looking like a weenie. Then again, it WILL buy Mr. Dion some more time. Weeniedom vs time ... not the best choice to have to make.
Dion faces uphill battle explaining Liberal position
"We used to bend over backwards to get votes and now we can't stand up straight!"
Green Party organizer to run for NDP
And this despite the fact that Liz May, the Green Leader (who as far as I'm concerned might as well be a Martian), has strongly hinted that the Green movement is in truth an autonomous faction/auxiliary of the Liberal Party. (Or that's how I interpret her "no Green candidate in Mr. Dion's riding and no Liberal in her own" position.)
Stephen Harper caps secretive Quebec City visit with Carnaval tour
Recorded by the Stratos Underground: "So Jean, I give you $216 million real fast. But someday, you'll have to perform a service that you cannot refuse. And get that Claude Bechard to stay quiet ... Bad-mouthing The Family wins no favours." "Yes, Padrone. Thank you for your generosity. And my best wishes to La Familia" (Jean kisses the Padrone's ring). "You heard that, Claude? No more shooting off your mouth!" "Yeah, Boss. I'm hip, I'm hip."
(Oh man, I really SHOULD have gone into show biz. Or at least become a corporate lawyer like Maman wanted me to.)
The cult of Harper
History redux. Said about Leonid Brezhnev: "There can be no cult of personality when there IS no personality."
Sorry, I respect Mr. Harper and think that he's doing a decent job. Couldn't help myself, though ... that quote started squirming in me as soon as I read the title. And let's face it, Mr. Harper's not know for his flamboyant public style.
The last thing we need are race-based schools
Plans for an 'Afrocentric' alternative for students with coloured skin run counter to Canada's history and aspirations
And again, who are "blacks"? And what's really meant by "Afrocentric"? Are Caribbean "blacks" Afro? What about "blacks" from Africa itself? Can they go to "Afrocentric" school too? Or are they culturally-distinct enough to need their own "Really Afro" school? Sort of gives you an idea of what kind of debate this raises ...
Y'know, one of the things that makes this hard to discuss is what I consider to be the improper framing of the issue. As it is, the issues are being discussed on "racial" terms, which evokes feelings linked to "racism" (in the large sense) and "racial discrimination" (in the strict meaning of the term ... perceiving differences between people and categorizing individuals based on "key racial traits", including non-physical ones). The thing is, though, the real issues aren't "racial", they're "cultural". "Blacks" who think and act like "us" (that is, "typical" Canadians) aren't really "blacks" ... they're black (no quotes) and they're like one of us, sort of. So first things first: the issues are "culturist" ones, not "racist" ones.
OK, now that we've framed the issue on "culturist" lines, we can begin to identify whether there are any problems, what they are, where they lie, and what can be done about them. For example, are there problems particular to a given CULTURAL community? How can the community be defined? What part of its culture is at the root of present problems? Etc. etc.
This "culturist" concept is a universe in itself, so it's to vast to expand upon here. However, it IS something that needs to be properly framed for public debate and discussed in society. And that's not being done right now.
Hence one of the roots of my disappointment with Canadian civil society, and with Canadian politicians (though, to be fair, I've yet to come across anything concerning this from any other country.) I've yet to see a bottom-up framing and debate rising from Canadian civil society, and I've yet to see any top-down framing and debate from Canada's political establishment. This annoys me: one of the functions of a political establishment is to get a sense of what's happening, of issues both latent and overt, and to FRAME the issues so that they be identified, defined, discussed, and acted upon.
Right now, I see very little inspired framing either filtering down or rising from below. And because of this, we Canadians often get confronted (and affronted) with bad thinking and anxious passions that seem to arise from nowhere, with shrill pseudo-debate and sterile political posturing, and with unjustified resolutions and faits accomplis.