Nov 082012
 

Betsy Ross Flag 168x100Many Canadians grew up considering the United States, despite its many faults, as a nation to admire. It was the first nation created solely and explicitly to protect the individual rights of its citizens. It was the first nation to have a written constitution to limit the powers of its government and as a result, was the most prosperous nation this planet has ever seen. That is quickly coming to an end. There is a parasitic rot spreading rapidly throughout the US. It is the rot of envy, of greed, of wanting something for nothing at the expense of your neighbour (neighbor), and it is embodied in the person of Barack Obama, The Great Destroyer.

When Obama was elected for the first time in 2008 he was unknown, even to most Democrats, and as such the American people could have been forgiven their mistake. But having endured four years of crippling debt, massive unemployment, a weakened position amongst the world community and an economy all but in ruins there is no forgiving his reelection. He was reelected with deliberate intent with full knowledge of the damage he can cause.

The United States as many of us had come to know it, a noble country, vibrant and dynamic, an economic powerhouse, a country built on freedom and individual rights, a benevolent super-power, has ceased to exist. It is now just one amongst many countries whose people seek handouts and demand entitlements they have no right to. It has blended into a morass of socialist nations whose governments treat their people with disdain and contempt. It has lost its center, its identity as a unique nation among nations. It is experiencing its decline and the world will be forever poorer for its inevitable fall.

Words like “live free or die”, the motto of the State of New Hampshire, Patrick Henry’s “Give me liberty or give me death”, Francis Scott Key’s “the land of the free and the home of the brave,” are now mere bromides repeated as by rote by adults and school children alike who have no implicit understanding of what those words mean.

It saddens me to think as we approach Remembrance Day, Veteran’s Day in the United States, that the very concept of freedom is quickly being lost. Perhaps one day we can regain our sanity and rekindle the fire that is freedom, individual rights, honesty, integrity, productiveness, creativity, common sense, and maturity.

Perhaps one day we can look back at the envious, greedy, childish society we live in today and shake our heads and ask ourselves how could we ever have sunk to such depths? How could we have let such an idea as freedom escape our grasp?

 

Nov 082012
 

Obama_Romney_168x100I don’t claim to understand the American political system. It is quite complex and has actually changed several times over the years, but in general it goes like this:

The United States of America, contrary to what most people believe, (including many Americans) is not a democracy – it is a republic – a federation of states. Each state may be called democratic, if by democratic we mean that it elects its representatives in each state legislature and each state government derives its powers from the consent of the governed.

The US federal government on the other hand is elected by the states themselves and not by the popular vote of the nation as a whole. So the US is a mixture of a democratically elected House of Representatives, a State-appointed Senate, and a President elected by the States with each State having selected its electors by popular vote within each State, the only exceptions being Maine and Nebraska.

It is the Presidential election system of winner-take-all based on a plurality of votes in each state which keeps out smaller parties who would have to demonstrate a very broad appeal to be able to command the ballots of a majority of the electorate. Hence we have two historical parties develop over the years to dominate the system; the Republicans and the Democrats.

Try as they might, smaller parties like Gary Johnson’s Libertarian Party or Jill Stein’s Green Party face a Herculean task of pushing out either the Democrats or Republicans to take first place and get any electors in the Electoral College.

Write-in candidates like a Green Ralph Nader or a quasi-Libertarian Ross Perot didn’t stand a chance with the winner-take-all system of electoral votes. Consider that Ross Perot, in the 1992 election received 18.9% of the popular vote, almost 20 million votes but not one Electoral College vote.

Running for the House of Representatives or the Senate is somewhat different for independents and several have been elected to these Houses but the Presidency will probably be forever beyond the grasp of any third party.

Thus, Americans are left with two parties to dominate the political scene for the foreseeable future.

The differences between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party in the US are much starker than the differences we see here in Canada between the Liberals and the Conservatives. In fact, this election has made me consider the duality of voters in the US and to a similar extent here in Canada.

With a large degree of generalization I would say that these are the two types of voters.

One is a producer; the other a parasite or moocher.

One has personal integrity; the other is willing to sell his soul to the highest bidder.

One asks no one to sacrifice himself to him; the other demands others sacrifice themselves to him.

One has pride in accomplishment; the other takes pride in destruction.

One is peaceful; the other violent.

One is patriotic; the other wishes to destroy the state.

One tells the truth; the other lies.

One is willing to listen to the argument of the other person; the other has no time for debate.

I leave it up to you to decide which of these would vote Republican and which would vote Democrat.

I’m sure there were both liberals and conservatives who placed themselves on the side of the peaceful, productive, truthful, patriotic, creators and thought that their opponents were on the other side. In fact there is some truth to that. There are people from both sides of the aisle who could be said to fit one description or another. There are no doubt Democrats who believe they are genuinely truthful, productive and patriotic as there are Republicans who are truthful, productive and patriotic.

That is the problem the US is having; not necessarily with a two party system, but with having each party represents only one aspect of a complete truth.

The Democrats are considered to be the defenders of individual liberties such as the right of a woman to choose the destiny of her own body, the right of gay people to enter into consensual relationships and marriages (If I can use that term), the right to consume mind altering drugs, the right to behave in ways not conforming to tradition.

The Republicans are considered to be the defender of economic and property rights, the right to self-defense and to bear arms, the right to own and keep property, the right to treat one’s home as one’s castle, the right to create and amass wealth, the right to trade freely with others.

But each Party has its list of faults. The Democrats are seen to be destroyers of business, wealth re distributors, protectionist, squanderers of the public purse, and pacifists. The Republicans are seen to be war mongers who are anti-gay, anti-women, against personal liberties and any aberrant yet peaceful behaviour such as consuming mind-altering drugs.

In general these observations are accurate. And yet while the US has had the Democratic Party control both Houses and the Presidency for the first two years of Obama and the Senate and the Presidency for the last four years, the war on drugs has escalated and they are still in Afghanistan and have active military operations throughout the world. When the Republicans were in power we saw a massive increase in regulations and government spending and debt.

It seems that regardless of which Party achieves power Americans are doomed to see the steady erosion of both personal and economic rights and liberties. I don’t believe anyone can say with absolute certainty that a Romney Presidency would be any better than an Obama Presidency; although personally I believe Obama to be the absolute worst President our neighbour has had the misfortune to endure.

I can say this with certainty. Unless one or both parties begins to adopt the perceived positive policies of their opposing Party the United States is doomed to fail as a nation.

Apr 212012
 

On April 21, 2012, Freedom Party of Ontario held its “Red Alert” dinner on the top floor of the Primrose Hotel in Toronto. The video of the event was released in parts. This second part features a speech by Freedom Party officer and election campaign manager Robert Vaughan, who was emcee for the event.

Mar 082012
 

Stockholm SyndromeLast week the Fraser Institute released a ranking of the schools in Ontario based on the scores each school received from the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO).

The EQAO is an arm’s-length Crown agency of the Government of Ontario instituted under the Progressive Conservative government of Mike Harris in 1996.  Its mandate is to conduct province-wide tests at key points in every student’s primary, junior and secondary education and report the results to educators, parents and the public.  The question on EQAO’s tests are developed by Ontario educators and linked directly to the learning expectations in The Ontario Curriculum. The EQAO has an annual budget of approximately $33 million.

When I was a trustee on the London Board of Education I remember the reaction of the teachers, administrators, trustees and unions to this form of standardized testing. They were opposed to it.  But not opposed on any solid educational grounds.  They opposed it purely on partisan political grounds.  The memory of the hatred the teachers unions had for the Mike Harris years is still seared into the minds of many today.  That was a time when the common pronunciation of the word “harASSment” was changed to “HARisment” to reflect the harASSment the teachers felt they were being subjected to by the HARRIS govt.

Every time the EQAO scores are released we see the same teachers and administrators line up to condemn the results mainly because of the sense of effrontery they feel at having their profession assessed by the government.

And no wonder.  The results (although I have to admit many failings in the validity and reliability of the testing) have always shown how poorly the public education system is at achieving the results mandated by their own curriculum.  And while the nature of the curriculum is a topic for another day, suffice it to say that it is a failure in itself; a failure to teach the necessary literacy and numeracy skills to proceed to the next stage in their lives.

The ranking of school scores is always frowned upon because it reveals something of the education system which teachers and boards would like to ignore.  First, areas of lower social demographics or immigration do poorer than schools that have children from more affluent and established families, and second, that if these factors are accounted for what is revealed is the poor teaching ability of the staff at particular schools.

In London the elementary school which scored the lowest was Sir John A. MacDonald, a school which is in a lower income area of town and has a considerable number of immigrant children. However, these same demographics can be found in many other schools in this city and in the province and these schools scored higher than Sir John A. MacDonald.  In fact almost every school scored higher since “Mac” had a score of zero out of ten.

What I find most interesting is not that a school can perform so poorly on the EQAO tests but that the parents of the children attending this school don’t protest but instead actually praise the teachers and staff at the school.

I believe they are suffering from a form of “Stockholm Syndrome”.

From Wikipedia:

“In psychology, Stockholm Syndrome is an apparently paradoxical psychological phenomenon in which hostages express empathy and have positive feelings towards their captors, sometimes to the point of defending them. These feelings are generally considered irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims, who essentially mistake a lack of abuse from their captors for an act of kindness.

“Stockholm Syndrome can be seen as a form of traumatic bonding, which does not necessarily require a hostage scenario, but which describes “strong emotional ties that develop between two persons where one person intermittently harasses, beats, threatens, abuses, or intimidates the other.”

Perhaps the most infamous victim who exhibited “Stockholm Syndrome” was  Patty Hearst, kidnapped by the so-called Symbionese Liberation Army in 1974. After two months in captivity, she actively took part in a robbery they were orchestrating.

Parents of these poorly scoring schools, in fact most parents who have children in the public education system, a system which graduates many children who are illiterate are incapable of functioning at the same level as say students who graduated in the earlier half of the last century, seem to rally around in defense of the school system whenever it feels threatened by things such as standardized testing.

Why?  They, like a kidnap victim, are presented with little choice.  They are forced to have their children educated in the Ontario Curriculum (whether in public or private schools).  They are forced to pay into the system even if they wish to send their children to another school or home school they are still forced to pay into the public or Catholic education systems.  They feel bewildered at the array of the ever increasing complexity of the curriculum deliberately made so by the teaching profession with the sole purpose of excluding any layman from doing what is actually a rather simple task – teaching.

Left with this feeling of being captured in a system of force they, like Patty Heart actually support the system even when data shows the harm that it is doing to their children.

Here is an excerpt from one parent who had children in Sir John A. Macdonald which aired on the Andy Oudman radio program here in London:

“I have no problem with the education my children have received at Sir John A. MacDonald.  I see remarkable things at that school every day.  The staff are incredible!  Just incredible.  And I’ve seen a lot of teachers. I’ve probably seen a hundred different teachers over the last 12 years and this group of people are a team.  You can feel it when you walk into the front door of that school; the camaraderie, the compassion the care and the excitement for teaching.  They want to see every child succeed, and whether that’s one step ahead or 10 steps ahead, every step ahead is progress for our students regardless of their background, regardless of their ability. That’s what we focus on.

“I’m not a teacher and I know that the foundation they received from Junior Kindergarten to grade eight was exceptional.

“We’ve considered moving not because of the school. We would find a way to get our kids back to the school if we moved out of the area. Mac is an exceptional place.”

This after hearing that her children’s school was ranked 2,689th out of 2,695 elementary schools in the province.

Stockholm Syndrome can be the only explanation for why parents praise a school system which is crippling their children’s minds.

But the education system is not the only area where we see the “Stockholm Syndrome” at work.  It can be found in any area where force is used to, in-effect, victimize or capture the public with no alternatives just as with actual kidnap victims.

When we are told that fire-fighters make over $100,000 a year we don’t hesitate to praise the good work they do, even though the good work they do is done so infrequently and is usually done by unpaid volunteers in countless communities in the country.  The same praise is given to policeman even though the police department has refused to come in under budget year after year.

Our health care system is praised as the best in the world even though it clearly is not.

We have, as a society become a mass of kidnap victims who have become sympathetic towards our captors, repeatedly giving them salary raises, re-electing them to Parliament, and singing the praises of the essential work they provide us even though we somehow know deep down that they are essentially harming us, and leaving us with little or no alternatives.  We either side with them or accept the fact that we are all victims, held captive, by force, every day of our lives.

(Originally broadcast on Just Right #240, March 8, 2012)

Jan 262012
 

Canadian PassportThere has been a recent controversy surrounding the dual Canadian/French citizenship held by Federal NDP leadership hopeful, Thomas Mulcair. It is thought that to be the leader of a federal party which one day (hopefully not in my life) could propel said leader to the Prime Minister’s Office he should renounce his French citizenship. I would agree.

Historically Mr. Mulcair would not be the first federal leader to possess dual citizenship. Prime Minister John Turner had Canadian and British citizenship. Of course before 1947 there was no such thing having Canadian citizenship per se. We were all British subjects. From 1947 to the early 1980s all Canadian had dual Canadian/British citizenship. After that we achieved the singular Canadian citizenship dropping the British while also accepting the fact that Canadians can possess multiple citizenships.

Most countries, including the United States, accept the fact that a citizen can simultaneously be the citizen of another country. It’s interesting historically to know that 10 US Presidents were also British subjects. Eight of course were born into the British North American Colonies but two were British after independence; Chester Arthur, and Barack Obama. Obama was British and then Kenyan by virtue of his father who was born into Kenya which was a British colony at the time. Obama lost his Kenyan citizenship when he turned 23 as Kenya law prohibits dual citizenship for adults.

Let’s leave citizenship by descent and by birth aside and talk about oaths of allegiance or oaths of citizenship which I believe to be much more to my point. Being born here most of us did not have to take an oath declaring our allegiance to the Queen of Canada but to become a naturalized citizen or to enlist in our military, or to become a member of Parliament one must take an oath swearing loyalty to the Queen.

The Canadian Oath of Citizenship reads as follows:

“I swear (or affirm) that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen o f Canada, Her Heirs and Successors, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada and fulfill my duties as a Canadian citizen.”

I contend that anyone taking this oath immediately renounce any allegiance to any other nation, or leader of any other nation. It would be a blatant division of loyalty to swear allegiance to the Queen of Canada and also have, for example, an allegiance to the Republic of the Untied States of America. It would be a contradiction. It would be a lie. To not renounce citizenship in another country would make a mockery of the oath one just swore to become a Canadian citizen, or to enlist in our military, or be a Member of Parliament. It would be like having two spouses. A form of citizenship polygamy. (It has been suggested that such a renunciation would be unnecessary for citizens from other Commonwealth nations as they too are subjects of the same Sovereign. Such a distinction I will leave for the time being.)

Upon taking this oath I would suggest that anyone possessing prior citizenship in other nations publicly renounce the same and hand over any passports to that country. Not to do so would suggest that the oath was simply a formality.

Further I would suggest that any Canadian citizen, whether Canadian by birth or by blood who actively seeks the citizenship of another nation, and in doing so swears and oath to that nation, must lose his Canadian citizenship. Allegiances cannot be divided. You either swear allegiance to one country or another. You can’t have it both ways.

In 2005 our former Governor General, Michelle Jean was sworn into that office. Two days before that very swearing in which made her Commander in Chief of the Canadian Armed Forces she renounced her French citizenship. This was the right thing to do and I think she set an example for anyone wishing to actively participate in elected federal politics and our military.

Interestingly, France prohibits its citizens from participating in any foreign military or government but in Michelle Jean’s case the French Embassy in Ottawa assured her that they would make an exception in her case. And why not? To have a French citizen as Commander in Chief of the Canadian Forces would have been quite the bloodless coup.

Besides being deceitful, dual citizenship, if by choice, has been a major financial burden on Canada as many take advantage of the socialist programs Canada has to offer and become citizens of convenience. Often this scheme involves fraud as in the case of hundreds of Lebanese Canadians who received permanent resident status without having left their home country. This particular case1 centered around a man, one Ahmad, El-Akhal, who obtained2 citizenship for hundreds from the Middle East and at the same time receiving hundreds of thousand of dollars from the federal Government in the form of benefits and tax refunds.

Such scams could be eliminated by requiring Canadians applying for citizenship under our naturalization rules to report to Canadian officials on a regular basis and to provide evidence of their residency. Relinquishing their foreign passports upon taking the oath of Citizenship would also dramatically reduce these con artists who only want Canadian citizenship as a means of having a safe-haven should things turn sour in their real homelands. Much as it did in July of 2006 when Canada evacuated thousands of Canadian citizens from Lebanon costing us $85 Million. While, to be sure some of these citizens were only in Lebanon on holiday, many were permanent residents there and were using their Canadian citizenship to get away from the fighting between Hezbollah and Israel.

An oath once meant something. It meant a person’s honour was on the line should the oath be broken. It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that today such a thing as swearing an oath has become a simple formality to be performed and then forgotten. Or worse, to be performed and laughed at as the one taking the oath knows full well that he has no intention of keeping his pledge of fealty to Queen and country.

To break an oath of allegiance to a country should be considered the same as breaking of a contract and if a naturalized citizen, a member of our military, a Member of Parliament or any other who has taken such an oath be found to be working for another country’s government or against Canada by breaking its laws, which is a part of the oath, then the proper course of action for the government would be to rescind Canadian citizenship or, in the case of non-naturalized citizens, remove them from the military or from public office.

  1. http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/on/news-nouvelles/2011/11-01-06-gta-rgt-ip-eng.htm

  2. http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/on/news-nouvelles/2011/11-12-05-gta-rgt-ip-eng.htm

(Originally broadcast on Just Right #234, January 26, 2012)

Jan 192012
 

CF-18All free nations need to define a policy whereby the conditions or triggers for military intervention are clearly defined.

The Freedom Party of Canada (while it has yet to field any candidates) has put together just such a policy. It can be found online at freedomparty.ca.

In part it reads:

“the legitimate functions of the military are to respond to and prevent unwelcome invasion of Canadian territory, attacks on Canadian territory, or other acts of war against Canada that occur away from Canadian territory (for example, as against Canadians held hostage by a foreign power or terrorist group). Activities or planned activities anywhere on the globe that have as their purpose or effect an attack on the life, liberty or property of Canadians are legitimate triggers for military response where prudent diplomacy has failed. “

The key point to this policy is that it not only identifies a direct attack on our soil as a trigger for war but it also correctly identifies the need to act preemptively to prevent an attack. It also expands the sphere of action outside of our territory. This would permit, quite rightly, the Canadian military to attack other countries or groups in other countries who have violated the rights of Canadians in those countries as long as diplomatic efforts have been tried and failed.

Let’s look at some recent conflicts Canada has been involved in to see if we have followed such a policy.

It took part in the civil war of Bosnia and Herzegovina as part of the United Nations Protection Force and NATO while none of our interests where threatened.

It helped to enforce the no-fly orders of the United Nations in the civil war in Libya when no threat to Canada or Canadians was involved.

It took part in the invasion of Afghanistan in a joint response with other countries to overthrow the Taliban government which was complicit in training terrorists.  I believe our involvement there was warranted to protect our nation against possible terrorist attacks.  Unfortunately, the reasons the government of the day cited for entering the war was not only national protection but to ensure Canadian leadership in world affairs and to help Afghanistan rebuild.  These are not valid reasons for war.

The Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990 was none of our business.  We had no treaty with Kuwait to defend it and yet we willing joined the United Nations in removing Iraq from their territory.  Our national interests were not threatened.

At the time of the US’s decision to go into Iraq for the second time Jean Chrétien choose not to get involved.   While we knew that Iraq did have weapons of mass destruction and was willing to use them (if you don’t believe this you have obviously forgotten about the Halabja massacre) and while such weapons in the hands of a dictator like Saddam Hussein were a threat to his neighbours they were no threat to us and I now believe that staying out of Iraq was the better plan. (At the time I, like many of us, was caught up in the drama and thought we should have assisted.)

What of Iran? Iran is a threat to our ally, the United States. It has an official “Death to America” day. It has called for the annihilation of America and the West. It is a theocracy which has involved itself in the training of terrorist groups like al-qaeda and Hezbollah. It is developing a nuclear weapons program and has recently threatened shipping in the Straits of Hormuz, a vital sea transportation route of vital interest to many nations including our own. If allowed to develop a nuclear weapon it is quite conceivable that it could put it aboard a ship and sail into New York Harbor and detonate it.

Some have said that Iran, like any other nation has the right to defend itself. This is not true. Iran, as a despotic theocracy which does not recognize individual rights or peaceful coexistence with its neighbours has no right to exist under its current leadership.

It is not a particular threat to Canada or Canadians as its eyes seem more fixed on Israel and the US, but if the US is attacked we should retaliate as an ally if asked. Should the US, or Israel preemptively destroy Iran’s ability to get a nuclear weapon? Yes. I believe they should. They have been threatened with what amounts to a declaration of War by the Iranian government. Iran is developing the means to carry out such a threat. They should be stopped. Should Canada join in such a preemptive action? No. We neither have the means nor is the threat to this country as real or immediate as it is to the US and Israel.

Libertarians in the US like Congressman Ron Paul, would have a dovish defense policy very different from the one of the Freedom Party which I described. Paul’s basic policy is to fight only after you have been attacked. This of course would be too late for those killed. A preemptive policy is the only rational one. Ron Paul would also remove the US military out of every other country in the world. I would grant him this: The US has spread itself thin in the world and can certainly reign in much of its forces abroad but to not have bases in areas which are of vital interest to its economy and survival is folly. Keep the bases in the middle east for a possible war with Iran; keep the military in Afghanistan because that country is far too backward to be left without being supervised by civilized adults; keep the military in South Korea and Taiwan for the possible conflicts that may happen there.

We can never forget how hostile a place the world is and how much we are all interconnected. An isolationist foreign policy is not a realistic one if a country is to maintain its interests and sovereignty. However, that being said, a jingoistic policy is also not desirable. Only with a clear idea of what it is you are protecting, who your enemy is, and what your vital national interests are can you develop a defense policy worthy of a free nation.

(Revised from a broadcast of Just Right on January 19, 2012)

Sep 222011
 

CannabisOn Sun News Network this week Brian Lilly lamented the fact that the country has no truly conservative politicians.  Not to let that one go, several people e-mailed Mr. Lilly and reminded him that the Freedom Party of Ontario has one of the most fiscally conservative platforms ever heard of in this province.  Subsequently Mr. Lilly had the Leader of the Freedom Party on his show and he was forced to rescind his previous notion that a truly fiscal conservative party doesn’t exist.

There is, however another kind of conservatism in Canada, social conservatism.  This has come to be embodied in the Conservative Party of Canada under its Leader Stephen Harper.  Mr. Harper’s Conservatives are certainly not fiscally conservative judging by their past two terms in power, albeit with a minority.  The next five years with a majority I fear will only reinforce the country’s opinion of them as foolhardy tax and spend liberals.

While we can fault them for their overtaxing and overspending we certainly cannot fault them not being socially conservative.  Although I wish we could.

This week Justice Minister Rob Nicholson, the same man personally responsible for incarcerating Marc Emery in the United States for selling cannabis seeds to Americans, introduced an Omnibus Crime Bill.  Some of the provisions of the crime bill (Bill C-10).  I actually support, coming down harder on youths who commit violent crime, increasing jail time for certain offence involving children and ending house-arrest for perpetrators of violent crimes, and allowing terrorism victims to sue terrorists and their supporters.  I have often thought that our criminal justice system was soft when it came to sentencing violent criminals.

But there are provisions in this new bill which can only be described as chilling.

I have written before about the nature of conservatism and its desire to control people based on a conservative’s unnatural sense of morality.  A morality based primarily on mysticism, religion and superstition.  I have previously identified conservatives as being intrinsicists, people who believe that things are bad in and of themselves with little consideration given to reason, or an individual’s right to decide what is good for them without interference from Big Brother.

Part of the Crime Bill calls for draconian prison terms for people who grow cannabis plants.  If you have 6 – 200 plants you are to be given an automatic 6-month sentence, with an extra three months if it’s done in a rental property or is deemed a public-safety hazard.  If you grow from 201 to 500 plants you get a minimum one year sentence or 1 ½ years if it in a rental or poses a safety risk.  The maximum sentence for growing any marijuana at all would double from seven to 14 years.

These sentences are something I might expect coming from Saudi Arabia or Pakistan where individual rights don’t exist and the state dictates what it considers to be moral.

Compare these sentences to the new sentences being proposed for child sex crimes.  According to The Province, a British Columbia newspaper, the pot grower who is caught growing 201 pot plants would receive a longer mandatory sentence…

than someone who rapes a toddler or forces a five-year-old to have sex with an animal.

A pedophile who gets a child to watch pornography with him, or a pervert exposing himself to kids at a playground, would receive a minimum 90-day sentence, half the term of a man convicted of growing six pot plants in his own home.

The 14 year maximum sentence for growing pot is…

the same maximum applied to someone using a weapon during a child rape and four years more than for someone sexually assaulting a kid without using a weapon.

The contempt Stephen Harper and his socially conservative Neanderthals have for the pot plant and for the literally millions of Canadians who have or do smoke pot is enormous.  Stephen Harper would obviously prefer you rape a child than grow a pot plant.  A little harsh you think?  I don’t.  As we speak Marc Emery has three years to go on a five year prison term in the United States after the Harper government turned him over to the DEA who came to Canada and arrested him on Canadian soil for selling pot seeds, something which is punishable by a only a small fine in this country.

Also in the Crime Bill are provisions which tug at that very fine thread of justice that has protected the innocent from an overpowering state.

The Bill proposes to allow the police to detain terrorism suspects for up to three days without charges.  It will also allow judges to jail witnesses who won’t testify about terrorism.  Now what can be so bad about these new powers we give to the police and the courts?  The problem is that giving the police and courts more power for one cause opens the door to giving them power for any cause.  Today you may be jailed for failing to testify what you know about your neighbour’s possible terrorist activities and tomorrow you will be jailed for not testifying about what you know about your neighbour’s pot growing activities.  It will only require a slight change of wording in the legislation.

It is a slippery slope Mr. Harper will create when he seeks to curtail our rights no matter how noble he believes the reason to be.  Catching terrorists by eroding our right not to be arbitrarily detained by the police or our right not to be compelled to testify only proves that the terrorists are winning with Stephen Harper’s help.  If their goal is to destabilize our freedoms and change this country into one they are familiar with, a despotic autocracy and if Prime Minister Harper gives into their demands and strips away our rights and freedoms then he will be hailed as a hero by the terrorists and a villain by peace-loving Canadians.

Originally aired on Just Right #218, September 22, 2011.

Sep 222011
 
Ethical Oil

Ethical OilThe recent ethicaloil.org advertisement asking us to support Alberta oil sands over Saudi oil begs the question, Why?  Because the Saudi’s won’t let women drive?  The Saudis won’t allow women to work?  In Saudi Arabia a women’s testimony is only worth half of that of a man’s?

Well, not to make light of these egregious violations of individual rights, only 100 years ago here in Canada women couldn’t drive.  (Mind you cars didn’t exist so it wasn’t much of a concern).  One hundred years ago in Canada women had to be clothed in such a way as to not show any skin except face and hands.  One hundred years ago women were not recognized as persons and prohibited from voting and very few worked as it was considered a man’s responsibility.  Canada has matured since our Victorian coverture laws.  It has evolved into a country which respects (to a degree) a person’s individual rights regardless of gender.

If Saudi Arabia’s faults were only their oppressive treatment of women then the thrust of ethical oil’s ad is very week.  What Ethical Oil should have exposed to the light of day were the many other violations of civility that Saudi Arabia is guilty of.

Saudi Arabia has existed as a nation state for only 79 years.  Its ruling family, the House of Saud, has its roots in murder and thievery.  Abdul-Aziz bin Saud, the patriarch of the Royal Family, earned his kingdom by murdering opposing tribes and stealing their wealth.  But that is history and even our own monarch’s family tree is replete with bloodshed and war, although certainly not as recent as the House of Saud.

Twenty First century Saudi Arabia however, is no less violent than its bloody past.  In fact it can be considered even more bloodthirsty and cruel.  The Ethical Oil ad, when it says that women aren’t allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia, gives us the impression that if a woman is pulled over by a cop she could get a ticket and maybe a ride home.  Not so.  If a woman is found driving a car she could be pulled from the car by a gang of government sanctioned thugs and beaten to death.

There is a government bureaucracy in Saudi Arabia called the “Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice.”  Agents of this committee are called the Mutaween or the religion police. Armed with thin wooden canes the Saudi Mutaween patrol the streets enforcing the official religion of Saudi Arabia, Wahhabi Islam.  Their job is to enforce Sharia Law.  They look for violations of dress codes, strict separation of men and women, prayer by Muslims during prayer times, and other behaviors it believes to be commanded by Islam including;

  • checking that women wear the abaya, a traditional all-enveloping black cloak.
  • making sure that men and women who are spotted together in public are related.
  • arresting anyone engaged in homosexual acts, prostitution, fornication, or proselytizing of non-Muslim religions.
  • enforcing Muslim dietary laws (such as the prohibition from eating pork).
  • enforcing store closures during the prayer time.
  • prohibiting the consumption or sale of alcoholic beverages.
  • seizing banned consumer products and media regarded contrary to Islamic morals.
  • preventing the religious practices of other religions within Saudi Arabia. 1

Punishment is Saudi Arabia is swift and brutal.  The Mutaween can beat you to death on the spot for infractions against Sharia.  If found guilty of crimes in a court punishment may range from caning, to the cutting off of hands, to death by hanging or public decapitation.

In May 2007, a man alleged to have alcohol in his home was reported by Arab News to have been arrested and beaten to death by CPVPV members “The father of the deceased said that commission members continued to beat his handcuffed son, even though he was already covered in blood, until he died

In August 2008, a young Saudi woman who had converted to Christianity reportedly was burnt to death after having her tongue cut out by her father, a member of the Committee.

On 5 April 2006 a Catholic priest, “Fr. George [Joshua] had just celebrated mass in a private house when seven religious policemen (muttawa) broke into the house together with two ordinary policemen. The police arrested the priest and another person.

One of the most widely criticized examples of mutaween enforcement of Sharia law came in March 2002, when 14 young girls died of burns or smoke asphyxiation by an accidental fire that engulfed their public school in Mecca. According to the statements of parents, firemen, and the regular police forces present at the scene, the religious police forcibly prevented girls from escaping the burning school by locking the doors of the school from the outside, and barring firemen from entering the school to save the girls, beating some of the girls and civil defense personnel in the process. Mutaween would not allow the girls to escape or to be saved because they were ‘not properly covered’ and the mutaween did not want physical contact to take place between the girls and the civil defense forces for fear of sexual enticement. ibid

King Abdulla of Saudi Arabia is an absolute dictator.  Unlike the monarchs of more civilized countries where they are mere figure-heads Abdulla’s word is law.  Saudi Arabia is perhaps the second most oppressive and despotic regime on the face of the planet but for North Korea.

Members of the Saud family have been indicted for drug trafficking, and when a Saudi Royal traffics drugs we are talking shipping 2 tons of Columbian cocaine to France aboard their private 727 jet. 2

The Kingdom is being sued by Lloyds of London for their alleged role in funding Al-Qaeda and making the attacks of 9/11 possible. 3

It has been alleged that members of the Royal family knew Mohamed Atta, one of the Saudi nationals who participated in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  These members of the family fled the USA only 2 weeks before 9/11. 4

The Kingdom is the second biggest military spender as a percentage of GDP. 5

Why are they our ally?  Why do we even trade with such a regime?  Why aren’t these despots hunted down under the UN’s so-called “Responsibility to Protect” provision and brought to trial for their barbarism?  Oil, of course.

Saudi Arabia has the largest reserve of easily accessed oil in the world.  (Oil which was discovered by American oil giants, Texaco, and Exxon. 6) The Saudi government in the 1950s effectively nationalized the Saudi branches of these American companies with the help of the US government.

The ads by EthicalOil.org are tame and timid and do not do justice to the atrocities perpetrated by the Saudi dictatorship.  And yet, the Saudi government has the nerve to send a “cease and desist” letter to the Television Bureau of Canada 7.   Bell Canada owner of CTV has capitulated to the Saudi threat probably in fear of losing their lucrative Saudi business which amounts to billions of dollars.  Sun News Network, true to form, has continued to air the ads and has called on the Prime Minister to call in the Saudi Ambassador over the threat to free speech.  It is least he should do.

What Prime Minister Harper as well as the rest of the free and civilized world should do is ostracize this regime.  Stop buying their stolen oil.  Prevent them from spreading their hateful Wahhabism by blockading the country and preventing any of their citizens from emigrating.  They should be shunned and condemned for their medieval political ideology.   Why we continue to have truck and trade with these dictators belies our own tenuous understanding of what it means to be free.

Originally broadcast on Just Right #218, September 22, 2011.

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Committee_for_the_Promotion_of_Virtue_and_the_Prevention_of_Vice_%28Saudi_Arabia%29
  2. http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/Investigation/story?id=633967&page=1
  3. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/lloyds-insurer-sues-saudi-arabia-for-funding-911-attacks-2356857.html
  4. http://whowhatwhy.com/2011/09/22/saudi-royal-ties-to-911-hijackers-via-florida-saudi-family-0/
  5. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_military_expenditures
  6. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saudi_Aramco
  7. http://www.ethicaloil.org/news/saudi-arabia-moves-to-censor-canadian-tv-ad/

 

Jul 072011
 

When the king of Rome established his Senate 2,700 years ago it was a triple E Senate…Elected, Effective and Equal, the very style of a Senate many would like to see here in Canada.  The first Senators of Rome may have been appointed by King Romulus but subsequent Senators were elected by the tribal Curia,   100 Senators from each of the three founding tribes of Rome so it was equal in makeup based on region, and of course it was to gradually become effective, to such an extent that it elected, as a body, the new King once the previous King died.

Over time the Roman Senate went from a triple E senate to an unelected, unequal, and ineffective institution.  It became a body of appointed nobles, some of whom passed on the membership in the Senate to their offspring, who had little power under the Divine Emperors and no longer were elected by the people based on region.  In many respects Canada’s present day Senate more closely resembles the Senate of Rome just before its fall.  However, we can learn from history and benefit from the mistakes of the Romans.

1) Elected.  Although constitutionally Senators must be appointed by the Prime Minister the Upper Chamber will become more of an elected body as individual provinces like Alberta and Saskatchewan hold elections for their Senators.  A Prime Minister who refuses to appoint based on the provinces list of elected Senators risks unpopularity and accusations of favoritism.

2) Effective. The effectiveness of the Senate is constrained for a number of reasons, constitutionally of course it cannot propose money or appropriation Bills, but more importantly the Senate respects the fact that since the members are not elected they should not overturn any legislation brought to the Chamber from the elected Lower House.  Once elected this impediment to effectiveness will be removed and Senators will have as much electoral authority as members of the House of Commons.

2) Equal.  Currently our 105 Senators are chosen to represent the regions of the country.  The West, Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes each have 24 Senators, Newfoundland and Labrador has 6 and the Territories each have one.  While this is obviously not perfectly equal, it is an attempt to fill the red chamber with a relatively equal number of Senators from the broader regions of the country.  An ideal makeup would obviously be an exact number of Senators representing each province rather than a greater region.  Representation by province would fit with an elected Senate as provinces, not regions, hold elections.  Also, Canada is a confederation of provinces, not regions and as such each province should be equally represented in the Senate exactly as is done in the United States.

Recently there have been calls, usually from the NDP and other socialists, to abolish the Senate.  This is because the House of Commons is a battle ground of competing ideologies.  Just the kind of place socialists could take control of.  Currently the primary incentive to follow party whips is the benefit derived from running in subsequent elections under a party banner with the resources only a party machine can offer.  This loyalty to party is diminished if the opportunity for re-election is removed.  To this end Senators could sit for longer terms, perhaps 10 years, and be restricted to serving only one term.

My colleague Bob Metz has come up with a tongue-in-cheek yet novel suggestion.  Why don’t we reform the Senate and abolish the House of Commons?  I think suggestion has some merit.

Before Confederation, as it is today, each of the Provinces, Colonies and the Dominion of Newfoundland had their own elected Parliaments, most even having an Upper Chamber called a Legislative Council.  In these houses laws are made reflecting most of what is also debated in our House of Commons.  Why should the Federal House of Commons be discussing, education, health care or even energy issues when these matters are constitutionally a provincial jurisdiction?  Why should the federal Lower House be entering into treaties with other nations when such decisions should be made in an Upper House which is more accurately representative of the confederated Colonies, Provinces and the Dominion of Newfoundland?

Most (or it could probably argued all) of the decision making that goes on in the House of Commons could either more appropriately be discussed in the individual Houses of each Province, or in an elected federal Senate.  When involving matters not of a national matter the debate could be decided in each province.  If the matter involves the nation as a whole, then the Senate would be the more appropriate chamber for discussion since the nation is more properly defined as a confederation of 10 provinces rather than a great amorphous mob of 35 million people.

(Originally broadcast on Just Right #207, July 7, 2011.)

Mar 092011
 

Jackboots and StethoscopesWhen Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who was himself a doctor, wrote about the adventures of Sherlock Holmes over 100 years ago, the notion that a person could abuse mind altering drugs or frequent opium dens was as common as our young people today taking ecstasy or oxycodone.  What Doyle probably could not have envisaged nor condoned would be the government threatening to put doctors in jail for up to a year for prescribing such common pain relief narcotics as codeine or morphine.  And yet, as of November of last year, that is precisely what can happen to any doctor or pharmacist in Ontario if they run afoul of the new Ontario Narcotics Safety and Awareness Act.  Failure to comply with even the slightest aspect of this act could result in your doctor or pharmacist being fined up to $50,000 or spending a year in jail like a hardened criminal.

This Act was quickly and quietly rammed through the Ontario Legislature with the approval of all parties (the troika) with very little notice in the media.  The Act can be found at the following Ontario Government web page: http://www.ontla.on.ca/web/bills/bills_detail.do?locale=en&Intranet=&BillID=2395.

Family physician, Dr. Leger of Newmarket wrote the following at doctorsandpatients.ca:

First, the Act gives government-appointed ‘inspectors’ sweeping powers without the need for due legal process: probable cause, court-issued search warrants and an uncompromising protection of civil liberties. With this Act, patient safety, civil rights and privacy rights would all be seriously jeopardized.

Under this law, if an Ontario family doctor, like myself, is in their office treating patients, inspectors could enter, demand files, interrogate me on the spot, and remove the files without leaving a copy.  What if the patient whose files they remove is you? What if you have been living with extreme chronic pain and the only tools to manage that pain are prescription narcotics? What if you come in to see me the following day? I will have no file on you. With so many patients, there is a good chance I won’t remember the details of your medical history.  In that scenario, you are at risk. I will have no records to guide me in providing for your care.

The Act has already become law on a unanimous vote in the Ontario Legislature.  It was introduced by Liberal Minister Deb Matthews and supported on a vote of 69 to 0 by all parties, the Liberals, the New Democrats and the Progressive Conservatives with Tim Hudac himself voting in favour.

Once again the three parties in power, the troika as I like to call them, have banded together to infringe upon our personal rights, endanger our health care and treat all doctors and pharmacists as potential drug pushers.

With this Act every Doctor will now second guess his treatment of his patient.  When a patient is in desperate need of pain relief the doctor may think that it may not be worth a possible fine or jail term to prescribe anything listed on the Canadian list of Controlled Substances like codeine or morphine but may instead prescribe an aspirin.

Once again socialized medicine with aid of E-Health is jeopardizing our health.

Next to the recently unveiled statue of Tommy Douglas in Weyburn, Saskatchewan should be a monument to the growing number of people who must now live in pain because the government mistrusts their doctors.  Put that monument next to the monument to the thousands who have died waiting for life saving treatment due to health-care rationing in this country.

(Originally air on Just Right Show #190, March 9, 2011.  To listen to the show go to http://www.justrightmedia.org.)