Saturday, July 25, 2009

“It’s discrimination.” Really?

no photo licenseAfter a lengthy legal battle, Alberta Hutterites have lost their bid for an exemption to Alberta’s laws requiring a mandatory photo on provincial driver’s licences.

Citing security and identity theft concerns, the Supreme Court of Canada overturned lower court decisions by a 4-3 margin, effectively saying that in this case broader social benefits trump religious rights.

"The negative impact on the freedom of religion of colony members who wish to obtain licences does not outweigh the benefits associated with the universal photo requirement," Justice Beverley McLachlin wrote in support of the decision.

Not unlike the debate over the rights of Muslim women to wear the niqab, this decision will likely trigger controversy in some circles.

"It's discrimination, that's the right word for it," Wurz said.

Sam Wurz, manager of the Three Hills Hutterite colony, was quick to trot out the D-word – discrimination – as if this was legislation designed to target a specific religious community. By definition, to discriminate means to treat or favor one group differently. Ergo a special accommodation for one group, i.e. treating them differently because of their religious views, was the real discrimination here. And that has now been corrected by the Supreme Court’s decision that this particular law applies equally to ALL Albertans.

(Photo: Calgary Herald)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Pay your own way? Good idea!

VIAIn a National Post column, Lorne Gunter makes the patently absurd claim that since rail cannot survive on its own, needing government subsidies to operate, Via Rail should be dismantled.

With a stunning display of ignorance, he says, "If you like to go by train, then you pay for it." It’s almost as if he thinks that the hundreds of billions invested in our roadways are a gift from some supreme being, and not paid for by Canadian taxpayers – even some who might (gasp!) prefer to travel by train.

Here’s a thought Lorne. Let’s let those who live in Calgary pay for Highway 1 so they can head into Banff for their weekend getaway in a taxpayer-funded national park. And they could also pay for Highway 2 to get them to a taxpayer-funded airport to fly to someplace where the testosterone and pickup truck exhaust fumes aren’t so thick as to cause brain damage. And that’s to say nothing about the taxpayer-funded interchanges, overpasses, and bridges Calgarians use every day in mad pursuit of their petro-dollars.

If you had to pay for all that, I expect you might just find yourself travelling by Red River cart whether you wanted to or not.

And by the way, it’s not just Albertans paying for all that largesse either – it’s Ontarians, Manitobans, Newfoundlanders – all Canadians.

You’re welcome. Now  stop being so damned stupid.

(Photo: Shaun Best, Reuters)

Friday, July 17, 2009

Stephen Harper made me what I am today – a Liberal.

There’s no need to document Stephen Harper’s lies, divisive leadership style, political abuses, and general incompetence – that’s been more than adequately covered over the past 3 1/2 years by bloggers of all political stripes and the MSM – but what we don’t hear as much about is the damage that he has done to the Conservative brand.

In better times I would have described my political views as agnostic, not bound to any particular party’s ideology and willing to support whichever candidate and/or party offered what I considered to be the best vision for the future of my Canada at that point in time. If pressed, I might reluctantly have described myself as a red tory with a large dollop of libertarian thrown in – fiscally conservative, socially liberal, and of the view that people should be allowed to live their lives as unencumbered as possible by the nanny state in all its myriad shapes and forms. And except for the most rabid of tinfoil-party-hat-wearing partisans, I expect a very large number of Canadians, perhaps even a majority, would self-identify in a similar way.

But since Stephen Harper and his gang of Alberta and ex-Ontario Mike Harris Conservative sycophants came to power, I have had to get off the fence as it were and take a stand against their malevolent attacks on Canadian institutions, their laissez-faire attitude towards the meaning of Canadian citizenship, their fast and loose interpretation of transparency and accountability, their relentless destruction of Canada’s international image (everywhere except in the US administration that is), and their general disdain for the non-Conservative majority in this country.

That’s why I now financially support the party that I think is best able to get them all (or at least most of them) the hell out of Ottawa – and the sooner the better.

Stephen Harper has effectively destroyed the Conservative brand for many, many Canadians, and it will be a long, long time post-Harper before those non-aligned voters start trickling back to the Conservative Party, or what’s left of it when he’s done.

From the Truth in Advertising Department

PAIN Preparation - CTC

Monday, July 13, 2009

Lesson for Neo-Cons

As George Santayana so famously said, “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

NeanderthalAccording to The Guardian, a recent scientific journal suggests that Neanderthals met their demise not as a result of climate change, but at the hands of humans. As lunch. And to add insult to injury, the teeth of recently ingested Neanderthals were possibly used to make costume jewellery.


But the history lesson here should not be lost on the modern Neanderthal – the Harper-worshipping neo-con.

The article states, “modern humans probably contributed to Neanderthal extinction”, and “modern humans” will do so again. But this time I’d vote for letting them keep their teeth.

Monday, July 6, 2009

A tale of two immigrants

Mikhail Lennikov (stories here, here, and here) is, by most accounts, a model citizen. He came to Canada in 1997 on a student visa. In 1999 he applied for permanent residency. He was honest in his application, never hid his KGB background, and even shared information with CSIS. Since then, while waiting for the wheels of Canada’s immigration system to grind on, he has lived and worked in BC, raising his family and fully integrating into his adopted community.

The Canadian government has now finally decided that despite Lennikov’s exemplary record as an immigrant over the past 12 years, his time with the KGB more than 20 years ago make him “detrimental to the national interest”, and therefore he must be deported. But in a grand show of compassion, they have agreed to let his wife and son stay in Canada. 

Farid Noedost (stories here, here, and here) arrived in Canada as a refuge from Iran and gained permanent residency in 2001. Since then he has been convicted of drug crimes, fraud, mischief and sexual assault. In 2007 he was sentenced to 3 years in federal penitentiary for trafficking in cocaine. In 2008 he received a 3-year suspended sentence on a sexual assault conviction involving under-aged females. Other sexual assault charges were stayed.

The Immigration and Refugee Board told Noedost The way you have conducted yourself in Canada is despicable. You are a danger to girls under 18. And then rolled out the welcome mat. Yup, this convicted criminal and sex offender, who authorities believe presents a continued danger to Canadians, is welcome to stay.

Mikhail Lennikov – DEPORTED!

Farid Noedost – WELCOME!

Is this a great country or what?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Deer – nature’s gluttons

Well it’s that time of the year again when our carefully planted and lovingly tended gardens become nothing more than a big deer buffet.


deer cartoon