Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Some people are put on this earth just to piss me off.

Was running short of cash the other day and so I stopped at the bank to use the ATM. There was no one in line and only one person at the machine… well actually two people, a woman and a child about 6 years old. So I expected it to be quick. What I didn’t know was that she was using this as a “learning experience” for her son.

As I waited… and waited… the conversation went like this.

Mom: “No sweetie, not that button. This button.”

Son: “Why” 

Mom: “Because we want to put this money in the bank. That’s what deposit means.”

Son: “Okay.”


Mom: “Now press the buttons to put in the amount. This amount. Here, on the cheque.”

{beep} {beep} {beep} …

Mom: “Okay, now press the Okay button. No, not that one…”

{beep} {beep} …

Mom: “Oops, that’s not right. Press the Cancel button… Here… Okay. Now we want to make a deposit, right?…”

And so it went for about 10 minutes as the line-up to use the cash machine grew longer, and longer, and the temperature in the small enclosed space rose considerably.

Finally, totally ignorant of the inconvenience caused to others, they finish and as they leave mom says to the boy, “There now, wasn’t that easy?”.

Monday, November 23, 2009

An unprincipled stand on Jordan’s Principle

On December 12, 2007, the House of Commons voted unanimously in support of a private member’s bill that became known as Jordan’s Principle. Named after a young Aboriginal boy, Jordan River Anderson, who died after 2 1/2 years in hospital while the Manitoba and federal governments squabbled over who was responsible to pay for the services he needed in order to go home, the motion was intended to implement a child-first responsibility in jurisdictional issues. In other words, the welfare of the child was to be paramount; the bureaucrats could fight over who paid for what after the fact.

So two years later, how well have the Harper Conservatives done with implementing Jordan’s Principle? Not so well it seems.

On the CBC’s The Current this morning, Cindy Blackstock, Executive Director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society described how her organization has filed a human rights complaint in an attempt to force the government to implement Jordan’s Principle. The Harper Government’s reaction? According to Blackstock, it was to sic the lawyers on them.

Well, you know, they’ve fought it, right from the very beginning. They are challenging the jurisdiction of the Canadian Human Rights Commission and in fact they’ve appointed lawyers from the Residential School Division to fight this case. They have spent literally thousands of taxpayer dollars to fight the case of equality instead of meeting the needs of children like Carolyn’s.

She goes on to say,

… these are services available to every other Canadian child. If this is where we are in this country, where our government thinks it's okay with any rationalization to racially discriminate against vulnerable children and their families just because of who they are, I personally think that we've hit a new moral low as a country and I think that we absolutely stand for better. That's why all those young men and women over the years have fought for those values of freedom and equality in such a dignified way, during the Second and First World Wars and in Korea and now we’re sending young men and women to do the same thing in Afghanistan, but we're not prepared to do it at home. I don't think that's right.

Listen to the broadcast here.

To be fair, the underlying funding issues that caused the Jordan Anderson tragedy (and others) were not created by the Harper government; it’s been problematic for generations. However it is the Harper Government that finally has a solution in hand and has had for almost 2 years, but instead of implementing the unanimous will of Parliament appears to be content to let the bureaucracy continue to fight Jordan’s Principle to the ongoing detriment of First Nations children living on reserves. It is truly unconscionable.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

From the credit where it’s due file

Citizenship GuideSituations where I can muster up a grudging respect for something the Harper Cons have done are few and far between, but I have to say this latest Citizenship Guide (Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship) from the Immigration Minister is one such case.

Certainly it’s not perfect. From my perspective I would like to have seen a clear statement concerning the separation of church and state. And I think that even though some would argue that our national identity was forged at Vimy the military focus (especially the links to the web sites) is a bit overdone. But those quibbles aside I think it’s generally pretty well balanced and quite comprehensive.

As predictable as rain in April, folks from all walks of life and political bents are lining up to cast stones and criticize. Some have ranted that there is no specific mention of the legality of gay marriage, or that there’s a photo of a crucifix in the document, or there’s too much emphasis on the Christian origins of the country. Others have complained that the English is too hard for a non-English speaking immigrant to understand. Still others have moaned about the fact that our health care system isn’t splashed up in neon on every second page. About the only folks who haven’t weighed in is PETA protesting the Calgary Stampede photo (or perhaps they already have and I’ve just missed it because I’m inclined to ignore anything they have to say).

Let’s get real. To include every wish of every special interest group would have resulted in a massive tome unreadable by anyone but rabid historians and bureaucrats, so compromises were made, and I for one, am willing to accept the results.

No, it’s not perfect, but it’s a damned good start.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Just doing God’s work…

I am at a loss for words about this story.

BlankfeinGoldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein is reported to have said the following in an interview with London’s Sunday Times.

"We have a social purpose."
He is, he told the paper, just a banker "doing God’s work"

Now isn’t that just swell. I guess he means the greed and wild risk taking at Goldman Sachs and others that brought the global economy to its knees is all part of God’s master plan. And getting the big cash bonuses right now is just so much better than waiting for your reward in the great hereafter.

He went on to say that he understood people were angry with bankers' actions: "I know I could slit my wrists and people would cheer."

Well at least he got that right.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Things that make you go hmmm…

Congratulations are in order for Peter MacKay who just became engaged to ”his longtime girlfriend, CTV producer Jana Juginovic” in Boston this weekend. That should lead to some interesting conflict discussions in the newsroom.