Archive for category Canadian

What War Is Worth Fighting

Afghan and Canadian soldiers board CH-147 Chin...

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To keep it simple, one that threatens me. Sounds selfish but if I’m going to put my life on the line to fight for a cause, it has to be one I believe in. One that affects me. It could be a threat on my country or even a direct threat to my safety.

To give examples, lets look at the current Canadian “combat mission” (don’t call it a war, thats politically incorrect) in Afghanistan. If a recruiter asked if I would join the armed forces to defend my country by fighting in Afghanistan I would say no. Last time I checked Afghanistan wasn’t attacking Canada.

It makes me sound anti-…something. War? Canadian? Troops? I don’t think I’m any of those. Actually, I might be a little bit anti-war. Then again, so are lots of people. I’m definitely not anti-Canadian. I love my country almost as much as Americans love theirs. And certainly not anti-troops. I support the troops. I think they are the best Canadians we have and we all should be proud of them. But I wouldn’t join them.

We all have our own talents and skills and it just so happens that mine aren’t armed forces related. Perhaps if one day there is a threat to me or my country then I would consider it but not until then. Its a personal choice. I’m not discouraging people from joining up, if they want to then thats their choice. All of our troops should be applauded for their bravery. If you see a Canadian soldier you should go up to them and say “thank you” for representing your country and keeping peace around the world.

If you ever disagree with their causes just remember that they didn’t have a choice about where they were deployed, but they went and did their best. And for that they should be thanked.

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Stop Shouting and Start Talking Sense

Choosing who to vote for in this Canadian election is quite tough. It’s never been easy but this time it really is quite a challenge. This is because there have been so many elections recently that the candidates have run out of new things to promise and have resorted to just insulting the other candidates and occasionally tossing in an idea that they had last election that they thought was a good idea.

It has become a shouting match between three grown men. Stephen Harper is saying a vote for Michael Ignatieff is a vote for higher taxes and a man who has no loyalty to Canada who will desert us half way though his term in office. Michael Ignatieff says a vote for Stephen Harper is a vote for a man who will ruin the country and has already broken parliamentary laws. Then, Jack Layton is saying you shouldn’t vote for either of them because they both are bad and will do awful things. To be honest, I stopped listening by the time he started talking. And finally, Elizabeth May and Gilles Duceppe who are both being ignored. One, more than the other.

I think it’s time to get back to having proper elections. Ones where the leaders represent the political parties and are talking about real political issues instead of just insulting the other leaders. So far as I can see, the only party doing this is the green party.

Get your act together gentlemen and lady. Start talking politics instead of accusing one another of ruining the country and insulting the voters.

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Whats Going on at City Hall

Toronto City Hall from Sheraton hotel room

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Quite a lot has been happening at Toronto city hall. The three main things are the cutting of councilors expenses, the removal of the car tax and the move to make the TTC an essential service.

The first “Victory” of the day for Mayor Ford was the removal of the vehicle tax that added $60 to your fees every time you updated your license plates on your car. The concerns from many councilors was that he reason the tax was brought in was because the city was short of money. This made many citizens happy because they now don’t have to pay a tax. A tax that no one really had to pay anyways.

The next was a the cut of city councilors expenses by $20,000. That’s quite a lot isn’t it. Well it used to be $50,000. That’s more than lots of people make in a year. Just for things they might have to spend money on while doing their jobs. The reason it was cut was because people had been complaining about the over spending going on with expenses because councilors had been claiming things that weren’t business related. The cut could be a good thing because now councilors will be spending less. Or will they? Perhaps more councilors will start spending everything they are allowed to spend instead of what they used to, just to make things awkward.

The final act was to pass a motion to make the TTC an essential service. This is one of Mayor Ford’s big election campaign promises. Of course what he failed to mention was that city council cannot actually decide whether the TTC becomes an essential service but they can make a recommendation to the provincial government that it should become one. If the TTC became an essential service it would mean that they can’t go on strike and must always continue service, even during labour disputes. This doesn’t mean that they can’t go on work-to-rule which means they can slow down service and things like that. Although many transit riders will say they wouldn’t notice anyways.

Those are the main things that have been happening so far with the new council. Lets hope it stays good. All you people outside Toronto. Wish us luck.

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Just Let It Go

The SIU investigates an accident

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I am seriously getting fed up with all the complaints about the G8/20 protests during the summer. Let it go people.

Its been months since this happened and nothing has really been done about it and I really don’t blame the SIU (special investigations unit, they investigate the police) for not finding any police officers in the wrong. You’re complaining about the police arresting you at a protest that was bordering on a riot.

Whats next? People complaining about the government? Because they are really going to listen to you about that.

Now some of the higher ranking officials are saying that some officers took off their name tags that were on their uniforms to hide who they were. That makes perfect sense to me. Remember “Officer Bubbles”? He’s the officer who threatened to arrest a protester because they were blowing bubbles at him. I’m not going to defend his actions or support them. I don’t care. But what happened is because he had his name tag on people found out who he was and started threatening him and his family by phone, mail and going to his house. This is why officers took off their name tags. Because they didn’t want this to happen to them! A badge number is as good as a name tag. You can phone the police and check a badge number and they will tell you the name of the officer (apparently, this is just what I’ve heard). The reason for this is if a police officer shows up at your door and you are unsure if they are a police officer, you can phone and check. Its sort of a thing for older people who have been told by their kids about bad people dressing up like police officers to scam them. This is a bad thing for certain situations. Do you want people knowing who you are and being able to threaten you or your family because you were simply doing your job? I didn’t think so.

I think at the next protest officers should give out the names and addresses of all the people who are in charge. The people who are responsible for all the police presence creating the “police state”. Then maybe they will realize what a stupid idea this is.

I must say that it probably seems like I am taking sides but I don’t fully support either side on this. Both sides of the G8/20 issue could have done better.

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Why Is This So Difficult?

Why is there so much choice in the election for mayor? There are literally countless candidates. Sure you only hear about five or six and there usually ends up being two front runners but there are still others that you can vote for.

The federal and provincial elections are very simple. There are three main political parties (four if you count the green party, five in Quebec) and each one has a candidate in each riding. All you do is decide which party you like best (using your own criteria) and if you like the MP/MPP in your riding and then vote for them. The ballot only has five or six spots. Theses extras are usually independents or small parties like the Marijuana party. Its very simple.

The difference between that and a municipal election is that there are no political parties and therefore there can be as many people on the ballot as you can fit. I remember seeing one ballot that was a full size sheet of paper (8.5×11) that had three columns of names in 10 point font. Thats a lot of choice. Then you also have to vote for the city councilor in your ward (its the municipal word for your “voting area” or “riding”). This isn’t as bad because there are enough wards that the candidates are spread out to about six to ten per ward. But it still isn’t as easy because there is no easy way of finding out what their platform is apart from finding them yourself and asking. This will likely lead to a long winded lecture about principles and saving me money. Stuff I know they probably won’t do (I’m not saying they won’t try though).

I wish there was an easier way to pick the new mayor of Toronto. I can’t think of one but if anyone else can then please let me know.

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The Next Governor General

Despite the calls from the Canadian public to have William Shatner as the next governor general of Canada, this guy has been appointed (article from the globe and mail).

David Johnston, an academic of lengthy credentials who is president of the University of Waterloo, will succeed Michaëlle Jean as governor-general.

Mr. Johnston will speak to reporters Thursday morning, the first time he has made a public statement since he became the odds-on favourite for the vice-regal position several weeks ago.

His appointment Thursday came at the end of a lengthy search process, officials said.

Mr. Johnston’s installation, which will take place on Oct. 1, marks a change in direction for the post of governor-general which has, through the term of Ms. Jean and her predecessor Adrienne Clarkson, been served by captivating female former journalists, both of whom were immigrants.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is said to have wanted a man in the role this time, but insisted the candidate be fluent in both official languages, which ruled out several prominent aboriginal contenders.

Mr. Johnston has been a law professor for a number of Canadian universities. He is the author of two-dozen books, holds honourary doctorates from over a dozen universities and has been awarded the Order of Canada.

While at Harvard, he was twice elected to the All-American Hockey Team and is a member of Harvard’s Athletic Hall of Fame.

The 69-year-old was chosen by a special committee appointed by Mr. Harper and led by Kevin MacLeod, the Canadian Secretary to the Queen and Usher of the Black Rod for the Senate – considered to be Parliament’s top protocol posting.

Mr. Johnston was likely chosen for his constitutional knowledge and level-headedness, observers say. The committee reportedly nixed candidates from the sports, entertainment and art worlds, preferring someone who is well versed in the inner workings of federal government.

The Sudbury, Ont., native became a highly respected legal expert after studying at Harvard, Cambridge and Queen’s University. He captained the hockey team at Harvard, nabbing a spot as a minor character in a novel his dorm mate was writing at the time. Erich Segal’s Love Storybecame a pop-culture icon in the early 1970s.

Before becoming president of the University of Waterloo, Mr. Johnston spent 15 years as the principal and vice-chancellor of McGill University.

His legal work dipped into the political realms, and he was lauded for being non-partisan, having worked for both Liberal and Conservative governments.

He has worked with the Conservative government most recently, when Mr. Harper asked to help write the terms of reference for the Oliphant inquiry, which probed the business transactions between former prime minister Brian Mulroney and German-Canadian businessman Karlheinz Schreiber.

Mr. Johnston is married to Sharon Johnston who has a PhD from McGill University in rehabilitation science. She is currently enrolled in a creative writing program at Humber College in Toronto and is writing a historical fiction novel. They have five daughters.

Yet again someone that not many people have heard of becomes governor general. Would it hurt to listen to the public? And people wonder why the public isn’t too fond of the governor general.

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The Great Canadian Inquest

The Inquest. Also known as an inquiry. Something that Canadians are used to hearing about. They cost lots of money and solve nothing. In Canada we have inquests for everything. When $10 million goes missing, the government spends $50 million on an inquiry to see who got the $10 million. Then five years later they finally find out and they say “pay it back” with no way of enforcing the ruling or findings.

Now people are calling for an inquest into police tactics during G20. Well, I say people, really they are just human rights groups who scream and shout any time a large number of people are arrested, and people who just generally hate the police (most of them were arrested during the G20). The funniest people are those who want an inquiry into all the money spent. Great, as if we haven’t spent enough money already.

There is a way to make all these people happy. Create “inquiry panels” (it’s a rough name. Feel free to change it) of people from “the street”. Sort of like jury duty. Ask them what they think an then let them vote on it. Maybe let the two sides make statements and submit “evidence” which would just be bits of paper and pictures. This would take a day an then this “jury” would take all the bits of papers and deliberates for a few days and says what they think. This would save so much time and money and most people would be happy.

Or you could just set up an online poll and have people vote on it.

The thing is we can’t keep having inquiries. Why can’t people just be happy with the way events happen. Anyone who does anything bad is usually punished properly anyways. In the case of the G20 they can forget an inquiry because there was only two ways to deal with it and the other involved more burning police cars and people getting hurt.

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