Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Scarborough Politicians Should Be Turfed

All Scarborough councillors who have agreed to not push for an extension of the subway deeper into Scarborough should be turfed from office. It is clear to anyone that the RT is just not capable of sustaining the growth. At 5.30 pm, the rush into the RT at Kennedy Station is so huge that people have to wait for two or three trains before boarding one. The buses run infrequently amidst busy streets. Even smaller roads such as Neilson are now busy.

What we need is an extension from the Kennedy Station to Markham Road and Morningside. We also need to extend the purple line into Scarborough Town Center. Finally, we need a North-South subway line on Markham Road.
"I think we came to a mature conclusion that we Scarborough politicians are not going to fight for a subway," said TTC commissioner Glenn De Baeremaeker.


Scarborough councillors have long complained of the lack of attention the former city receives from the TTC, saying residents pay the same fare, but have no streetcar service and only three subway stations. - [Star]
Today those councillors have agreed that dedicated bus lines, street cars and better LRT is the way to go. This would only work if they increased the road width (not happening so rush hour would be more packed than usual), or increased the size of the subway stations and platforms.

What really bugs me is that they took the low cost option. This is infrastructure we are talking about, it's worth will not be known in the short term. Scarborough needs councillors who can fight for a subway. I urge all Scarborough residents to write to their local councillor and make their feelings known.


Is This Man The Next Kerry?

Question: Will you run as MP in Etobicoke-Lakeshore if you lose the leadership race?

Possible - simple - answers could have been "No", "I don't know", "Let's see".

What does Michael Ignatieff say?

"I'd like to serve my constituents well, but you're asking me an anticipatory hypothetical about the situation that prevails on the 3rd or 4th of December."

[The Star]


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Can You Hear Me Now? Good!

Preacher Moss, a muslim comedian who appeared on Comedy Network and at Yuk Yuk's, starts his comedy routine with "Welcome to America! Land of the freedom and opportunity, where I can be anything I want - except a pilot!"

Add cellphone businessmen to that list of jobs that Arab Americans can now no longer participate.

As Shabina from Moz Boondoggle writes,
In a nutshell, some 20-year-old Dearborn guys were held on terrorism charges because they bought a ton of cell phones and had a security guidebook for Royal Jordanian Airlines in their car (oh, and they were Arab). The bros from Texas were held on terrorism charges because they bought a ton of cell phones and snapped pictures of the Mackinac Bridge (oh, and they were Arab).

Both cases crumbled pretty fast (Texas boys free first, then Dearborn dudes). After hours-long interviews, the FBI conceded that the guys were innocent. Their families and lawyers said they were just being good businessmen, buying cheap phones and selling them at a markup. The guys will most likely sue, and I sure hope they make a buttload of money.
Liberal Catnip has more of that as well.

The good thing about the affair was that the investigation agencies approached the cases with an open mind. The bad thing was that we are now encouraged to snitch on our neighbours and fellow citizens. While that may not be a bad thing, as the British airplane plot was foiled by a Pakistani-British muslim reporting suspicious behaviour, I do wonder where as a society we are heading off to, as Britain discusses profiling.

UPDATE: Thanks to knb, here's the CSIS head's attitude to profiling.
The director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service said Tuesday that the spy agency avoids racial profiling because it is "fundamentally stupid'' and does not knowingly use information gleaned under torture offshore because the practice is "morally repugnant.''

Friday, August 11, 2006

One Blogging Tory's "Paki" Rant

The next reason Conservatives wonder why people in ethnic communities don't vote for them, they should take a hard look at posts like this by fellow Conservatives. While it is illogical to tar all Conservatives with the same brush, I find it amazing that Blogging Tories allows such posts to be linked to from its main site, and no other Tory rebukes the original blogger.
Pakistani Terrorism

Call me a racist or a bigot, I am gonna say it any way and I don't care what you call me at all! I was wondering why all these Pakis want to blow up thousands of people all over the world including Canada and recently UK.

Pakistan is the most dangerous country on the face of planet and its people are among the most dangerous and most radicals.

They are an Islamic nation without a national identity. Believe me, they identify themselves first as Muslims and then as Paki nationals.
First, regarding the alleged terror plot yesterday, it was the Pakistani government and intelligence services that helped disrupt the plot.
At a news conference, British Home Secretary John Reid said he was "grateful" for the help of the international community, in particular Pakistan, in disrupting the suspected plot.[BBC]
Second, some of the suspects are not even of Pakistani origin.

Third, it's just wrong to term all Pakistanis as 'dangerous', 'radical' and 'Muslim first'. If all Pakistanis were Muslim first then Bangladesh wouldn't have separated from Pakistan in 1970, and Pakistan wouldn't have a Baluchistan issue to deal with now. If all Pakistanis were radicals, then the Conservative Prime Minister wouldn't have appointed Wajid Khan, a Liberal MP of Pakistani origin, as his 'special advisor'.

Fourth, while I am not a Pakistani, the term 'Paki' has racial connotations and history, and should not be used in such a manner. It's like using the 'n-word' for a black person. It's just racist.

Finally, it's one thing to say Pakistan has a problem with some radicals (that moderates like Musharref are trying to fight). It's another saying all Pakistanis are so. It's plain wrong, and the Blogging Tories should call him on it.

And for symbolism's sake, last week England won a cricket match and clinched the series against Pakistan, in England. Their main bowler in the second innings? One bloke called Sajid Mahmood, of Pakistani origin, now playing for England, who took 4 wickets for only 22 runs to help crush Pakistan.


Thursday, August 10, 2006

Which Part Of Opposition Don't You Understand?

To MP Wajid Khan,

Dear Sir,

You are a member of the Opposition party. The Liberal party is right now NOT the governing party. As such, your duty as a caucus member is to keep the government on its toes. It's the governing party's responsibility to govern. For that, they need members of their OWN caucus to step up to do the job. If their caucus canNOT do the job, it is your duty to call them on it, and remind voters at election time why the whole party of Conservatives could not find a special adviser on South Asia and the Middle East to the Prime Minister.

Thank you,

Crescent Canuck.

PS. Mr Bill Graham, much as I like you as a person, how could you allow this to happen?

UPDATE: I believe the Conservative party must make efforts to have one of their OWN caucus members approach South Asians and other ethnic minorities to show that they are reaching out to those communities. Hiring an opposition member is no way to move to the centre. Where is Jaffer, Grewal? The Conservatives must also try to examine WHY they cannot get elected in major cities.


Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Israel's Right To Defend Itself

Today Israel has warned South Lebanese that it will 'escalate its operations' as well as destroy 'moving vehicles' [BBC]. So if you are a family still living there, you can't escape.

As the conflict dragged on, I heard various people say 'well Israel has the right to defend itself'. I don't have any problem with this statement. Any sovereign nation (and I include Israel) has the right to deal (militarily if needed) with threats to its existence. You heard it here on Crescent Canuck - most Arabs accept that Israel is here to stay (some like Jordan and Egypt even have peace treaties with them). This may come as a shock to some people, but most residents in the middle east aren't opposed to peace - even if that means giving up claim to occupied territories - in return for a fair solution to the refugees / displaced people and settlements.

Growing up in the Middle East, every book teaching Arabic used to have a chapter on the Palestinian issue. During 1993, when the Oslo accords were signed, and we saw pictures of Arabs and Jews in the Holy Land exchanging flowers, I remember telling my Arabic teacher - "we don't need this chapter now". There was genuine optimism amongst the Arabs. Sadly, the joy was short lived as the thorny issue of the refugees remained.

In this crisis, I criticize the 'defensive' action of Israel that went too far in proportion. Most Arab states - initially supporting the Israeli action (even *gasp* Saudi) - has now withdrawn that support.

As I posted on June 28,
"Today, in response to the kidnapping of a 19 year-old Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, Israeli forces have invaded the Gaza Strip - cutting off electricity and water, at the height of summer, to some 1.3 million people."

This is what sparked off the chain of events. Israel could have dealt with the militants by
a) sending in a negotiation team.
b) trying to pinpoint where the soldier was being held hostage and attempt a rescue.
c) warn Ham as of consequences if the soldier wasn't released.

They did none of that.

Again, when two soldiers were kidnapped and few others killed in Lebanon, again Israel had the following options
a) give the government of Lebanon time to negotiate a safe release for the hostages and demand punishment for killing eight others, and warn of consequences.
b) send in an elite force to rescue the hostages.
c) restrict military operations in south Lebanon. As Beirut is over 100 km away from the border, and the maximum range of the rockets are 30 km, rocket launchers in Beirut are not a threat.
d) provide positive proof to the UN that Iran was behind this attack.

This didn't do any of this. Instead, Lebanon is being collectively punished. A government that could've been a model of democracy is now terribly weakened. A terr orist organization is now seen as legitimate by the rest of the country.

And finally, Israel could have asked itself why are 342 Palestinian children (under 18) still in custody. Surely, they can't all be terro rists?

Friday, August 04, 2006

Divisive Politics From Harper

"I understand that not everyone is lucky enough to be born into a rich family, to attend private schools, or to live an international lifestyle," he said. "Instead, millions upon millions of people wake up each and every morning, and get ahead the Canadian way. By working hard, by saving a bit of money, by doing the best they can to make the right decisions for themselves and their families, these people are our people." - Stephen Harper's address to members of his caucus and invited constituents in Cornwall, Ontario.

This type of us versus you is crass politics at best, and at worst class warfare. We shouldn't be surprised. We have seen similar divide-and-smear attacks from conservatives in the past. We should be above this way of politics where we divide and include certain groups and exclude others. My Liberal Canada is inclusive of ALL Canadians. It is progressive. Is it no wonder that it is only in the Liberal party that we have religious candidates with strong views of homosexuality campaign along with gay candidates? It's because we don't play divisive politics, unlike others.

'Real' Canadians versus 'fake' Canadians.

Good Women versus Ambitious Women

'True' Marriage versus 'Fake' Marriage

'The West Wants In' versus 'a culture of defeatism'

Those Who Drink Tim Hortons vs Starbucks (ohh...).

And many others.

h/t Red Tory, HarperBizarro.


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Ban Or Regulate Cycles On The Road

As someone who carpools to work every weekday, I see lots of cyclists on the road as we approach downtown. Downtown Toronto is a very bike-friendly city, with bike lanes, narrower car lanes, right-of-way and other facilities given to the bicycle. Unfortunately I find cyclists often abuse those rights.

For example,
  • many a time I have come to a complete stop at an All-Way-Stop, and the driver in the other direction is about to go, when a cyclist zooms by besides me. It seems Stop signs do not exist for some cyclists.
  • When the light turns red, as a driver you stop. Some cyclists on the other hand become a 'pedestrian', getting off thier bikes and running the red if the road is clear. That's jaywalking for you, on a bike.
  • Many cyclists do not check their blind spot before veering onto your lane in case of construction blocking the bike lane. Many a time you can brake and the cyclist 'dings' you. By the time you are out of the car yelling at him, he is on some side street furiously biking away.
  • Quite often it seems to me an accident between a car and a cycle will be due to the cyclist's recklessness, yet you will see some city politicians and bicyclists crying foul about this city's intolerance for bikes.

As the price of gas keeps going up, we are only going to see more and more cyclists on the road. Those bike lanes are going to get crowded. It's time to either ban cyclists from the road, or regulate them. I propose the following legislations that should be passed either in busy metro cities, or province-wide, and should apply to any cycle using the main roads:
  • All cycles must have working white (front) and red (rear) lights (not reflectors).
  • All cycles must be equipped with mirrors on the handles.
  • All cyclists must pay a plate registration fee (could be as small as $40 per annum). This should give them a license plate with a unique license number they can (and must) attach to their bikes. This would prevent them from 'dinging and running'.
  • All cyclists must pass the G1 road test (or an equivalent bicycle test) so they are aware of the rules of the road.

While I agree that the bicycle is an environmentally-friendly way to commute, save money and be physically fit, that does not give it a free pass from the law.

PS. FYI I was not 'hit' by a bike today. This is something I have thought about for some time, and especially after near misses.