Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A Brown Man Fighting A Court Discrimination Case

My friend Liya's uncle is fighting a discrimination case today. Please head over there and give her your support.

This shit really pisses me off, especially after the Vancouver airport taser event.

And what pisses me off even more is the attitude of some people who then go "oh our police/security can do no wrong the guy must have deserved it, they get a lot of shit for doing their job".

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Probably The Sunshine Girl

Don't the New Democrats have anything better to do?
Conservative MP James Moore is the subject of a complaint that he's been checking out "scantily clad" women on his laptop computer in Parliament.A female New Democrat MP rose in the House of Commons today to complain that she saw Moore with a racy image on his computer screen while at his seat in the parliamentary chamber.[Star]
Then again, probably Harper was giving a speech in which case, time well spent Mr Moore.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Too Bad He's Not A White Blond Female

It's time we took gun crimes seriously.

Yesterday 16-year-old Keyon Campbell was shot down on his driveway as he attempted to start his mom's car [Star]. Police think it's a case of mistaken identity - Campbell's a smart, student, employed, an avid basketball player, did not have a problem with the law and even starred in a short documentary as a boy on the right track - in short, all strikes against the negative stereotype of a young black man.

And he was shot down in cold blood in front of his house.

Police are of course clamoring to solve the case, but it's time gun crime is taken more seriously at higher levels.

When the Harper government came to power I thought finally we would have someone with the balls to do something about gun crime. Let's face it, Paul Martin's good-for-nothing plan to ban guns that were already banned was an act of desperation.

Yet now, nothing seems to have worked, in fact Toronto is on course to break it's 1991 record of 89 homicides, mostly with guns. School fights are now not settled with a punch-up but a shoot-out. What sort of society is this?

I don't think Campbell's death will strike much into public consciousness. Another black kid shot, most will think, besides he wasn't shopping downtown on Boxing Day and where's his dad? Those were what I thought as I read that story.

But his death DESERVES to be in the public conscious. It SHOULD spearhead an effort to cut down the illegal guns brought in from the States. And it SHOULD result in demands for greater punishment against perpetrators of gun violence on our streets.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Dion Wishes Muslims On Eid

Statement by the Honourable Stéphane Dion, Leader of the Official Opposition, on the Celebration of Eid al-Fitr

October 12, 2007
On behalf of the Liberal Party of Canada and our Parliamentary caucus, I would like to extend my best wishes to all Muslim Canadians celebrating the end of Ramadan with Eid al-Fitr.

Eid al-Fitr is a joyous occasion for Muslims around the world. It not only marks the end of fasting, but it is a time to express appreciation to Allah for the strength and perseverance he has given to help practice self-control during the previous month. It is a spiritual time that brings rejoicing and happiness.

As you gather with relatives and friends to partake in special prayers and festivities marking the end of Ramadan, please accept my warmest regards for a most memorable celebration.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Vote No To MMP

After a lot of consideration, I will be voting "No" to MMP. There's a few reasons:
  • MMP tends to result in minority governments. While I recognize minorities can keep a "dictatorial" leader in check, and prevent any one party from implementing radical reforms, we have Senates in Canada (a house of 'sober second thought').

  • A minority government implies nothing gets done and too many games being played as the government remains busy trying to keep governing rather than getting anything done. I would rather the government push forward its agenda - whatever it is - and be judged on it, than 3 years of no action.

  • A minority government implies the government has to compromise its agenda, which is really what they were elected on in the first place.

  • I prefer Instant Runoff Voting, which is not on the ballot.

  • So a party gets a majority of the seats with only 35% of the people voting for them. I fail to see what the problem is. If more people voted it would have been fairer, but you know - the guys who didn't vote - consciously made that choice.

  • I don't like MPs being beholden and being blindly loyal to the party and party leaders. Even as it is now the "whip" has too much power.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Why McGuinty Is Wrong

As a life long Liberal and someone who will work the boots off for a Dion victory, I cannot bring myself to vote for McGuinty. The debate and his attack on Tory's plans for funding faith-based schools have soured me to him.

I have said repeatedly that I do not agree with faith-based schools at all, yet the way McGuinty has attacked faith-based schools is completely wrong. He pointed to Toronto not having cultural divides, racial riots, civil unrest etc. because kids of many cultures go to school together. His argument - faith based schools divide people and promote segregation is completely hypocritical. McGuinty himself is the product of a faith-based school - the Catholic system.

So, in effect what McGuinty is saying to us is, faith based schools are wrong and promote racial discord - unless it happens to be a Catholic education - then it's all good. If that's not discrimination and if that's not elitist and if that doesn't feel racist then I don't know what else will.

As Tory said, it's a question of fairness. Either fund all faith based schools or fund none.

Where I would differ from him is that I would choose the "fund none" option.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Canadian Punjabi Newspapers Running "Abortion" Ads

I first heard of this news story from Michael Coren today on CFRB.
Evidence suggests that ultrasound ads may be targeting Indo-Canadian groups to determine the sex of their unborn babies, which in turn may lead to abortions based on sex-selection, as is happening in numerous countries throughout the world.
So far the given news link is the only source I can find to verify Coren.

Personally my belief on abortion is coloured by my religion (OK in first four months under some circumstances - detailed analysis here), but I wonder how can we really be shocked that this gender-selected abortion is now not only occurring in Canada, but is paid for by tax payers too!

I don't care about multi culturalism - getting an ultra sound done to determine if the baby is a girl and then having an abortion if it's a female is wrong. I wonder how all the proponents of those who strictly believe in a woman's right to have an abortion can justify killing that woman in the first place itself.

Related Links:

BBC Story: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/6275770.stm
CSM: http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0113/p01s04-wosc.html
Sepia Mutiny: http://www.sepiamutiny.com/sepia/archives/004550.html

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Ontario Election General Preview

My view is that this is McGuinty's election to lose. Elections are usually a referendum on the current government and the general feel I get from everyone is that by most standards, the Liberals have delivered.

The biggest factor anyone I talk to mentions to me is education. There has been no labour dispute regarding teachers in the last four years - a constant fact of life under Mike Harris. Class sizes are on their way down, and it actually seems teachers are plentiful. However I do share a concern with this writer that some standards are getting lower.

The government has also provided money hiring more police officers (as promised) and even though we hear of shootings in and around Toronto, most people generally feel safe (and thus crime is not a big issue).

Immigration doesn't seem to catch anyone's attention (nor does terrorism - these are mostly federal issues) but immigrants as a whole are worried about recognition of foreign educational credentials, but these are again not blamed on McGuinty.

Where the Liberals have failed to pacify the voters is health care. This is of course my gut poll, very unscientific, but there are many people who are very angry at McGuinty on this issue alone. Not only did he put that much hated health tax (call it premium, whatever) but also took away eye care. We are getting less bang for more bucks, and every time we look at the pay stub we are reminded of this issue.

So the general preview is that even though the polls say it's 50-50, I feel it is the Liberals' election to lose. In the coming couple of months, three issues could rise into prominence where Tory will try and differentiate himself.
  • Funding for the TTC and easing the provincial downloading to cities.
  • The Cricket-Gate mismanagement of $32 million
  • Funding for non-Catholic schools.
It remains to be seen how much of a traction each of those issues can take.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Obama Oh Gone-a!

Today is the day the Obama campaign starts to head downhill. What a way to torpedo oneself! And I had such high hopes for him too.

From the Boston Herald,
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said Wednesday that he would send troops into Pakistan to hunt down terrorists even without local permission if warranted - an attempt to show strength when his chief rival has described his foreign policy skills as naive.
The BBC has a slightly nuanced report:
US presidential candidate Barack Obama has said he would order military action against al-Qaeda in Pakistan without the consent of Pakistan's government.
Clearly whatever he meant, this policy is supposed to show that Obama is firm on terror, a tough guy and has balls.

It also shows how incredibly naive he is, a charge Clinton had levelled against him the other day when he said he would meet the leaders of Cuba, North Korea and Iran without conditions.

I won't even get into the contradiction of how Obama has accused Clinton and Bush of invading a sovereign country (Iraq) illegally and is now prepared to do the same. I won't even get into the fact that Pakistan is officially an ally of the U.S. and is doing what they can to fight radicals holed up in the north of the country. What I will get into is how this shows what I had feared true all along - despite his charisma, Obama is a very weak candidate and unsuitable for the position of the President of the United States.

First, even if this is just blustering and a bluff to rally around foolish voters who think military might is the answer to all problems - it's wrong to do so. Clinton so far has a lead over Obama because people believe the senator has the experience and maturity to fulfill the duties of a President.

Second, if Obama really believes this is how to solve the Pakistan conundrum, then he is even more foolish than I give him credit for. When your country is bogged down in an unpopular and energy sapping war in one country, while trying to do the impossible task of nation building in another, with your army stretched to breaking point, it's not the time to open yet another front and another war with yet another country.

Third, they can rest assured Pakistan is a different kettle of fish. It has nuclear weapons and from all previous statements of their leaders, will not be shy of using them if left no choice.

Fourth, if they attack Pakistan, the conflict will spread, very easily, far beyond the shores of Pakistan. A whole other set of countries will then turn against the US, if not so already.

Fifth, am I wrong or does Obama's position keep changing with the polls? One day he is a man of peace, the next day he is a man of war, one day he wants to meet everyone for a group hug, the next day he is shunting a key ally, one day he is calling Clinton "Bush-Cheney lite" the next day he is proposing an act even Bush didn't do.

Providing covert help for Pakistani forces (who are friendly to the US aim of eradicating radicals) is one thing, invoking war on a nuclear powered country is another. Obama has rightfully shown himself to be naive, irresponsible and immature.

Monday, July 30, 2007

The MCC Has No Importance

I was amused today to see both Warren Kinsella and Queer Liberal play up the MCC's lack of support for John Tory's plan for funding religious schools.

The MCC has zero credibility amongst most Muslims in Canada, as far as I can see. Many of us see them as left wing loons, with a few solid ideas, but so removed from religious orthodoxy that what they say has no weight. This is isn't to say that other Muslim groups are very credible (there is a crisis of leadership) but as far as the MCC goes, not many particularly even like them.

If the Liberals want to focus on education (and they should - no labour problems in last four years, class sizes down, etc.) they would do well not to remind ethnic voters about the Tory plan (most Hindu, Jewish and Muslims are in favour of funding faith bases schools AS LONG AS the Catholic system is also funded). Letters like the MCC's play no part in dissuading them from this fact - rather enforce the idea of discrimination that exists.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Nursing Home Allowance Is Rubbish

Small Disclaimer: I am a federal Liberal. When it comes to national issues, national elections and national concerns, I vote the Liberal party. Provincially however, it's a different issue. I evaluate each platform and have no allegiance. Given Ontario's provincial electoral history, that seems to be the mainstream nature of the voters. This election I will examine who benefits me more, which directly translates to who benefits Toronto more (transit subsidies topmost), and vote accordingly.

The Liberals decided today to raise daily food allowance for seniors to $7 a person. This move does absolutely nothing for me.

In my opinion, seniors should be taken care of by younger family members and tax incentives should be provided for those caregivers. In case you are a senior who does not have any family members to care for you, and do not earn enough on your own, then the government should do a lot more than just $7 for food (and this is daily). Moreover, McGuinty had four years to work on this file, why did he just move on it now?

Ever since McGuinty told Toronto two days ago to raise taxes to solve its financial problems he has been in the red for me. This is a man who seemed to, in my opinion, blame the previous government for every woe of Ontario, then he should know that Harris downloaded the TTC costs to Toronto. If Harris was wrong, then right the wrong, Mr McGuinty. Tell us you are going to fund the TTC, again. Then I can vote for you, for sure.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

What's In A Name? Ask Mr Singh.

This is completely absurd.

Common Sikh names banned under Canada's immigration policy

A Calgary woman waiting for her husband to arrive in Canada is upset by a long-standing immigration policy that forces people with the surname Singh or Kaur to change their last names.


Karen Shadd-Evelyn, a spokeswoman with Citizenship and Immigration Canada, said the policy preventing people from immigrating to Canada with those last names has been in place for the last 10 years.

This policy is discriminatory and needs to change immediately. (h/t: Liberal Catnip)

Monday, July 23, 2007

Tory's Plan To Fund Faith-based Schools

I admit the first thing I remarked when I say John Tory's proposal to allow private faith-based schools to access public funds was this: $400 million? That's it?

While I admit that it is a lot of money, it's not much when compared to some other big ticket items. I only have two questions about Tory's proposal.

  • Where will he get $400 million from?
  • How will we decide which school deserves what share of the funds?

    It should be noted that Tory is not proposing to immediately allow this to occur, rather former premier Bill Davis will lead a commission to figure out the best way to bring religious schools into the public system.

    While a long time advocate against faith based schooling, primarily for the reason that I feel kids who will work in a multicultural environment of the future need to grow up in a non-segregated public schooling system. Yet, in Ontario today we discriminate by allowing Catholic schools access to public funds yet withhold the public purse from other faiths. Thus I see nothing wrong in extending the purse strings to schools of other faith. Either we take away funding from Catholic schools (I would strongly support this position) or we fund all faiths.

    While details are scant at this point, I like one phrase in Tory's proposal. He said "the best way to bring religious schools into the public system".

    This would mean certain disadvantages students of such faith-based schools now suffer (mainly due to lack of funds) might go away.

  • Taught by inexperienced teachers with no teaching credentials.
  • Lack of proper equipment such as a gym or computer labs.
  • Not having teachers of a different faith.
  • ... and so on.
  • Sunday, July 22, 2007

    The Alleged Abuse of Chilean Players

    The story about the Chilean players and the Toronto police brawl irked me. Even though I wasn't there, the story about policemen cracking heads of 19 year olds has something of an over-zealous nature. So I started to read about the various reports of the incident.

    Let us not forget the some of the Toronto police are not always squeaky clean either. The case of Mr Jama Jama comes to mind. On August 4, he tried to break up a fight when the police intervened and punched him in the face. When he reported this to the authorities, the policemen involved stated that he was involved in the fracas and was resisting arrest. They in fact charged him with assaulting a police office. Unfortunately for the them, and fortunately for Mr Jama Jama, a friend nearby had recorded the whole incident on camera. [Source]

    So when I saw the police chief and other officials rapidly closing ranks behind Toronto's Finest, I wasn't convinced that they were in the clear. And after thinking long and hard and reading all reports about the incident, I can only see one bottom line.

    The police used pepper spray, batons and tasers to control a bunch of unarmed 19 year olds who had just spent 90 exhausting minutes running around a 100 m pitch, and not to mention were outnumbered.

    Regardless of who started this, the argument is that the police used OVER BEARING force, not to mention being overaggressive and overzealous. Again, these were not rowdy drunks on a Saturday night, these were kids (some as young as 13) who were just a little hotheaded.

    No, we don't need to apologize, but we need to evaluate our security and training given to policemen when controlling soccer matches, teams and officials. This should not have happened.

    Wednesday, July 11, 2007

    Sicko and the American Healthcare

    I remember once I was in southern Georgia, US, on my way to Orlando, Florida. We stopped at this little town where a buddy of mine worked, to rest for the night. He took us for dinner at this small family restaurant, along with a few co-workers of his. During dinner, the conversation shifted to voting.

    "So you guys are all voting this year?" I casually asked his colleagues.

    "Oh yes," one tall woman replied, "but we haven't gotten our vote card yet."

    "Vote card?" I asked.

    "Oh yes," she replied, "our company gives us cards with the candidates positions and who they recommended to vote for, and we do accordingly."

    My jaw was like an :-0 in shock. And it is because of people like her (and she was not an aberration I found - many in the south of USA are truly politically ignorant hicks who never step out of their own towns and have no knowledge - nor interest - in what is going on at home and abroad), people who never think, yet they vote, that I despair of films like Sicko ever having any impact in the US.

    Sicko was not a bad movie (though I maintain Moore's Bowling for Columbine was his best). It did paint a rosier picture of Canadian health care than what is the truth, but despite all the purported problems of our health care, I would not change it at all for an American-style user-pay-as-you-go health care. It is baffling that the richest, most powerful nation in the world cannot afford to provide adequate health care for more than half of its citizens.

    It's also surprising how environment is suddenly the top issue amongst all the supposedly educated elite and the secular thinkers of the American political establishment. Yes, Gore my man, kudos to you for raising the profile of an issue you did nothing major about for eight years as the vice-president, but this Live Earth thing wasted more energy than the Canadian army in a single day in Afghanistan! Yes, I know the intent was to raise awareness, but everyone already knows about the environment! It is easy to latch on to the environment as something to do, because other than petitioning the government to sign the faulty Kyoto agreement you don't really have to do much.

    While watching Sicko, there are many times I was glad that man, I am Canadian. However, one nagging thought did keep interrupting me - wait times. There are times when I had been down with something, or had a broken bone wherever, and had to wait a week or two before seeing a specialist. In those one or two weeks, pain killers would have to do. At those times, I sometimes wish I could have the option of paying and seeing the specialist early.

    However, problems with our system are limited (and caused by) how we run our system, not with the system itself. For no other reason do many Buffalo citizens still try and somehow manage to obtain an Ontario Health card.

    Tuesday, June 05, 2007

    The Greens Are Stupid

    'Coz if you are a new party, looking to break into the political mainstream, you want to make your pitch by telling voters, "Vote for us, pay even MORE for gas!"

    They would have had a better reception had they, oh I don't know, suggested we build a better transit system in the cities. Most people wouldn't abandon cars if the gas prices rose by 12 cents. Hell, it rose by more than 30 cents since last year (from 75c/l) and I am still driving to work (albeit painfully). You know what would stop me, and I suspect most people, from taking their car to work?

    A much better, and connected, transit system. Where a 10 minute drive by car does not take an hour to go by transit. If they connect Scarborough in Toronto to the subway by, for example constructing a north-south line through Markham Road, suddenly much of the cars that now clog-up the 401 from Kennedy to Morningside would disappear. And I suspect it's much the same in most of the major cities in Canada.

    Miller had a good idea by making the Metropass transferable and affordable so more people take the transit to work. It's time to take the next step and expand the subway.

    Not having stupid ideas by trying to punish people for just living their daily lives.

    Monday, June 04, 2007

    Bullying Illegal: Key Concerns

    Yet another positive in the field of education by the Ontario Liberals, and good on the Opposition to support such a bill.
    Bullying officially illegal under schools act

    Students who engage in physical or online bullying could be suspended or expelled under changes to Ontario’s Safe Schools Act that unanimously passed third and final reading today in the provincial legislature.
    The key words in the phrase above are "could be".

    • As we have seen in the latest school shooting in Toronto, such laws are only good if the punishments are enforced. How will the Ministry or the school boards monitor how schools deal with reports of infractions?

    • How will the law deal with regular offenders? It's not clear - everything seems to be wishy-washy optimism.
      “These amendments would ensure there are strong consequences for inappropriate behaviour,” said [ Education Minister] Wynne
      ... but ...
      “The legislation will more effectively combine discipline and opportunity for students to continue their education,” Wynne told the legislature during third reading debate.
      ... but ...
      “I think we have to find ways to take people who are repeat offenders and make sure what we don’t do is put them out on the street and have them out of the school system,” [Conservative Leader] Tory said.

      “Then they’re almost guaranteed to have a life that is going to go the wrong way, and I think we’ve seen what the consequences of that can be.”
      I don't understand.

    • This is the first time "online" has been added to the legislature. Are schools overstepping their authority here? What if I have a blog and I bitch about my high school classmate? Is it bullying now?

    Education is one of the key fields this Liberal government has come up trumps. There hasn't been a labour disruption that I can remember, which was a regularity under the Harris years. Nor has there been any serious concerns as far as schools and spaces are concerned. The Liberals should own this area in the upcoming election, and continue to remind parents how good and peaceful their children's school has been under them.

    Thursday, May 31, 2007

    Missing Role Models and Black Culture

    As I read through the news reports about the school shooting at C.W. Jefferys Collegiate, then the teachers' rant on what was wrong at the institution, and then I saw the pictures of the funeral and the news conferences, I could not help but notice one thing amongst all others.

    Where are the fathers?

    Every time there's a shooting involving black kids in Toronto, I see similar pictures. A kid dies, the mother (God bless her) crying to the camera. Then there's the funeral, you have a mother and 3 or 4 siblings, mournful. Then the accused (also black) are brought to court. Again there's his mother, teary eyed, in court.

    In all these situations, you have the missing factor. The father. He's nowhere on the scene.

    What type of monster produces a kid then wants nothing to do with it?

    Some time ago when Tony Blair "blamed" black culture, I said it was a bit rich coming from him. Maybe I was a bit too hasty in condemning him.
    Between 1992 and 2003, the number of homicides involving black youths in Toronto was almost five times greater than the average overall homicide rate of 2.4 per 100,000, according to a 2004 analysis by two University of Toronto's criminologists.


    As much as society overall bears responsibility for the shooting death of a child, there's also no getting away from the cultural things going on, such as the deterioration of the family structure and lack of role models for some youths, says John Muise, of the Canadian Centre for Abuse Awareness, who participated in the news conference at the Christian Centre Church on Jane St. It's been said the single greatest predictor of anti-social behaviour in a young male is the absence of a father.

    "At the end of the day, you've got a bunch of young guys who are having babies way too young, that they don't look after," which leaves boys "without fathers, or they're confused about who their father is ? not that they don't have loving moms, but their influences, their role models are guys with guns, guys who act like thugs and act like gangsters," said Muise, a former police officer.[source]
    I think the government owes it to the black community to provide more funds to promote sexual abstinence and educate them on the practice of safer sex and contraceptive methods, so if they are promiscuous at least kids are not being produced that will not only be brought up in an economically disadvantaged household, but also minus a father figure. The government should also go after dads who have kids and then do not financially contribute, with jail time if necessary. Finally, the government should seriously and aggressively target youth crimes, making the punishment such a big stick that it acts as a deterrent - in other words the punishment is not worth the crime or the risk.

    And all of this is not just me speaking - this is also the opinion of a mother of a dead black son.

    Friday, April 13, 2007

    So It's The Blacks Who Are At Fault?

    So Tony Blair thinks "black culture" is a problematic one.
    "We need to stop thinking of this as a society that has gone wrong – it has not – but of specific groups that for specific reasons have gone outside of the proper lines of respect and good conduct towards others and need specific measures to be brought back into the fold."

    That's a bit rich coming from someone who has caused the death of tens of thousands with an illegal war, but let's focus on this ridiculous notion of blaming "black culture". The remarks were made in a Guardian article.

    Many a times I have been told this by some right leaning person: "See, it's not you guys that are a problem. You guys are good immigrants. Asians (Indians, desis, Chinese), the Europeans - you guys assimilate and integrate and are successful. It's the blacks that are a problem."

    So we have Good Immigrants and Bad Immigrants. It should be noted that most blacks are not immigrants.

    Herein lies the crux of the problem. Most immigrants today are the 'cream of the crop'. To come into Canada, we had to be educated, medically sound, have some wealth and be industrious and hard working. Therefore it's very unlikely for us to be of the criminal bent and therefore crime rates amongst such immigrant communities are low.

    Black people, on the other hand, have been in Canada for ages. They are mostly from the lower end of the economic scale, having been enslaved for centuries, then systematically discriminated against even up until 30 years ago. So it's a little bit premature to expect all of a sudden that the black community will pull itself up without any help.
    The problem is children "being brought up in a setting that has no rules, no discipline, no proper framework".
    In other words - no father figure.

    In my opinion, rather than blaming a certain culture for being marginalized, the government should try and make sure they are not. These are the following ways to go about it:

  • Actively fight racism and discrimination.
  • Do not allow ghettos to be built up.
  • Increase funding to safe-sex and sex education and awareness classes in schools, as well as visits by reformed convicts and former drug addicts. Rather than slashing funding to these so-called leftist programs, the conservatives should remember that 'prevention is better than cure'.
  • The black community needs role models. I thought it was a brilliant idea for the NBA to require their players to wear suits if they are not playing.
  • Legislate against violence in rap lyrics and videos.
  • Very strict, long term prison sentences for crimes - make the punishment not worth the risk for the reward.
  • Track down truant fathers and make then pay for the kid's upbringing. It's not right that you should have a kid and then not shoulder a burden for the child's raising.
  • Bring the church in as part of the solution. I would wager that one of the many reasons why there is a distinct lack of single mothers in the South Asian community (or even pre-marital sex) is due to strong religious and cultural taboos.
  • Tuesday, March 06, 2007

    Let's Not Reduce The Level of Debate

    So apparently, now I am a "Pakistan supporter".

    All, because, yesterday when Mr Sappani wrote a Pakistan-bashing article on his blog, I merely asked him for facts to clarify his story. He, of course, took the rationale that "what he was saying can be googled" which therefore excused his rant. Whatever, it's his blog, his rant space.

    However, asking for facts is akin to "Pakistan supporting".

    On January 5, 2007, I wrote against Majid Khan, particularly because he had served in the Pakistan army during 1971, which I felt had committed genocide and war crimes in that war. As someone originally from Bangladesh whose family had been in the Mukti Bahini fighting Pakistan forces, I would be amongst the last to be called a "Pakistan" supporter.

    However, when I am accused of just that, Mr Sappani is trying to reduce the level of debate on Libblogs to a more George Bush-like "us versus them" attitude. His anti-Pakistani article was just that - anti-Pakistan. It started from a news article about a debt-ridden third-world country's national airline (PIA), and spiraled into an anti-Pakistan vitriol. As someone who has many Canadian friends of Pakistani descent, I asked Mr Sappani for clarification on his conclusions, one of which included a mark against Pakistan because it was the "only Islamic country with the N-bomb".

    Now I am of the mind-set that India is the only Hindu-country with the N-bomb, but I would not use that in an article against Indian nuclear weapons because I consider such a term racist. Moreover, both India and Pakistan has proved themselves responsible nuclear countries so far. Our strategy should be to accept that these nuclear weapons are here to stay, but to promote freedom, education and democracy in those countries.

    There are many things wrong with Pakistan. I myself have written about their Hudood Ordinance (which thankfully has now been struck down), but when you have to criticize a single issue, do it on that issue, objectively. For example, I take issue with India's caste system and their nationalist Hindu party making a tough time for converts here. Doesn't mean I go India-bashing or those who disagree are "India supporters". This is a progressive blogspace, we can all disagree in a civil manner here.

    If someone disagrees with the Afghanistan mission, or wants to bring them home (Kennedy and Dion) if the mission is not defined, that does not make them any less patriotic. If someone thinks Pakistan's Musharraf is our moderate ally fighting against extremists, that does not make them any less willing to stand up for our soldiers in Afghanistan. Let's leave the 'wrapping ourself in the flag syndrome' to our neighbours down south.

    Monday, February 26, 2007

    Is Quebec A Racist Province?

    In my experience, yes - they have a problem.

    The very statement that Quebec is a racist province could be termed racist itself. However, the recent ejection of a female Muslim soccer player for wearing the hijab is merely one incident in a long line of incidents that just reinforce the belief that Quebecers, despite crying foul for being discriminated against by English Canada, themselves have a problem with racism.


  • A Toronto Sun report last month found that Quebec was the province where a majority of the people saw themselves as racist (59%). A day later, a private Muslim girls' school in Montreal was vandalized, with hooligans shattering 15 windows and damaging a school bus. [Canoe]

  • In a diverse society, "religious symbols have no place in public space," Parti Quebecois Leader Boisclair said.

  • Mario Dumont, leader of the Action democratique du Quebec, said Quebec should quit bending over backwards to accommodate minorities.

    "We must make gestures which reinforce our national identity and protect those values which are so invaluable to us," Dumont wrote in a letter to be sent to Quebecers.

    Unpopular with his political opponents, Dumont's position seemed to strike a chord with some Quebecers.

  • A Montreal elementary school had to hire guards last April after a Filipino mother alleged that her son was chided by a lunch hall monitor for the way he ate. The school's excuse - "Oh it had nothing to do with the traditional Filipino manner of eating, but bad manners."

  • Two Orthodox Jewish schools have been firebombed in the past couple of years.

  • Hérouxville, a small town in Quebec, published a new code of conduct for immigrants, stereotyping Muslims and Sikhs amongst others. It banned kirpans and head scarves except on Halloween, and said women can drive and write cheques but cannot be stoned to death.[CBC]

  • It was Quebec that had a problem with a kirpan.

    My own experiences in Quebec has not made a favourable impression on me. As a rule, many Quebecers of French descent has behaved rudely with me when they found out I did not speak French. Why is it that when the rest of Canada has no problem with reasonable accommodation for diverse cultural and religious practices, it is Quebec that must make a fuss, all the time?
  • Friday, February 23, 2007

    Neo-Con Logic: How To Stop A War

    Will their be a war this summer?

    I think it is 85% a sure thing and their is nothing less than a massive strike on Iran that can stop the war from happening.
    - Yoni

    Yes, that's right. To stop a war that hasn't started yet, we must strike first which will definitely not start a war.

    Right. Got ya.

    How's that "will be greeted with flowers as liberators" plan coming along?

    Wednesday, February 21, 2007

    Stephen Harper - Shame On You

    Today Stephen Harper has proved himself to be a man without class. I am ashamed to have such a man as Prime Minister.

    Despite all the politics that politicians play - there were unwritten laws that you do not harm the family of parliamentarians, you do not drag them into the fray.

    Harper has consistently proved that he will sink to any low if he thinks it will help him. During the election three years ago he called Paul Martin a child pornography supporter (or something like it). Today, he was engaged in a drive-by smear on the family of a Sikh Member of Parliament, based on an unproven story of a tabloid newspaper, with neither the accused present to defend himself, nor the allegations proven in any court of law.

    As such, Harper has shown himself to be below the dignity of the chair he now occupies. When the next election comes, I want this moment to be played again and again in all the immigrant communities that Harper will no doubt try to court. No wonder we immigrants see the Conservatives as a party of racists, bigots and old farts.

    Gloves Come Off - The Star

    Sunday, February 18, 2007

    Iraq - What A Mess

    This picture sums up my mood on Iraq perfectly. It's time for Conservatives to admit - Iraq was better off under Saddam Hussein. Every day I open the paper or read the news I hear about people being killed in Iraq - and it's in double digits.

    People are dying there. Every day. By the dozens. Others, hundreds of them, now lie injured or permanently disabled. Under Saddam, people had security. As long as you didn't say anything against him, you were fine.

    I lived through a dictatorship (UAE). It's not as bad as people think. It's stupid to hear people who have never been outside of their city telling me what's good for a place thousands of miles away.

    It's also time to remember that Stephen Harper was in favor of the Iraq war. If it was up to him, Canadian soldiers would now be dying in Iraq.

    Tuesday, January 23, 2007

    Canada's Water Is Nominated For An Oscar

    Great job by Deepa Mehta. Her movie, Water, a Canadian entry under the "Best Foreign Language Film" category, is nominated for an Oscar.

    This movie was brilliant in many ways. First, it showed how strict, fundamentalist and literal interpretation of religious texts is a danger to human civilization's progress. Second, it cast a light on discrimination that many Indians face in India even today.

    Second, rather than disparage India, it cast her in a more progressive light as Gandhi is shown as a religious man who is also liberal. Mehta's statement that "water is good only when it's flowing, and stagnant water is a danger", is so apt and true.

    What are the chances of its win?

    It's a tough question to answer. The Academy is mostly white and India is big now, so rewarding Water might be seen as a slap to India's face.

    Its first rival, Days of Glory, is a good movie that already had one practical result - the picture has shamed the French government into granting pension increases to Algerian soldiers who fought for the French before being discarded by them. The Academy also loves movies about war and its aftermaths.

    After the Wedding is more of a personal/family drama type of movie. It also has part of its setting in India, but is mostly about a Danish person. I would be surprised if this won. It's a good film, but not that good.

    The Lives of Others is a German movie, set before the fall of the Berlin wall, about a spy, the lives he spies upon and how he becomes involved. Just like many European movies it has lots of closet sex, dark and gritty scenes and a slow narration. Maybe some members of the Academy might vote for this movie to send a message to the current US administration about spying and civil rights.

    The final rival is Pan's Labyrinth, a Mexican movie. Another war movie. Latin setting. Won lots of awards at Film Festivals. Could just sneak this one too.

    Wednesday, January 10, 2007

    Little Blog Post On the Little Mosque

    I loved the show.

    As a Muslim it is a great feeling to have a show where the focus is on normal Muslims. Not the evil bad Muslim terrorist. Not the token patriotic Muslim. Not the token translator. Not the harem dancer.

    Normal, everyday Muslims facing normal everyday issues.

    Kudos to CBC. Kudos to Canada.

    As for the show itself, while not laugh out funny, it was warm, cosy and left a hard-to-suppress giggle throughout. I actually found myself wishing it wouldn't end, and felt a pang of disappointment when 9 pm appeared. It did have a couple of really hilarious moments (the dead body in the laundry, the 'you do not choose which country we deport you to', to mention a few). I see myself buying the DVD for the set when it comes out. I hope they can contain to keep it fresh and tackle some issues while at it.

    If anyone has any questions about an Islamic aspect of the show they did not understand, you can always email me/comment here..

    Friday, January 05, 2007

    Khan Optics Bad For Dion

    I have said it before, and have no problems repeating it here: Khan was wrong to work for the Conservatives, and Bill Graham should not have allowed it to happen. Now, however, the optics of the situation makes Stephane Dion look very bad. And in politics, optics and perception is a big part of the game.

    Dion is casted as the villain in this piece, when he allegedly gave an "ultimatum" to Wajid Khan. And Khan therefore stated that he had to choose between his country and his party. In reality, the choice, in my opinion, was between the position of just another backbench MP, or a backbench MP with a "special advisory" position.

    Dion should have offered Khan a future cabinet position (as either in "special advisory capacity" to the Foreign Minister, or some other junior cabinet post in that capacity). And no, it's not a bribe. We are offering him that position for the same purported expertise that Harper has made Wajid Khan his special advisor.

    Personally, I don't like Wajid Khan.

    In my own opinion, Khan has no unique characteristics that makes him suitable for that role. So he is Muslim, of Pakistani descent, and was a member of the Pakistan Air Force. How does that make him better qualified than anyone else? We have lots of academics, and one can easily pick another academic of South Asian descent, preferably Muslim. The Pakistani air force that he is so proud of, and where Khan served as an officer and pilot from 1966 to 1973 [source], was part of the same Pakistani military that committed genocide in 1971, as documented vigorously since. Wikipedia also states Khan actively took part in the war of 1971. As a Canadian Muslim of Bangladeshi descent I want him to clarify his role in that war and ask whether he had any innocent Bengali blood on his hands.

    As a Muslim, had I lived in his riding, I would have to seriously question how he was best serving my interests. In my opinion, we have a Prime Minister who is so pro-Israel that he cannot acknowledge the poverty and destitution of Palestinians in Gaza and West Bank, the fertile breeding grounds for terrorism. Harper also refuses to acknowledge reality in Afghanistan, that our mission cannot go on as planned and we need a change in direction. So how much of Wajid Khan's advice is Harper taking? And what is his advice?