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.