Saturday, July 22, 2017

Foolish Quebec Government To Open Racism Inquiry

"Saguenay is a White City"
Perhaps the modern equivalent of the mythical Pandora's Box is the very real IED, an improvised explosive device that once trifled with, releases nothing but pain and something that you wouldn't want to touch with that proverbial ten-foot pole.
It is that analogy in mind that I consider the utter foolishness of the Quebec's government's plan to hold a public inquiry into racism in Quebec society, a recipe for humiliation and embarrassment if I ever saw one, a political blunder that will no doubt explode in our collective faces.
What on Earth were they thinking?
"Quebec's upcoming public consultation on systemic discrimination and racism will seek concrete and permanent solutions, says Kathleen Weil, the province's minister of immigration, diversity and inclusion.
Weil unveiled the details of the public consultation, which will begin in September and continue through the fall, at a news conference Thursday.
"The fight against racism and discrimination is a continual priority in open, inclusive and democratic societies like Quebec.  It's a collective responsibility," she said. Link
I wonder if the politicians remember the humiliating fiasco that was the Bouchard-Taylor public consultations, the commission that looked into religious accommodations that degenerated into an embarrassing combination of racism and idiocy.

Click on CC button for subtitles
Whenever people ask me if Quebec is more racist than other provinces I always tell them that the answer is YES and NO, because Quebec is really two provinces, the largely bilingual, urban Greater Montreal region that includes the suburbs north and south of the island and which makes up almost half of Quebec's population. Ninety percent of of Muslims and other religious minorities including Sikhs and Jews live here and racism is a problem no different that in other large cities across Canada.

Outside this regions lies the hinterland of the great unwashed, the unilingual rural and small town francophones that live in a French/Caucasian/nominally-Catholic bubble. Some of the ridings boast 98% Quebecois purity, where seldom is seen a black or brown face and where Asians are as rare as a hen's tooth.

There's a lot of under-the water tension in this part of Quebec over Muslims and their place in Quebec society. The recent cemetery fiasco underlines that fact, and this Quebec reality is not reflected by our politicians or represented by the media and press which propagate the myth that Quebec is tolerant and open to minorities.
This is especially true in regards to religious minorities that openly display their observance through religious dress, such as Muslims, Sikhs and Hassidic Jews.
This 'other' Quebec cannot be described as strictly rural because included is many towns and cities like Sherbrooke, Quebec City, Trois Rivières and Saguenay.
Common among those who have a distinct fear and loathing of Muslims is surprisingly, or not so surprisingly, French unilingualism where people live in a closed and insular social order, where strangers are not welcome. With little or no contact with religious or visible minorities, it is easy to fear the unknown.

How deep is this fear and loathing?
A lot deeper than anyone would imagine and a lot deeper than politicians would admit. It borders on the hysterical.
In this context we can understand the referendum rejection of the Muslim cemetery in Saint-Apollinaire last week, where a door-to-door campaign led by an outside anti-Muslim group called 'Le Meute' (The Pack) warned voters that the cemetery would breed an influx of Muslims, then a mosque and then radicalism.  And so it goes.

The anti-Muslim hysteria sometimes borders on the sadly hilarious such as in Rimouski where a panic set in as an email campaign warned residents of a Muslim invasion.
"The email in question (or rather spam), which has been circulating for at least two years, describes an urban legend which says that Rimouski has gone from 4 Muslim families in 2004 to more than 1,000 families "of this kind" in 2011. "It's scary," says the message that people of "this kind" even got from the city a new street "in the name of their high Islamic priest". Link{Fr}
Of course the utter nonsense of it all is that some idiot residents believed that among the 50,000 Rimouski population were thousand of Muslims, when in reality there were but 130 making up just ⅓ of one percent of the population. The 'new' Muslim street name wasn't new at all and was named after oceanographer Mohammed El-Sabh, who made his mark in Rimouski and happened to be Muslim .

While Quebec City and its mayor purport to be cosmopolitan and friendly to strangers, it is here that not one, but three xenophobic groups La Meute, Atalante and Les Soldats d’Odin, operate openly.

This week, a racist handcrafted sign was placed over the nameplate of a Saguenay cemetery (pictured above) reminding everyone that the Saguenay is "White."
I guess people need reminding that out of the 140,000 residents, 96% are white francophone nominally-Catholics. The rest of the population is made up of 2% natives and one percent anglos. Immigrants make up less than half of one percent. The total Muslim population is about 300 persons, or about one-fifth of one percent, a frightening barbarian invasion to many.

 In 2015 the mayor of the city of Shawinigan admitted to refusing a zoning change to allow a mosque to open in an industrial park because of the anti-Muslim pressure put on the city council by 'concerned' citizens. During the debate, many Muslim families complained of being victims of hate messages. It took the intervention of the sitting member of the National Assembly to finally secure approval.
TABARNAK! I knew this would happen!

I am reminded of an television episode of 'Infoman' a Quebec humourist who put on a full body burqa and visited the small town of Hérouxville, (infamous for publishing it's anti-immigrant 'Code of Life') freaking out the townsfolk.  This screenshot of that episode is one of my favourites, a local's reaction to being greeted by the comedian in a full burqa.
Watch the funny video in French here.

I wish I could say that these are isolated instances, but sadly they are not and while everyone is quick to say that the shooting in a Quebec City mosque that took six lives was a one-off aberrant event, the work of a deranged nutter and nothing to do with Quebec society, I sadly beg to differ.
The palpable anti-Muslim hysteria that exists in areas of Quebec that are practically devoid of Muslims is  staggering and it is ironic, that in these parts of Quebec, the fewer the Muslims in the community, the more they are despised.  Go figure.
There exists an exaggerated toxic fear and loathing of Muslims and indeed foreigners in the ROQ (Rest of Quebec) and no commission of inquiry will dismantle it.

Before calling a public inquiry into racism perhaps the government can look into itself. As the old saying goes.....physician, heal thyself.
The participation of minorities in government and in government-run entities is abysmal. The
public service employs just under 5% of visible minorities less than forty percent of their demographic weight. The SAQ (liquor board) employs just 38 visible minorities out its 6,000 employees and Hydro-Quebec employs 300 visible minority workers out of 20,000. The Sureté du Quebec counts just 24 minority officers out of almost 6,000 police.
There is a government agency that sets guidelines for government and quasi-government organizations in terms of hiring visible minorities and the report card dismal.
Our good friends in the city of Saguenay have but one visible minority out 1,200 city workers and Terrebonne wins the award as the town with the fewest visible minorities with just 3% of their recommended hiring goal..
Of course as to be expected, Montreal does the best job of hiring minorities, with the Jewish General hospital earning the highest mark fulfilling 98% of its hiring goal. But no organization beats Cote-Saint-Luc's Donald Berman Maimonides, a Jewish geriatric centre which counts an astounding 420 of it 's 660 employees being visible minorities. It isn't just anglo or ethnic organizations of Montreal rising to the task. The Commission scolaire de Montréal, and the STM (bus company) also get high marks in visible minority employment.
As I said, there are two worlds in Quebec, Montreal and beyond.

At any rate, in calling the inquiry the government is sending out an invitation to minority and Muslim-bashing hayseeds to come out to bitch and moan in public and believe me, these rubes won't give up their chance to get a few racist things off their chest.

The truth is that the government is setting itself up for a huge fiasco where the true face of Quebec intolerance will be exposed.
Now that the entertaining Sean Spicer news conferences are a thing of the past I can't wait for this Gong show of an inquiry to get going.

It will be epic. Don't miss it.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Conservatives Better Hope for Russia Interference in Canada's Next Election

First of all, let me say how amused I am at America's visceral reaction to Russian hacking shenanigans in the last presidential election.
It appears that the master election manipulator that America is, has been schooled in the art of election interference by Russia and squeals of Congressional outrage ring as hollow as the pot calling the kettle black.
The CIA has been interfering in foreign democratic elections for over fifty years and in over 80 instances and this doesn't even consider the outright orchestration of successful and unsuccessful attempts at regime change through force. In fact the long-time American policy of engineering regime change was made official  with the implementation  of the "Eisenhower Doctrine under which the U.S. announced that it would intervene to protect regimes it considered threatened by international communism."  Link
Read:  A History of U.S. Meddling in Other Countries’ Elections

As recently as the last Israeli election, Obama tried to sink Prime Minister Netanyahu's re-election by funnelling hundreds of thousands of dollars to opposition groups;
"The State Department paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayers grants to an Israeli group that used the money to build a campaign to oust Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in last year’s Israeli parliamentary elections, a congressional investigation concluded Tuesday." Link
No doubt Russia taught America a painful lesson that two can play this dirty game and protestations by various American politicians is pathetic, like crooks who complain bitterly that their stash of stolen loot has been pilfered or a longtime schoolyard bully who finds himself bullied.

Considering some of the stuff America has done in other countries to trigger regime change, what Russia did in the US presidential is mild by comparison. The Russians hacked the Democratic party and exposed some very damaging and embarrassing emails that Hillary wrote, revealing that her nasty private persona is nothing like what she presents in public. Should it have been a a disgruntled DNC employee, one who objected to Hillary's conduct, who leaked those same documents, he or she would be have been considered a hero by the American press.

But I digress...
Returning to the topic of the day, my premise that if the Conservatives hope to unseat Justin Trudeau in the next federal election they'll need some sort of Russian interference or otherwise divine intervention, because the numbers just don't add up and barring a miracle, Justin will get his second majority government.

Canada is generally much more Liberal than Conservative and there is just two ways that Conservatives can win power. They could sweep Quebec and carry the west like Brian Mulroney did in 1984 or take advantage of a serendipitous split of the left-leaning and separatist vote between the NDP, Liberals and the Bloc, exactly how Stephen Harper won and remained in power.
The key of course is Quebec where Bloc Quebecois or NDP success robs the Liberals of the necessary seats to form a government.
But when Justin Trudeau broke the dominance of the NDP and the Bloc in Quebec in the last election, he made the breakthrough that won him and the Liberals a majority government.
It proves once again the delicate balance that a three or four Parliamentary parties bring to the table, where the margin between winning big and losing big is razor thin.

So Justin Trudeau's election was a foregone conclusion once the massive shift away from the NDP occurred in the last federal election. And the likelihood of it happening again seems almost certain.
Well, the Bloc Quebecois seems to be a spent force, with it's base down to old-time traditional die-hards who are fast dying out. The current leader of the Bloc, ex-PQ and now independent member of Quebec's National Assembly is Martine Ouellet, who after losing her leadership bid for the PQ, shifted her attention to the Bloc. She was elected leader, mainly because nobody with any sort of a profile wanted the job. She is reviled by most Quebecers for cynically refusing to give up her seat and salary in Quebec's Parliament and is wildly disparaged by the press who mock her ceaselessly, not exactly a formula for success.

As for the NDP, it's fall from grace in Quebec cost leader Thomas Mulcair his job, as expectations of perhaps forming or participating in a minority government were dashed rather cruelly.

A Quebec resurgence with a new leader seems out of the question with the current NDP leadership campaign drawing frowns from the Quebec media.
The NDP seems to be flirting with  Harjit Sajjan for leader, a turban wearing Sikh who is absolutely toxic in Quebec. Should he be elected leader, the NDP would in all likelihood lose every single seat it owns in the Province.
Quebecers are so fearful and resentful of those who wear their religion on their sleeves (or in this case their head,) that the backlash would be devastating.
How much do Quebecers dislike Sikhs and their dastardly daggers?
Last February, when Canada's defence minister, the turban wearing Jagmeet Singh visited the work-site of the re-building of a defence installation in Quebec city, the contractor, received a warning letter of admonition from Quebec's workplace safety commission for allowing the minister onsite without wearing a safety helmet.
The depth of Quebec's animosity towards Sikhs is pervasive, with the adherents' insistence on flouting safety regulations for religious purposes absolutely unacceptable to the vast majority of Quebec voters, who don't want to see that type of agenda thrust upon them.
No Siree....The NDP would get more votes with Don Cherry as their leader.

Even though Sajjan is unlikely to win the NDP leadership, his presence in the race and the surrounding publicity which may work to the NDP's advantage in the rest of Canada, would be devastating to the party's Quebec fortunes.

As for issues that will rally the country to the Conservatives, I am sorry to say that there doesn't appear to be any, even the egregious $10 million payment and apology made to Omar Kadhr won't impact the election greatly as it will be but a distant memory come election time.
The deficit issue doesn't interest Liberal voters because it's easier for them to pretend it isn't there, rather than face reality.
Ask a liberal supporter about Justin's piling on the debt that future generations will have to pay and their eyes gloss over, their reaction like someone who has just bought a stolen X-Box off the back of the truck, and called out on it. They'd rather just pretend not know that where the stuff came from rather then face the reality that they are participating in a theft.

It is true that Canada is doing alright economically under Trudeau, but it is all based on a theft, like a breadwinner who goes out each day and steals to provide for the family.
Will any well-fed and well-dressed family ask the hard questions as to how the money was obtained?
Such is the simple and devastatingly effective Liberal strategy to keep the money flowing and until voters mature and face the dishonesty, he will maintain power.
Unfortunately, it ain't going to happen.

And so the Conservatives better hope that the Russians or perhaps more likely the Americans, dig up some horrific dirt on Trudeau, because short of that, the outlook is bleak.

There is one course of action left to the Conservatives, one which my old organizer persona would suggest as the only way to possibly defeat Justin.
Read about it in my next post.

How the Conservatives can Defeat Justin Trudeau.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Mass Resignations From MUHC a Good Start

When I read the story of the mass resignation of the independent members of the MUHC hospital board of directors my reaction wasn't one that most people would have.
“The 10 independent members of the board of directors of the McGill University Health Centre resigned en masse Monday, saying they have been hamstrung by Quebec Health Minister Gaétan Barrette.
The departures of more than half of the 19 board members followed a wave of public criticisms Barrette levelled at the MUHC for its chronic failure to rein in its deficits.
The board said it cannot function effectively with a health minister who threatens trusteeship and refuses to speak to them directly.
“He considers us an impediment. Our only interest is what is best for the MUHC and the community. It’s better that we resign,” board member Glenn Rourke told the Montreal Gazette of the official decision made earlier in the day “with much regret.”
The board represented the community and its expertise, “it was a good board,” Rourke said. “But the real power lies with the minister. The board couldn’t even name its chair or CEO.” Link
What shocked me was the bloated makeup of the board, with nineteen members, an unworkable number, a utter recipe for disaster especially since the members were voluntary, which actually makes things worse.
Now the average corporate board of directors is made up of between seven and eleven members with experts mostly agreeing that around eight members is the perfect number. Anything more and things inevitably bog down with each member trying to be heard.
Make no mistake, the more people involved in a decision, the worse the result.

The MUHC's nineteen board members is representative of the bloated bureaucratic mess that is the Quebec health system.
I have had some experience as a volunteer board member and can tell you that the experience was more than disappointing with so many unqualified voices around the table, all putting in their two cents, making every decision a long-drawn out affair that by nature precluded any bold or innovative initiative.
Volunteer board members are by nature ineffective, self-important blowhards where cronyism and mutual masturbation sessions the norm rather than the exception. Bah!!

The mass resignations have spawned a new crop of wannabees who are making their way to the forefront, all wanting a piece of the action.
The hospital union is demanding three seats on the board and I can only imagine the agenda they would bring to the table where the union member's interests would be placed before the good of the hospital akin to the lunatics running the asylum.
The solution?
Get rid of the board of directors completely. They are useless and redundant. The government pays for the operation of the hospitals and should run them themselves without the interference of an
amateur board of directors.
The same goes for school commissions that burn through money spent on a useless administrative layer that contributes nothing to the well-being of students. The baloney argument that our English school boards somehow protect our Anglo rights is a joke, where actually these commissions are awash with corruption, incompetence and intrigue. Good riddance!

The resigned board members of the MUHC objected to the minister's demand that they live within their budget, demanding meetings to plead their case, the entreaties which fortunately fell on deaf ears.

Make no mistake, bloated hospital administration is strangling the delivery of health care in Quebec and the revelation that Quebec has the worst emergency room response in the entire western world is a disgrace that is entirely the responsibility of idiot administrators, the MUHC board included.

It isn't as if Quebec spends less than other provinces on health care or that we have fewer doctors and nurses, we actually have more doctors per capita than Ontario. So it is the administration that is the disaster that our health care system faces.

Health minister Barette has demanded that the MUHC live within its budget, something easily enough accomplished if the interminable layers of bloated administration fat are pared back.

On my last trip to the hospital I was advised that I needed to secure a hospital ID card in order to receive treatment and so I trundled off to the office that issued these cards.
My question to the issuing clerk was what exactly is the raison d'etre of the card, since I had a perfectly good Quebec medicare card with an individualized ID number that could easily be used for my file.
Now the hospital card did not have a chip that had some sort of important patient information stored, it was a plain dumb card that just had an individual number that linked me to my hospital file.  But I already had a medicare ID number issued by the government that could easily be used. It's just really a number.
One medicare number and another hospital number. Does that make sense to you?

It is the same idiocy that requires students in our universities to secure an extra library card in order to borrow books, in addition to their university student ID, which could for all intents and purposes be used for lending purposes just fine.

This is bureaucracy, Quebec style. It is the real cancer destroying our healthcare.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Omar Khadr Should Pay Canada For Saving His Ass

Omar Khadr, You'd be smiling too.....
First, I'm not going to argue the merits of the case.

In fact, I believe that Omar Khadr wasn't a terrorist, but rather a combattant in a war that pitted the United States against Afghani forces of the Taliban or the irregular forces of al Qaeda .
Whether Khadr was 15 years old or 50 years old is hardly the point, he was fighting the Americans and as such was nothing more than an enemy combatant, an enemy combatant that was also a child soldier.
But he certainly wasn't a terrorist as we define one.
"Khadr was accused of murdering U.S. Army Sergeant 1st Class Christopher Speer with a hand grenade during the battle in Afghanistan and making roadside bombs for use against U.S. forces. He was charged with murder, attempted murder, conspiring with al Qaeda, providing material support for terrorism and spying on U.S. forces, and could face life in prison if convicted." Link
Those charges seem laughable, where those you fight can be charged for war crimes just because they are fighting against you. Let us remember that America came to Afghanistan to seek vengeance for the bombing of the World Trade Center and the war they propagated was basically on their hands.
Declaring Khadr a terrorist is a stretch that only America seems capable of making, it doesn't stand up to any reasonable interpretation.
But Kadir was declared a terrorist by the Americans and carted off to Guantanamo Bay in Cuba where Canadian law doesn't apply and where come to think of it, American law doesn't apply either.
Guantanamo Bay is by nature a place where enemies can be interned without the pesky rule of law or  even the rules of the Geneva Convention. Those interned face an uncertain future where they can be warehoused indefinitely without charges, where unlike prisoners of war, released on cessation of hostilities.

The Supreme Court of Canada found our government complicit in his detention because members of CSIS (our under-impressive Secret service), participated in his interviews whilst he was in custody, and for this the government is now paying the ridiculous sum of $10 million plus an apology.

But let us examine reality, the Americans weren't about to release Khadr from detention had Canada done the right thing and objected, acting in the manner that his defenders say they should have, by claiming him a child soldier, and certainly not a terrorist by any stretch if the imagination.
No amount of protest by Canadian foreign affairs would have mattered a whit, since the Americans were never inclined to entertain such an entreaty with the very proof being his detention in an extra-judicial facility.
That the Americans handled the case shoddily and mistreated Khadr by his long incarceration is in no way the responsibility of Canada or it's taxpayers.

The fact that Stephen Harper and the Conservative government applauded his mistreatment, doesn't change the fact that had Trudeau been Prime Minister at the time and objected to the Americans over Khadr's condition, his outcome would have been the same.
The truth was that Khadr's outcome was not in our hands.

I would agree that Canada should not have participated in his interrogation unless it was to determine if other family members in Canada or acquaintances had like-minded intentions, but his interrogation by CSIS changed his then current condition not a bit.

In fact Khadr should thank his lucky stars for being Canadian, having been transferred to Canada to finish his sentence where he was released after the shortest time that America would accept. Had Khadr remained in American custody, he may well have spent the rest of his life in custody, whether merited or not.
His freedom is thanks to his Canadian citizenship, something he should thank his lucky stars for, instead of suing us.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Montreal's Safe Injection Site Another Moronic Idea

Now that the city of Montreal has opened storefront drug injection sites for junkies to enjoy a safe space to ravage their bodies with drugs, perhaps the city should consider buying a vacant  building and furnishing the apartments with all sorts of consumer goods, jewellery and some cash for the benefit of habitual burglars who would be allowed to ply their trade, thus reducing the number of residential break-ins. For that matter, how about a place for pedophiles to satisfy their sick predilection, although the application would likely be a bit problematic.

Those proponents of safe injection sites manifest a holier than thou attitude of smug superiority, telling us that we should much prefer a controlled site where junkies can slowly kill themselves, rather than to allow them to shoot up in the streets and back alleys, strewing their needles for our children to find.
At any rate, if we are really bent on providing injection refuges to safeguard society and the junkies themselves, is it not logical that we provide the drugs as well, in order to undermine the dealers and to eliminate the crimes related to procuring the drugs?

Ridiculous? Absolutely....
The entire idea of safe injection sites is based on the moronic idea that to control evil is better than to combat it.

Families who live with the agony of a drug addicted member understand that allowing a loved one to continue their drug use in a safe environment, is not exactly the path to redemption.
Allowing addicts to remain at large means that not only will they continue to destroy themselves, but also their families and in the larger picture, society in general as they rob and steal to feed their habit, inflicting violence and emotional pain on those around them. For women addicts the descent into Hell includes prostitution and degradation.
Not something you'd want for your son or daughter.

The fault in the argument that safe injection sites are the preferable alternative fails to understand that there is another option, one that removes junkies from the streets and forces them into mandatory drug rehab, whether they like it or not.
Before one pooh-poohs the idea of mandatory rehab for addicts, consider that each safe injection site saves on average, just one life a year. In fact, despite the hoopla, safe injection sites attract precious few addicts and while they remain a liberal ideal, they are absolutely useless in solving the problem of extreme drug addiction.

Right now, using drugs like heroin is not a crime, unless it leads to disorderly conduct.But what if public drug use of heroin type drugs were to be made a criminal offence and addicts were rounded up by the police and duly convicted of being a habitual drug user, then sent to special rehab prison where they would be forcibly detained and subjected to therapies to break their habits, however long it takes, even years.
Opponents will argue that making drug addiction illegal will only drive addicts off the streets, which in my mind is already a good result, but the truth is that junkies are out of control and are easily found out, with families probably the very first to denounce loved ones who are addicted, in an effort to find an end game that doesn't include death by needle.

Safe injection sites are another alt-Liberal idea that sounds compassionate but actually hurts those it is supposed to help.
Drug addiction is a serious affliction requiring a serious and brave response.

Coddling addicts with safe injection sites is not the answer.