Tuesday, October 13, 2015

More Encouraging News

I quite enjoyed this report, which suggests some of the most odious of Conservative sycophants have a good chance of losing their seats.

Meanwhile, in the first three of the four days set aside for advance polls, 2.4 million Canadians cast their vote. That has to mean something.

Something To Gladden The Spirit

During this campaign, while Harper has been appealing to the worst in Canadians, I have to admit that my faith in humanity has been faltering. The following, which I saw on Facebook, is something of a restorative.

"You see, you've misjudged us... You've underestimated us." A former Calgarian writes an open letter to Stephen Harper and explains what it means to be Canadian.

“Dear Mr. Harper,

I live in BC with my husband and two little girls. I grew up in Calgary and have many friends and family members there. I’m white and in my early 40s. One of us is a stay at home parent, so we benefit 100% from the direct deposits in lieu of a national childcare program. We also benefit 100% from income splitting. And we can afford to take advantage of the increased allowance in our TFSAs.

In other words, we're the picture of the family who benefits the most from your economic policies. But we're not voting Conservative on October 19th.

You see, you've misjudged us. We enjoy our standard of living, we work hard for it but it's not the only thing that matters to us.

You assume we don't care about our first nation’s neighbours, or Canadians trying to bring their family members here from war torn countries. That we don't care about less fortunate Canadians, our veterans, or scientists. You think we don't mind that to save a few bucks and balance the books we axed the census, dumped decades of research from our libraries, cut funding to CBC, underspent our budgets in important departments and closed coast guard stations. You figure we no longer want our lakes and rivers protected and that we don't understand that climate change is a far greater risk to our way of life than Barbaric Cultural Practices.

You've underestimated us.

On October 19, we're not voting for our bank balance. We're voting for change because we want the caring Canada of our youth back. The Canada that supported our single mothers that gave us the opportunity to succeed in the first place.

Mary Cleaver”

Monday, October 12, 2015

A Sign Of the Times?

This afternoon I was in Niagara-on-the-Lake, which seemed to be sporting a lot of Tory signs. This one, I thought, perhaps said more than might have been intended:

Guest Post: The Values Edition

As we celebrate Thanksgiving, It seems a propitious time to reflect on the values that have been fostered and avidly promoted (especially during this election season} by the Harper government, values that no doubt will be on the minds of many as they head to the polls on October 19.

The following was sent to me by M Barrett. Please note that because I received this as a PDF document, converting it into text has been done at the cost of a few graphics of our flag in the opening, as well as some of the original formatting.

Government of the Modern Civilized Republic of Canada

Ministry for the Prevention of Vice and the Preservation of Virtue


Statement on Canadian Values

Ottawa October 08, 2015

Canada is an inclusive society and by definition that necessarily includes closed minded, intolerant, divisive people, many of them with very real issues about seeing a woman’s face so as to be able to ascertain whether she is mocking them.
Canada’s inclusive society also includes those who having immigrated here, quite understandably feel the need to lock the door behind them because of possible overcrowding and strains on Canada’s world class social safety net.
This charter is a way to address the fear of this beleaguered segment of Canadian society, that they too are becoming a despised, dwindling minority, and it ensures that Canada’s vaunted democratic electoral system diligently unearths every and all contrived and festering matter no matter how repugnant in order to achieve well deserved political success.

Stevie J

Charter of Modern Values and Civilized Practices

1 The official name of Canada shall be designated as the Modern Civilized Republic of Canada.
2 Under the authority of Prime Minister Stephen J Harper, Ministers Jason Kenney and Chris Alexander of The Ministry for the Prevention of Vice and the Preservation of Virtue, declare the annulment of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the promulgation of the Charter of Modern Values and Civilized Practices.


Whereas Canada is a Modern Civilized Republic, medieval barbaric practices shall be eliminated and Modern Values and Civilized Practices only are permitted.
Deploring the fact that certain probationary Canadians, despite repeated efforts to reasonably accommodate their presence in a Modern Civilized Republic, persist in carrying out barbaric medieval practices, the Charter of Modern Values and Civilized Practices is proclaimed as follows:

Head / Face Coverings
Whereas Canada is a nation of open minded people with nothing to hide and those that want to cover their faces must have something to hide - not just blemishes but terrorism or environmental or leftist views, all face covering and head covering is prohibited. This includes but is not limited to niqabs, burqas, balaclavas, bridal veils, sunglasses, turbans, kippas, beards, mustaches and sideburns of any length (male or female), Halloween masks, and heavy makeup.

The government reserves the right to mandate the uncovering of other body parts as deemed necessary to conform to the charter. This does not preclude a requirement for body cavity searches to ensure complete compliance with openness.

Canadians are a people who value brevity, simplicity and taxonomy that does not require fancy mnemonics.

First names and surnames are to comprise no more than 10 letters, and in the roman alphabet, and must contain an even distribution of vowels and consonants. No more than 2 consecutive consonants may precede or follow a vowel. Unpronounced Hs and redundant superfluous duplicate letters are to be discarded. Pronunciation which involves convoluted articulation of the tongue, lips, other mouth parts or gesticulation of the hands, bizarre inflections, intonations or unreasonably nasal or guttural utterances are prohibited.
Surnames which are shared by more than say, 100 non family members shall be preceded by a unique 8 digit surname prefix.

• Singh > correct modern surname “75234594Sing”
• Wong > correct modern surname “5734659784Wrong”
• Mohammed > correct modern surname “Christian”

Canadian subjects place a high value on harmonious relationships in their communities. Accordionly, discordant, cacophonous "music" consisting of non english or accented high pitched female voices, or with a frenetic or wild beat, and or accompanied by so called “musical” instruments with one or fewer strings or made of or containing dried gourds, goat skins, cat gut, oil containers, or other detritus is prohibited.
The Niqab Party of Canada is banned.

Aboriginal and Inuit people of Canada shall be permitted to stay in their designated favelas and carry out their poverty based practices in order to serve as a stark reminder to the rest of Canada how far we have come as a nation.

The language of Canada is English. Period. Although for historo-cultural reasons and to affirm Canada’s respect for and encouragement of diversity, and to secure crucial political support, francais may be parlez vous. The Chinese language may be tolerated at certain bank branches where esteemed new Investo-Canadians conduct their lucrative, taxable businesses. It is not however, an acceptable language in grocery establishments or on food labels, except as an exotic embellishment.

English is the lingua franca spoken throughout the world with varying degrees of intelligibility. Arrivals to Canada should have learned it back home before they came. Those who are unfortunately fluent in several languages other than English are required to attain perfect English fluency before availing themselves of social services, speaking on the phone or venturing out in public. When disbursing cash or making substantial purchases, potential Canadians are not required to speak English or any other language for that matter.

Human Rights
Canadians are a people who value diversity but in indiscernible, reasonable measure. To avoid offense, those who wish to exhibit an acceptable level of difference from standard old stock Modern Civilized Canadians may choose to display no more than 3 of the following sanctioned diversities:

• Different but not gaily painted front door of dwelling
• Sad, happy or indifferent facial expression
• With fries
• Burt Bacarach or Boston Pops Orchestra
Uh ... That’s it.

Whereas Canada is a nation of people with civilized tastes, refined olfactory organs, and an aversion to salts, sugars and fats, whether trans or straight, all strong smelling, strangely spiced ethnic foods and unrecognizable and unpronounceable fruits and vegetables shall be prohibited along with their accompanying peculiar and poorly crafted cooking paraphernalia. Nourriture prepared over an open flame, a barbaric cultural practice predating the medieval era, is likewise prohibited unless the flame is sustained by modern Canadian natural gas - geologic, political or otherwise.

Acceptable modern civilized substitutes for the above noted silage are processed foods in microwavable packaging in a Canadian language, displaying photos of readily identifiable Canadian meals which may or may not be contained within, nutritional supplements and energy drinks.

Because terrorism.

Canadians are a tolerant people, exhibiting a surprising level of patience with those of different beliefs, customs or colors. But patience has its limits and although Canadians are all for an extra holiday every Friday, the explosion of bewildering theocratic practices and the profusion of sanctified foods on supermarket shelves must be brought to an end.

Whereas all religions practiced today predate the medieval era and which, furthermore, are also all misogynistic and propagate pagan barbaric rituals, and considering that Scientology, although contemporary has many bizarre and incomprehensible though famous adherents, and that Canadians being modern and scientific now know that those shadows cast upon the cave wall are not real but are a representation of activities which are simply out of view, all religions and religious practices and symbols are not only passe, but prohibited, with the notable exception of certain Quebeco - Canadian culturally historic religious artifacts which have been stripped of their religious significance by simple affirmation in order to conform with the spirit, holy or otherwise, of this charter.

Whereas Canadians are a peace loving people with a Nobel prize winning former prime minister to prove it, and considering that they are prohibited from owning handguns and only permitted to own the longer, semi automatic more peaceful ones, the barbaric cultural practice of attacking, killing, massacring, bombing and torturing those who don’t agree with, or are a threat to, or are simply a different color or odor or hold a different opinion than old stock Canadians predates the medieval era, the armed forces in their entirety are hereby abolished.

Family planning
Canada is a mosaic, not a melting pot, but all of those pieces of glass have their proper place and color otherwise we wouldn’t get the picture we want. This is just a metaphor but I think you can see what we are getting at.

Canada is a nation of people with a disdain for tribal like extended family organizations with large numbers of unruly wide eyed children whose parents disproportionately benefit from Canada’s overly generous system of social services and who engage in self help rather than spreading the wealth / financially contributing to the wider established community.

Accordingly it is prohibited for families to have more than 2.1 children.

ENFORCEMENT Reprogramming / Civilizing
All new arrivals - whether of color or ostentatiously garbed or mannered, as well as non old stock Canadians, to the Modern Civilized Republic of Canada shall be detained and subjected to compulsory programming / psychic driving / civilizing / integration in Canadian Modern Values and Civilized Practices.

Additional programming will be undertaken as necessary to eliminate offensive personal odors, irritating accents, and dangerous driving practices and to impart a monotonal quality of speech, free of labial, head, and hand movements.

New arrivals shall be stripped of their garish multi layered apparel and freakish accoutrements and issued at cost, standard, close fitting, modern Canadian dress in shades of gray.

Old stock Canadians have a genuine interest in how well their potential Canadian neighbors, restaurant employees, taxi drivers and call center workers are getting along in this great welcoming country.

Old stock Canadians shall be furnished with telescopes, wiretap, camera, odor sniffing and other surveillance equipment in order to gauge the well being of these irrationally suspicious and cautious people in an unobtrusive, non threatening way.

Non compliance with the Charter shall be reported to the Ministry for the Prevention of Vice and the Preservation of Virtue via a dedicated snitch line and shall result in the immediate revocation of coveted Civilized Canadian status and teleportation of the offender to a medieval era country.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Some Things To Give Thanks For

H/t Toronto Star

As we celebrate Thanksgiving this weekend, moving beyond the usual things we express gratitude for (family, health, etc.), here are a few other things I give thanks for:

A high turnout in advance polls:
Elections Canada says it estimates some 850,000 people voted on Friday, the first day of advance polls.

The agency says that is a 26 per cent increase over the first day of advance polls in the 2011 election and a 90 per cent increase over the first day of advance polls in 2008.
Is it possible that our appetite for change is at least as strong as our relish for a traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings?

An indefatigable Danny Williams, who refuses to adopt any subtlety or nuance in his assessment of Stephen Harper:
His position on ethnic issues during this campaign amounts to nothing less than fear-mongering and divisive politics at its worst. His proposed hotline to report “barbaric cultural practices” is a glaring example of his politics of fear and division.
The Star's Haroon Siddiqui, who has come out of recent retirement to write some blistering assessments of our domestic dictator/demagogue. His latest offers this:
The first duty of a prime minister is to not damage the country. One sure way to damage it, history tells us, is to do nothing when extremists spread hate against a group of fellow citizens. We have a far more frightening situation today.

The prime minister himself is orchestrating a campaign of bigotry, covertly and not so covertly, against Muslims, who are arguably as vulnerable a group as were Catholics, Jews, Japanese or Chinese Canadians at various times in our history. In trying to win votes by dividing Canadians, Harper is violating the most sacred of Canadian values, unity.
The Star editorial board, that has consistently held the government to account. It's latest effort reminds us once more of the mean-spirited and mendacious truth of Harper and his operatives:
Last spring, as Syrians were fleeing the broken country in record numbers, the Prime Minister’s Office instructed Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander’s department to “review” a “first tranche” of United Nations-approved, government-assisted refugees from Syria this year. They were mostly Muslim at the time. But going forward, the Conservatives were determined that priority should be given to the “most vulnerable” (read: Christians and other non-Muslim minorities).

This overt meddling by Harper and his office, done on the down-low until media reports blew the lid off this past week, is just the latest manifestation of an anti-Muslim bias by this government. Harper never loses a chance to invoke the spectre of Islamist terrorism. And his campaign against niqab-wearing women has been a low point of the election.

Michael Harris, the iPolitics journalist and author of Party of One. He is a constant reminder not only of the egregious offences of the Harper government, but also of how many members of traditional media fail to ask the hard questions:
Death by dumbing-down is an ugly sight. No one has yet conducted an interview with Harper that directly deals with his dishonesty, his dictatorial ways, his contempt for democracy. He is still wrapped in the aura of office, smelling like a dead flounder. Everyone is pretending it’s perfume.

Where are the feature newspaper articles or long-form television interviews on that subject? They simply aren’t there.

Finally, I want to give thanks to all the members of the progressive blogosphere whose passion, commitment and commentary sustain me through some very dark times. Owen, Mound, Rural and Montreal Simon and many others have been tireless in reminding us of the things that should matter to our country.

A week from tomorrow, I sincerely hope that I can add my fellow citizens to this gratitude list. May they all act in Canada's best interests when they vote, guided by the better sides of their nature, not the worst that Mr. Harper and his crew have been so assiduously cultivating.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Another Word From Harry Smith

Harry Smith, who I have written about previously on this blog, has some timely reminders for us this election season.
...because so many Canadians of my generation had come from nations fraught with religious and ethnic tension, we tried to create a more tolerant society that crossed political beliefs. Inclusion and acceptance became a watchword that no political party could own because every Canadian shared the concept that human rights were universal.
Sadly, of course, we are now led by a demagogue who would change all that:
But now the fall air is crisp with the politics of hate and fear as Canada's general election wends its way to election day on Oct. 19. It has been this country's longest and most expensive election campaign in history. And the most important, because the democratic values that make Canada the envy of the world are at stake. The Harper government has muzzled scientists, silenced environmentalist and now with its crass politics of race, also threatens to destroy the ethnic mosaic that made Canada a unique oasis in a world of conflict.
Harper, in his quest to sow discord and suspicion, has some unenviable historical companions:
Stephen Harper persists like a modern-day Joseph McCarthy in creating a sweltering climate of fear against Canadian Muslims by employing dog whistle politics that equates an honourable religion with terrorism and radicalism.
The Harper government has waged a cultural war against Muslim women who choose by the dictates of their faith to wear the niqab. Already women have been physically and verbally attacked for donning the veil. We have not seen this type of xenophobia since the Second World War, when Japanese Canadians were vilified and eventually stripped of their rights as citizens and forced to live in labour camps far from the communities they once called home.
Just a few of the many things to think about whether you are taking part in the advance polls this weekend, as I have, or waiting until October 19 to help decide Canada's future.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Parental Warning

The following contains coarse language.

While I know it is perhaps beneath the standards I try to maintain on my blog, I rather liked this: