Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Goodness! Where to start...

The black-focused school debate, shouldn't even be a debate. The Toronto District School Board needs to wake the hell up! The curriculum and white teachers are not the problem. If they were we'd see an epidemic of failure rates and drop outs by other ethnic groups. Hmm. Could it be that the problems are deeper than a school board can fix? Could it be that the education system is not the problem?

Socio-economic issues are the problem. We must ensure that all students are not going to school hungry, that they have a safe environment in which to learn, and the support (financial, emotional and intellectual) of two parents. That's right two parents. In this debate, no one seems to mention the impact an absentee father has on a student.

Segregation by any name is wrong, wrong, wrong. And it is segregation, regardless of what Angela Wilson calls it. Perhaps every group, ethnic, religious or otherwise, should have their own school. That's sure to lead to a cohesive multicultural society.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

20 years of CHOICE

Monday is the twentieth anniversary of the Supreme Court decision to decriminalize abortion.
I cannot believe it was so recent, within my lifetime. This is certainly a reminder that women's rights are still new and shouldn't be taken for granted. Beware the swinging pendulum.

I'm taking this moment to be thankful to trailblazers who have gone before me, with a promise to continue on this path.

Thank you Supreme Court Chief Justice Dickson for ensuring women have security of person and writing:

Forcing a woman, by threat of criminal sanction to carry a foetus to term unless she meets certain criteria unrelated to her own priorities and aspirations, is a profound interference with a woman's body and thus a violation of her security of the person.

Thank you Dr. Henry Morgentaler (recently featured in a National Review of Medicine interview) for fighting to give women a safe option.

Thank you to my friends brave and beautiful, who are always honest about their choices.

Thank you ani di franco for inspiration and for making rage so beautiful.
it was just one shot
through the kitchen window
it was just one or two miles from here
if you fly like a crow
a bullet came to visit a doctor
in his one safe place
a bullet insuring the right to life
whizzed past his kid and his wife
and knocked his glasses
right off of his face

and the blood poured off the pulpit
the blood poured down the picket line
yeah, the hatred was immediate
and the vengance was devine
so they went and stuffed god
down the barrel of a gun
and after him
they stuffed his only son

hello birmingham
it's buffalo
i heard you had some trouble
down there again
and i'm just calling to let to know
that somebody understands

i was once escorted
through the doors of a clinic
by a man in a bullet proof vest
and no bombs went off that day
so i am still here to say
i'm wishing you all of my best
oh birmingham
i'm wishing you all of my best
i'm wishing you all of my best
on this election day
Excerpted from hello birmingham © 1999 ani difranco / righteous babe music

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Real Cost of Goods From China

As Ontario is now facing a manufacturing crisis and the threat of global warming looms over us, it's time to rethink trade with China. If you haven't seen Ed Burtynsky's Manufactured Landscapes, this is the promo.

Continuing on this theme, Mother Jones has a fascinating article on industrialization in China. Read it!

The Wall Street Journal has also been devoting considerable resources to discussing similar themes.

Friday, January 11, 2008

A Modest Proposal

No, no, I’m not suggesting eating plump, little babies. There are other ways to fix a faltering economy.

Once again the news is filled with politicians calling for government to prop up the manufacturing industry. (Later perhaps someone can explain to me why Conservatives believe corporate welfare is good, but pubic welfare, i.e. helping families, is not.)

The Premiers of Ontario and Quebec are calling on the Prime Minister to give the sagging manufacturing sector more than just tax breaks. McGuinty says manufacturers need more than tax cuts, but that’s what he’s offering….
http://www.fin.gov.on.ca/english/media/2007/nr07-TaxCompetitiveness.html Nice spin – tax competitiveness, not tax cuts. Various governments have given generous handouts to the automotive sector. Has it made GM or Ford more competitive?

So what should we be doing about a manufacturing sector under threat from by cheap foreign imports and an impending American recession?
Well, it’s time for Canadians to wake-up. We need to start getting serious about buying local – and not just food. When was the last time you looked for a Made in Canada label?

David Miller, mayor of Toronto, was under attack last year for requiring that new subway cars be purchased from Bombardier. Apparently some couldn't see the benefit of buying Canadian. How would giving money to a German manufacturer to produce subway cars in China help our economy? The price may very well be lower, but what is the real cost to Canadian jobs, our economy, and let’s not forget the greenhouse gasses used to ship cheaper goods from China? If only there were more Canadians with Miller's insight…

Sadly it now appears that only 25% of the new cars will be from Bombardier.

It's time to bring back the pride in the Made in Canada Label.

Should I be worried - Pat Buchanan agrees with me! http://buchanan.org/blog/?p=827

So let me say for the record I'm not xenophobic. To modestly quote Jonathan Swift:

I profess, in the sincerity of my heart, that I have not the least personal interest in endeavoring to promote this necessary work, having no other motive than the public good of my country, by advancing our trade, providing for infants, relieving the poor, and giving some pleasure to the rich.