Saturday, 21 May 2016

Very important for everyone !
There must be no basic change to our voting system without a national referendum.
Rex Murphy says it best.  Cut and paste to listen.  He is very convincing.  


Friday, 20 May 2016


CHANGE METHOD OF HOW CANADA VOTES

Contents
1. National Post Article
2. Biography
3. Hansard Transcript House of Commons

If one truly cares about Canada, they will inform themselves by this page.  “Incredible” and “appalling” is what I must say about the government’s intent for us all, led by someone who is personally not credible for this Ministerial role. PF

1. National Post Headline (Robyn Urback)  How long before Monsef starts answering questions about electoral reform by talking about her cat?

Lost in the embarrassing display of buffoonery on the floor of the House of Commons Wednesday evening was a nearly-as-embarrassing display of inanity earlier that afternoon.

That earlier incident didn’t involve elbows, of course, nor did it inspire feverish accusations of gendered violence or an over-the-top declaration of deep remorse. The afternoon assault, rather, was inflicted only on our collective minds, which were made to endure such breathtakingly asinine logic that there’s no way to characterize it other than as a violation of our intellectual sanctity.

The author of that inanity was Minister of Democratic Institutions Maryam Monsef, who is tasked with overseeing what could be the most substantial change to our parliamentary system in more than a hundred years. The good minister was fielding questions about why the Liberals seem not to be entertaining the option of a referendum on electoral reform, which would guarantee far greater input from Canadians than the government’s plan for summertime meetings and regional town halls.

“Mr. Speaker,” Monsef began, “democracy is more than just about voting. It is about working together to ensure that every voice and every perspective is engaged and included in governance.”

Then she continued: “In the past, the Progressive Conservative Party extended the right to vote to women and indigenous persons. The party did not hold a referendum. It came to Parliament and collectively worked together to do the right thing.”

Monsef’s point, if I understand it correctly, is that because a government 100 years ago expanded the political franchise without holding a prior vote, the Liberal government of today is justified in using its majority — earned by way of system of voting we are now to accept is deeply flawed — to steer the ship on a totally unrelated matter, because Parliament should work together.

Everyone got that? Let’s move on.

Conservative MP Scott Reid then put to the House that the most inclusive way of consulting Canadians on the matter of electoral reform would be to put the final decision “to 35 million Canadians for ratification or rejection.”

Monsef responded: “Allow me to take this opportunity to remind all members of the House that the final decision on what reforms we bring forward will be the decision of all 338 members of the House, and to believe otherwise is undemocratic.”

By this, if I again understand correctly, Monsef means that it is more inclusive to consult 338 suited partisans in Ottawa than it is to directly consult 35 million Canadians from across the country: an equation that is best illustrated using Discovery Math, which I will attempt later. Furthermore, according to our Minister of Democratic Institutions, it is undemocratic (authoritarian? possibly illegal?) for members of a democracy to vote on a matter at the core of our how parliamentary system operates, and that a true democracy means that everyone’s voice is equal, as long as the voices have a seat in the House of Commons and serve on a committee stacked with Liberal MPs.

Monsef’s Wednesday performance built upon a similar show earlier in the week, during which time she also argued that a referendum would be illegitimate because some people don’t vote. Following this logic, we can only assume that the minister will soon table a motion to abolish all elections in the country, based on the fact that some people don’t vote in those things either. She will then resign, since she can’t assume that everyone in her riding — literally everyone who was eligible — voted last Oct. 19.

The Minister of Democratic Institutions will thus usher in a new era of Canadian governments decided by committee, which will be just as fair and inclusive as elections except that the incumbent government will always be afforded a majority stake. Faith in this system will require us to believe that those who don’t traditionally vote in elections or referendums will be inspired to commit exponentially more time than the five minutes it typically takes to cast a vote, and instead sit down to write a letter to their local MPs or participate in agonizingly boring town halls.

The debate about referendums is sure to continue into next week, when Canadians can anticipate further illogical, barely relevant arguments against holding a national referendum from Canada’s esteemed Minister of Democratic Institutions. “Mr. Speaker, some cats are indoor cats and some cats are outdoor cats.  My cat has spots on its tail. Let’s work together to make Canada a better place.”

By Robyn Urback: National Post


*************************************
2. Maryam Monsef is (30yrs) the Member of Parliament for Peterborough-Kawartha, and Canada’s Minister for Democratic Institutions.  Twenty years ago, after fleeing the terror of the Taliban, Maryam and her family escaped from Afghanistan to Peterborough.

Monsef was born in Afghanistan where she lived with her Muslim family.   Her father died in unclear circumstances when Monsef was a toddler; commenting on the incident, she remarked that "the most we know is he was caught in a crossfire between the border of Iran and Afghanistan." Her uncle had, years earlier, vanished along with several roommates while attending the University of Kabul, in circumstances suggested to have been connected to anti-communist political activity.   Monsef's mother Soriya moved her three daughters back and forth between Iran and Afghanistan, awaiting an end to hostilities, but the family struggled in Iran, where they faced the risk of deportation.   In 1996, when Monsef was 11, her mother opted to move the family to Canada.   The journey involved traveling through Iran, Pakistan, and Jordan.

Upon arrival, the family took up residence in Peterborough, where Monsef's uncle already lived.  They relied on the support of several charity organizations, including the YMCA and the Salvation Army.   Monsef has continued to raise money for humanitarian activities in Afghanistan.  

Monsef graduated from Trent University with a Bachelor of Science in psychology.    Since graduating, she has worked with a number of organizations including Trent University, Fleming College, Peterborough Economic Development, the Community Foundation of Greater Peterborough and the New Canadian Centre.

As a practicing Muslim, Maryam co-founded the Red Pashmina Campaign, which has raised money for women and girls in Afghanistan.

Maryam has represented Peterborough at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in New York City, is a co-recipient of the YMCA’s Peace Medallion and has received the Young Leaders Award from Trent University.  

With no political experience, she ran for Mayor of Peterborough in 2014, finishing second.  Later that same year, she sought the nomination for the federal Liberal Party.   She was elected on October 19, 2015 with 43.8% of the vote.  Monsef is the first Canadian MP to have been born in Afghanistan.   With no political experience, and marginal Canadian cultural understanding, Monsef was appointed as Minister of Democratic Institutions in Justin Trudeau's Cabinet on November 4, 2015.   She is the fourth-youngest Canadian minister ever appointed to a Cabinet.

******************
3. House of Commons Debates
42nd PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 059

Thursday, May 19, 2016
Mr. Andrew Scheer (ReginaQu'Appelle, CPC): 

    Mr. Speaker, the opposition comes to the House to represent the 60% of Canadians who do not support the Liberals.
    In the past few days, the Liberals have been pulling their own fire alarms to prevent MPs from doing their work. They tried to punish us for their mistake by bringing in Motion No. 6. We appreciate the fact that they have now announced that they are withdrawing that, but I do know that they are only withdrawing it after the massive backlash from not only opposition parties, but Canadians, and even their friends in the media.
    The Prime Minister has withdrawn this anti-democratic motion to rig the rules of the House. Will he now withdraw his anti-democratic attempts to rig the voting system by changes to the electoral system?

Hon. Maryam Monsef (Minister of Democratic Institutions, Lib.): 
    Mr. Speaker, we all agree that our democratic institutions must evolve. We all agree, as the hon. Leader of the Opposition just said, that we represent the voices of the Canadians who brought us to this place.
    We need to take responsibility for this privilege and work together to ensure that the changes we bring forward are relevant to the 21st century and include the voices of those who do not normally engage in this process.

Mr. Andrew Scheer (ReginaQu'Appelle, CPC): 
    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals need to take responsibility for the bizarre actions of the Liberal government over the past few days.
    Motion No. 6 was a glimpse into the mind of a Prime Minister when he does not get his way. Canadians have every reason to be worried about what the Liberals plan to do with the voting system of Canadians.
    Will the government commit to dropping its attempts to rig the system and promise Canadians a referendum?

Hon. Maryam Monsef (Minister of Democratic Institutions, Lib.): 
    Mr. Speaker, I do not accept the premise that this process has failed before it has even begun.
    We need to work together to find common ground. We need to ensure that the voices of those Canadians who sent us to this place are reflected in the conversations.
    I urge all members to bring their ideas forward and to help strengthen this process and our democratic institutions.

Hon. Jason Kenney (Calgary Midnapore, CPC): 
    Mr. Speaker, the government promised a new era of respect for Parliament. Instead, after just six months, we have the Liberals shutting down debate for the first time in our history on an end-of life conscience matter.
    The Liberals tried to rig the rules of this place to the government's total advantage through Motion No. 6. We commend them for withdrawing that, but now they are trying to rig the very system that elects members to this place.
    The minister has just said that we need to hear the voices of those Canadians who brought us to this place. Those were 17.5 million voices that will be excluded by her closed, Liberal-controlled parliamentary process.
    Why will the government not really demonstrate a commitment to democratic reforms through a referendum?

Hon. Maryam Monsef (Minister of Democratic Institutions, Lib.): 
    Mr. Speaker, as the hon. Leader of the Opposition said in her remarks at the beginning of question period today, we represent the voice of every Canadian. I would urge my colleagues in the House to move beyond the repetitive questions asked every day. Let us engage in a productive exchange of ideas. Let us work together and seize this historic opportunity to bring our electoral system into the 21st century.

Hon. Jason Kenney (Calgary Midnapore, CPC): 
    Mr. Speaker, I invite the minister to move beyond her repetitive non-answers, beyond her refusal to allow the Canadian people to decide the manner by which they elect their representatives.
     The minister stands and pretends that a few hundred witnesses at a committee are more inclusive than a referendum that could involve 17 million or more voters. What does she not understand about this?
    This is a simple question of the legitimacy of this place. Does the government really think Canadians will accept a rigged system chosen by and for the Liberal Party of Canada?

Hon. Maryam Monsef (Minister of Democratic Institutions, Lib.): 
    Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned, we have not decided on a system yet. We have simply taken the first step in fulfilling our promise to Canadians, over 60% of whom who said our democratic institutions needed to be modernized, needed to be strengthened, needed to be more relevant. We took that first step a week and a day ago. We introduced a motion to bring together an all-party parliamentary committee, and we look forward to working with all members and not prejudging the outcome of that work.

Mr. Blake Richards (Banff—Airdrie, CPC): 
    Mr. Speaker, it seems that sunny ways have quickly turned into “Sonny, get the bleep out of my way”. That is the elbows up approach the Prime Minister took in this Parliament yesterday, but it also seems to be the approach he is taking to voting reform. He is trying to rig the next election in the favour of the Liberals.
    Is the Prime Minister really so arrogant that he thinks he can impose his will on Canadians without giving them a say in a referendum?

Hon. Maryam Monsef (Minister of Democratic Institutions, Lib.): 
    Mr. Speaker, we have not decided on a system yet. We have put forward a committee to study a wide range of electoral reform options, including proportional representation and alternative voting, including online voting and mandatory voting. That process has just begun and we need to work together to ensure the voices of Canadians are included in that conversation, and that we use the tools available to us in the 21st century to do this in the most meaningful and inclusive way possible.

Mr. Blake Richards (Banff—Airdrie, CPC): 
    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals arrogance knows no bounds.  It is quite evident that the Prime Minister has absolutely no respect for this place and the democracy it represents. The Liberals are trying to ram through electoral reform just like they tried to ram through the opposition yesterday. Does the Prime Minister think that he can also manhandle democracy, or will he let Canadians have a say in a referendum?

Hon. Maryam Monsef (Minister of Democratic Institutions, Lib.): 
    Mr. Speaker, what is clear is that we all agree that the status quo must end. Over 60% of Canadians voted for change. They voted for parties—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!

Mr. Alain Rayes (Richmond—Arthabaska, CPC): 
    Mr. Speaker, on Monday we learned via Twitter that even the Prime Minister's principal secretary thinks that holding a referendum is not a bad way to conduct consultations.
    Can the minister and the Prime Minister respect the opinion of the 62% of Canadians who did not vote for them, forget about partisanship on such a fundamental issue, and tell us if they are rejecting the idea of a referendum just because it is a good Conservative proposal?

Hon. Maryam Monsef (Minister of Democratic Institutions, Lib.): 
    Mr. Speaker, I have some headache medicine in my desk, should you wish to have any.
    Democracy is more than just about voting. Democracy is about ensuring that the voices of those who are normally engaged in the process are included to ensure that we are the strongest that we can be.
    In the past, we have extended the right to vote to women and to indigenous persons, and it has been Conservative governments, Progressive Conservative governments that have done this. This was the right thing to do. It came to the House. The members took responsibility and brought forward the changes necessary. We need to demonstrate the same leadership.

Mr. Alain Rayes (Richmond—Arthabaska, CPC): 
    Mr. Speaker, if the minister is wondering why the questions are repetitive, it may be because the answers are unsatisfactory.
    Contrary to what the minister thinks, we are not the only ones who believe that a referendum is a good option. Canadians and the media are also wondering about the process put in place by the Liberal government.
    Yesterday, a respected Toronto Star journalist said, “[The minister] has so far succeeded in burning bridges where she should have been building some...It is an unsustainable proposition.”
    Will the minister acknowledge that a referendum is the best way to respectfully consult all Canadians?

Hon. Maryam Monsef (Minister of Democratic Institutions, Lib.): 
    Mr. Speaker, is a referendum a tool, a means of engaging Canadians? Yes, it is. However, is it the best tool? It is not the best tool. During previous referenda in Ontario and in B.C., nearly 50% of the population did not participate. Is that okay? We need to work together, and we need to work harder, to ensure that our democratic institutions are inclusive and the systemic barriers that exist today are addressed by all 338 members of the House.

Ms. Rachael Harder: 
    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister misled Canadians on three separate occasions when he said that he consulted the opposition on electoral reform. He said to Canadians to trust him, that he will design an electoral system that is ideal for Canada.
    The Prime Minister's failure of leadership this week shows why Canadians need to make their own decisions with regard to how they vote. A referendum is absolutely the only safeguard that Canadians have against this tyrannical Prime Minister. Why is the Prime Minister so afraid to hold a referendum?

Hon. Maryam Monsef (Minister of Democratic Institutions, Lib.): 
    Mr. Speaker, in this House, every single vote has an equal weight. What this Prime Minister committed to was bringing together a committee made up of parliamentarians, to study and review possible electoral reform options, including online voting and mandatory voting. The final decision will come to this House, where every member has an equal voice and an equal vote.

Ms. Rachael Harder (Lethbridge, CPC): 
    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's unstable leadership has been on absolute full display this week for us. Whether it be misleading Canadians about his made-up consultations with the opposition or his absolutely bizarre behaviour last night, the Prime Minister is out of control. Will he do us all a favour and take a remedial course in civics and perhaps learn the basics of democracy? Will he also do the right thing and give Canadians the final say in how governments are elected? Will the Prime Minister respect the voices of each and every Canadian by holding a referendum? Yes, or no?

Hon. Maryam Monsef (Minister of Democratic Institutions, Lib.): 
    Mr. Speaker, our Prime Minister did the right thing and apologized sincerely and wholeheartedly. Let us accept that.
    For those who are interested in reforming our electoral system, let us work together. I know that many members have great ideas and they cannot wait to share them. I ask them to bring them forward so that we can ensure that the modernization that needs to occur occurs with the best ideas and the most inclusive approach possible.

Mr. Scott Reid (Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston, CPC): 
    Mr. Speaker, today's Toronto Star says that the minister's handling of the electoral reform file is “asinine”, “disingenuous”, and “discredited”. The Star also reports that “she is prone to explanations that defy logic”. Those are the words of the Toronto Star, not mine. Here is the minister's chance to turn things around by actually giving a straightforward answer, which includes a yes or a no, to a straightforward question. Will the Liberal government hold a referendum to give Canadians a veto in its plans to change our electoral system?

Hon. Maryam Monsef (Minister of Democratic Institutions, Lib.): 
    Mr. Speaker, perhaps that is the flaw in this process. Electoral reform is neither simple nor easy to address. It is a complex question, with many underlying factors and many consequences. We need to work together to ensure that we answer those questions effectively, that the best ideas are brought forward, and the voices of those who do not normally have an opportunity to be included in this conversation are included in this conversation.

Mr. Scott Reid (Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston, CPC): 
    That is peachy, Mr. Speaker. They can all do that on Twitter, but in the meantime there should be a referendum at the end of the process put to all 35 million Canadians.
    The minister has actually argued that her ongoing Twitter consultations are more inclusive than a referendum. She has actually said that. However, if she actually reads some of the responses she has received on Twitter, she will see that there are not many who think it is okay to rig the 2019 election. In fact, she will find what the media characterizes as a groundswell of opposition to her chosen process.
    Given the minister's deep admiration for Twitter consultations, will she respect the wishes of those who are writing to her, and will she hold the referendum that they are requesting?

Hon. Maryam Monsef (Minister of Democratic Institutions, Lib.): 
    Mr. Speaker, in the 21st century, we have the technology available to us that did not exist even 10 years ago. We have the capacity and indeed the responsibility to take advantage and leverage these tools and ensure that the 19th century model we are currently operating under is improved and enhanced and brought into the 21st century.


Friday, 6 May 2016

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Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Petition to the House of Commons

Petition to the House of Commons
in Parliament Assembled
Canada – April 2016

We, the undersigned citizens and residents of the Province of British Columbia
draw the attention of the House to the following:

That, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau vowed that the 2015 election would be the last federal election held under our time-honoured single-member plurality system that has served Canadians in every federal election since Confederation in 1867;

That, Prime Minister Trudeau and his Cabinet Ministers have asserted the Liberal majority government has the exclusive right and power to impose an entirely new electoral system in Canada by Parliamentary mandate;

That, we believe the political party in power does not retain any exclusive right or authority to unilaterally change our time-honoured electoral system to a new method of their liking;

That, the fundamental rules of democracy - including the methods of calculating ballot totals in elections for Members of Parliament - require a widespread agreement and super-majority consent of the citizens of Canada in order to be considered legitimate;

That, only a national referendum, in which all eligible Canadian voters may cast ballots, can decide the merits and methods of voting that will elect future Members of Parliament;

That, Prime Minister Trudeau has so far refused to listen to the reasonable and rightful request of those allow Canadians to cast their own ballots in a national referendum to choose the method of federal elections they favour;

Therefore, your Petitioners respectfully call upon the Prime Minister and the House of Commons to agree and resolve that any measure of electoral reform recommended by the current Liberal Government, or any advisory committee the government appoints, will not be implemented or come into force without the support of a majority assenting vote by the citizens of Canada in a national referendum.


X ______________________________
     Signature


   ______________________________
     Print name


 _________________________________________
 Full mailing address

Complete and mail (postage free) to 
Rona Ambrose MP
House of Commons 
Ottawa K1A 0A6


Thursday, 14 April 2016

Medical Assistance in Dying

Medical Assistance in Dying

The Liberal government seeks to “Legalize Assisted Suicide in Canada”.

The Canadian Supreme Court required the government to produce a law about it; the status-quo was not an option.   The government response was tabled in Parliament as a Bill summarized as follows:

C-14  SUMMARY

An Act to amend the Criminal Code and to make related amendments to other Acts (medical assistance in dying)

This enactment amends the Criminal Code to, among other things,

(a) create exemptions from the offences of culpable homicide, of aiding suicide and of administering a noxious thing, in order to permit medical practitioners and nurse practitioners to provide medical assistance in dying and to permit pharmacists and other persons to assist in the process;

(b) specify the eligibility criteria and the safeguards that must be respected before medical assistance in dying may be provided to a person;

(c) require that medical practitioners and nurse practitioners who receive requests for, and pharmacists who dispense substances in connection with the provision of, medical assistance in dying provide information for the purpose of permitting the monitoring of medical assistance in dying, and authorize the Minister of Health to make regulations respecting that information; and

(d) create new offences for failing to comply with the safeguards, for forging or destroying documents related to medical assistance in dying, for failing to provide the required information and for contravening the regulations.

This enactment also makes related amendments to other Acts to ensure that recourse to medical assistance in dying does not result in the loss of a pension under the Pension Act or benefits under the Canadian Forces Members and Veterans Re-establishment and Compensation Act. It amends the Corrections and Conditional Release Act to ensure that no investigation need be conducted under section 19 of that Act in the case of an inmate who receives medical assistance in dying.

Lastly, this enactment provides for a parliamentary review of its provisions, to commence at the start of the fifth year following the day on which it receives royal assent.

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

Preamble
Whereas the Parliament of Canada recognizes the autonomy of persons who have a grievous and irremediable medical condition that causes them enduring and intolerable suffering and who wish to seek medical assistance in dying;

Whereas robust safeguards, reflecting the irrevocable nature of ending a life, are essential to prevent errors and abuse in the provision of medical assistance in dying;

Whereas it is important to affirm the inherent and equal value of every person’s life and to avoid encouraging negative perceptions of the quality of life of persons who are elderly, ill or disabled;

Whereas vulnerable persons must be protected from being induced, in moments of weakness, to end their lives;

Whereas suicide is a significant public health issue that can have lasting and harmful effects on individuals, families and communities;

Whereas, in light of the above considerations, permitting access to medical assistance in dying for competent adults whose deaths are reasonably foreseeable strikes the most appropriate balance between the autonomy of persons who seek medical assistance in dying, on one hand, and the interests of vulnerable persons in need of protection and those of society, on the other;

Whereas it is desirable to have a consistent approach to medical assistance in dying across Canada, while recognizing the provinces’ jurisdiction over various matters related to medical assistance in dying, including the delivery of health care services and the regulation of health care professionals, as well as insurance contracts and coroners and medical examiners;

Whereas persons who avail themselves of medical assistance in dying should be able to do so without adverse legal consequences for their families — including the loss of eligibility for benefits — that would result from their death;

Whereas the Government of Canada has committed to uphold the principles set out in the Canada Health Act — public administration, comprehensiveness, universality, portability and accessibility — with respect to medical assistance in dying;

And whereas the Government of Canada has committed to develop non-legislative measures that would support the improvement of a full range of options for end-of-life care, respect the personal convictions of health care providers and explore other situations — each having unique implications — in which a person may seek access to medical assistance in dying, namely situations giving rise to requests by mature minors, advance requests and requests where mental illness is the sole underlying medical condition;


Now, therefore, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:

The full text of Bill C-14 is at the following link:

http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Language=E&Mode=1&DocId=8183660

Monday, 11 April 2016

LEAP MANIFESTO

LEAP MANIFESTO


This week the federal NDP dumped their Leader (but he will hang around awhile to annoy the nation).  They also voted to debate for two years, the silly LEAP MANIFESTO.  Upon careful reflection, one wonders why intelligent people would say such childish naive things about our world. 


It’s no ‘leap’ for this Party to swallow myths.  The NDP official policy document reveals that they have always been against pipelines, and also against taking oil and gas energy from the ground.  Their basic policy declaration also avoids speaking of the most natural renewable energy source, which is hydro electric power from dams, and the words “dam” or “oil” never appear in the official policy document.  They avoid mentioning that there is no developed large economy that can sufficiently supply its main electrical needs, where dams and hydro power are not options, from solar, wind, wave, tidal, and geothermal sources, without the use of nuclear power and burning fuels.  It appears that the LEAP Manifesto statements about energy fit right into traditional NDP energy policy illusions.  (see below)

NDP POLICY SECTION 2
BUILDING A CLEAN AND SUSTAINABLE CANADA

Reshaping energy policy for the 21st century means moving away from fossil-fuel dependence toward a green energy future by investing in solar, wind, wave, and geothermal sources, working with provinces and territories to share clean energy; and ensuring energy conservation in transportation and building methods.

Energy
New Democrats believe in:
a Promoting clean, renewable energy to mitigate the negative effect of non-renewable energy such as fossil fuels.

d Rescinding tax breaks and subsidies for fossil fuel industries, while protecting workers, communities, and the surrounding environment.

h Discouraging bulk exports of our unprocessed natural resources and fossil fuels and providing incentives for value-added, responsible upgrading, refining and petrochemical manufacturing in Canada to maximize the economic benefits and jobs for Canadians.

       *       *       *       *       *       *       *        

The previous view of the National Post from September 2015 still holds.

NDP National Post View: One giant leap backward for mankind
September 17, 2015

The authors of “the leap manifesto” are to be congratulated for the clarity, vigour and courage with which they express their vision.  The manifesto is unapologetic, from the lack of capital letters in the title to the call for a bold leap at the end.  And there are things worth debating in its slim five pages, as well as much clearly, vigorously and courageously expressed nonsense.

Start with a “universal basic annual income,” an entirely debate-worthy proposition. Given widespread dissatisfaction with current income supports on grounds of performance, fairness and cost, it is high time to ask whether the “negative income tax” (Milton Friedman’s invention) would be preferable, and if so, why we do not move to enact it.

The call for more “ecologically based” agriculture is also worth debating: among other implications, it would suggest doing away with farm subsidies, which encourage soil depletion.  Regrettably the manifesto is not much given to debate, on this or most other points, at least in the sense of rational argument.

Example: “The new iron law of energy development must be: if you wouldn’t want it in your backyard, then it doesn’t belong in anyone’s backyard.”  By such reasoning, no one would ever build a factory or sewage treatment plant either, or a school or one of the public transit stations about which it enthuses.  Surely people can decide for themselves what they would want done in their own backyards.

Example: “Shifting to an economy in balance with the earth’s limits also means expanding the sectors of our economy that are already low carbon: caregiving, teaching, social work, the arts and public-interest media.”  It is not immediately obvious why less noble kinds of media should be assumed to be more carbon-intensive, or why all that “shifting” must be the work of town-hall democrats and not prices.

The manifesto’s antipathy to trade deals is also reflexive rather than reflective, rooted in the unexamined assumption that capital can only be held in check by local democracy and not by competition, foreign or domestic.  The question of wealth generation is as usual given next to no thought beside the obsessive devotion to its redistribution.

It would not be fair to say the manifesto entirely avoids the question of methods. Its authors think they have found the key to the future in the aboriginal peoples’ allegedly superior ability to live in harmony with nature, not to mention their legal right to most of Canada.  But beyond that the manifesto is frighteningly blithe about how central planning could be made to work where it never has before. Merely incanting “renewable energy” and “local democracy” over it does not refute the systematic discrediting of it over several decades, not only by Nobel-winning economists but ample practical experience.

But the road to utopia is paved with contempt for past experience.  The manifesto ignores the lessons of history, derides genuine obstacles to its ambitions as the pleadings of timid thinkers or vested interests, and throughout indulges the characteristic far-left belief that all utilities can be maximized simultaneously, without any frustrating tradeoffs including sometimes having to wait for things. It displays not the slightest understanding of how free markets work, nor the slightest respect for individual choice.

Instead there is apocalyptic rhetoric, from the opening red bold-faced “Canada is facing the deepest crisis in recent memory,” to the recycled declaration that we have, yet again, one single decade for “decisive action to prevent catastrophic global warming,” to the startling claim that “’austerity’” in scare quotes “has become a threat to life on earth.”

Some signatories embarrassed Thomas Mulcair by claiming the manifesto says out loud what the NDP really thinks.  But for precisely that reason, the manifesto gives him a chance to reinforce his sober-minded credentials by explaining frankly why it is programmatic and metaphysical nonsense to claim peace, plenty and harmony are so obviously close at hand that they can be seized in one jump.

It would indeed require a leap of faith of spectacular proportions to discard all the practical wisdom painfully accumulated over many centuries, not to improve life as we know it but to leap to something so unlike this life that we cannot make prudent judgments about its practicality or desirability.

The authors deserve praise for admitting they believe in such a leap without equivocation or weasel words. They deserve rather less praise for believing such guff.

National Post



Friday, 8 April 2016

Justin Trudeau's cute but highly ordinary - Brazil

Prominent Brazilian magazine publishes scathing critique of Justin Trudeau.  The computer translation is not perfect, but the sense of it is clear.  Interesting to see ourselves as others see us.  What follows below is the direct source text translation from Brazil, rather than a Canadian media interpretation.
*       *       *       *       *       *       *
HEADLINE
Justin Trudeau's cute but highly ordinary Prime Minister of Canada has everything bad, except the appearance

VEJA  02/04/2016   Vilma Gryzinski (writer)  Brazil   (computer translation from Portuguese)

What about a head of government whose election is praised by the Islamic State?  Well, if those who make the assessment are at the same level as the so-called filmmakers Eric Ruel and Guylaine Maroist, only say stupidities dazzled.

The so-called movie they made the about the Prime Minister of Canada, released now by a video platform, delivers turpitude sycophantic logo in the title: “God Save Justin Trudeau”.

God save us from being subjected to such torture, to which there are plenty of praise.  Justin Trudeau is the embodiment of dreams vaguely leftist, and confusingly well-intentioned liberalism, a handsome guy parading physically shameless, and poses for photos in yoga poses - an Oedipal reproduction of his father, Pierre Trudeau, who was prime minister Canada on two occasions for a total of fifteen years.

"I was put on this planet to do this.  I'm going to fight and win", says Trudeau narcissistically childlike.  Fight, in this case, in both directions, because it was defeating in the boxing ring, a veteran of the Canadian Navy, presented in the film as a wild beast, and the young politician gained national attention.

As if he needed "national recognition".  The child of Trudeau, the former Prime Minister, comes from the cradle to the global aristocracy, circulating in the best environments in the world, a kind of international chic left.

In addition to the famous father, who died in 2000, Justin has a mother with a history.  And what a story.  Margaret Trudeau was a young lady who circled the hippie circuit in the 60’s, when a political conqueror, twice her age, fell for her.

Margaret, on the other hand, also fell into a highly risky lifestyle of the time.  She was young, beautiful, and injected freshness on the political scene, already energized by "trudeaumania", who had taken her husband to be elected with a liberal platform in the American sense.  

Margaret injected other things too. She began to circulate with the class of Studio 54, the famous nightclub in New York.  She took drugs in her husband's bag, and made a compelling speech on a visit to Venezuela, after taking the hallucinogen peitote.  She had affairs with Ted Kennedy, Ronnie Wood and Mick Jagger.  Considering the reputation of the senator of the famous American dynasty, and the members of the Rolling Stones, nothing new.

She abandoned her children, a fact attributed to her depression and bipolar disorder.  Today she is a beautiful lady of 67, making awareness campaigns on mental disorders.  But the son only suffers from the disorder that takes the "left" to support any insanity, including terrorism, when committed in the name of the Muslim religion.  He usually frequents mosques, using typical costumes from countries such as Pakistan, and making prayers with Islamic attitudes.

Once elected, at the end of last year, Justin Trudeau suspended the participation of Canada in the bombing of the Islamic State positions - hence the praise.  In the next statement in a hallucinatory state displayed without worse consequences than personal, for her mother in the past, said Canada did not even retaliate that was attacked by terrorists.

Justin Trudeau was compared by a religious Muslims heroes and Islamist Recep Erdogan, chairman of Turkey.  Even with its policy of open doors to immigrants from Muslim countries, candidates have to go through the security screen and rely on local sponsors, usually family members.

Canada is the country of the dreams of many people who want to change their lives, including Brazilians.  Due to the very low population compared to gigantic proportions - only 35 million inhabitants - accepted and to demand new people from falling in the professional needs of its different regions, especially the most distant.

The national reputation of Canadian well behaved contrasts with the creative chaos of the United States - chaos, of course, from their point of view.  The country is an exception in the New World, with a system similar to the highly costly social welfare, but in general efficient, Northern Europe

To be successful, of course, the most ambitious Canadians have to go to the United States.  For success, understand names such as Justin Bieber, Pamela Anderson, Ryan Gosling, Avril Lavigne and the ultimate diva, Celine Dion.  This just goes to America to make money.


Justin Trudeau can hardly ruin a country so well organized, although boring.  The greatest evil he has done so far, was dazzling sycophantic journalists who deal with him with a self-destructive deference.  Both Trudeau and the sycophants, certainly continue trying to worsen.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Non-Nuclear Sanctions Against Iran Act




Conservatives act properly concerning Iran, and put the Liberals on notice with Bill S-219,  An Act to deter Iran-sponsored terrorism, incitement to hatred, and human rights violations

Short Title - Non-Nuclear Sanctions Against Iran Act

FIRST READING, FEBRUARY 23, 2016  
by THE HONOURABLE SENATOR TKACHUK (Conservative)

BILL SUMMARY

This enactment provides for an ongoing analysis of the incidence of terrorist activity, support of terrorism, incitement to hatred, and human rights violations, emanating from Iran, the identification of Iranian officials who are responsible for such activities and the strengthening of Canada’s non-nuclear sanctions regime against Iran by

(a) requiring the Minister of Foreign Affairs to publish an annual report on Iran-sponsored terrorism, incitement to hatred, and human rights violations that includes a description of measures taken by the Government of Canada to address those activities;
(b) providing that the Special Economic Measures (Iran) Regulations apply in respect of the following, as if they were persons whose names are listed in Schedule 1 of those regulations:

(i) the Execution of Imam Khomenei’s Order (EIKO),

(ii) Iranian officials named in the annual report as being persons the Minister believes to be responsible for terrorist activity, support of terrorism, incitement to hatred, or serious human rights violations, and

(iii) other entities named in the annual report, including those that the Minister believes have been owned or controlled by EIKO or the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) or the officers of which have been acting on behalf of EIKO or the IRGC during the five preceding years;

(c) providing that Canada’s current sanctions regime against Iran cannot be eased unless two consecutive annual reports conclude that there is no credible evidence of terrorist activity or incitement to hatred emanating from Iran and that there has been significant progress in Iran in respect of human rights; and

(d) requiring the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness to consider whether to recommend that the IRGC be named a listed entity (terrorist group) under the Criminal Code.

The enactment also provides for the freezing of assets of permanent residents and foreign nationals who are listed in the annual report as having been responsible for terrorist-related activities, incitement to hatred, or serious human rights violations, and amends the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to render such persons whose actions would, if committed in Canada, have constituted an indictable offence, as well as persons who have served in the IRGC or the Basij-e Mostazafan, inadmissible under that Act.

(SPEECH)

Hon. David Tkachuk moved second reading of Bill S-219, An Act to deter Iran-sponsored terrorism, incitement to hatred, and human rights violations.

He said: Honourable senators, last month the Government of Canada rightly announced the lifting of some sanctions against Iran and, in doing so, it promised to maintain its firm commitment to the human rights of Iranians. It also promised to oppose Iran's support for terrorist organizations, its threats against Israel and its ballistic missile program, while monitoring Iran's compliance with its obligations under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

I'm pleased to introduce a bill that will help the government to achieve most of these very objectives. It will hold Iran accountable on terrorism, human rights and incitement to genocide, and all this without impairing the government's ability to engage with Iran.

Because, as we all know, it was engagement and not sanctions, the ones we agreed to lift if they would agree to abandon their pursuit of nuclear weapons, that induced Iran to sign the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

This proposed legislation, officially called "An Act to deter Iran-sponsored terrorism, incitement to hatred, and human rights violations," has three primary components.

The bill provides that Canada's current sanctions regime against Iran cannot be eased unless Iran ceases its terrorist activity and incitement to hatred and demonstrates significant improvement in respecting the human rights of its citizens.

The bill provides for an ongoing analysis of the incidence of terrorist activity, support of terrorism, incitement to hatred and human rights violations emanating from Iran, and the identification of Iranian officials who are responsible for such activities by requiring the publication of an annual report.

The bill requires the government to consider whether to recommend that the entire Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the IRGC, be named as a listed terrorist group under the Criminal Code.

Beyond Iran's nuclear conduct, which rightly or wrongly has become legitimized under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the Canadian Parliament has recognized three other toxic threats emanating from Iran: the massive human rights abuses; state sponsorship of international terrorism; and state- sanctioned incitement to hate and genocide. I'm going to address each of these threats in turn.

The violation of human rights in Iran is widespread and well documented. They have not lessened under President Hassan Rouhani's tenure, despite his reputation as a "moderate." They include the stoning of women; the execution of children and homosexuals; the imprisonment of journalists, bloggers and human rights defenders; the persecution of ethnic and religious minorities, including the Baha'i people; and the criminalization of political dissent. The IRGC has been a principal perpetrator of these and other offences.

The rape, torture and murder of Canadian-Iranian citizen Zahra Kazemi in 2003 represented a defining and destructive moment in Canada-Iran relations. Since then, Canada has been a global leader in focusing attention at home and abroad on the plight of the Iranian people.

Every year, Canada introduces a resolution at the United Nations General Assembly on the situation of human rights in Iran. In Ottawa, numerous House of Commons and Senate committees have studied the issue and put recommendations forward.

In 2012, this chamber called attention to the egregious human rights abuses in Iran, particularly the use of torture and the cruel and inhuman treatment of unlawfully incarcerated political prisoners. The Iranian human rights file is one of those rare causes where members of all of Canada's federal political parties can find common ground. Holding Iran accountable for its vicious, violent and even fatal human rights abuses should be unanimously supported.

Let's not be fooled by the recent election of so-called moderates in Iran. As Terry Glavin wrote recently in the National Post:

It's rubbish . . . .

. . . The regime in Iran is now more confident, wealthier, more expansionist and belligerent than at any time since the bloody decade of the 1980s.

In regard to terrorism, Tehran has been implicated in terrorist attacks in Beirut in 1983, Berlin in 1992, Buenos Aires in 1992 and 1994, and Bulgaria in 2012. That is without mentioning the failed plots to bomb New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport in 2007 and a restaurant in Washington, D.C. in 2011.

Iran regards terrorism as an essential element of its foreign policy, military strategy and religious revolution. Responsibility for executing this terrorist policy has largely been delegated to the IRGC and its overseas branch, the Quds Force, which maintains operations in dozens of countries.

It is the IRGC, in cahoots with Russia, that is currently Bashar al-Assad in slaughtering and displacing millions of Syrian civilians. It is the IRGC that also provided assistance to the Taliban and al-Qaeda during the post-9/11 mission in Afghanistan in which Canadian soldiers were injured or killed.

The IRGC Quds Force, Hamas and Hezbollah — all listed terrorist entities in Canada — have received critical support from Iran.

Even U.S. President Obama, who was extremely eager to reach a nuclear deal with Iran and was therefore willing to overlook some Iranian transgressions, stated in an August 2015 interview that:

Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism. It helps prop up the Assad regime in Syria. It supports Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. It aids the Houthi rebels in Yemen. So countries in the region are right to be deeply concerned about Iran's activities, especially its support for violent proxies inside the borders of other nations.

It is imperative that Canada continue to hold Iran to account for its terrorist involvement. For as long as Iran continues to act as a state sponsor of terror, Canada should continue to list Iran as such and to maintain current sanctions against the regime.

Finally, genocide. Let me quote former Liberal MP and Minister of Justice Irwin Cotler, an authority on the subject of Iranian state-sanctioned incitement to genocide. He notes the Supreme Court of Canada's finding that:

The genocidal horrors of the Holocaust were made possible by the deliberate incitement of hatred against the Jewish people and other minorities.

He continues:

State Parties to the Genocide Convention already understood this in 1948, in the wake of the Holocaust, such that the Convention prohibits the crime of "Direct and public incitement to commit genocide." Incitement itself is the crime — whether or not genocide follows. The objective is to prevent genocides before they occur, by sounding the alarm on the type of state-sanctioned incendiary incitement that has in the past led us down the path to tragedy and atrocity.

The Iranian regime's criminal incitement has been persistent, pervasive and pernicious. The 21st century begins with Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei calling for "the annihilation of the Jewish State." It was followed by the parading in the streets of Tehran of a Shihab-3 missile draped in the emblem "Wipe Israel off the map, as the Imam says." It has continued with the use of . . . metaphors referring to Jews as "filthy bacteria," and Israel as "a cancer that must be removed," reminiscent of the Nazis calling the Jews "vermin" and the Rwandan Hutus calling the Tutsis "cockroaches," the whole as a prologue to and justification for a genocide foretold.

"Never again," honourable senators. Civilized nations made that promise following the genocidal crimes of Nazi Germany, yet not one state party to the genocide convention, including Canada, has undertaken any of its mandated responsibilities to prevent and punish incitement to genocide. This, even though an All- Party Report of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Parliament of Canada found that "Iran has already committed the crime of incitement to genocide prohibited under the Genocide Convention."

The least we can do is to ensure the existing sanctions against Iran are not removed until the country stops committing the crimes of incitement to genocide.

Honourable senators, Canada supports the people of Iran in their efforts to advance democracy, human rights and the rule of law. It aspires to have a mutually beneficial relationship with Iran that is based on respect for human rights and the rule of law. We can all agree that Canada must find ways to pressure Iran to end its support for global terrorism, active support for the Bashar al- Assad regime in Syria, incitement to hatred and the vast system of domestic repression at home.

My bill tries to do just that by tying the termination of existing sanctions against the Iranian regime under the Special Economic Measures Act to requirements that the regime show demonstrable improvements to the aforementioned area.

Honourable senators, I ask that you support this bill. Thank you very much.


http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Language=E&Mode=1&DocId=8117515

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

United Nations needs to “clean up”

The UN needs to “clean up” its act  (National Post Tuesday April 5th, 2016)

There are 192 member states in the United Nations.   In the worst of them, girls and women are raped and trafficked as a matter of course.   In many others, women have fewer legal, educational and employment rights than men.

Nevertheless, the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) concluded its annual meeting in New York with a condemnation of one country, and one country only.   That would be Israel, a tiny democratic island in the Middle East, surrounded by an ocean of unconstitutional monarchies, outright tyrannies and other non-democratic, failing regimes mired in civil war, divided by religious rivalries and tribal animosities, and united only by one enduring pathology: hatred of Jews.

The CSW accused Israel of violating the rights of Palestinian women, ignoring the fact Israel is the sole country in the region in which women enjoy full equal rights with men, including full control over their sexuality and reproductive interests.   It is also the only state in which it is illegal to discriminate on the basis of gender…

The UN’s fixation on Israel is abetted by an array of non-governmental organizations that sit idly by as it undergoes ritual demonization.   At the UN’s New York headquarters, NGO representatives gathered from all corners of the globe to view the spectacle of Israel being pilloried as a violator of basic rights.   As journalist Anne Bayefsky reported: “On the ground, Palestinian women are murdered and subjugated for the sake of male honour (by their own people), Saudi women can’t drive, Iranian women are stoned to death for so-called ‘adultery,’ Egyptian women have their genitals mutilated and Sudanese women give birth in prison with their legs shackled for being a Christian.” (Islamic ethics)   But all this suffering is insufficient to compete with Israel’s occupation of Palestine as an affront to international standards of human rights.

On the same day as the CSW condemned Israel for the plight of Palestinian women, the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) concluded its month-long session in Geneva by passing five resolutions condemning Israel.   There was one resolution apiece on Syria, North Korea and Iran.   No other country was criticized, including Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan or China, all of which have long and well-documented abuse records.

The UN boasts a history of bias on Israel that has become so well-known it is often taken for granted.   At UN headquarters, Israel’s permanent mission was told to remove three panels from an exhibition on Zionism that was due to open today because they were deemed “inappropriate.”   The panels described Israel as the “centre and focus of Jewish life and religion for more than three millennia”, identified Israel Arabs as its largest minority and described Zionism as the “liberation movement of the Jewish people.”

Canada’s Liberal government has pledged to maintain the unwavering support for Israel practiced by the previous Conservative government, while reserving the right to criticize “unhelpful” steps such as contentious settlements in the West Bank.   Canada voted (at the UN) against anti-Israel resolutions in November; the Liberals supported (not NDP) a Conservative motion (in Ottawa Parliament) condemning the movement to boycott, divest and sanction Israel; and Foreign Minister Stephane Dion urged the UNHCR to review the appointment of controversial Western University law professor Michael Lynk as its Special Rapporteur on human rights in Palestine, noting “this candidate was not put forward by Canada and does not represent the views of this government.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has criticized “the demonization, the de-legitimization or the double standard that’s often applied to Israel.”   Yet his government continues to herald its desire to forge closer ties with the UN, revive co-operation with its many agencies and is actively seeking one of the rotating temporary seats on the Security Council.   It suggests the Liberals are happy to adopt the UN’s preference for words over action, and its practice of turning a blind eye to the abject hypocrisy of many of its members rather than disturb the waters of polite diplomacy.

Being a friend of Israel involves more than occasionally voting against yet another biased resolution, or mouthing displeasure at another blatant show of bigotry.   Ottawa would earn far more respect (legitimacy) if it spoke out loudly and fervently against the open attacks and blatant hypocrisy that are a commonplace of UN activities when it comes to Israel.   It is the UN that needs to clean up its act, and Canada would serve a useful purpose by saying so.