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 ______________________________
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     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.


Friday, 25 March 2016

The Meaning of Easter

The Meaning of Easter: Beyond Chocolate Bunnies, and New Clothes
Varied Sources such as Fr. Joseph Esper Newsmax  Joel Osteen

For many people, Easter is nothing more than an occasion for Easter egg hunts, candy filled Easter baskets, new clothes, and family get-togethers.   None of these things are wrong in themselves, but as Christians, we are called to have a much deeper and a personally compelling experience of this commemoration.   Jesus is risen from the dead and reigns as the Lord and giver of eternal life — and He promises to share this gift with all who have a living faith relationship with Him.

Over the centuries, a number of ancient customs and beliefs have shaped our understanding and celebration of Easter.   The word itself comes from the name of a pagan goddess of spring, and for the Saxon people, April was "ostermonud" — that is, the month in which the harsh, cold wind ceased coming from the east — marking the end of winter.

A popular Christian legend held that the sun danced in the sky on Easter Sunday; because the date of Easter is determined by the first full moon occurring after March 21, it can fall as early as March 22 or as late as April 25.   The custom of Easter eggs dates back to the ancient Persians, who used them to represent the ongoing struggle between good and evil; Christians later adopted the egg as a symbol of life coming forth from death and of the empty tomb.

Another such symbol involves the resurrection of the mythical bird known as the phoenix.   Ancient peoples believed that when this bird reached the very old age of 500, it self ignited and died in the fire, and then a new phoenix arose from the ashes.   Not surprisingly, early Christian art often used the phoenix as a symbol of Christ rising from the grave.

However, when the women approached the tomb of Our Lord, they found that His body was not there; instead, angels informed them that He had risen, as He had promised, and they were told to share this news with others.   Consequently, Easter is an event too big to keep to ourselves; the worldwide Church is compelled to share the amazing news of Christ’s Resurrection.   

The Old Testament readings heard during the Easter Vigil provide a summary of God’s plan of salvation.   God created the world and everything in it, and after humanity sinned, He set the process of redemption into motion — a plan involving Abraham, Moses, the prophets, and many other holy men and women, and culminating in the death and resurrection of His own self in Jesus.  

St. Paul instructs us that through baptism, we symbolically share in Christ’s death on the cross — and this also allows us to be part of His Easter triumph.   Accepting this gift, however, requires us to reject the false values of this world, and instead live by the standards of God’s Kingdom; as St. Paul says, we "must think of ourselves as being dead to sin and living for God in Christ Jesus."   Only if we allow the seed of new spiritual life to take root and grow in our hearts, can we hope one day to share in the fullness of eternal life.  

There is a legend about a monk who found a crown of thorns — perhaps the very one, he thought, which had been thrust upon the head of Jesus Himself.   On Good Friday, the monk placed the crown of thorns on a side altar of the cathedral.   It looked cruel, ghastly, and painful, and all the people who glanced at it quickly turned away, for it reminded them of the ugliness and cruelty of their sins.   At sunrise on Easter Sunday, the monk decided he should remove the crown of thorns, as this bloody reminder of Good Friday would be out of place — but when he entered the cathedral, he noticed a strange fragrance, and at first had trouble seeing because of a bright light coming from the side altar.   It turned out the thorns of the crown had been transformed into roses of the rarest beauty and most pleasing aroma.

Jesus seeks to work a similar miraculous transformation in our own lives, changing despair into hope, boredom or spiritual listlessness into excitement, dread into joyful anticipation, outer turmoil into inner peace, nagging doubts into fervent faith, sinfulness into holiness, and spiritual death into everlasting life.

Our sufferings can become the starting point of eternal joy.   Through Christ, we can rise, phoenix like, from the ashes of our difficulties and failures into a new life of unending beauty and delight.   All it takes is our willingness to say "yes" to Jesus, allowing Him to be the Lord not only of eternity, but also of our daily lives in the now.   He has conquered sin and death, and He loves us so much that He wants to share in His everlasting triumph.  He went before and did it all for us.

The Bible says…”He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen…” Matt 28:6

We have a reason to celebrate every day of the year, because we serve God who is alive and engaged with His creation.   Not only did He resurrect Jesus from the dead, but also He wants to extend His resurrection power into every single area of your life.

Maybe you have a dream to get out of debt, or be free from that burden of lack, but it looks like it is impossible.   Business is slow.   The economy is down.   You have gone as far as your education allows.   You think poor health has you trapped.   Nevertheless, God is saying, “I’m not limited by those things.  I have resurrection power.   I can give you one break that will thrust you to a new level.   I can open up doors that no person can shut.   I can bring talent out of you that you did not know you had.   I can cause people, for no reason, to go out of their way to want to be good to you.

Your part is to keep believing, knowing that He wants to bring you into supernatural wholeness.   Remember, He is risen, He is alive, and He is faithful to His Word.   Trust Him today, and let His resurrection power work in every area of your life!

PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Father, thank You for Your resurrection power at work in my life.   Today, I give to You my broken dreams, disappointments, failures and setbacks, trusting that Your resurrection power is at work in me.   I trust that You have a good plan for my future, and You are leading me into total victory in Jesus’ name!   Let me learn of you, live for you, and see your promises revealed through this your humble servant.  Amen.


Tuesday, 22 March 2016

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT 2016 BUDGET

SOME HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT'S 2016 BUDGET

Source - The Canadian Press March 22, 2016

OTTAWA - Some of the highlights of the federal budget tabled Tuesday by Finance Minister Bill Morneau:

— A deficit of $29.4 billion in 2016-17, nearly three times the $10 billion promised during the fall election campaign, and a projected deficit of $17.7 billion in 2019-20 rather than the balanced budget that was promised in October. 
THIS REPRESENTS A HUGE BROKEN ELECTION PROMISE !

— $10 billion more over two years for a new Canada child benefit, absorbing and replacing both the Canada child tax benefit and the universal child care benefit.  Targeted to low and middle-income families, the government says the new benefit provides an average increase of nearly $2,300 in 2016-17.

— $2.5 billion over two years on a suite of changes to employment insurance, including reducing the required work experience for new entrants and re-entrants; halving the two-week waiting period; extending a pilot project to allow claimants to work while collecting benefits; simplifying job-search requirements; and extending the benefit eligibility window in specific regions with a higher unemployment rate.

— An end to income splitting for couples with children, the children's fitness tax credit and the children's arts tax credit.  THIS REINTRODUCES THE TAX DISCRIMINATION THAT THE PREVIOUS RULES SOUGHT TO SOLVE…THEREFORE A STEP BACKWARD FOR FAMILIES.

— A promised cut to the 10.5 per cent small business tax rate has been deferred indefinitely.   THIS DISAPPOINTMENT, HURTS SMALL BUSINESS JOB CREATION, AND BRINGS BACK THE OUTDATED RESENTMENT AGAINST THE ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT OF INDEPENDENT SMALL BUSINESS.

— $2.6 billion over five years for primary and secondary education on First Nations reserves, including language and cultural programs, plus $969.4 million over five years for education infrastructure.   THE RECEIVERS OF THE MONEY NOW HAVE NO WAY TO MONITOR THEIR MONEY FOR EFFICACY AND LEGALITY.

— $1.2 billion over five years for social infrastructure for Aboriginal Peoples, including First Nations, Inuit and northern communities. .   THE RECEIVERS OF THE MONEY NOW HAVE NO WAY TO MONITOR THEIR MONEY FOR EFFICACY AND LEGALITY.

— $10.4 million over three years for new women's shelters in First Nations communities, and $33.6 million over five years and $8.3 million ongoing for support services.  .   THE RECEIVERS OF THE MONEY NOW HAVE NO WAY TO MONITOR THEIR MONEY FOR EFFICACY AND LEGALITY.

— $5.6 billion more in benefits to veterans and their families over five years, including a disability award that increases to $360,000, retroactive to 2006, and an earnings loss benefit to injured vets of 90 per cent of pre-release salary.  The government is also re-opening nine veterans' service offices across the country and adding a 10th.

— Planned National Defence purchases worth $3.7 billion — ships, planes and vehicles — are being deferred indefinitely.

— $1.53 billion over five years to increase Canada student grants to $3,000 from $2,000 for low-income students, to $1,200 from $800 for middle-income students and to $1,800 from $1,200 for part-time students.

— $3.4 billion over five years to increase the guaranteed income supplement top-up benefit by up to $947 annually for single seniors, and restore the old age security eligibility age to 65 from 67.

— $2.2 billion over five years in water and wastewater treatment and waste management as part of a 10-year green infrastructure investment plan.

— $1.9 billion over five years to support Canadian arts and culture organizations and cultural infrastructure, including the CBC and national museums.

— $2 billion over three years for a new strategic investment fund for infrastructure improvements at colleges and universities, in partnership with provinces and territories.

— $2 billion over two years for a low-carbon economy fund, beginning in 2017-18;

— More than $1 billion over four years to support future clean technology investments, including in forestry, fisheries, mining, energy and agriculture, plus $130 million over five years to support clean technology research and development.

— $345.3 million over five years to Environment and Climate Change Canada, Health Canada and the National Research Council to take action to address air pollution.

— $40 million over two years for the inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls.

— Up to $178 million over two years for the provinces for urgent affordable housing needs.

— $38.5 million over two years to strengthen and modernize Canada’s food safety system.

— $142.3 million over five years to add new national parks and improve access during the 150th anniversary of Confederation.

THESE HIGHLIGHTS REPRESENTS THE NOTABLE CHANGES, AND DO NOT RECORD ALL THE SPENDING OF GOVERNMENT.  

THE DEBT TO GDP RATIO IS IMPORTANT.   THEY HAVE GIVEN UP ON BALANCED BUDGETS, AND THEREBY PAYING DOWN SOME OF THE OLD DEBT.   GROWING INTEREST PAYMENTS WILL EVENTUALLY CROWD OUT GOVERNMENT CHOICES AND THE ABILITY TO FUND SOCIAL PROGRAMS.

THE INTEREST ON THE CURRENT DEBT IS A PROBLEM, AS WELL AS THE NEW INTEREST EXPENSE THAT WILL BE GENERATED FROM THIS BUDGET. 

THEY ARE FOLLOWING THE FAILED POLICY OF TRYING TO SPEND THEIR WAY TO PROSPERITY.   THIS POLICY FAILS CANADA, AS THERE IS ALREADY SUFFICIENT STIMULUS FROM THE CENTRE, IN CONSIDERATION OF THE LEVEL OF LIQUIDITY, MONEY SUPPLY, AND INTEREST RATES. 

GOOD TIMES WILL NOT FOLLOW FROM THIS BASIC POLICY PHILOSOPHY.  BY THE END OF THE MANDATE, CANADA WILL BE IN A DEEP FINANCIAL HOLE, WITH FEWER ECONOMIC OPTIONS.  WE SHOULD BE VERY CONCERNED WHEN THE WORDS "DEFICIT" AND "SPENDING" ARE NOT USED, BUT RATHER "INVESTMENT".  THERE WILL BE A BIG MESS TO CLEAN UP, ONCE THEY ARE GONE, AND IT WILL BE VERY EXPENSIVE.

THE LIBERALS TOOK OVER THE COUNTRY’S FINANCES WITH A BALANCED BUDGET IN HAND,  AND THE LOWEST TAXES FOR INDIVIDUALS IN 50 YEARS, AND A GOOD JOB CREATION CLIMATE COMING OUT OF THE INTERNATIONAL DOWNTURN.  NOW GOING FORWARD: -CANADIANS WILL DEMAND A REAL PLAN TO CREATE JOBS  -RESULTS TO KEEP MORE MONEY IN THEIR POCKETS  -REQUIRE THE GOVERNMENT TO LIVE WITHIN ITS MEANS  -WORKING TO GET THE BUDGET BACK TO BALANCE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

Monday, 14 March 2016

Donald the Dangerous

I am hoping Trump never becomes President!   Moreover, I hope my desire results from democratic peaceful means.   The man stirs up the radical and the mentally unhinged from all sides, and is likely to come to personal harm along his sordid trail, if his path rises higher.   Trump, the huckster-showman, has the intuitive sense to tap into legitimate discontent and the political malaise of middle America.  He has ridden the wild tiger of angry alienation, but he has no answer to solve it.  This is more than a spectator sport for Canadians, as this sad phenomenon could take down the western world as we know it.
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Donald the Dangerous   New York Times    Nicholas Kristof  March 5, 2016

IS there any scarier nightmare than President Donald J. Trump in a tense international crisis, indignant and impatient, with his sweaty finger on the nuclear trigger?

“Trump is a danger to our national security,” John B. Bellinger III, legal adviser to the State Department under President George W. Bush, bluntly warned.

Most of the discussion about Trump focuses on domestic policy. But checks and balances mean that there are limits to what a president can achieve domestically, while the Constitution gives a commander in chief a much freer hand abroad.

That’s what horrifies America-watchers overseas. Der Spiegel, the German magazine, has called Trump the most dangerous man in the world. Even the leader of a Swedish nationalist party that started as a neo-Nazi white supremacist group has disavowed Trump. J. K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books, reflected the views of many Britons when she tweeted that Trump is worse than Voldemort.

Leading American conservative thinkers on foreign policy issued an open letter a few days ago warning that they could not support Trump. The signatories include Michael Chertoff, the former secretary of homeland security, Robert Zoellick, the former deputy secretary of state, and more than 100 others.

“Mr. Trump’s own statements lead us to conclude that as president, he would use the authority of his office to act in ways that make America less safe,” the letter declared.

A starting point is Trump’s remarkable ignorance about international affairs. And every time he tries to reassure, he digs the hole deeper. Asked in the latest debate to name people whose foreign policy ideas he respects, Trump offered Gen. Jack Keane, and mispronounced his name.

Asked about Syria, Trump said last year that he would unleash ISIS to destroy Syria’s government. That is insane: ISIS is already murdering or enslaving Christians, Yazidis and other religious minorities; executing gays; destroying antiquities; oppressing women. And Trump wants ISIS to capture Damascus?

A second major concern is that Trump would start a trade war, or a real war. Trump told The New York Times in January that he favoured a 45 percent tariff on Chinese goods, then denied ever having said such a thing. The Times produced the audio (that part of the conversation was on the record) in which Trump clearly backed the 45 percent tariff, risking a trade war between the world’s two largest economies.

Trump has also called for more U.S. troops on the ground in Iraq, and raised the prospect of bombing North Korean nuclear sites. A poorly informed, impatient and pugnacious leader can cause devastation, and that’s true of either Kim Jong-un or Donald Trump.

The third risk is to America’s reputation and soft power. Both Bush and President Obama worked hard to reassure the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims that the U.S. is not at war with Islam. Trump has pretty much declared war on all Muslims.

The damage to America’s image is already done, even if Trump is never elected. Simply as a blowhard who gains headlines around the world, he reinforces caricatures of the United States and tarnishes our global reputation. He turns America into an object of derision. He is America’s Ahmadinejad.

On Twitter, I suggested that Trump was pugnacious, pugilistic, preening and puerile, and asked for other P words to describe him. The result was a deluge: petulant, pandering, pathetic, peevish, prickly, pernicious, patronizing, Pantagruelian, prevaricating, phony, presumptuous, potty-mouthed, provocative, pompous, predatory and so many more, including the troubling “probably president.”

There’s something heartbreaking about the prospect that America’s next commander in chief may be a global joke, a man regarded in most foreign capitals as a buffoon, and a dangerous one.

Trump is not particularly ideological, and it’s possible that as president he would surround himself with experts and would back off extreme positions. It was a good sign that on Friday he appeared to reverse himself and pledged that he would not order the U.S. military to commit war crimes, yet that’s such an astonishingly low bar that I can’t believe I just wrote this sentence!

In any case, Trump is nothing if not unpredictable, and it seems equally plausible that he would start new wars. It’s a risk that few sensible people want to take. As Mitt Romney notes, “This is the very brand of anger that has led other nations into the abyss.”

Peter Feaver, a Duke University political scientist who was a national security official in the Bush White House, noted that most Republicans are united in believing that President Obama and Hillary Clinton have damaged the United States and added to the burdens of the next president.


“Yet what Trump promises to do would in some important ways make all of the problems we face dramatically worse,” he told me. “Why, at a moment when the country desperately needs our A-team, would we send in the clowns?” 

Physician-Assisted Dying

Mr. Arnold Viersen (Peace River—Westlock, CPC):  House of Commons Ottawa

Physician-Assisted Dying
Mr. Speaker, on February 25, 2016, the report of the Special Joint Committee on Physician-Assisted Dying was released. It provided a glimpse into the upcoming Liberal government's legislation on euthanasia.

The report contained alarming recommendations that went far beyond the Supreme Court of Canada's ruling, including a recommendation that euthanasia be available to children and individuals with mental illness, that all publicly funded health care institutions must provide the service, and that doctors who conscientiously object are forced to provide a referral. I am very concerned that these recommendations will significantly undermine the fundamental right to life in Canada and irreversibly harm the most vulnerable in our communities.

My riding contains first nations and M├ętis communities, and I share the concern expressed by the indigenous witnesses to the special committee that the government has not consulted any national indigenous organizations on euthanasia. The Government of Canada should be focusing on helping people through improved palliative care instead of helping vulnerable people end their lives.

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WINDSOR STAR  Assisted suicide, but who will help? By Brian Cross, March 5, 2016.

The issue of physician-assisted dying is one that is fraught with many issues related to ethics, politics and health care, not to mention anecdotal individual experiences.

As the different views are expressed in the media, there will seem to be many conflicting positions depending on underlying assumptions.

Ethicists will argue patient rights and the right to end suffering. Politicians will talk about constituents and our rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom. That is their job. Their concerns are regulatory and about creating laws.

In health care, our concerns are about patients’ health and quality of life. Our life’s work is to heal and care for our patients, promote health and relieve suffering.

Physician-assisted death is an issue that the medical profession struggles with not because we don’t necessarily believe in it, but because making one single mistake is unacceptable.

One error in this instance results in a loss of a life. Consider the judicial system with the courts and the burden of proof that is required to incarcerate one single person, not for loss of an entire lifetime, but for just for a portion, whether for months or years.

The court system is complicated for reliability. It is expected to work for every single case.

Reliability in determining who is capable of asking to die, however, is not complicated, but complex.

The difference between complicated and complex is this. Building a car is complicated whereas raising a child is complex.

Moreover, those who have not raised a child may find difficulty in understanding the complexity – which brings me back to the issue of physician-assisted dying.

It is difficult for even physicians to know all the scenarios at this point in time and time will be needed to develop a reliable Canadian process that we can relate to and accept.