Monday, July 26, 2010

Coming to My Senses v My Census

Before one of my staunchest detractors accuses me of choosing a photo that has either been doctored, or meant to represent the person in the worst light, let me say that Tony Clement has plenty of bad photo's out there. This isn't one of them and was only chosen because it shows him sitting so 'right' of centre, he leaves the frame.

With that out of the way, I'm focused on tomorrow's Committee on Industry, Science and Technology meeting. It risks being too long, resulting in a lot of banter, but I'm not clear where it will come out. By that I mean, the case against the government decision is pretty hard and fast. Their (the gov't) defense is beyond weak, so where will it net out?

To underscore how weak the government argument is, you have only to recall their defense on the issue and how many times that has changed. Too intrusive, 1000's of complainers, other countries have abandoned it and of course the ever popular, government coming for you in the middle of the night...jail...threats...jackboot...there are more.

Not one of their stances has stood the test of time...and by time, I mean weeks here. Telling? Yes, I think so.

The questions are not intimidating, nor intrusive and to make it more delicious, government Ministers have been lying as to what those questions are.

Oh, and the countries they cite as having abandoned the long form, or the census all together? Well, that is true but what they omit is that they are far MORE intrusive and data mine from cradle to grave. And then there is the fact that no one has gone to jail, nor has anyone been pulled out of bed, in the middle of the night.

In short, there is no sound rationale for the decision. There is plenty of ideological rationale for it and I'll get into that after the hearings at committee, but to defend this choice? Sorry, there is no defense and those who do sound ridiculous.

I would argue in fact, if you offer a defense for this specific choice, you simply do not understand the census. That became very clear today reading articles, listening to interviews and hearing 'infamous' talk radio. And if you aren't one of those, you are an intelligent person that argues from ideology...yes Jonas I'm looking at you.

My reading tells me the majority of those who defend, haven't a clue. Nary one. The intelligent arguments are only made by those who have the 'small to no government' lean.

It's an argument to be had, but the Conservative government under Stephen Harper did not have the courage to do that. He never does. His choices come down by fiat...a completely arbitrary decision. Sorry people, Kings of old ruled this way as they thought they had absolute authority.

This is not how our country works. Harper is now trying to get in what he can, but stuffing this policy now, when you think no one is looking, is about the dumbest way to do it. Hello? Media looking for news?

I'm hoping this has exposed him once and for all. Media and your own eyeballs, will tell the tale. Watch or listen if you can.

See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Taking Leave of Their Census

Well, the latest group to come out against the government's decision to scrap the mandatory participation in the long form census is none other than the Premiers. While every group that has come out is important, this development puts a bit of a new spin on it.

You see until now, the government has insisted that those who oppose the decision are liberal flacks, which is asinine, and when that doesn't work, they default to loons who answer the religion question as 'Jedi'. For the uninitiated, there actually is a church of Jedi, and one that has encouraged their members to fill out their census forms claiming as much, in an effort to have the government recognise them as a church. Crazy? Well, yes of course! A massive movement that should derail scientific data collection, aggregation and dissemination? Obviously not.

The question that is being asked at the moment is why the government went in this direction. Most seem to suggest that they were appealing to a portion of their base that they hadn't spoken to in a while. Specifically the Libertarians. While I understand why you'd make that argument, it seems to me that Hoeppner's private member bill to get rid of the long gun registry did that in spades. So at this point, I'm not buying.

More likely for me, is what data the 2011 census would be accumulating. Of course it would be used, in a sense, to examine/dissect the policies that Harper has or has not, brought to bear. Given that we see most policy driven by populist notions, this could present a problem. Further, most if not all, policy has flown in the face of evidence and fact. The government, specifically on Environment and Crime, has ignored all the data.

Oh they have done it elsewhere too, but all of that to say, if you have to keep fighting stat's to get your policies through, why not eliminate or distort the data beyond use? Wouldn't that make life easier?

Harper won't be in power by the time this data is collected and sorted, but I suspect that he and his advisers are covering their bases here. Should he be in power, no data is good for him. If he is gone, his legacy will not be tainted by facts that prove all his theories wrong.

Clever, but not very smart.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

A Little Sunshine - Best Disinfectant

I saw this article linked on Twitter by my friend BC'er and to be honest, at first I thought it was a joke. A joke in bad taste, but a joke none the less. Then I thought about it for a minute and realised that this attitude is one that you often see on right-wing blogs and hear on talk radio.

To my mind, it's bigotry that has found a convenient issue to hide behind. Political correctness is the straw man that c/Conservatives drag up whenever they want to express an ugly view while claiming that their voice is being stifled. I give you Ezra Levant as an example, or Michael Coren. (If you are not familiar with either, Google is your friend.)

That said, if this is the kind of pithy, exciting discussion that Kory thinks we are missing in this country, I may have to change my opinion of the new station he is pursuing. What I mean by that is, maybe this vile, low rent discourse needs more exposure. Yes, I know it's already out there in print and on radio, but maybe up close and personal, in your living room, is what this country needs to wake up to what some of the right and frankly some of your government, stands for.

What is especially delightful, is the zinger that the author throws in at the end:

The CBC, however, must feel absolutely shattered.

The last two GGs -- Adrienne Clarkson and outgoing Michaelle Jean -- both had the CBC's turgid blood coursing through their brains.

But no CT scan is needed for Johnston.

He is CBC clear and bias-free.

You can practically hear the giggling 'gotcha' can't you? Except the author has exposed him/herself to be ignorant of the facts. I know, you are shocked. Though not the best source always, Wikipedia says this:

Johnston has also acted as moderator of two public affairs panel discussion programmes, The Editors and The World in Review, which aired in the 1990s on both CBC Newsworld in Canada and PBS in the United States.

So while Johnston didn't have extensive history with the CBC, 'CBC clear' would not be accurate and to throw a little PBS in there? Well, what can I say?

In fairness, we weren't expecting accuracy or fact from this group, were we?

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Reflections and Unpopular Positions

Is there more to read on the G20 Summit? I have no doubt there is more to come, but I've read and heard about as much as I can take in at this point and I have a few observations.

To begin with, I think calls for Toronto's Chief Blair resignation at this point is ill advised and a knee jerk reaction. Now before you scream, I firmly believe that things went horribly wrong and I do think we need a full enquiry, but there is just something about this that doesn't quite jive for me.

First of all, having lived through having Julian Fantino as Chief of Police, Blair was a real breath of fresh air. I'm no expert and don't know everything about the man, but in a general sense, I much prefer his method of policing. By that I mean, he is a chief that believes in intelligence gathering, working with communities, building trust, overall a progressive approach versus Fantino's methods that more resembled the ill-advised, non affective, 'let's knock some heads', 'tough on crime' mantra of the Conservatives.

So with that in mind, what to make of what happened? Let's start with the request to the province for the PWPA. I've heard Blair interviewed and understand now, that it was not he who made the request. Blair said ISU and 'other' parties were involved in obtaining the special regulation. Sadly, he was being interviewed by John Tory and follow up is not Tory's forté. So, I think we need to know that. Did he misread the regulation? Absolutely and of course that is concerning. That said, he claimed once realising that, (actually being advised by lawyers), he immediately informed the forces on the street. Should the public have been told? Yes.

Given that he informed his forces, what happened on Sunday? Why did we see so many having their rights violated? At this point all I can see is that there was a hyper-vigilant atmosphere that was not reined in and that was the responsibility of either Blair or the ISU and to be frank, I'd like to know how much power the RCMP had. I'm given to understand that authorities had information about the Black Bloc and were being led all over the city, a Black Bloc tactic, with a main objective of breaching the main perimeter. Did that necessitate the action taken? In my opinion, no. I think we've all witnessed a gross abuse of power and we have to understand how and why that happened.

Given the information I have at this point, I do think rights were breached and the Charter was either ignored or abandoned. Innocent people were rounded up and held unnecessarily and overall, I'm appalled and to be honest, saddened at what happened. I want due process and answers. I see no value in being equally as hyper-reactive as what we want to counter. We need more facts and we need them to come out in an unbias way, so an enquiry makes sense to me. What form that takes, I'm not sure.

I want to know what the province actually agreed to and how unprecedented it was. I think they have been too silent. I want to understand the entire chain of command and how the ISU fit in and along with that, how large a role the federal government had. And of course, I want to see how Chief Blair went about making the decisions he did that day, how far reaching they were and why.

I don't call for resignations lightly and I try not to defend people blindly. If it turns out that this all lies on Blair's shoulders, so be it, but something is telling me that is not the case and until we have all of this aired, I'll wait for the facts.

This must be done now though. Not in months. Now. Sod the predictable, 'there are law suits in the works, so we must wait'. No, we can't wait. Write your MP and MPP and if you live in the city, get on to your councillor.

Push for truth and we might get somewhere. Making accusations and demands without fact, tends to push things back in my experience.