March 10, 2014 | No Comments
I recently published an article in my local newspaper discussing the civil war in Syria, comparing it to other crises and asking when Western countries like Canada and the United States can and should intervene. Sometimes intervening can lead to disastrous consequences, but sometimes not intervening can be just as bad.
Questions and comments are encouraged and welcome.
February 26, 2014 | 1 Comment
Part of me hates all politicians, the liars, scoundrels and cynical bastards, they are. Still, credit where it’s due, Tim Hudak has begun to say the right things (as opposed to the xenophobia and lies of the last election).
Or, at least, he’s said one right thing:
Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak says the Ontario government should not give Chrysler hundreds of millions of dollars in what he calls “ransom money.”
Hudak says Chrysler still owes the province $800 million from the government bailout it received during the recession in 2009.
I don’t know if this is politically wise, but it makes a ton of fiscal and economic sense, and it seems pretty ballsy, considering how much we tend to fetishize the automotive industry.
There’s no actual reason that we must have an auto industry in Ontario. It seems nice, but if it’s just here to extract rents from the government, then it’s really doing us no favours. Money and resources could be spent elsewhere, allowing us–in the end–to buy cheaper cars (or, maybe, just maybe, fewer cars).
If Chrysler can’t survive, even after we’ve already given them a ton of cash, then they can’t survive, and there’s no amount of political wish-making that will lead to them being economically viable.
Premiere Wynne don’t care:
Premier Kathleen Wynne says her Liberal government invested in auto companies in the past and will continue to do so, and calls Hudak “irresponsible” for saying he wouldn’t partner with the auto sector to keep jobs in Ontario.
She says his approach would put hundreds of thousands of jobs at risk in the province.
Not giving a multinational corporation hundreds of millions of our dollars won’t put jobs at risk. An unviable corporation puts jobs at risk. Using the government to prop up the corporation–essentially locking people into those jobs–is what threatens them.
It would be far wiser to let Chrysler do whatever they’re going to do, provide a sufficient safety that will help with the transition, and just let us get on with our lives. We’ll still be better off in the long run.
So, it’s looking far more likely that I’ll vote for Hudak… well, maybe not, but he’s certainly putting a lot of distance between himself and Wynne in the who’s-not-so-totally-crappy.
For more on this general issue, read Andrew Coyne.
February 20, 2014 | No Comments
You’ve probably noticed that there has been very little discussion of the fighting in Ukraine at this blog. There are a few reasons for this; we tend to focus on national affairs and, really, what unique insight could we give to the situation. The current government—backed by and currying favour with Russia—is killing its people. The protesters are on the side of the angels here.
An unfortunate (though rather insignificant) aspect of this story is the IOC’s refusal to allow Ukraine athletes to wear black arm bands to commemorate their friends and neighbours murdered by their government. Putin’s games are no place to embarrass Putin, I guess.
The very fact that Ukrainian athletes would ask to do this is a sign of courage. I can’t imagine the Ukrainian government (which will hopefully fall soon) would be too receptive of the gesture. They’re willing to murder protesters; they’d probably be willing to murder athletes, too.
So how about this: let’s have the Canadian men’s hockey team—and, hopefully, the U.S. team—don these arm bands for the rest of the Olympics. There’s no Olympic athlete more secure than a professional North American hockey player, so the risk is negligible. Further, will the IOC actually want to make a(nother) political statement in support of state-imposed murder by disqualifying these teams? And even if they did disqualify them, isn’t that a badge of honour far more valuable than a gold medal?
The Olympics have been a two-week long hand job for Vladimir Putin; it’s time Team Canada showed some guts.
February 10, 2014 | No Comments
My Quebecois friend Michel Bolduc was kind enough to host an article I recently wrote on how the attitudes behind the Quebec Charter of Values are far from being limited to Quebec Francophones. They also exist among English-speakers in Canada and in other countries, too.
The article can be found here.
Questions and comments are welcome, as always.
February 4, 2014 | No Comments
I recently published a new article in my local newspaper, discussing how cuts to taxes and government services are often closely related, and the problems associated with promising to cut the first while saying that the second can be kept without eliminating anything.
Comments and questions are welcome, as always.
January 6, 2014 | No Comments
I recently had an article published in my local newspaper outlining the distressing way in which Canadian politics has become increasingly polarized,policy debates often seem to be an all-or-nothing scenario, and how we as Canadians could change things for the better in 2014.
Comments and questions are both welcome and encouraged.
December 8, 2013 | No Comments
Questions and comments are of course welcome.
November 12, 2013 | 5 Comments
Below, Jared has penned some lovely thoughts about Remebrance Day, and the lives and sacrifices of Canada’s veterans. In past years, I have presented some controversial viewpoints on the matter, and in the current socio-political context, I just can’t hold Remembrance Day in the same esteem as others. Perhaps if Canada abandons our creeping militaristic and war-happy ways, I’ll be able to jump back on the poppy express. Should that happen, I will be filled with joy, as a showing of true remembrance and understanding is warranted.
However, if we are ever to move to a state in which remembrance can live in proper focus, we must treat the matters of war and veterans with honesty. Jared refers to our veterans as “heroes”. The word “hero” is thrown around a lot these days, to the point that I’m not sure there’s an accurate definition anymore. I’m unwilling to give a blanket description of “hero” to all veterans. I think the glorification of veterans quickly bleeds into the glorification of war, but I understand where Jared is coming from.
Nonetheless, there is another matter in which Jared is certainly wrong; a matter in which he is perpetuating a great lie that is rooted in racism and is used to buoy warmongering. Jared writes:
Today is a day for remembering those Canadian soldiers who risked their lives for our freedom.
This is nonsense. Since confederation, Canada has entered numerous wars and military actions, but never once as a result of a direct threat to our nation. No Canadian soldier has risked their life for my freedom. Despite the fact that this notion is blatantly incorrect, we keep hearing it. There’s really only one reason that it lives on, xenophobia.
All of Canada’s military activity (FLQ crisis aside) has been to (supposedly) help non-Canadians. Jared, as I would expect, understands this:
In uniform, they fought to protect those who would come after them, not just in their homelands but all over the world.
But the myth persists.
The only reason that this lie is still thrown around as justification for our militarism is because protecting others isn’t considered sufficient justification for the death of Canadian soldiers. It’s okay, apparently, for our boys to spend a decade or more dying in Afghanistan for us, but not for those people.
The next time someone says that our soldiers died for our freedom, remember what you’re really hearing: that foreigners aren’t worth as much as us.
November 11, 2013 | No Comments
Today is a day for remembering those Canadian soldiers who risked their lives for our freedom. Their sacrifices must never be forgotten, and their courage and strength must always be recognized.
That is one reason our veterans can rightly be called heroes. However, I have come to realize the other ways in which our veterans can be recognized for their heroism. In uniform, they fought to protect those who would come after them, not just in their homelands but all over the world.
However, their heroism does not end there. When many of them muster out of military life, they often show great character in providing for their loved ones, contributing to their communities, and making the world a better place. Many of them do not and have not attained great fame, but when they pass on they leave the world a better place than it was when they found it.
As Canadians, we have made many significant contributions to the world that often go unnoticed as much by ourselves as by the world at large. Many of our veterans, by and large, continue to exemplify this spirit with the often overlooked but still extremely important ways in which they contribute to Canada and the world both in and out of uniform. Before they put that uniform on, and after they take it off, our veterans are Canadians who made an effort to step up and make a difference for their families, their communities and their country.
Today is a day to remember the service our soldiers and veterans make to Canada in uniform. But let us also remember their contributions out of uniform, and the lesson for us all-that anyone can be a hero, regardless of who they are.
November 5, 2013 | 1 Comment
I recently wrote a new two-part essay on Vive Le Canada about the persistence of Red Toryism in Canada, despite the often-claimed assertion that this particular strain of Canadian conservatism is dead.
Questions and comments are, as always, welcome and appreciated.