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Why we need Bill 62

Political controversy isn't new to Québec, and every time a new bill gets passed, the news spreads through all of Canada. The latest piece of legislation comes in the form of Bill 62, a bill which prohibits the use of face-coverings while receiving government services. Naturally, the bill is being criticized as Islamophobic as the Islamic face veil -- known as the niqab -- is restricted under this ban. There are fair arguments for opposing the bill. For example, the bill also prohibits riding the bus while having face-coverings. This, I find ridiculous, as it will be difficult to ensure bus drivers will enforce the law. However, unlike some, I look at this bill as an attempt to ensure public safety. In this day and age, terrorism remains a threat, and as unfortunate as that is, the government needs to be able to identify those who they are serving. I agree with the bill solely for the protection of our government institutions. I wouldn't feel comfortable as a government employee serving someone I cannot identify. That includes all face-coverings, not just the niqab. I truly don't understand those who oppose the bill on the grounds of Islamophobia. It is common knowledge the niqab is not an Islamic requirement. Only those in the extreme sects of Islam support its use. If you want to wear the niqab at home, that is your right. However, in a world where identification can be key to the protection of our society, you can't have your face covered when dealing with government officials or offices. This debate is reminiscent of the legal battle in 2015 fought between the then-Conservative government under Stephen Harper, and Zunera Ishaq. Where Ishaq fought and won the right to wear her niqab while being sworn in as a Canadian citizen.… Read More

We’ll Deal With It… Tomorrow

Just yesterday, Ontario’s Financial Accountability Office (FAO) released another report detailing how Ontario’s current fiscal policy is unsustainable and that the government is unprepared to face the costs associated with an aging population. There’s really nothing new here. We’ve been saying it for years, opposition parties have been saying it for years, the Big Three (Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s and Fitch) have consistently degraded Ontario’s credit rating and even the current government has found it crucial to give the impression that they have balanced the budget this year. Why are we still surprised then? What is the most shocking about this latest report is it proves just how good politicians are at identifying an issue, but how clueless they are when comes the time to find solutions. For well-over a decade now, we’ve known that Canada has an aging population. We’ve known that there would be fiscal challenges associated with it. As more and more Canadians retire, we’re going to have more people needing more expensive medical care and senior benefits programs, and a smaller working population to support those services. We’ve known all of that for a long time. By now, we’d think we would have figured out a plan to deal with that or, at the very least, started putting money aside for when that day comes. If you expect to get a pay cut, the natural thing to do is to try and put money aside, and reduces your expenses or find new revenue sources. For politicians, though, even those who campaigned on it across the country or those who said they wanted to protect our nation’s future and ensure our prosperity, it seems as though that message never got across. Ontario’s Finance Minister, Charles Sousa, gave us one of the best possible examples in his reaction… Read More

Age requirements for the Canadian citizenship test should not change

As of Oct. 11th, several changes occurred in the required steps for Canadian citizenship. Most of these changes are minor issues centered around the amount time spent in Canada while applying, meaning that applicants have to stay in Canada for a certain amount of time while the application goes through. Frankly, these mean very little to me. What has me angry is the new age range for the Canadian citizenship test. The new regulations, as quoted from the Canadian government website are such, ”[The] age range for language and knowledge requirements reduced to 18-54 years old”. The ages were previously 14-64. To me, reducing this age requirement is insane. I believe most naturalized Canadian citizens don't know enough about our country's history--so why are we scaling back the expectations needed for future Canadians? As for the language requirement, does it not seem crazy that immigrants aged 14-17 and 55-63 don’t need to be qualified in English or French when they become Canadians? The younger immigrants are somewhat understandable, as they are children, but even so, how will they succeed in Canadian schools? The older immigrants should have to know English or French, or else how will they get jobs and contribute to the Canadian economy? Immigrants make up a large portion of our economy, but to have them lacking in our two languages seems ridiculous.     I am all for immigration to Canada, as we are a multicultural nation with varied backgrounds. However, Canada has a long and rich history, and to allow some immigrants not to take this test is an insult to the history of Canada, especially during the 150th year of confederation. Shouldn't we all know about the places we live in? Even children aged 14-17 should have to take the test. They will be taking Canadian… Read More

Trudeau and the Canadian left’s hypocritical “feminism”

The only women worth listening to, according to the Liberals and the NDP, are pro-choice women. The only women worthy of representing women, according to our country’s political left, are women who believe what they believe.   And this show’s the Trudeau government’s blatant hypocrisy when it comes to feminism and women’s rights—namely, a woman’s right to independent thought.   Last Tuesday, the Liberals and NDP successfully ousted pro-life Lethbridge MP Rachael Harder as chair of the government’s status of women committee, after having protested her nomination just a week before.   The Liberal and NDP-majority committee used its power and, instead, voted in pro-choice Conservative MP Karen Vecchio, despite Vecchio’s objections and demands to be withdrawn from nomination.   Indeed, the Liberals and NDP would rather have a committee chair entirely uninterested in the position, rather than one that challenges their views.   And there is much to challenge. A 2016 Ipsos poll found that 21 per cent of respondents supported limited access to abortion, in cases such as rape; eight per cent supported it only if the mother’s life was in jeopardy; and three per cent were against it no matter the circumstances.   Yes, a majority—57 per cent—of Canadians support access to abortion, according to the poll, but this support is not universal. Only 47 per cent of Albertans, for example, support access to abortion—the lowest approval rating in the country, and the area of the country Harder represents.   Despite Canadians’ clear division on the issue, Canada is one of the few countries in the world with no restrictions on abortion. According to an article in the Globe and Mail, this unfettered access to abortion has created a problem for some girls within Canada’s immigrant communities.   Two studies published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal,… Read More

Kahn, Russell, and Rethinking the Unthinkable

Herman Kahn (left) and Bertrand Russell (right)   To better understand the dangers of the present confrontation between North Korea and the U.S. , it is worth re-examining the first years in which thermonuclear ICBMs became available to the U.S. and the Soviet Union, climaxing in the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, and how the arrival of these weapons in the 1950-1970 Cold War years was treated by two influential thinkers of the era. One was the rotund, jovial American strategic analyst, Herman Kahn (1922-83); the other, the British aristocratic philosopher and popular agitator, Bertrand Russell (1872-1965).   Kahn, reputed to have 'the highest IQ ever recorded', was one of a small group of strategists of a new kind coming out of WW II, civilians and quasi-academics. rather than military professionals. Although dropping out of his mathematics Ph.D. program at Cal Tech, he never let that get in his way. Shortly after the end of WW II, he joined the U.S. Air Force's new RAND ('Research and Development') thinktank, and also soon participated in thermonuclear ('hydrogen') bomb research at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory. He was soon on equal footing with his older brilliant colleagues, many of them European e'migre's who had worked on the wartime Manhattan Project. Both they and the younger native-born strategic theorists like Kahn and Thomas Schelling had their main backgrounds in mathematics, physics, and economics. Kahn found an especially kindred spirit in the expatriate Hungarian, John von Neumann (1903-57), like him a cheery and sybaritic polymath with a stratospheric IQ. Both were not only interested in nuclear weapons, but in developing computers. They drew on equally new and more general 'systems theory', using computerized mathematics, and also on the theory of games, with its imaginative thought experiments seeking outcomes of alternative 'scenarios'.   Eisenhower was not fond… Read More

The purpose of the state

You know summer is indeed over when Parliament goes back to work. For some, this signals little more than the return of bickering background noise. For others, this signals a passionate call for a return to arms. Regardless of the extent to which we pay attention to what goes on, and regardless of the extent to which we engage, as it begins to unfold, we would do well, I believe, to reflect on what the role of the state is and what it should be. What is its task and in what areas should it intervene? There are many disagreements over this most important question. Answers vary from “as much intervention as possible” to “as little intervention as possible.” I suspect, however, that a great many parliamentarians go about their business on an issue to issue basis. They do so mostly out of good will no doubt, but also without being able to provide a principled and robust explanation as to why the intervention which they support, be it an action, policy, or program, should even find itself within the jurisdiction of the state in the first place. Interventionists generally believe society’s ills are the result of design-flaws within its power structure. Such flaws allow the wrong people to wield power, hence the contempt with which the term one-percenter is uttered. In their view, this deficiency inevitably leads to exploitation and it prevents society from progressing and reaching its full potential. With a deep concern for progress, therefore, interventionists see the state as the only instrument powerful enough to remedy such flaws. Consequently, in an effort to give the best and brightest the necessary tools to lead and carry us forward, they believe state power should grow and its reach should expand. Non-interventionists generally believe society’s ills are the result… Read More
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