Canada’s Conservative leadership race a crowded field

conservative-french-debate-20170117

Click for CBC column.

The current Conservative Party of Canada’s (CPC) leadership race is quickly becoming a crowded field. For starters, at 13, there are too many candidates, many of whom have no chance of winning.  As well, as Tuesday’s French debate showed, many of the candidates don’t speak even passable French, which is an essential skill in order to lead Canada.

Worst of all though, is the infighting. For example, as I wrote recently, it was completely unnecessary for Lisa Raitt to lash out at Kellie Leitch just because Leitch wants to screen  for Canadian values refugees and immigrants coming from countries where there is terrorism.

Still others, like Kevin O’Leary are, in my opinion, just trying to get attention and latch on to Donald Trump’s popularity to the south. Believe me, O’Leary is not like Trump, who praises all veterans and the military. O’Leary says that while peacekeeping is an honour, being a warrior is not.  Meaning, that to actually fight is not an honour. Well, excuse me. Try telling that to the thousands of men and women who fought, were maimed or gave their lives in World Wars I, II and Korea.

Anyway, at the moment, given all the factors, including passable French, I am leaning towards Andrew Scheer. I also like Leitch, Chong and O’Toole and hope that their French improves. In fact, I have joined the CPC so that I can vote in May when the leadership vote is held. However, that said, I am still willing to look at other candidates.

To me, the key to who has the best chance of running against Justin Trudeau and winning is the candidate who can match Trudeau’s “sunny ways.” Scheer would definitely be equal in that regard as he is young, experienced, personable and has a young family as well. Similarly, O’Toole has presence. Yes, I know they don’t have the charisma of Trudeau but if Canadians get fed up enough with the direction the Liberals are taking the country, I believe that, by 2019, a majority would look carefully at the CPC leader.

The crux of the matter however, is that, for the good the party and country, some of the current candidates need to get out of the race and those who are left need to criticize the Liberals rather than each other.

Comparing media coverage for Senators Jim Munson & Mike Duffy

First, the similarities.

Both Senators Jim Munson and Mike Duffy were born in Atlantic Canada and are 68 years of age. Both were also former journalists, including being foreign correspondents at crucial events in history.

Jim Munson

Senator Jim Munson

Munson:

  • Was born in July of 1946 in New Brunswick.
  • In 1979 he moved from radio broadcasting to CTV, where he stayed until 2001.
  • During some of the years with CTV, he served in Beijing.
  • In fact, he was present and reported on the Tiananmen Square riots in 1989.
  • He also covered the Iran/Iraq war in the late 1990s.

In August of 2002, Munson was hired by former Liberal PM Jean Chretien to be his Director of Communications.  Just a year and a half later, two days before Chretien would retire, he appointed Munson to the Senate to represent Ottawa/Rideau Canal.

Senator Mike Duffy

Senator Mike Duffy

In Mike Duffy’s case:

  • He was born in Prince Edward Island in May of 1946.
  • He first joined the CBC’s The National in 1977 and covered Parliament Hill during the Trudeau, Clark, and Mulroney years.
  • In 1975, he also covered the fall of Vietnam and was one of the last journalists to escape before the North Vietnamese advanced into Saigon.
  • In 1988, Duffy left the CBC and joined Baton Broadcasting, hosting a Sunday morning program called “Sunday Edition” where he stayed until 1999.
  • After Baton, he moved to CTV to host the nightly politics program called “Power Play.”

On December 22, 2008, Duffy was appointed to the Senate by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, as the representative for PEI.

Now, the differences.

The main differences between Munson and Duffy are their political affiliations. Munson is Liberal and Duffy is Conservative. Yet, political affiliation aside, if there has ever been any major controversy about Jim Munson, I have never heard about it and nothing is listed on his Wikipedia page. What he does do, which is exemplary, however, is work for improvements to autism programs and services.

  • However, like Duffy, Munson most certainly has done Liberal partisan work in the past, as according to this Ottawa Citizen piece, he even flew on the Liberal leader’s plane. Which brings up the issue I heard in the #DuffyTrial this week — that Senators were expected to do partisan work but were not supposed to take part in election campaigns!! True or false?
  • Then, there is the fact that Munson was Liberal Senate Whip at the time of the former Senator for Manitoba, Rod Zimmer, situation. Just imagine how differently the media would have covered that scandal had Zimmer been a Harper appointee? Has former Prime Minister Martin, the PM who appointed him, for example, been held responsible for Zimmer’s behaviour?
  • As well, there is former Liberal Senator Mac Harb, who will go to trial this summer over the $231,000 in housing expenses he has already repaid. The allegations against him would have happened under Munson’s watch as Senate Whip. Yet, as with Zimmer, neither he nor former Prime Minister Jean Chretien have been held responsible in any way? At least, not that I have heard or read.

However, in terms of Munson himself, there is only this column on the CBC website that mentions him when the Justin Trudeau Liberals started posting parliamentary expenses online:

Senator Jim Munson, who lives in Ottawa, billed $103.09 for a lunch at Ottawa’s Metropolitan restaurant for two people, but gave no details about the meeting. It was his sole hospitality charge. He also charged $1,681.54 for two days of airfare, hotel and meals to attend a conference on autism in Fredericton where he gave a speech.”

  • What caught my attention was the sentence that the $103.09 was Munson’s sole hospitality charge plus his air fare for his work on autism. Amazing, actually, that his meal and travel expenses were so minor when compared to what we have heard and read about Duffy’s.
  • Does that mean Munson is paying his own Senate related meal and hospitality expenses or that, aside from his work on autism, he is not doing very much outside of Ottawa compared to other Senators? Of course, Trudeau kicked all the Senate Liberals out of caucus last year, so there is not as much partisan work going on now as there once was.

Plus, there is the fact that Munson lived in Ottawa before his appointment and his constituency is Ottawa. So, provincial residence requirements and housing expenses are a non-issue for him. Unfortunately, not so for Duffy or Harb!

The crux of the matter:

So, does the mainstream media treat Mike Duffy differently than Jim Munson? Absolutely. Why? I am not sure. Perhaps Duffy’s behaviour or reactions to criticisms have something to do with it — such as his attitude of entitlement, the extent of his expenses submitted and the fact that someone else had to pay the taxpayers back. But, how do we square that with Harb’s housing expenses which are even higher than Duffy’s?

Whatever. While political affiliation should not matter, it will be interesting to see and read if we get minimum media coverage or Duffy-like media coverage regarding Harb during his trial this summer.

It will also be interesting to see and read whether or not Chretien and his PMO staff will be blamed for Harb’s alleged failings “because he appointed him” as Harper and his PMO are blamed regarding Duffy.

At the very least, for the sake of our democracy, the potential for media bias is something the mainstream media itself should think about — very carefully!

C/P Jack’s Newswatch. Welcome NewsWatchCanada.ca readers.

Adam Thompson, missing ON autistic teen “found alive & well!”

Credit Tillsonberg News.

A 14 year old teen with severe autism is missing from his home in Georgetown, Ontario (which is about 50 km west of Toronto). (H/T JNW #7)  

His name is Adam Thompson and he went missing Sunday night in only his pyjamas and socks.

Police are asking that if he is seen, that he not be approached as he will become extremely anxious. And, that anxious reaction could have a negative impact on an already existing heart condition.

If anyone has any information, they should contact the Halton Regional Police immediately at 905-878-5511.

[…]

Update Monday 6pm: Thankfully, there is a happy ending to this story. The young man was found alive and well late this afternoon some six kms from home. Police say he is in good condition. It has been a blessing that the temperature in Southern Ontario today has been in the mid 20s celsius.

Boycotting Chiquita for boycotting Alberta’s oil sands!

Credit SunMedia

Update Thursday, December 29:Here is a recent summary of the Chiquita boycott by Lee Morrison of the Calgary Herald – “Chiquita’s backtracking is too little too late.”

Update Monday, December 19th: The Chiquita boycott is working. Keep it up Canada! Check out this latest source (H/T Jacksnewswatch).

Original post starts here: Canadians, from coast to coast to coast, should join SunNews and Ezra Levant (twitter.com/ezralevant) and boycott both Chiquita bananas and Avon products. Why?  Because both are boycotting individuals or businesses (e.g., transportation or delivery services) who use fossil fuels made with Alberta’s crude oil.

As SunNews writes about the Chiquita boycott, their message has got to represent the worst type of greenwashing possible — particularly since it is based on partial or complete misinformation. (H/T Sort of Political).

Talk about ignorance. Do the administration of both those multi-national companies not realize that Alberta oil, whether it is crude or refined, is ethical oil, compared to oil that comes out of such dictatorships as Venezuala, Saudia Arabia and Iran? I mean, this is Canada, right? We have democratic and open elections. We have a Charter of Rights. We have a free press. We have free speech. Men and women are considered equal. Moreover, we have an oil industry that is doing something about sustainability and renewal. Here is a page from Suncor, for example.

Yet, Avon, whose company motto is “the company for women,” are not boycotting anyone for using oil from countries who are repressing its people, particularly women — e.g., in Saudia Arabia, women can’t work or can’t drive unless they are accompanied by a male relative. Nor can they show their faces in public! Yet, that kind of middle east oil is somehow greener than that found in Alberta?

Well, it is time that the Alberta Oil Sands stopped being the green scapegoat for the world’s man-caused global warming movement.  In reality, it represents minimal CO2 emissions while being a very environmentally responsible sector. It is also the economic engine of Canada, directly and indirectly, supplying tax dollars to fund our equalization programs — money my province of Ontario now needs. 

Well, enough is enough. It is time for Canadians to fight back.

Regarding Chiquita: 

  1. Stop buying Chiquita bananas (try Dole instead);
  2. Contact Chiquita asking them to terminate their boycott (link below);
  3. Tell the store owner where you do most of your shopping, to stop using Chiquita products.

Regarding Avon:

  1. Boycott all Avon products, be it through buying or direct selling;
  2. Contact them and ask them to remove their unfair boycott of Alberta oil (e-mail address below). 

Because, by making Canada’s oil sands the scapegoat for the world’s need for fossil fuels, these companies are essentially demonizing all Canadians.   

Send a message via Chiquita’s contact page here.

Avon’s e-mail address is — hotmail.my@avon.com

Endnote: For all those quick to condemn the Alberta oil sands, check out this Alberta government link as well as this one for reliable sources of information. I would also recommed this wikipedia site.

Contrary to popular “green” opinion, Alberta’s tar ponds are naturally occuring.  In fact, prior to anyone started to dig for oil, they were desolute clumps of geography.  Pages three and four of the first link, a PDF file that can’t be copied, are the most relevant. What they are saying is that all oil companies are doing now is extracting what was already there and then renewing where they have worked into renewable green space. In other words, oil companies are actually improving the Alberta oil sands environment, not the reverse.

C/P Jacks Newswatch.

Intolerance in society why anti-bullying programs don’t work

A week or so ago, I had planned to write a review of some of the anti-bullying programs available in Canada and the United States. In fact I was so sold on some of the better programs, I set up an anti-bullying page on my header bar. However, the more I researched the topic, the more frustrated I became because rather than reduce bullying and teen suicide, it seemed to me that both were actually on the rise.

The majority in Canada believe in a free press and free speech.  The majority also seem to believe that all religions and cultures are equal.  For example, we have people coming to Canada and the U.S. with beliefs that are the opposite of a free society, yet we tolerate those beliefs in the name of being progressive when in fact they are regressive.

For instance, we make only slight noises against female genital maiming, women having to cover their faces in a free and equal society, or females being killed by their fathers and brothers due to an outdated view of the role of women in our society. Yet, I have yet to see or hear of feminists protesting on behalf of those oppressed minority women — which is as shameful as the actions committed against them. Worse, some of our governments abdicate their responsibilities for equality when young Muslim girls who are menstruating are forceed to sit at the very back of a public school cafeteria during Friday prayers — being publicly humiliated as unclean. 

Why do we tolerate or condone such forms of bullying? For some, it is obviously some sort of misguided political correctness!

Then, a week ago, shortly after Jamie Hubley’s funeral in Ottawa, some of Canada’s Conservative MPs put together a video on the “It gets better” theme telling young people who are LGBT that life gets better. Yet, how do some so-called professional journalists, comedians and academics respond to that good will message? They hint that the Conservative government has somehow made life more difficult for the LGBT community — which simply is not backed up with reality — and call them insensitive and hypocrites! Yet, I can think of nothing the various Conservative governments (2006, 2008 and 2011) have done to cause that nasty reaction. 

Well, hello? That kind of bitching, name calling and intolerance are simply examples of bullying. I mean, that is what bullying looks and sounds like. One particular group in society cannot measure up to another group no matter what they say or do.   

Then, there are the live radio and TV talk shows where people of differing political views scream at each other. Talk about intolerance. I could name a few of those shows but readers will know which ones I am referring to. And, do the hosts try to stop the nastiness? No, they don’t because they think it gets them more listeners or viewers — and perhaps it does. Now, doesn’t that say something about our society. The more verbally or physically violent the shows get (e.g., the fighting in a hockey game), the more viewers they get.

Of course, let’s not forget regular TV news. They show death and destruction nowadays as though it were a street party.  

The result? How can anyone think children and youth are immune to all the nastiness and violence going on around them? They hear it in the home. They watch it on TV and in their video games. They hear it from politicians. They hear in on the school yard and on the way home. And, they read it on social media.

So, if we want to stop children and young people from bullying each other, we had better stop the bullying in the rest of society. Otherwise, no matter what anti-bullying programs are put in place in schools, bullying is simply going to get worse if all children and youth see and hear around them is violence and intolerance towards anyone who is, in any way, different from themselves.

Update: Check out BC Blue for an example of a journalist being a bully. H/T Joanne at BLY. Truly breathtaking in its nastiness!

“Library Build” non-profit a wonderful idea to revive school libraries

I noticed an interesting article yesterday in yesterday’s Philadelphia “Inquirer.” Written by Kristen A. Graham, it is about teacher Callie Hammond, laid off last June, who has set up a non-profit group called “Library Build.” Here is a link to a Facebook page as well as a blog. What she plans to do is raise enough money to pay library science graduates to run a few Philadelphia elementary school libraries on a two-year contract basis.

A truly wonderful idea!

I just cannot imagine why the U.S. Department of Education is allowing school libraries to close, while simultaneously expecting improvement in standardized test scores so that no child is left behind.

Well hello? Libraries are about books, access to Internet encyclopedias and literacy in all manner of ways, including how to use a library and traditional research skills. So, how is it that U.S. teachers are being fired because of low standardized testing scores when county and federal governments are making it nearly impossible for children to succeed? We know, for example, that test scores decline as soon as school libraries are shut down or operate unstaffed.

Well, at least Hammond understands the situation and I hope everyone who reads about her endeavour understands it as well. I wish her only success, particularly in getting through to the board officials who are closing school libraries and firing teachers for low test scores. I also hope the initiative gets through to the lawmakers who are making teachers work with their hands tied behind their backs.

Talk about a catch 22 situation!

[…]

Endnote: While Ontario schools still have libraries, they are no longer staffed by qualified teacher-librarians. Instead, to save money, they are staffed by library technicians. And, while technicians do a great job at shelving and managing book collections, they are not qualified or permitted to teach literacy or research skills. In other words, we are one step from the U.S. situation. How was it, for example, that previous generations benefitted from teacher-librarians and now do not — even though taxpayers are spending billions more now? What has changed? And, more specifically, whatever happened to the amazing Ontario library guidelines and report called “Partners in Action?”

Should children with ADD or ADHD be medicated?

Children as young as age four can now have psychostimulant drugs prescribed for their Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder(ADD and ADHD). Read this Ottawa Citizen column on the topic. For parents who have normal children this option will seem very scary. But, I have to tell you, there is another side to this story.

Imagine a toddler and young child who is so hyperactive and distractible that to simply let them outside in the yard to play is a guarantee of a disaster. That was the case with my son, born in 1965. As it turned out, later in life he was diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, but at a very young age, his strange behaviours and hyperactivity were simply called a “perceptual handicap”and “hyperactivity disorder.”

When he was in Kindergarten, for example, I got a telephone call several times a week. Once it was because he had nearly been hit by a car because he had been chasing it during recess. Another time he was somehow able to climb a pipe and get onto the school roof, requiring the fire department to get him down. And, on and on it went. Until the day he took a small dose of Ritalin.

Then, a miracle happened. Within two hours of taking the pill, he took a deep breath and looked at me and smiled said something to the effect: “Mom, I feel better. Can I watch television now?” And, unbelievably he sat there watching cartoons for a full hour. Prior to that time, he was only able to manage that task only for a few seconds to a minute — before jumping up and down or rolling on the sofa or floor.

I didn’t tell his teacher that first day because I wanted to see if she noticed anything. Well, she sure did. She called me on her lunch breaki to ask me what we had done since our sone was able to sit through story time for the first time ever. Meaning, he didn’t wiggle from one end of the room to the other. Plus, he apparently fell asleep during nap time –another first.

Yes, the Ritalin slowed down his appetite and his growth and yes, he woke up early every morning. But, he could cope! And, after he went off the medication gradually at age 14, he regained his appetite and slept as much as any teenager. Moreover, by the time he was 18, he was well over 6 feet tall. Plus, the good news is that at no time during the period he went off the medication did he display addictive or withdrawal symptoms.  

Does he still have difficulties concentrating? Sometimes, but we now know it wasn’t simply ADHD, it was several disabilities in one, officially called PDD-NOS.

So, parents, if your child or children are manageably hyperactive, then forget medication. But, if they are like my son, with or without the overt hyperactivity, think about them and what they have to go through on a daily basis.  My example is just one but medication allowed my son to survive into adulthood and middle age.

However, I do have a problem with giving a psychostimulant to a young person after they have reach puberty (e.g., to age 18) since it will not be acting in an opposite way as it does in young children, but rather as an actual stimulant. Meaning, it can become both physically and psychologically addictive. But, of course, if a person simply cannot cope with the noisy and distracting world around them and medication helps them complete college or university or succeed in an employment situation, then obviously it would be no different than any other medication. It is, afterall, about quality of life.

New ad campaign showing Ontario colleges as a leading edge choice

Colleges Ontario, an advocacy organization that promotes Ontario’s public colleges, is continuing a $2 million dollar ad campaign, which started in 2008, to promote Ontario’s colleges as a leading edge choice. On October 11th, the Digital Journal wrote:

Innovations and new technologies are revolutionizing the workplace,” said Linda Franklin, president and CEO of Colleges Ontario. ‘Young people today need an education that is quite different from the education their parents got. Students have to look at higher education in a whole new way. For many of them, it means pursuing the leading-edge programs offered at Ontario’s public colleges.’The theme of the new ads is ‘Higher Education for the New World.’ The ads show students and parents reassessing the options available to students these days, supported by computer-animated graphics that promote careers in areas such as game development, biotechnology, and forensics.

The ad campaign begins this month and will continue in November. The campaign includes TV, radio, newspaper, transit shelter and online advertisements. The TV spots can be viewed at http://bit.ly/oziygl and http://bit.ly/n8hwOQ.”