Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Toronto's Identity Politics


I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.  Martin Luther King Jr.

A positive culture must have a positive set of values, and the dissentients must remain marginal, tending to make only marginal contributions. T.S. Eliot

Before Toronto expanded to its present boundaries, the city's motto extolled the virtues of Industry, Integrity, Intelligence. These civic ideals stood us in good stead since our founding in 1834.

To appease every enclave of the enlarged city, every activist and political-correctness enforcer, our motto was changed in 1998 to Diversity Our Strength.

Rather than celebrate mutually shared aspirations, such as the common good, our new motto invites us to observe what separates us racially, ethnically, sexually, politically, and financially. The city fell into the trap of identity politics with its hint of victimhood. Diversity is a condition, ideals are things to strive for.

The old motto encouraged a citizen to say, "Here I am. How can I help?" The new motto, "Here, Toronto, are my rights and my demands. What can you for for me and  my particular cause?" Each minority group clamours for its own representation, its own agenda, leading to fragmentation of civic purpose, quotas and overall negativity. This affirmative action guarantees we will not have the best qualified in positions of influence and authority, just an average of mediocrity.

An example of this will soon play out when the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal finds the Peel District School Board guilty of "systemic racism" -- a new addition to the ever-expanding Utopian lexicon.

The Tribunal will base its foregone decision on the fact that, while close to thirty per cent of Peel Region residents are South Asian, only two per cent of region school principals are from that part of the world. This feel-good presumption of racism is based on the attitude that lack of evidence constitutes proof.

The Tribunal's finding of "systemic racism" will be based on the feeling that public services must be delivered by people who reflect the colour, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual preference and residency of the citizens served.

Is it "systemic racism" that white people are not proportionally represented on the Raptors basketball team?

Inherent in this Utopian bias is the error that all are qualified to serve, to teach and to deliver government services. If the social and political views of my elected or appointed officials are more or less similar to mine, I do not care if he/she is a polka-dotted Brobdingnagian or a striped Luggnaggian.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Profit from Drunkenness


Earlier posts on this blog may have given the impression that the mischief of human rights commissions is a recent aberration and confined to Ontario and Alberta. Here's one from the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

In 1991, the Commission ordered Canadian National to rehire FN, who had been dismissed in March 1985 for repeated absences due to drunkenness. The Commission said that CN had discriminated against him on the basis of a disability -- his drinking.

FN's supervisors first noticed his problem in 1984, and referred him to Alcoholics Anonymous. He attended  two or three AA meetings, became absent from work more than usual, and had an accident with a company car, an incident he attempted to cover up.

Even then, he was not fired, but suspended, and sent to two drug-dependency programs. He refused to participate in follow-up counselling and AA sessions. CN dismissed him, saying he had not seriously attempted rehabilitation.

Unmoved by CN's efforts to accommodate Mr. N's "disability," the Canadian Human Rights Commission held the company had no right to fire him, and ordered he be re-hired with six-years' back wages.

Fortunately, the Federal Court of Canada would have none of this mischief. It overturned the Commission's judgement.

What if a small business had hired FN, and lacked the resources to launch an appeal? It would likely have been forced into bankruptcy. Human rights tribunals too often miss the big picture.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Laws, Courts and Bureaucracies

Letter to the National Post.

Father De Souza has pinned the tail squarely on the bureaucratic donkey (Who watches the watchmen, Mar. 16). When bureaucracies, such as police or prosecutors, are strengthened, citizen rights are weakened. Rights laws are zero-sum game. What you give to one must be taken from another. And the Government's new crime bill takes a great deal away from citizens, legally and financially.

I especially enjoyed the phrase "the bureaucracy that wears gowns and carries guns." The rule of law is a nebulous concept ultimately enforced at the point of a gun. It's legalized violence.

Toronto police are the highest paid in Canada, if not the world, yet its members slip from one blunder to blunder. Witness some of their behaviour during the G20 -- mischief that is slowly becoming class-action lawsuits for which citizens will pay.

Witness the shortage of judges and courts (a situation exacerbated by the new crime bill) which ensures the justice will be delayed and therefore denied. Such delays have already set miscreants free to inflict more mayhem on the public.

We do not obey the law because it is the law. Laws change every day. No one I know reads the Criminal Code to see what they can do that day. Law-abiding? No. To the extent law reflects human behaviour, to that extent it is citizen-abiding.

Aristotle put it this way -- a person capable of only following rules is a natural slave. Is the Government turning us into slaves?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Public Documents are Public Property

Unpublished letter to the National Post.

Re Judge allows Toews to find out who viewed his divorce papers, Mar. 8:

A Winnipeg judge apparently saw nothing amiss in granting Public Safety Minister Vic Toews permission to learn the names of people who have viewed his publicly available divorce papers.

The good judge deemed it unfair that personal matters might be revealed "at the whim of any passerby." But that's what happens with public documents. Any serious objection should inspire him to demand that such documents be sealed from public view.

Big Brother is lurking if a citizen must identify himself and have his name recorded simply to view a public document.

The next frightful step may force libraries to disclosed the names of borrowers of certain books. Reading a book about terrorism, or how to make a bomb, or how to do robo-calls, may soon lead to one's home being raided.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Bureaucrats and Politicians Attack Basic Values


Government intervention into more and more aspects of our lives must be challenged as an attack on basic values. Here are some reasons why.

Bertrand Russell -- "The fight for freedom is not won by any mere change in our economic system. It is to be won only by constant resistance to the tyranny of officials."

Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh -- Once you start involving governments,"you immediately begin to involve political philosophies and attitudes of all sorts and all sorts of difficulties that are much more easily avoided if you have something which is voluntarily financed."

Former Ontario Education Minister Thomas Wells -- "There is in many respects a waning confidence in the effectiveness of public education. In elementary education, the most public voiced concern is with the basics -- what many parents and others often call the Three Rs."

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Law Must Earn Respect


Society is in poor shape when citizens, such as in a recent incident involving homeschooling in Alberta, are ordered by law to “honour and respect” the law.

Carve this in stone: Those who enact, enforce or interpret law receive only such respect as is commanded by their performance, not by what they demand.

The situation becomes toxic when families in Quebec must fight for the obvious -- that they, the family, not the government or the courts, are the primary teachers of their children.

The Supreme Court of Canada recently approved the soft totalitarianism of a Quebec law conferring on the government exclusive rights of religious education. These same Supremos claim to uphold religious freedom. In the crunch, they have wilted when called on to defend that freedom.

It's time for a revolution to limit the power of anyone in authority -- political, bureaucratic or judicial -- to clearly stated basics. Governmental intrusion into education must be limited to setting standard tests in core subjects. Activist judges must be reined in, along with empire-building bureaucrats.

To realize a revolution, laws that refer to human rights, diversity, multiculturalism, and other vague notions of how society should operate, must be re-written The re-write will contain strict limits as to interpretation and manipulation by the troika -- politicians, officials and judges, especially our activist Supreme Court. The Russian troika is a carriage powered by three horses, but controlled by one driver. In Canada, that driver must be the people.

Light occasional shines in dark places. The Alberta Human Rights Act gives parents the option of removing children from classes dealing with religion, sexuality, or sexual orientation without academic penalty, something the Supremes denied Quebec citizens. The bad news is that Alberta's appointed Premier, under the influence of radical elements of the province's teacher union, wants to relieve parents of that right.

We can only hope that one day a streak of enlightenment will penetrate the darkness of the Quebec government and the Supreme Court of Canada. It will not happen voluntarily. On occasion, noses must be pushed into the mud of reality. Such a challenge now confronts us.


Sidebar. "... Ontario's provincial judicial appointments system scores much better than the federal system, which is still heavily tainted by political partisanship and conspicuously lacking in transparency." --- Jacob Ziegel, law professor emeritus, University of Toronto. (The National Post, March 7, 2012)


Saturday, March 3, 2012

I Was Only Obeying Orders



Big Brother is today bigger than in George Orwell's day.

Gregg Bereznick, Superintendent of Education at Waterloo Region District School Board, claims for his bureaucracy the status of "co-parent" with real parents. Unless these empire-builders are reeled in their claim to full parental rights is not far off.

Such loss of parental rights has occurred in Sweden and Germany. There, the state has scooped children from their families because the parents preferred homeschooling -- an illegal act in those countries.

The issue in Ontario is about a child at school who drew a picture of her father shooting monsters. An over-zealous teacher complained.The bureaucracy descended with jack books. The father was arrested, strip searched, and threatened with being charged with possession of an illegal weapon. His children and pregnant wife were forced into child services custody. Finally, getting around to searching this family's home, police found a transparent plastic toy that shoots small plastic BBs, and available in the toy section of most department stores.

In answer to an interviewer's question whether he was satisfied with what happened, Bereznick replied, We do work hand in hand with these families because we co-parent …”

No, Mr. B. bureaucrats do not "co-parent." They do no kind of parenting whatsoever.

If the child had drawn Bereznick or Dalton McGuinty holding a gun, would they have been similarly molested, abused and insulted? If the law permits this mischief, the law is a bigger ass than we ever feared.

I too was only obeying orders, explained Alison Scott, executive director of Family and Child Services for the Waterloo Region I do not see any need for our agency to apologize for fulfilling our mandated responsibility.

All this follows on the heels of the decision of the Ottawa Nine (the Supreme Court of Canada) allowing the state to indoctrinate Quebec children against family wishes and traditions.

Big Brother is not only alive and well in Canada, but growing to fearsome proportions. And it's all according to the rule of law (enshrined by lawyers in the Charter of Rights) which states we must obey the law simply because it is the law, not whether it is good or bad for society.