Category Archives: politics

Oil or Nothing: Alberta’s false dichotomy

Leduc1_WesternExaminerImage_GlenbowAs long as I can remember in Alberta our defining narrative has been oil or nothing. Which, given that I was born in Alberta in 1968 and came of age in Alberta in the 1980s, rather coincided with how the rest of the world saw the story of modern human prosperity.

Fossil fuels, the industrial revolution, automation. We used to think of it as an uphill journey we had come to the end of. But it wasn’t an uphill climb, it dipped and soared. And the journey isn’t coming to an end, the resource is.

These booms and busts became the Alberta story. In the boom everyone celebrated oil, in the busts everyone became nostalgic for oil. Getting stuck in today’s self congratulation is not future forward. Nostalgia is not future forward. Oil is not future forward.

As decades have rolled by the global mindset has shifted, and there are significant swaths of the global physical and ideological landscape that have begun to look past oil (past fossil fuels in general) and toward a future we need to prepare for.

We lag behind in Alberta. We still tell ourselves that our future is oil or nothing. Sadly our stubborn refusal to lift our heads and look down the road has meant that we have not adequately prepared for our future on the immediate horizon.

This is why I am less concerned with Alberta’s current deficit than some are. I’m not happy about it. I think it absolutely could have been avoided, but that avoidance horizon was 20 years ago. It can’t be avoided now if we want our province to be prosperous into the real and looming future.

windturbinecropWe need to bring our infrastructure up to a level that makes us competitive. We need to educate our youth to a level that makes them competitive. We need to build an economy that is competitive.

Yes, we are creating a debt that will be handed down to our children, but at least this time the debt we are creating will be offset by their prosperity gain. Debts past were handed to next generations who had less to pay the debt off with.

Our young people, and our own generation, can and should invest now in alternatives to oil. For reasons of economic stability. For reasons of environmental preservation. For reasons of lofty ambition and creativity and what makes the humans unique as a species.

Close up of a graduation cap and a certificate with a ribbon --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

So, thank you Alberta NDP for reinvesting in education. Our kids will have the means to pay back the debt because we borrowed to give them the skills for future jobs.

No more boom and bust. No more oil or nothing.

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A little pre-apocalypse entertainment

political-theater

Man! What a time to be alive for fans of pre-apocalyptic political theatre.

The GOP has fallen into the oldest political trap in existence. The Grand Old Party has fallen victim to pandering.

Pandering

There is a huuuge difference between letting the loons have their soapbox on the corner and letting them have the podium.

No society will ever eliminate its fringe element. In fact no society should try to eliminate it; it keeps us on our toes. However, all societies should keep the fringe on a long leash. Long enough to give the loons some freedom, but short enough that the person at the handle end of the leash is the one choosing the direction.

The Republicans have been letting the dog walk the master for a while now, and it has come back to bite them in the ass. As it always will.

To be fair, this a universally problematic political temptation and not one unique to the Republican Party. It isn’t only Americans who need to maintain proper perspective on the lunatic fringe. For instance:

In the spring I was working a contract with an Alberta government ministry I won’t name. On April 1st, commonly know as APRIL FOOLS DAY, the government put out a joke news release – as many governments and businesses do. Staff in the office I worked in freaked out. I think their concern was that it would make some people angry. And it did. It make the same bunch of lunatics angry that got angry when the Premier wished us all Happy Chinese New Year. The over reaction of my fellow staff members revealed them as firmly in fear of the lunatic fringe. The government, however, wisely just kept on going on and continued to politely ignore the screaming of the  loons. This was the right thing to do.

Zeppelin2

To survive, governments and political parties have to know how to politely ignore some constituents. They must consciously choose not to woo or expect support from their less stable fringe elements.

crazy-trump

The Republican party’s looming disaster comes only because it chose to pander to this fringe element and it’s ripping them apart at the seams. Now all the loons are driving the party toward the abyss of irrational banjo accompanied anger and frenzied orgies of socially conservative outrage.

trump fight

At this point I think there may be no real way out for the party aside from full retreat. The mainstream republicans – the non-loons – need to run away and wait until the Trump zombies eat each other. That’s gonna be a while so I suggest they find a nice pub to hide out in. Forget this election. In fact, pray that this election goes to the Democrats because recovering as an ideologically driven political movement will be easier under a stable Democratic President than during the arrival of the four horsemen of the apocalypse.

shawn of the dead

For or against

No article attached. My two cents in 5 minutes…

160719005412-melania-trump-michelle-obama-composite-large-169Google Melania Trump and you’ll find a dozen articles about her speech in Cleveland. It’s the issue of the day: plagarism. But the real issue is what has happened to the Republican party.

The GOP has fallen into the oldest political trap in existence.

Every good leader knows that to fight a good fight and win the day they must give their people something to fight FOR.

All the GOP has is against. Against immigrants. Against radical Islam. Against planned parenthood. Against gay marriage and trans people peeing. Against federal stewardship of public lands. Against gun laws. Against Obamacare. AND against ‘crooked’ Hillary.

This is why they will lose, and lose this big. Because they are only ever acting against the democrats and for no other reason.

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 13: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton discusses her new book, 'Hard Choices: A Memoir,' at the Lisner Auditorium on the campus of George Washington University June 13, 2014 in Washington, DC. Clinton is on a nationwide tour to promote the new memoir with media interviews and book signings but has said she would not decide whether to run in the 2016 presidential race before the end of the year. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

So, in a twisted way, Hillary is to blame for Melania’s speech because, by default she is leading them.

Hillary is to Darcy, as history is to …

Here’s a story I have been telling people for 30 years: my mother named me Darcy so that when I applied for jobs no one would know I was a girl and for that reason not interview me. It’s an important story.

suffragists

Darcy is a name without gender. It is the symbol of the world she handed me. She was confined by her gender. I was less so. I am my mother’s daughter, she is her mother’s daughter. That is how we move forward in time.

How far forward we have come is evident in what we are mourning at the same time as what we are celebrating things like gender parity in government, and a woman Premier in Alberta. Our society is only now mourning the last of a generation of women born before women were given the vote.

Before you freak out: not the generation, a generation.

We all know about intersectionality (now), but progress is is inherently imperfect. Imperfection does not invalidate the improvement, it simply makes the next necessary step all the more obvious. My mother was not perfect. I am not perfect. Being Darcy didn’t eradicate sexism, but the story of my name is a good story looking back at it.

 

This US election cycle is laying bare our mistaken tenancy to judge people’s pasts while looking forward. Improvements are very seldom self evident, frequently they are milestones only in context. And yes, I am talking about Hillary Clinton.

hillary smart girlHillary Clinton is my mother’s generation. I don’t get to vote for her, but I do have to respect the struggles she and my mother’s generation overcame for me. She is not the past, she cannot be compared to the future, but she is the foundation we are standing on today. Her nomination is absolutely and without question a milestone for women. You know, a feminist milestone. Not the last one I ever hope to see, but definitely a stop on the march to progress we should celebrate.

It is easy to see Hillary Clinton as a white, wealthy, christian member of the establishment and say that being a woman is not what has defined her journey. The ‘establishment’ Bernie rails against is male – very male and very white. It’s not every male, but it is male. hillary and billIt’s made up of the people who have been pulling the strings. Being married or born into the establishment as a woman is not the same as being the establishment. For women, it has historically meant a seat next to the a man who is establishment. Your daddy or husband.

Hillary’s full membership in the establishment is a result of hard work and perseverance. The group of people who have access to the strings has broadened, and she has been part of that broadening. But she had to work to gain entry, and she has worked to give others entry – in neither case by opening the door to let them in, but by standing outside the door refusing to go away until they let others in. Not to disparage Bernie Sanders’ excellent record on civil rights, but he was opening the door from inside.

Hillary’s accomplishments and ideas were FOR THEIR TIME very significant. Her journey has been to clear the path for the next generation of women. By today’s standards she possibly pales only if you choose to judge from the place you stand without admitting you stand in a place she helped build. Scan a history book. She has weathered more scathing criticism based on her gender than I would ever want to have to endure. Don’t reduce her to what was not done when she was working doubly hard for her place at the establishment table, credit her for what she got done by using what influence she did have.

Is she perfect right now exactly as is? No. Should you not challenge her to reevaluate, to grow, to move forward? No. Of course not. But if you think you’re ahead of her you are ignoring how much longer she has been in this race than you have.

HIllary speechAre women’s rights human rights? If you say yes it is because she said that loudly in 1995. Over 20 years ago she had to formally announce what we can now assume. That was her doing what was not popular, and that pushed progressive discourse forward.

I admire Bernie Sander’s advocacy and his support of civil rights, but I resent them being used against Hillary Clinton. I admire what he did that aligns with my world view, I like many of his current messages, but I resent that he uses Hillary’s ‘lapses’ against her but pretends his own away. She has been  walking a different path, a path assigned to her by her gender. He went to bat for a disadvantaged group he was not a member of, and therefore went to bat from a place of privilege. She went to bat for a disadvantaged group she was member of, and therefore went to bat from a position of disadvantage.

She is not going to be your saviour. She will lead a group effort. She won’t do it without you, your input is necessary. Which means you should be part of the progress she makes and can help her maintain the momentum. It isn’t a revolution. It is the continued march of progress.

She will be a female president who is the reason a female president is possible in exactly the same way that Obama was a black president who is the reason a black president was possible.

Hillary’s nomination is a milestone exactly because it does matter is how high a woman can rise within an oppressive power structure. It is insulting to diminish that achievement because she isn’t more oppressed.

first ladies

We must acknowledge that people are good in context, and allow them opportunity to improve in new context. Otherwise we can never admire anyone because, no one is ever intersectional enough. Effort matters, growth matters, ability to reevaluate matters. And they all matter more than getting it perfect the first time. She worked hard for what she accomplished, and she is still working and learning and growing.

hillary for barakHillary will be a good tool for further change. She has always had to be a tool for change: imperfect change, halting and meandering and sometime mistaken attempts at change, but change nonetheless.

I don’t support her because she is a woman. I would never have voted for Margaret Thatcher, I would never vote Sarah Palin, and I didn’t vote for Rona Ambrose in my riding. I support her because she a woman who has been working a long time on making the world a better place in support of a party whose ideology lines up with my world view.

Many of Bernie Sander’s ideas also align with my world view. Had Sanders been ahead I would not have proposed he didn’t deserve the nomination because he was not a woman. I would judge him in context. He wouldn’t get credit for taking as many punches for being a woman in a man’s world, but obviously that’s because he isn’t and has never been a woman in a man’s world.

woman cardBut the fact still remains that the fact that she is a woman means something to me, she gets credit for being a woman while in politics. She gets to play the woman card because it has been dealt to her over, and over, and over. And because of her some young woman somewhere is not being dealt the woman card. Some women still are, as I said, progress is imperfect.

Hillary deserves to be President. She deserves to be her imperfect, conflicted, battle scarred self. She is the woman card, and she is playing it yet again to spare you having to have it dealt to you.

Hillary is to Darcy, as history is to progress.

 

Oh, everybodys got a beef now…

I am so tired of going from burst of outrage to burst of outrage in Alberta.

Ok. I can get through this…

earls sourceA local restaurant chain, Earl’s, announced that they were pleased to be the first chain in North America to serve certified humane beef as part of their commitment to conscious sourcing. Apparently Earl’s could not find a source of enough Canadian beef that was certified to meet their expectations, so they are getting their beef from a Kansas producer.

It is so weird to see that so many Albertans conflate a local industry with a purchasing obligation for local consumers.

Yes, Earls started in Edmonton. Yes, Earl’s headquarters is in Vancouver. Yes, both of those are in Canada. But what isn’t in Canada is a process to certify that beef is produced in a humane way. That’s the problem.

It’s also distressing to see Albertans acting as if this is an out of the blue attack on Alberta beef producers.

It’s not out of the blue. Unless you live under a rock you’ve probably seen this ad by A&W about using beef raised with out any added hormones or steroids. Or this story about McDonald’s switching to cage free eggs. The precedent is there. There is growing consumer concern about animal welfare.  Earls, and A&W, and McDonalds are not creating this issue, they are responding to it.

It was not an attack, it was a business decision. What this move by Earl’s makes them is an innovator and an industry leader, not a saboteur. It’s not an attempt to do anything more than respond to market trends. That’s what resilient, strong companies do.

Also worth noting: the point is only marginally whether the beef is raised humanely. The point is the certification the producer provides. The point is a standardization and definition of the minimum acceptable treatment of animals raised for food.

This is not a targeted snub of Alberta beef producers. It could be an accidental rebuke of Alberta’s cattle industry for not staying ahead of the curve though. Another company, an American company, beat them to the punch and were earlier to respond to a growing market demand. It’s a pretty poor business model where producers get angry at consumers for choosing what product they want and going to the business that gives it to them.

I guess Earl’s didn’t consult the Alberta industry when they made their decision. I didn’t consult Safeway when I switched to buying my cheese and pasta at Italian Centre, or my smoked meats at that market in Holes Greenhouse, and I won’t consult them when I start buying my produce at Farmer’s Markets this summer. I’m not clear why consultation was an expectation.

This is not restaurants telling consumers that Alberta beef is not good enough. Earl’s, and MacDonald’s, and A&W are reacting to the shift in consumer perception about the the way animals are treated in all the meat producing sectors – not just beef. They are taking their cues from consumers, not dictating them.

This is not a battle for social license. Social licence is the level of acceptance or approval CONTINUALLY granted to a producer by their consumer. Social license changes over time. Companies have to constantly earn and re-earn social license. Companies need to conduct constant environmental scans and maintain an awareness of shifts in their market.

Alberta beef producers could have Earl’s as a customer if they want Earl’s as a customer. Earl’s is no longer their customer because that is what happens in a free market when you don’t/can’t give the customer what it wants. Earl’s want a certification. If the Alberta beef industry is already doing all these things then this is an easy fix for them. All they have to do is finish development of the certification program. If they can’t then they need to address gaps in industry standards, because this is where the future of the industry lies – in open, transparent and humane standards for the production of animal products.

It’s happening in the fashion industry, it is happening with diamonds, it is happening with laundry detergent, it’s why companies are boycotting North Carolina. Ethical consumerism is a growing global movement. No amount of complaining will make that less of a reality for any industry.

alberta beefMy message to Alberta beef producers is simple. Get together, draw up some parameters and a good plan for enforcing and regulating the standards you choose, and you’re golden. Earl’s has indicated it would consider using Alberta beef if this happened.

Adapt or die. You can do this. It can be done.

When one door closes: Ghomeshi

It’s been two weeks.

The trial and verdict in the Jian Ghomeshi sexual assault trial has come and gone. I find the reaction more subdued than the internet predicted it would be, and I feel more subdued than I thought I would be. That being said, the trial has changed the way I see Canada’s justice system. And it changed the way I pay attention to how our society treats sex, sexuality and women.

Two weeks ago I was keeping an eye on twitter as the verdict was read. A co-worker was not and asked me to tell her as soon as the verdict was known. I sent her a quick email, and seconds later heard her holler “He said that?” So I walked around the corner to her office, feeling quite sad, looked at her equally sad face and she said “I have a daughter.”

scales

Given how the trial rolled out I did not expect a guilty verdict. Given the current state of our laws a guilty verdict was not possible. Not because Jian Ghomeshi isn’t guilty, not because the woman are liars, not because what happened didn’t deserve a different outcome – because our laws are not written to give us the better outcome.

Our culture builds a case against the women before they even have a chance to make their case. That was confirmed when, at the end of his verdict, the judge said: “…need to be vigilant in avoiding the equally dangerous false assumption that sexual assault complainants are always truthful.” His equating trusting half of the human race to be experts on their own bodily integrity to the danger posed by rapists sent a chill down my spine.

innocent or guilty presumption of innocence until proven guilt as charged in a fair trial for crime suspect

We vociferously, adamantly and unwaveringly defend the idea that a person is innocent until proven guilty. Rightly so.

And yet, in the case of this completely unique crime, we do not with equal conviction defend the idea that a woman is honest unless proven otherwise.

That alone proves the system is biased against female victims of sexual assault, because we start from the assumption that women could lie, that trusting the woman is a threat to all men, and so we interpret normal human behaviors as reasonable doubt.

I read a Facebook story by a male ally in which he likened this to a wallet being stolen. It was a good analogy but I amend that narrative this way:

…I have an invisible wallet. It holds something I value. You can’t see it, but you can touch it, and you can damage it, and you can take it from me. Because it is invisible I can’t prove when you have done any of these things. I will rarely have evidence to support my accusation. It will often be my word against another’s. The damage done to me will be invisible to most people…

Why do we need to start from the premise that we believe women? Because with sexual assault it is all about believing that a woman has the right, and ability, and credibility as a human being to her own sexuality. No one else owns it. It isn’t a matter of property. It is a matter of controlling what happens to her own body, and having redress under the law when that inalienable right is infringed upon. It isn’t about cuts or bruises. It is about one human being violently usurping another human being’s right to self. The nature of the harm done by crime may be invisible to the eye, but the human toll of the crime must never be.   

lady justice6We need to re-examine our laws, and make some sounder judgments about what we have put on the scales of justice. We need to make some sound judgments about the weight of things that are difficult to quantify.

One in four women will experience sexual assault in her lifetime. One in four men will not commit that offense, and one in four men do not being accused of that offense. Crimes like this are perpetrated by a very, very small pool of men who re-offend as they get continue to away with their behavior. The risk to one in four women is significant. The risk to the many men is significant. For most men, the risk of being tarred with the same brush, being lumped in with those few men, is real.

By doing a better job of punishing the few criminals we are not only protecting women, we are protecting men from the criminals that hide among them and use them as a human shield for their behavior.

This is not making sex more complicated or risky, for the vast majority of men this will make sex easier and better. Same goes for women. Because when we stop confusing violence with healthy human sexuality, we all win.

This door has closed. But we must open a new door to discussion about how we can do better as a culture, and how our justice system can be made to better serve the best interests of all Canadians.

[read this, it’s interesting]

This civilization accepts change only

when-the-winds-of-change-blowAs many of my pedantic tales do, this one begins on social media.

In response to a thread about Ted Cruz and his demagoguery, a Facebook friend asserted that he was a liberal, to which I replied:
“Of course you’re liberal, … Most of the civilized world is liberal (progressive, we call them progressives here). Being liberal is a requisite to being civilized.”

Later someone challenged me on this, and after thinking it over, I continue to believe I was correct. Look:

civilize: bring (a place or people) to a stage of social, cultural, and moral development considered to be more advanced.
civilization: the stage of human social development and organization that is considered most advanced.
liberal: open to new behavior or opinions and willing to discard traditional values.

Civilization is not a place. It is not a location in time. The march towards civilization is not linear (which of course may also be true of time, but let’s not go there). Once we recognize civilization, it ceases to be the most advanced point because our recognition of the advancement is an advancement in and unto itself. Conversely, recognizing that a something is not civilized we are progressing. Get it? Civilization is a continuous process. Civilization is a progression of moments in which we move toward bettering ourselves and our societies. It is advancement.

mirrorA person who is civilized is individually at a stage of individual peak advancement, because of the same circular proof I outlined above.

Ergo, being civilized is to be in the process of change. You can’t advance without moving, you can’t move without changing position, you can’t change position if you’re not open to the possibility that your position can change.

HuxleyThis is the question I answered at the start; how can you be civilized if you are not open to change? Being open to change and the state of being resistant to change are mutually exclusive, which leaves only liberality compatible with civilization. In the long run, being open to new behavior or opinions (the definition of liberal) is the only of those two states compatible with civilization. Being liberal not only has a civilizing effect, it is in fact required for the civilizing to take place at all.

I will agree that what we consider to be a civilization is relative. But regardless how subjective the judgement call that ‘civilized society’ is, change is necessary to advancement. It is the willingness to consider change, not the adoption of new ideas, that makes the liberal mindset requisite to civilization.

I’m going to rest my case right here… what do you think?

quote-the-true-law-of-the-race-is-progress-and-development-whenever-civilization-pauses-in-the-march-of-william-gilmore-simms-171220

#Ghomeshi day 1

canadian-gavelWhen the Ghomeshi firing and accusations hit the fan a little over a year ago I said this trial would be interesting, and could spur some positive changes in our society and our justice system.

I am going to be blogging about what I see as the issues confronting women (and men) and the court system are when it comes to dealing with sexual assault, and highlighting what I think are some good quick fixes and what are some thorny problems we need to put real effort into mitigating. In these blog posts I will use ‘he’ for the accused and ‘she’ for the accuser because it is true for this case. It does not mean that I don’t understand that is not always the case.

THORNY PROBLEM #1:

First of all, there is no way I would remember details if I was one of these women. I can barely remember what year I got my dog, and I don’t remember my son’s first words and both of those ought to be happy memories. Some people just don’t recall details, they remember in emotion and emotion is fuzzy. But the fact that I don’t remember how old my son was when he first said mama doesn’t change the fact that he did, and the fact that I can’t remember what month I got my dog in doesn’t mean that I am not right in saying that I rescued her in 2005.

So this is a thorny problem. People’s memories are spotty at the best of times. At the worst of times people can block out trauma, making it harder to remember sharp details. That is different from being completely unreliable. We need to stop calling women’s memories of sexual assault into question because they cannot remember 100%. We need to find balance between acknowledging that trauma and fear affect our recall, and the need to find out the truth.

THORNY PROBLEM #2:

The woman was left on the stand while the judge left the room today; alone, facing Ghomeshi and the people in the court room. Frankly, if I were this woman I would be scared to the point of near hysteria. I don’t deal well with being cross-examined at the best of times. Who does? We don’t need to make it worse than it already is.

We can find a way to accommodate the defendant’s right to face his accuser and the accuser’s right to not feel the gaze of the person who hurt her. We do it with children, we shelter them from the people they accuse because we acknowledge their fear is real.

Discussing this tonight, my brilliant hubby suggested that the woman be in a separate room to testify via video so that the defendant can see her, but she does not have to see him. I countered that the defendant be removed from the room during testimony, and be allowed to watch on a monitor. Either way, women deserve to be shielded from the glare of the person who has already terrorized her.

QUICK FIX #1:

Apparently the defence lawyer referred to the woman on the stand today as  the ‘cater waiter’. Now, while that is not an overt slur, the act of not referring to someone by their name decreases their stature. It reminds me of a story about a trial in which the defence lawyer repeatedly called a female police officer ‘honey’ when she was testifying. She eventually refused to answer his questions. Either way, he won. One way he diminished her authority by calling her honey and not Constable, the other way he got be exasperated in his dealings with an angry woman.

This is a quick fix. There should be no referring to any person involved in a trial by anything other than their official name or title. Ms Smith… Dr  Smith… Constable Smith… but never honey. This kind of chicanery is the reason the world thinks defence lawyers have no moral compass.

Let’s close the subtle insult loophole. To make this stick there need to be real sanctions against lawyers who use this tactic because once it is done, particularly in front of a jury, there is no taking it back or undoing the damage.

QUICK FIX #2:

Apparently the defense lawyer brought up that the woman accusing Ghomeshi was not making a lot of money. This fact is completely unrelated to the accusation of sexual assault. Income and consent to sex/sexual violence are not even in the same universe. Not only should leading or suggestive questions be more rigorously challenged by the crown and judges, not only should there be more enforcement of the rules outlining the proper lines of questioning. There need to be serious and immediate repercussions for defence lawyers who use this tactic to shift focus.

We can, and should, keep defence lawyers who resort to tricks and misinformation out of our court rooms.

 

That’s it for today. I am hopeful that we as a society learn from this high-profile case. We certainly have the right political climate and the right leadership to do better going forward. Where there is a will, let there be a way.

 

The politics of prophet and loss

alberta_pride_postcard-r56fb616fcdd7486dad694bc0884c30d6_vgbaq_8byvr_630Some of Alberta is having some difficulty seeing the writing on the wall. Some of Alberta uses the guise of religious tolerance to justify religious intolerance.

This feels like the Alberta version of Groundhog Day. I wake up every spring to see if the bigots cast a shadow and end up reliving the same tired old story.

I became active on twitter as a direct result of Bill 10. That was nearly a year ago, yet we are still struggling to make this province a safe and caring place for everyone. We are still struggling to let all of our children learn and grow with dignity and respect.

I think the NDP are making progress. The progress might seem slow, but it appears to me that they are using the time to methodically close all the loopholes the bigots can use to avoid being prevented from spreading their intolerance. This is constructuve, albeit not speedy. I am all for the government taking the time to make human decency the rule in the public sphere.

I don’t like catholic schools. I don’t think there should be two systems. I don’t think we should fund religious education. I respect private faith and a person’s private right to pass that faith on privately to their children. But when we include religion in the education system, the semantics of public and separate aside, it becomes public.

This is my issue:

Notice I didn’t say ‘when we fund the system it becomes public’. A lot of the call to arms right now centres on de-funding religious schools. I don’t support using finacial clout as a way to make groups conform with cultural norms of tolerance and inclusion. Using money and funding to achieve social conformity is what the right does, and it’s why Planned Parenthood is fighting right now.

Too often and in too many circumstances, money is used as a tool for political and social ends. De-funding the catholic school system would be the easiest way to enforce our political and social goals, but it is the wrong way to bring about a culture shift towards tolerance, compassion and inclusivity. Those must be taught and modelled, not enforced and bankrolled.

Money or no, we cannot allow intolerance to be included in our education system. No school, public or private, should be allowed to teach intolerance. I can’t do much to stop a parent at home from teaching poisonous ideas, but I can stop it from being disguised and presented as socially condoned curriculum material.

Bishop Henry is an old man with old ideas. He will die, and his hateful ideas will die with him because we will not let them spread, not because we refuse to finacially support them, but because we refuse to give them our passive support. We don’t need to take away their money, we need to take away their moral license.

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2015 was a very good year…

So, 2015 was a heck of a year, huh?

On the provincial front, somehow our tired (no, that’s not a typo) and true conservative ruling class managed to squander the plunder of yet another boom cycle, and had no plan for the inevitable bust cycle. Our first female premier took the fall for her entire party’s entitlement and corruption, soprentice hot collar we were assigned a new leader from the federal conservative realm (which in hindsight may have been a federal election omen). Our new leader from the east then proceeded to blame Albertans for his party’s squanderousness and the fiscal frailty of the treasury that Albertans had hired them to manage. notley hands upAlbertans looked in the mirror and repeated bloody tories, bloody tories, bloody tories – three times – and the image of a petite blonde woman mathishardappeared, revealing our future. Once the votes were duly and properly added up it was clear that the reign of the conservative dynasty, was over and Alberta began the era of the philosopher queen.

notley laugh 3x

harper angryIn national politics, the end of the Alberta conservative dynasty so enraged our federal conservative overlords that they called an election out of spite and vanity, just so they could hit the road and tell all Canadians that Albertans we were idiots. But for some reason the politics of ‘my way or the highway’ failed, and the conservatives soon needed help: please fearmongerStephen Harper needed a courage, Chris Alexander needed a heart, Jason Kenney needed a brain and Rona Ambrose tagged along as the token female. The cons set down the road of no return to seek out the help of the Wizard of Oz. Turns out the wizard’s act was a hate and headscarves disappearing act, and all that mattered on election day Canadians was that as fast as you can say dial-a-racist our old leader was ousted. Although everyone thought he heir2canadawas too young and handsome to be a serious contender, a young prince strode in and pulled the poll from the conservative party‘s ass and the log from Jason Kenney’s eye to prove he alone was rightful heir to Canadian democracy.

trudeauswearingin CROP

Yes, 2015 was a banner year; a very Canadian year of very Canadian revolution and Canadians progress. I can’t wait to see what 2016 brings.