Archive for the ‘Social issues’ Category

Tory Minister Expresses Tory View, Shock and Horror Ensue

- December 16th, 2013

Industry Minister James Moore drew ire this weekend after comments to the effect that it’s not his problem how other Canadians manage their lives.

Apropos of news that British Columbia maintains the highest levels of child poverty in the country, a reporter for Vancouver’s News 1130 asked Moore whether Ottawa has any responsibility for this epidemic.

“Obviously, nobody wants kids to go to school hungry, but yeah, certainly we want to make sure that kids go to school with a full belly, but is that always the government’s job, to be there to serve people their breakfast?” Moore responded. “Is it my job to feed my neighbour’s child? I don’t think so.”

Outrage ensued. The Twittersphere called him the Grinch, among other things. Child poverty watch groups want him to apologize.

For his part, Moore claims to have been quoted out of context. Whatever the context his comments were intended to be taken in would be met with great interest, though none of us are holding our breath.

However lacking in compassion Moore’s comments may have come across, they should be of surprise to absolutely no one.

How could anyone with a remotely working knowledge of political ideologies in Canada be shocked to hear a Conservative express what is an entirely predictable Conservative view?

It is no secret that Conservatives tend to see charity as an act up to the individual, not something over which they see the government as having any responsibility.

By definition, Conservatives believe the role of government should be kept to a bare minimum. Anyone having a hard time is on their own, likely victim only of their own poor choices.

The undoing of the social safety net is a point of pride for these Tories. Whether it’s Employment Insurance, CPP or any other program designed with the idea that by helping each other, we help ourselves, Tories see these initiatives as things that develop dependencies among Canadians. Not things that help.

If Moore’s comments are a departure at all, they are only inasmuch as they were perhaps more blunt than the doublespeak Canadians usually hear from this government.

No, Moore’s belief that neither he nor his government have any responsibility in alleviating child poverty is not especially compassionate. But it shouldn’t come as a surprise either.

UPDATE: Moore apologized just before 1pm Monday on Twitter, saying: “An apology. The cause of fighting poverty is not helped by comments like those I made last week. I am sorry.”



Canada needs to do more to protect teens from porn, sociologist says

- November 20th, 2013


OTTAWA — Canada can reduce the demand for prostitutes by better limiting teenagers’ access to pornography, Wheelock College sociologist Dr. Gail Dines says.

“We have 40 years of peer-reviewed studies that shows that pornography shapes the way boys and men think about women,” the Boston-based professor told a press conference on Parliament Hill Wednesday. “It shapes their behaviour as well.”

She said the earlier boys start viewing porn, the less they’re able to perform sexually without it, while their appetite for uninhibited sex partners increases. Read more…

“Everyone had a good chuckle at your questions”

- November 14th, 2013

The government pulled together a press conference Thursday morning to share with the media all the great work they’re doing, helping victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

International Development Minister Christian Paradis explained in his deeply broken English that Canada has shown “compassion” and “leadership” when it comes to its humanitarian aid to the ravished Pacific country.

“Our soldiers are helping these people,” he said.

Interestingly, reporters on the ground in the Philippines are being told by the military all questions about what they’re doing have to go through Ottawa. The reporters don’t understand why – isn’t it in the military’s interest to explain all the great work they’re doing?

Military personnel are not known for their opposition to authority, but these directives not to talk came down from on high – the government – and are leaving many wondering whether the government’s “compassion” and “leadership” in the Philippines don’t have more to do with optics than actually caring about helping Filipinos.

Asked at the press conference why military had been given this directive, a military official only said his personnel follow orders, they don’t dictate them. Paradis had left the building by then and couldn’t answer the question himself.

Political staffers involved in the press conference said only that they were amused by the question of why military would be directed by the government not to talk to reporters on the ground.

“Everyone had a good chuckle at your questions,” was the way one put it.


Pirate Party leader resigns to focus on battling depression

- October 12th, 2013

Pirate Party of Canada’s  leader, Travis McCrea, announced Friday he was leaving politics – at least for now – to focus on his battle with depression.

The fringe political party is mostly known for its focus on so-called “digital rights” – improving Internet access, creating a system of free public WIFI, and lobbying against online legislation they view as “hamstringing” digital business and hampering people’s rights online.

A number of high-profile politicians – current Transport Minister Lisa Raitt, former MP Bob Rae, for example – have spoken publicly in recent years  about their personal struggles with mental health issues.

In a statement posted on Facebook, McCrea wrote:

“I would like to announce that effective immediately I am resigning my role as leader of the Pirate Party of Canada and will be passing that title to James Wilson until a replacement can be elected. I am also withdrawing from the Toronto Centre (byelection).

I frequently write about dealing with depression, and know that it’s common within our community. Frequently the teacher is far less able to listen to their own teachings, and this is the case here. Last month I asked for a month to deal with this, but I never did… I thought maybe some time away from work would make it feel better.

Depression isn’t something that just goes away it’s not a blue mood once in a while — it’s more like a weight that holds me down, it makes me not want to get out of bed and it impacts my every action. It’s practically the same thing as a broken leg and just wishing it better is almost as silly. I can’t tell other people to get help if I am not getting the proper help myself.”

Read more…

Harper to talk security, trade in Asia

- October 3rd, 2013

Prime Minister Harper leaves for Asia

OTTAWA – Helping Malaysia fight back against human smugglers in its waters will be top of mind for Prime Minister Stephen Harper when he lands in Kuala Lumpur Friday.

Harper left Thursday for Southeast Asia, a junket that will also take him to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Bali, Indonesia.

One of the first items on the prime minister’s itinerary is meeting with coast guard officials from the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Authority, following up on a summer goodwill visit with them by the crew of HMCS Regina.

Read more…