Considering that when it comes to donations Quebecers are normally the bottom of the ladder in Canada, this is all the more impressive.
Flood of donations to protect prayer at council meetings
The prayers of a Quebec mayor have been answered.
Saguenay Mayor Jean Tremblay called on Quebecers to donate money so he can appeal a decision by the province’s human rights tribunal banning prayers before council meetings.
The mayor claims that the city, about 200 km north of Quebec City, had collected about $36,400 in donations from across the province as of Friday afternoon. Tremblay had only issued his appeal on Wednesday.
The response was so great and so fast Saguenay had to hire extra phone operators to handle the donations.
The city received money from radio stations, citizens from across the province, and local chapters of the Knights of Columbus.
“I am the first mayor in the history of the world to be condemned for having recited a 20-second prayer that was part of the religion of 95% of the population,” Tremblay said. “That has never been seen before.”
Currently, the regulations read, “a licensee shall not broadcast …any false or misleading news.”
If the CRTC goes ahead with the changes, it would read, “…any news that the licensee knows is false or misleading and that endangers or is likely to endanger the lives, health or safety of the public.”
All of this has Angus worried.
“If you change it, you could see a very different media landscape. You could have the kind of Fox News in Canada,” Angus told reporters in the National Press Theatre.
“To say, ‘You can say anything you want, even if you know it’s misleading, so long as someone doesn’t get killed,’ that’s a pretty outrageous drop in standards,” Angus said.
He also warned of Canada importing “hate radio” from the United States.
Truly scary. Perhaps we should apply a little bit of the truth police to Angus’ own claims.
The CRTC is actually responding to a request, more than a decade old, from a joint committee of MPs and Senators that examine regulations. The CRTC ignored the request for a long time, it dates back to the 90s, and then decided to respond at the beginning of January.
According to Gloria Galloway in The Globe, the reason for rewording the regulation has to do with concerns that it is not in keeping with The Charter and its guarantee of freedom of expression.
None of that matters to Charlie Angus.
Angus links it all to Sun News and claims the prime minister is orchestrating all of this so that when Sun News launches we can spread lies and fear.
Let’s set the record straight about Charlie Angus. He doesn’t like Quebecor, not a thing about it. Quebecor is ultimately the owner of Sun News but also Sun Media chain and several other papers including The Daily Press, the hometown paper in Timmins.
Angus doesn’t like any of this and especially The Daily Press. The former CBC correspondent made that clear last December when CBC president Hubert Lacroix appeared before the Commons heritage committee. Angus used it as an attempt to run down The Daily Press.
I’m not sure why he’s so upset, his name appeared 117 times in The Daily Press over the last 12 months, once every 3.1 days. Not bad for a backbench MP. Across the English side of the Quebecor papers his name has appeared 574 times. Charlie gets plenty of ink with us, as does the NDP.
But he doesn’t like some of the political views expressed in the paper and he wants those shut down it seems. That’s what he was suggesting back in December anyway, more government control of the media.
Here’s what Angus asked the president of the government run broadcaster.
“Do we need some clear ground rules just so that we can set aside personal political agendas from the public interest and make sure that for viewers like me, back home, I will be able to watch my content or read my newspaper and know that it’s not being fingerprinted from up high?”
Translation, can we take all editorial control away from the people that own the media outlets and give it to a government agency?
That’s not what I want – a government news police deciding what can and can’t be reported. How about you?
The Toronto Star is on a crusade to get a national daycare program for Canada whether parents want one or not.
The Star has been spending the last few days writing editorials, columns and columns pretending to be news stories as they push their agenda along. Make no mistake that this is an agenda because only the facts that fit the story line the Star wants to tell you are facts that are fit to print.
Let’s start with the math. The Star it seems is bad at math. That’s okay, lots of journalists opted to work in their chosen field after a visit to the guidance counselor in high school where they asked for a job with no math.
According to The Star one of the Harper government’s first acts was to kill off the Liberal national daycare program, a move that left many parents, “grieving an untimely death.” Only in The Star do people grieve government spending programs.
The Liberal plan was to give $1 billion a year, slightly less than the annual cost of the CBC, to provincial governments to build a national program. We’ll get back to the fact that this was never a national daycare plan in a bit but for now the math.
The Conservatives replaced this program with their own plan where parents would get a $100 monthly payment for each child under the age of six. The Liberals, and The Star, say this doesn’t amount to anything useful for parents. Now, watch the math closely everyone.
The Conservative plan costs $2.6 billion per year, the Liberal plan cost $1 billion.
Do you see the difference?
The Conservative government is spending 2.6 times as much money as the Liberals would have. To put that through the five year plan, using The Star’s own numbers, the Conservative plan has spent $12 billion in the same time that the Liberals would have spent $5 billion.
The Liberal promise was always a system that followed the QUAD principle – Quality, Universality, Accessibility, Developmental.
The key in that formula, when considering costs is the second part, universality. The Liberals are still saying to this day that the
Conservative plan doesn’t do enough and is a pittance. Yet the Liberals claim they could have built a universal plan to far less money?
It simply isn’t true.
In fact look at the numbers from The Star. While the Universal Child Care Benefit goes out to 2 million pre-schoolers a year, The Star tries to say that if the Conservative cheques had been spent on a socialized system instead of allowing parents to spend the money on anything they want, as Ken Dryden put it, then there would be, “high quality child care for another 500,000 children by now.”
See that slight of hand? We went from a universal program to a program that serves one in four children.
Staying with The Star’s math….
In addition to the $2.6 billion the Conservative government gives to parents there is another $1.2 billion given to the provinces for their daycare systems and the government provides another $760 million in tax breaks for parents who pay for daycare. So in total we’re talking $4.5 billion a year from the federal treasury to pay for child care expenses and the advocates say it is not enough.
How much would a proper system cost to satisfy the advocates? $20 billion from the feds plus money from the provinces and municipalities?
Those are just the money problems with The Star’s series. I haven’t even touched on other issues that I’ll try to come back to in the next few days like….
Is it the government’s job to pay for your child rearing?
Why is the option pushed by The Star, the Liberals and the NDP the one least favoured by parents?
Why are we pushing for a national program for social service that belongs to the provinces and constitutionally the feds can never run?
Oh and why does The Star link horrible tragedies to the “lack” of a national daycare program when those same tragedies happen in Quebec’s provincial system as well?
A child plays in a daycare centre. Soon Quebec will dictate that religious instruction is banned in daycare centres. Photo credit: Joseph M. Buliavac, public domain
In Quebec the hand of the state can be felt everywhere. Did you know there is a bureaucratic office to regulate gas prices? You would think it would result in lower prices for hard hit consumers but you’d be wrong.
Quebecers love big government it seems, at least that’s what the people in charge will tell you even if Quebecers actually bitch and whine about government just as the rest of Canada does.
The latest issue to showcase the problem with the government running everything is Quebec’s decision to ban religious instructions in daycare centres.
From Lysiane Gagnon’s column in the Globe and Mail.
Earlier this month, Family Minister Yolande James announced a ban on religious instruction in subsidized daycare centres. Ms. James’s ministry will triple the number of inspectors, to 58, and violations will be punished by the suppression of funding, which amounts to $40 a day per child, since parents pay no more than $7 a day.
Gagnon goes on to quote people associated with a Catholic daycare facility run by nuns that has existed for 30 years. The nuns say they did not teach religion to the children but now they will be forbidden to do so even if that is what the parents wanted.
Imagine you set up a religious daycare for like-minded parents. Every parent enrolling their child was placing their precious offspring in your care because of the instruction you offered. Now you will be an outlaw for giving parents what they want.
If the Quebec government didn’t put you out of business by rolling out their $5 a day care, now $7 a day, back in 1997 they may just put you out of business now.
There is an old saying, “With the sheckels come the shackels.” Meaning if you take someones money you must play by their rules but in Quebec you don’t get a choice. The $7 a day system is not a subsidy for those that need it, the money is spread across the whole population.
It is impossible to run a daycare in Quebec, which requires a government licence, without taking the subsidy.
The end result of all of this is that parents have less choice.
Just as with their school curriculum that teaches children all religions are the same and equally invalid, this move is aimed at ensuring that the province and not parents will decide what is best for children and what those children will learn.
It’s time for the state, or in this case province, to take a more hands off approach.
Brian Lilley is the host of Byline on Sun News Network and a senior correspondent for Sun Media's Parliamentary Bureau in Ottawa. His weekly column is published in more than 30 daily newspapers across Canada and he appears on several leading talk radio stations.
Watch Byline at 9pm ET Monday to Friday and read Brian's columns in your Friday papers.
Brian Lilley is Senior Correspondent for Sun Media on Parliament Hill.
Brian has been covering politics for the last 10 years. Five of those years were spent as Ottawa Bureau Chief.