Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The one man running for Premier of Ontario

So the Ontario PC party has a new leader. Doug Ford won. I don't pay much attention to Ontario politics but this story has been blanket coverage, and the Ford name is recognizable and entertaining. I hope Ford wins a majority and becomes Premier of Ontario.

So Doug Ford won the PC leadership vote over 3 women. There were no other men on the ballot. Did anyone beside me notice that? I wonder if some of Ford's votes were just because they voted for the man. If so then how many? We don't know and it seems some effort was made not to enquire.

So onto the general election. and hmmm what do we have? PC party led by Ford, once again the lone man. His opponents are another all-female cast of Liberal and NDP led by women. So for those who want to vote for the man, Doug Ford is again the choice.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Canada and India

I wish Justin Trudeau had said this when he was in India and asked about separatists there.

  • India is indivisible
  • The territorial integrity of India cannot be challenged
  • India's territory is backed by nukes
  • Kashmir is India's land

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Justin Trudeau, Liberals, Jaspal Atwal

So the trip to India did not go so well. The lowlight seems to be the invitation of one Jaspal Atwal to an official state dinner. Mr. Atwal was convicted in 1986 of attempted murder of an India cabinet minister visiting British Columbia Canada. Also charged but not convicted of an 1985 attack on Ujjal Dosanjh, more political violence. In Atwal's story there is also a 2010 automobile fraud conviction.

While it seems poor judgment to be hosting Atwal over in India, was it really?  Here in Canada, from the NP story "Atwal had a position on a federal Liberal riding association executive in Surrey" as recently as 2012. So the Liberals are comfortable in Canada with Atwal, his views, his background in political violence, and general criminality.

The thing about the crime is, ordinary crime one can recover and rehabilitate from, and then the reformed individual, former criminal, can become political. However political violence is a crime against democracy, it's a different thing. I can't see how any respectable mainstream political party could associate itself with an individual twice accused, once convicted, of extreme political violence.

So if the Liberals are fine with Atwal in Canada - I guess as long as he can deliver votes and seats from certain target communities. Then it is consistent for the Liberals to be fine with Atwal in India. You can hardly renounce and non grata Atwal over in India, then come back in Canada and somehow flip and be friendly and comfortable with the individual.

To be clear it was correct for the Trudeau and the Liberals to distance themselves from Atwal overseas. Proper and long, long overdue. It was also correct to stay clear and disassociate from Atwal long ago in Canada as well.

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Dalhousie University affirmative action

So there's a recent job posting at Dalhousie. The details are apparently "'racially visible' or Indigenous candidates" only.

The leading figures on the Dal side of this job post from the NP article are apparently Carolyn Watters and Jasmine Walsh. Feel free to click the image search links on those names.

hmmm. I read this originally in the comments on a YouTube video. But I will repost and apply it here as a comment.

If Carolyn Watters and Jasmine Walsh are so motivated to bring in minorities to Dalhousie, if the composition of Dal staff is perhaps too white for Carolyn and Jasmine. Then perhaps they should resign their own positions at Dalhousie as a gesture to make room for more minority hiring there as their own replacements.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Gerald Stanley verdict

Some interesting themes emerging from the recent Gerald Stanley verdict. I'll say this about the Stanley case. The shooting took place on Stanley's farm. What were they doing on his farm? A gang shows up drunk and uninvited on your land themselves armed ... The evidence is that the adult individuals were illegally on his farm and themselves armed with a shotgun. Anyway there was a public trial, Stanley exercised his right to both a defense and a lawyer, and the jury found Stanley not guilty. So that's that.

Anyway in this link as just one example we have a member of the Senate of Canada demanding "concrete changes to the criminal code." That and an inflammatory tweet from the Prime Minister of Canada, disrespecting the fair trial and the jury verdict.

So what of these "concrete changes" we are hearing of that the activists demand? The end of jury trials? Perhaps doing away with trials entirely? Who knows. It would make sense to demand the end of jury trials, it is consistent with recent developments in criminal justice in Canada. After all juries are more truly independent and fair. They are harder to pressure from outside forces than in trial by judge alone.

Juries, unlike judges, aren't influenced by having to receive their paycheques and future pension from the same employer that provides the Crown prosecutors paycheques and pensions. Jury duty is also temporary, they aren't long term entrenched members of the system like judges are.

Oh but what about judicial independence? Well perhaps that's part of the agenda of these "changes" to the justice system. As I've written before, in the Judge Camp case and Judge Lenehan case, a precedent has been established where a judge can now be subject to "Judicial council review" for delivering the wrong verdict - i.e. the not guilty verdict. Juries (for now at least), unlike judges, are not subject to this post-trial "review" and are possibly better able to deliver an unbiased verdict based strictly upon facts and evidence proven at trial.

We really need more data from this senator, the activists, the Prime Minister, and the federal minister of justice. What exactly is on the table here for these concrete changes

  • the right to a jury trial
  • the right to a trial
  • the right to face your accuser in court
  • the right to an attorney
  • attorney-client privilege
  • the right to cross examine prosecution witnesses and evidence
  • the right to testify in your own defense
  • the right to not testify at your trial

Friday, February 09, 2018

The Old Testament

I recently finished re-reading the Old Testament. It was a long project. I'd try to read about 1 page a day on the days I did read. I started this project around 2015. I'd bought a NIV Bible for my mother as a planned Christmas gift for 2014. Alas she was ill and died in December that year before Christmas. So I was left with the Bible.

I took it as inspiration to read the good book again. I'd read it cover to cover over several months around a generation ago, back about 1994. It was King James Version in those days. I'd forgotten a lot of it over the years. The NIV is more accessible. Plus with the knowledge and experience of today, I got new and different things out of the reading. Well I'm not quite done yet. I've started the New Testament, perhaps there will be a post about that at some future point.

My reading of the Old Testament was basically the story of Israel and the Jews. The origins with Abraham/Isaac/Jacob, deliverance out of Egypt, years in the wilderness, the establishment of the kingdom of ancient Israel, the fall of Israel and Jerusalem. It was sad in II Kings when Israel, Judah, and Jerusalem all fell.

I got thinking how did that happen? From the success and splendor of the early kings Saul, David, and Solomon; to later division into Israel/Judah, military defeat by Babylon, and exile. It was quite a fall from the heights of the empire of ancient Israel.

I've assigned the failure of the kingdom of Israel to these three major factors.

From the original 12 sons of Jacob, of course they would have had to marry wives outside their family to establish the original tribes. And with selective outmarriage such as Ruth it could be a benefit to Israel. But by the time of Saul it was not necessary to marry a wife who was not a Jew. King Solomon had in the area of 700 wives. It would not be possible to keep track of them all. Solomon accepted wives from other nations who had their own gods and were not of the Lord of Israel.

With scant attention or oversight from their husband (as there were 700 of them), and the authority of a king's wife, the wives of Solomon were allowed to bring Baal and Asherah into Israel. Solomon did not consistently require his foreign wives to take his religion and become Jewish. They were allowed to keep their own gods and bring in their own priests from their country into Israel's territory.

These foreign gods in time distracted and corrupted the people of Israel away from the Lord. The Lord certainly noticed, was displeased, and took action, to Israel's detriment. Once these foreign gods were allowed to come in and become established in Israel, they were never successfully completely removed.

Division and Infighting
The separation and creation of the separate kingdom of Judah from Israel was not for the best. A tremendous amount of time and energy and lives were lost between fellow Jews in Israel and Judah scheming and fighting each other. They were surrounded by enemies, and they weakened themselves by splitting into two hostile kingdoms. Divided you fall.

Regression to the Mean
The kingdom of Israel was founded by exceptionals. Consider the original line Saul-David-Solomon. Saul was a head taller than anyone. Strong and attractive. Saul killed thousands of Israel's enemies. David was a great musician and poet. Also a great warrior, David killed tens of thousands. Solomon was wise. A great statesman. Builder of the great temple. Solomon presided over an era of splendor, peace and prosperity.

And then after Solomon ... well there were a number whose name began with J. they all seem pretty unremarkable. So while it was exceptionals at the start, mediocrity followed. Regression to the mean link is a fact of mathematics. There are ways to counter it such as non-hereditary succession, choosing the "best" son as the new king instead of necessarily the "first" son, possibly some others. But after the greatness of the early kings the leadership of Israel fell off and Israel was worse off for it.

Together, over the years and decades and not that many generations, it was all too much. Judah was not too big to fail. Eventually Israel was defeated by enemies and the kingdom fell and the Jewish people were scattered.