Friday, 6 October 2017

Stop the War on the Car!

A couple of days ago, I read an article written by the Toronto Sun's Antonella Artuso about how the folks at the City of Toronto intend on shutting down subway parking lots in order to force commuters onto transit (see: City eyes shutting subway parking lots to drive commuters onto transit). It's yet another salvo fired by Toronto City Hall in their seemingly neverending war on the car. I just don't get it. Why can't the stiffs who govern Canada's biggest city and commercial capital get it through their thick skulls that people are going to drive no matter how inconvenient politicians make it for them. How do I know this? Because as long as public transit is slow, inefficient and overcrowded, people who are fortunate enough to have private vehicles will always use them to get where they're going.

The fact of the matter is that people who have the choice would rather get wherever they want to go in a nice, cozy private automobile instead of a smelly, overcrowded bus, streetcar or subway that doesn't take you to your destination without stopping at a bunch of places you don't need to be. So it's very unlikely that these people will switch to public transit no matter how bad the traffic is. And even if some of them do, it'll just make public transit worse by adding more people to an already overcrowded system. I have just about had enough with politicians who worry more about how people get from point A to point B than what they should be worrying about - making it easier to get from place to place in Toronto no matter what means of transportation people use. Besides, if the so-called progressives and social engineers want more people to use public transit, they should concentrate on making that public transit better, not making driving worse.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

I Stand With Kurdistan and Catalonia

Yesterday, the Kurdish autonomous region in northern Iraq held a referendum asking people if the region and adjacent Kurdish territory should become an independent state. On October 1st, people in the Spanish-ruled region of Catalonia will vote in their own referendum on independence. Both the Kurdish and Catalan people face overwhelming odds in their quest for self-determination. In fact, it seems that everyone is dead set against either of these peoples having a country of their own.

The Kurds are being threatened with sanctions and even military force if they attempt to secede from Iraq. Indeed, if the Kurds were to declare independence, they would be surrounded by hostile enemies on all sides. Gee, where have I seen this scenario play out before? Well, 69 years ago, a little country called Israel declared independence. For the first time in two thousand years, the Jewish people had a country to call home. But almost immediately, the neighbouring states attacked the nascent Jewish state, seeking no less than its utter annihilation. The Kurds are basically facing the same almost insurmountable odds that Israel's founders did nearly seven decades ago. Actually, one could argue that the Kurds face even greater odds. Israel ultimately had to fight for its independence and still fights to maintain it to this day, but its establishment had at least been sanctioned by the international community in the form of the United Nations resolution to partition the then British Mandate of Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states. Moreover, on the eve of declaring independence, Israel received diplomatic recognition from the United States. In contrast, there has never been a resolution at the U.N. calling for the establishment of an independent Kurdish state, at least to the best of my knowledge. And unlike in the case of Israel, the U.S. has come out against Kurdish independence, calling on the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq to cancel the referendum on independence. The only meaningful international support the Kurds have received has been from, guess who? The State of Israel, both officially and unofficially. As a matter of fact, leaders in countries neighbouring the KRG have recently referred to an independent Kurdistan as a "second Israel" (see: Turkey warns Kurds 'Israeli flags won't save you'). In a way, I think they're right, because the rise of an independent Kurdistan would effectively be the second instance in history in which an indigenous people in the Middle East throws off the chains of their Arab, Islamist conquerors and takes back what is rightfully theirs.

Meanwhile in Europe, the Catalans are hoping to achieve their right to self-determination. Fortunately, the Catalans don't face the threat of military force like the Kurds, though it doesn't mean that they don't face consequences for their efforts. Indeed, pro-independence leaders in Catalonia have been threatened with criminal prosecution for trying to bring the independence referendum to fruition, and the Spanish government is doing everything it can to disrupt the vote and prevent it from taking place. But as with the Kurds, the Catalans have very little support from abroad. No country in Europe wants an independent Catalonia, because it could bolster support for an independent Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Brittany, Corsica, etc.

I find the lack of international support for the independence of Kurdistan and Catalonia distressing, not to mention the lack of support for other peoples deserving of independence, like the Tibetans or the West Papuans. Right now, it seems that the only people the international community has deemed worthy of self-determination are the Palestinian people. It should be no surprise, then, that more international attention is paid to the aspirations of the Palestinians than to anyone else seeking self-determination, even if those aspirations include the destruction of another people's state, namely the Jewish people's State of Israel. The drive to annihilate another state is actually unique to the Palestinian national movement, because no other credible movement for self-determination calls for the destruction of another people's country. The Kurds do not call for the destruction of Iraq or any other country in which large Kurdish populations reside. The Catalans do not call for the destruction of Spain. The Tibetans are not intent on eliminating China as a country, nor do the people of West Papua seek the annihilation of Indonesia. And yet, it is the Palestinian movement, the only movement that promotes the extinction of another people's independence, that gets all the love and respect of the international community. I don't know about you, but I see something seriously wrong with this picture.

Friday, 8 September 2017

Hands Off Our Dope!

Today, I have yet another reason to hate Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and her government. They just announced their plan to regulate marijuana once their federal cousins legalize it. They plan to make it so that no one other than a soon-to-be created subsidiary of the LCBO will be able to sell and distribute marijuana products. I knew this was coming and I'm sure a lot of other people did, too. It shouldn't be a surprise. Wynne's government is a power-hungry, nanny state-loving cabal that will stop at nothing to control the lives of Ontarians as if we were children. It's bad enough there's a government monopoly on booze. Now there will be one on our dope.

Actually, to tell you the truth, I don't use marijuana. I never have, so the new regulations won't affect me personally. But they will affect many Ontarians who use the drug for recreational or medicinal purposes and who will soon have to rely on a government monopoly that will likely sell them an overpriced and poor quality product. To top it all off, the Wynne government has also announced an impending crackdown on currently-existing marijuana dispensaries. But of course! They want to make sure that no one stands in their way of reaping all the profits to be had from the sale of the popular green leaf. When all is said and done, it will probably be harder to get your hands on some high-quality marijuana when it finally becomes legal. How ironic and stupid is that?

In my humble and honest opinion, monopolizing the sale and distribution of marijuana is an attack on our freedom - the freedom that is supposed to come with the legalization of the substance. So I'm calling on those of you who love freedom and oppose this latest attempt by the Wynne government to control our lives to fight back. Support your local marijuana dispensaries. Don't let Wynne's henchmen close them down. Hell, barricade them if you want to. Fight for your right to freely buy and sell marijuana and tell Wynne and her government to keep their hands off our dope!

Monday, 7 August 2017

NAFTA renegotiation may be good for Canadian consumers

Megalomaniac U.S. President Donald Trump wants to renegotiate NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement. He's even threatened to terminate the agreement if he doesn't get what he wants. Yup, sounds like Trump. But believe it or not, renegotiating NAFTA to make it more favourable to U.S. business interests may actually be a good thing for Canadian consumers.

For example, Trump wants Canada to open its dairy sector to U.S. competition. I didn't know this until recently, but Canada has a very tightly-controlled dairy market that relies on supply management. And unbeknownst to many if not most Canadians, supply management is the reason why Canadian consumers pay higher prices for dairy products than we would be paying if the market was more open to competition.

Another economic sector in Canada that Trump is demanding greater U.S. access to is the telecommunications sector. You know, TV, cable, satellite, wireless service and so forth. It's no secret that Canadians pay a lot more for internet and wireless than people do in other jurisdictions. So would it hurt to allow American companies to come into Canada and provide services that are now mostly provided by the oligopoly that we call Rogers, Bell and Telus? No, I think it would help. The inevitable result would be lower prices for Canadian consumers. I am well aware that government has tried time and time again to create regulations to prevent the gouging of Canadians. But these regulations have had little impact, if any, on what Canadians pay to use the internet or a wireless device. What we really need is more choices and more competition, which Canadians will have if the folks in our federal government would get off their protectionist asses and let the American companies in. 

Now I know there are many people out there among my fellow Canadians that will say we need to protect our industries to protect Canadian jobs. I think it's just the opposite. I think we have to open up our economy more so that Canadians have access to more markets, both across the border and overseas. Closed economies never work. They never have and they never will. If you want to see what it's like to live in a closed economy, then I suggest you hop a plane and travel to North Korea, or get a time machine and go back to the days of the Soviet Union. But trust me, you won't like what you see. 

Do The Regimes of Iran and Turkey Have a Plan to Divide the Middle East Amongst Themselves?

Both Turkey and Iran are ruled by despotic, Islamist regimes. But they, of course,  do have their differences. Turkey is overwhelmingly Sunni and Iran is overwhelmingly Shiite. Aside from this religious difference, Turkey is still, at least in theory, an ally of the United States and the West. It remains a member of NATO, but I'm not sure how much longer its membership in the alliance will last. In contrast, Iran is a sworn enemy of the U.S. and has been since its Islamic Revolution in 1979. So what do Turkey and Iran have in common other than the fact that they are ruled by dictators professing an Islamist ideology?

Well, one thing that unites the two countries is an intense hatred of Israel and the West. Another is the desire on the part of both countries' regimes to assert a kind of hegemony over the Middle East region. Neither Iran nor Turkey want the role of regional hegemon to go Israel, Saudi Arabia or any other country. But of course, neither of them want the other to be the region's primary superpower either. This can only mean that the two will inevitably conflict, right? Yes, at least to some extent. Both states, for example, support different sides in the Syrian civil war. While Turkey backs the rebels fighting against Syrian dictator, Bashar Al-Assad, the Iranian regime supports Assad's forces, along with Vladimir Putin's Russia, another power trying to make inroads in the Middle East. But believe it or not, the fact that the autocratic regimes of Turkey and Iran support different sides in the Syrian conflict has not led to a significant strain in relations between the two dictatorships. Why is this? Perhaps because Turkey's Erdogan and Iran's Islamist regime have a long-term agenda to divide the Middle East between themselves, with the former gaining dominance over the region's Sunni states and the latter taking control over Shiite-majority territory.

A Dual Caliphate?

I believe that the ultimate goal of Turkey's dictator, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is and always has been the creation of a new Ottoman Empire. In the short run, he wants Turkey's sphere of influence to cover all of the Sunni-ruled states in the Middle East. In the long run, he wants complete control of these states, just like the Ottoman rulers had. Don't think for a moment that Erdogan does not fancy himself as the caliph of a new, Turkish-dominated, Sunni Muslim empire. Furthermore, I think everyone should know that the ultimate goal of the Iranian regime is a caliphate of its own. A Shiite caliphate under the control of the Iranian mullahs.

I believe that rather than compete with each other to see who will create and rule the next Islamic caliphate, the dictators of Turkey and Iran will settle for creating two separate caliphates between themselves, simply because both of them hate the U.S., its Western allies and Israel a lot more than they hate each other. There is a historical precedent for this kind of arrangement. Before World War II broke out, Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin agreed to divide Europe between themselves. This was the infamous Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, the end result of which was the invasion of Poland by both dictators in addition to the Soviet invasion and conquest of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. So, if my theory is correct and history repeats itself, the dictators of Turkey and Iran will agree to divide the Middle East between themselves with Turkey taking control of the Sunni states and Iran taking control of Shiite-dominated territory in places like Iraq, Bahrain and eastern Saudi Arabia.

The first indication that such an arrangement could be taking shape may be a peace agreement in Syria that gives Assad control over Latakia, Syria's Shiite majority region, while handing the rest of the country to groups with strong ties to Turkey. We'll have to wait and see. I certainly don't want the Middle East to be controlled by the dictators of Turkey or Iran. I don't think the leaders of Israel and the Sunni Arab states want it either, so my suggestion to these leaders is to put aside their differences and engage in measures of collective security before the tyranny of the Iranian and Turkish regimes encompasses the whole region.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Overt Racism, Hidden Racism and the Negation of Canadian Values in Favour of "Accommodation"

This past week, a video surfaced of a woman in Mississauga demanding that her son be seen by a white doctor. I think that most Canadians would agree with me that this woman's behaviour was absolutely disgusting and has no place in our society. But inasmuch as we would like to condemn her racist rant, perhaps we should take a deeper look at ourselves, because I think we'll find that many of us are guilty of the same kind of prejudice that she was extolling.

Why do you think, for example, major Canadian cities like Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver have so many so-called ethnic neighbourhoods? The simple reason is that many if not most human beings feel more comfortable being amongst people who are of a similar ethnic, racial, religious or linguistic background. This is especially true of people who are newcomers to a country. In fact, for new immigrants to Canada, so-called ethnic neighbourhoods help these people make a smoother transition to Canadian life, although I would argue that sometimes they can do just the opposite when members of those communities ghettoize themselves and refuse to inter-mingle with the rest of society. It's just basic human nature. People often want to be with other people who they view as being more like them. And it's not just about where you live. It's also about who you work with, where you shop and who you choose to provide you with certain services. Yes, we may all want to chastise this rude woman in the aforementioned video, who went into a racist tirade demanding to see a white doctor, but how many of us have doctors or other professionals who we choose to serve us in part because they belong to the same ethnic, racial, religious or linguistic group that we do? Let's be honest, folks. At some point or another, we would all rather be with the people we call "our own". Does that make us racist? Yes, it does. Hence, the only difference between the woman in the clip and most other people is that she chooses to make her racism explicit and public, whereas the rest of us try to hide it and pretend it isn't there.

I should also add that whereas most of us think of someone explicitly demanding to see a white doctor as being offensive behaviour, many Canadians don't seem to mind when someone insists on seeing a male or female doctor because of their religious beliefs. In fact, rather than characterize this kind of insistence as sexism, we call it accommodation. So basically, respecting and accommodating someone's different beliefs means negating gender equality, which is something that I would consider to be amongst Canada's fundamental values. And this is just one example. How about when public schools are used as prayer spaces where males and females are segregated? Or, when we allow a woman to take a citizenship oath while wearing a veil over her face in deference to a sexist religious doctrine that dictates that women must cover their faces while men don't have to? My point is that in attempting to accommodate other people's differences, we fail to adhere to some of the fundamental values that are supposed to define Canada. Demanding to see a white doctor due to a racist bias is offensive, but demanding to see a male or female doctor based on sexist religious doctrine isn't!? I just don't get it.    

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Trudeau's Refugee Policy: It's All About the Votes

Toronto Sun columnist, Candice Malcolm, has used some of her latest columns (which can be found at the bottom of this post) to hammer Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for his reckless policy as it regards bringing refugees into Canada. And I'm behind her one hundred percent. At least someone has the courage to overcome political correctness and hold our federal government to account for their incompetence.

The Trudeau Liberals won the last federal election in part thanks to their seemingly compassionate response to the plight of refugees fleeing Syria's civil war. Indeed, during the election campaign, the Liberals promised to bring in more Syrian refugees than any of the other federal parties. But Trudeau's refugee policy, not to mention his immigration policy in general, has never been about compassion, regardless of what the Liberals and their friends at The Toronto Star or the CBC would like you to think. Rather, it's been all about the votes. How do I know this? Because as Candice Malcolm reveals in her Toronto Sun columns, the feds don't seem to care how well the recent refugee arrivals integrate into Canadian society. That's why they have preferred to take in government-sponsored refugees over privately-sponsored ones, even though privately-sponsored refugees are more likely to find work, more likely to have basic knowledge of English or French and more likely to find suitable housing. After all, government-sponsored refugees will be eternally grateful for the assistance that Trudeau Jr. and his bunch give them, as meager and as haphazard as that assistance may be. And that gratefulness will no doubt translate into votes for the Liberal Party from the refugees who become citizens and from their respective communities. So why should the Trudeau government care whether or not the refugees find jobs, learn our official languages or find decent housing, so long as they and their communities will vote Liberal come election time? The simple answer is, they don't care. They just care about the votes.

Hell, they don't even care if the refugees they bring in may be a security risk, which is why, as Candice Malcolm has also revealed, the screening of refugees from Syria has been lax to say the least. Meanwhile, anyone who sounds the alarm about the potential hazard of having refugees and other newcomers to this country who can't find work, can't speak our official languages and who may even be a threat to this country's security, is usually labelled a racist by the country's liberal media. The same goes for anyone who dares to speak of the notion that Canada is a country of values that are worth protecting. You know, things like democracy, free speech, gender equality and the rest of that good stuff. I'm just glad that there are still people like Candice Malcolm out there who are willing to challenge the obscene doctrines of political correctness and multiculturalism without limits.

Candice Malcolm's Latest Columns:

The real legacy of Trudeau's Syrian refugee program (June 16, 2017)

Syrian refugee process bungled by Trudeau (June 14, 2017)

Trudeau policy causes major backlog of private refugee sponsorships (June 13, 2017)

Refugee background checks may have been flawed (June 12, 2017)

Privately-Sponsored Syrian refugees More Likely to find work: Document (June 12, 2017)