Saturday, August 26, 2006

Briefing notes (2006-08-26)

A few items in the news the last couple days have been on my mind. They're in no particular order, but I wanted to get this off my chest.

Status of Women Canada

There's no doubt that while major progress has been made in women's rights, there is a long way to go. Personally, I empathize with the feminist movement, or at the very least those women who work for change in the mainstream. This includes restoring the principle of pay equity which most provinces abolished during the 1990s -- that is, bring back the idea of equal pay for work of equal value, even if two comparable jobs are totally different in nature (e.g. police officer and public health nurse). It's completely unacceptable women continue to earn only 70 cents for every dollar a man earns for a smiliar or comparable job -- and I say that, as a man.

It is my view, however, that the federal agency that deals with women's issues, Status of Women Canada, as well as the National Action Committee on the Status of Women (NAC), represent a fringe element of feminist thought -- the radical "men are pigs and must die" camp. It's not that I have anything personal against Laura Sabia et sequens, but their almost socialist views simply don't fly with the middle ground, as far as I can tell -- in fact, they never even bothered to reach out to seek common ground, unlike other social groups like Campaign 2000 or the Caledon Institute. It was their way, or the highway.

The last few days, the main anti-feminist women's group in Canada, REAL Women, as well as a number of conservative bloggers, have demanded the government dismantle Status of Women, saying it's discriminatory that one group with a left wing slant gets the lion's share of federal money on women's issues.

I'm going to go on a limb here, and say that no group at all should get any federal money to lobby the government in return to oppose the current government's policies. Not NAC, not the Assembly of First Nations, not the Centre for Policy Alternatives. No one. Lobby groups can raise the money on their own, from their memberships. If they can't, they should resort to old fashioned letter writing and e-mails. As far as the federal agency itself, it needs a major policy rethink and ought to be more reflective of women's needs today, not in the 1970s where NAC and their kindred are stuck. If it can't do that, its operations should be rolled into a government department more appropriate for the purpose -- such as Human Resources and Social Development.

Yale Shmale

Yes, this is an actual website, and it links to Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario. I heard about this on the radio earlier tonight, and a number of print media outlets also talked about it today, including the Toronto Star. While regular readers would know I really don't care for the policies of George W Bush, I think this is going just a bit too far.

For heaven's sake, attack the man's policies, not the school to which he went. After all, John Kerry also went to Yale, and he too was a member of Skull and Bones -- excuse me, I mean the Illuminati.

Elizabeth May elected Green Party leader

Back in January, I voted for the Green Party on principle and not out of any particular loyalty to its platform or anything else. I am now a card-carrying Liberal, so I'll measure my words here. I wish May the best of luck in her new position, and wish her luck at gaining seats -- at the expense of the Conservatives, Bloc and the NDP. It's way past time for Canada to have proportional representation, and had we had such a system, the Green Party would be holding enough seats from British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Québec to hold the balance of power in Parliament right now. Greens have been a source for sane social policy in Western Europe, and I can't see any reason why they wouldn't do the same here. It might even be nice to have to have a Red-Green coalition government. Red Green -- get it?

Kidding aside, I do agree with her that NAFTA has to be renegotiated. The best place to start would be Chapter 11, which is actually unpopular with the population in all three countries -- but not it seems the governments who ratified and continue to stick by them.

Pluto demoted from "planet" status

This is not the end of the discussion. Not by any means. Pluto is still a real planet to me, and if any scientists try to tell me otherwise, they can go fuck themselves.

Cameras may be coming to Ontario courtrooms

The proposal to have them at the appeals level and at non-witness trials is a good thing. I'd go one step further, and allow them during closing arguments at trials where witnesses have testified. The Supreme Court of Canada and Federal Court of Appeal has no problem with cameras, and neither should the provincial courts.

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