Thursday, July 11, 2019

No Dogs to Return Next Month

Just a short not to apologized for the lack of posts recently.

Unfortunately, I suffered an eye injury (detached retina) that precludes me from writing or viewing a computer screen extensively, for the time being.

I am receiving excellent care here in Quebec with two fine doctors attending my case and although some permanent vision loss in the affected eye is inevitable, I am confident that I'll return to form in a month or so.

Have a wonderful summer and stay safe

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Quebec National Assembly Dumps on Bonjour-Hi Again with Nary an Anglo Dissension..

If you ever needed a lesson on the motivation of politicians for self-preservation and aggrandizement to the detriment of their constituency, nothing can better illustrate the point than the shameful vote of our English MNAs in the National Assembly in favour of the ubiquitous anti BONJOUR-HI motion that has once again reared its ugly head in the National Assembly, as if once was not enough.

Piqued that the not so gentle entreaty via a motion in November 2017 to discourage the BONJOUR-HI greeting was completely ignored, the National Assembly, including their English Kapos, decided to have another go at it again, likely to reap the same results.

Frustrated that a law banning BONJOUR-HI would be unconstitutional and that invoking the 'Notwithstanding Clause' would be infinitely more disastrous than Pizza-gate, frustrated politicians are reduced to begging through toothless National Assembly motions that are universally ignored.

If the affair was not so sad, it would be entirely laughable.

The real evilness of the motion is that it tries to perpetuate a myth, one painstakingly concocted and imposed by the OQLF and its political handlers that Montreal is a French city and a French city alone.

It is a fiction as silly as the fable of the emperor who believes he's wearing a fine set of clothes while parading around nude because he's been told that only fools cannot see the finery.

The reality is that east of Parc Avenue/Bleury, the part that includes the downtown core and everything that's interesting in the city, English is as prevalent as French and the language of choice in the tourist and hospitality industry.

A visit to downtown Montreal during Grand Prix weekend illustrates English as the Lingua Franca of the throngs of tourists and is what perhaps triggered the ire of the language zealots and the motion in the National Assembly.

The sad reality for French language defenders is that this English reality is true for the tourist hotspots in the entire world, including France where I was surprised that a taxi driver in Nice picked us up from the dock and immediately greeted us is very passable English. When I asked in French how he came to speak such good English, he was non-plussed and explained that it is an absolute must and that the first thing most tourists ask when hailing the cab is whether the cabbie speaks English.

I know it is tough for Quebec language militants to accept, but them's the rules.

For English MNAs like David Birnbaum who is the Liberal member from the one unofficially designated Jewish riding in Quebec, selling out the English is painfully easy because he knows that as a Liberal he'd be re-elected even if he joined al Qaeda.
Birnbaum, however, had a different take on the motion.
“Like our Liberal party, I can support every word in that motion,” Birnbaum said. “Also like my Liberal party I understand the true promotion of the French language is inclusive and forward-looking.”
Birnbaum, however, said he deliberately got up slowly for the vote because of what was not in the resolution, which he said seems to suggest the English community is an “enemy rather than an ally for the promotion of French.”
“To present the idea the sky is falling, our party understands that is not the case,” Birnbaum said. “But can we get to substance when it comes to the promotion of French?”
Are you kidding me?
What a bunch of bullshit spoken by a political hack extraordinaire.

But the saddest was....
 Kathleen Weil, the former Liberal minister responsible for the English-speaking community, said she stayed away (from the vote.ed) to avoid finding herself in the same situation as in 2017 where she was flooded with complaints about her voting in favour from voters in her riding.“I learned something,” Weil said. 
Yup, she didn't vote and wasn't shy to admit that she hid out during the vote in order to avoid the humiliation of voting against the English community.

Such is our merry gang of idiot representatives who nod up and down like toy bobbleheads.

But the sad reality in all this remains the obscene fiction perpetrated by our government, aided and abetted by a complicit media that Montreal is a French city only.
Begging merchants to keep up this fiction by imploring them not to greet customers in English is another obscene farce which includes the banning of English signs.

Sadly, our Anglo politicos are too busy betraying us, nurturing and protecting their personal position at the feeding trough.
We are in dire need of that fictional little boy in the fable who reminds the crowd by calling out loudly what is so painfully obvious, that is that this emperor is wearing no clothes.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Brexit Chaos a Cautionary Tale for Quebec Sovereigntists

Watching the agonizing three years of painful machinations surrounding the United Kingdom's Brexit nightmare should serve as a cautionary tale for Quebec sovereigntists who still believe the fairy tale that Quebec's exit from Canada can occur smoothly, painlessly and without economic disruption.

There are many parallels in Quebec's sovereignty movement situation to that of Great Britain's exit from the European Community, the first being the closeness of the referendum vote that triggered the decision to leave.

The 51.9% to 48.1% in favour to leave Europe is similar to the tally in the last Quebec referendum where Quebec's decision to stay in Canada was even closer, 50.6% to 49.4%
Suffice to say that in both referendums the voters were almost evenly split, insuring that almost half the population would be bitterly disappointed.

I don't want to revisit the 50% +1 debate, it is a settled issue here in Canada and in Great Britain, but it does demonstrate that this bare threshold is too low to trigger such a life-altering political adventure where life after such a result is a guarantee for a situation chock full of animosity and ill will.
With so many opposed to a delicate project like Quebec sovereignty or Brexit, it is more than likely that those opposed would in Quebec's case, and are in Britain's case, gumming up the works, making sure that the project will ultimately fail.

What we've learned from the post Brexit fiasco is that the devil is in the details and that those who promoted the Brexit option seriously underestimated or deliberately misled the public over the difficulty in leaving, the political, social and most importantly, the economic issues far more daunting than anticipated or disclosed.
"Donald Tusk, the president of the European council, has speculated that there might be “a special place in hell” for those people who promoted Brexit without having “even a sketch of a plan” for how to deliver it."
In retrospect, it is disturbing to see how badly the leaders of the Brexit campaign misrepresented the reality of a quick and easy Brexit.

Three months before the referendum Michael Gove, the then justice secretary was boldly assuring voters;
“The day after we vote to leave, we hold all the cards and we can choose the path we want.”
He recently admitted that a no-deal, crash-out Brexit would be catastrophic for Britain’s farmers.

Liam Fox, the international trade secretary was still  assuring anyone who cared to listen even a year after the referendum that the free-trade agreement Britain would be able to strike with the EU would be “one of the easiest in human history

Perhaps worse of all the comments were those of Boris Johnson: who is now the leading contender for the now vacated leadership of the Conservative party, given the resignation of Theresa May.
Boris Johnson: One of the prime promoters of the sunlit, unicorn-rich uplands that await once Britain has freed itself from the shackles of an EU on the brink of collapse, the former foreign secretary pledged Brexit would permit “continued free trade and access to the single market” while allowing the UK to “take back control of huge sums of money, £350m a week, and spend it on our priorities such as the NHS”. The cost of leaving “would be virtually nil, and the cost of staying would be very high”, he observed during the referendum campaign. And of companies’ more practical concerns about the possible impact on their bottom line, he reportedly remarked: Fuck business.”
By the way, the claim by Boris Johnson that the UK sends £350 million to the EU each week is so patently false that Mr. Johnson now faces prosecution under an obscure law that forbids government employees and politicians from lying to the public.

Now back during Quebec's referendum, Quebec's then Premier Jacques Parizeau was rumoured to have told foreign ambassadors that Quebecers, in the event of a Yes vote in a sovereignty referendum, would be trapped like "lobsters thrown into boiling water?"
I'm sure many who voted YES in the Brexit vote feel liked trapped lobsters now after learning of the difficulty and cost in actually leaving Europe

But Parizeau displayed a certain naiveté in describing the post-referendum negotiations in the victory speech that he never delivered.
"The PQ’s plan was to not declare sovereignty immediately but rather set in motion a year of negotiations with the rest of the country to unravel the relationship in an orderly manner. He describes those talks as a relatively simple affair with Quebec rapidly making Canada an offer for a new economic and political partnership."
Simple affair!  Tell Theresa May that!

Brexit is the unravelling of an extremely complicated economic union while Quebec sovereignty is the unravelling of an extremely complicated political union.
It seems that in both cases, those militating for change have seriously misled the public in regards to the economic and social upheaval that such a radical change would entail.

Some of the biggest lies told by those advocating Quebec sovereignty is that citizens in that new country would somehow remain Canadian citizens with full rights and privileges, after Quebec's independence.
Secondly, the idea, widely circulated by the then sovereignty camp, is that Quebec would continue to use the Canadian dollar after independence.
The loss of the Canadian dollar was so pivotal an issue that the pro-sovereignty campaign featured official posters that included the Looney, an oblique promise that the Canadian currency would be the fiat of the new land.

Issues like the promised refusal of Quebec's Cree to accept a YES vote were equally played down or ignored, but given the vast territory controlled by the natives in the North, a certain conflict would be inevitable.

It seems that Brexit boosters have worn the same rose-tinted glasses that Pro-sovereignty supporters wore during the Quebec referendum, playing up the supposed benefits without a whit of concern over the negative aspects.

Today the agony of Brexit is manifest, with all the issues previously swept under the rug or patently ignored rising to the surface and subject to real negotiations.

Hard borders, free access to markets, employment mobility, visa-free travel, standards and measures all have British industry panicked by the lack of agreement.
For Brexit supporters, realizing the reality that there is no 'good' deal to be had with Europe is a shock and surprise, with agonizing and flailing political reactions a sad reminder that the country did not bargain for what it can get.

Support for Brexit has fallen to a minority over these past few years and we can only imagine the catastrophic collapse of support should Great Britain crash out of the EU without a deal.
But making a deal is equally painful, with the negotiated conditions an anathema to hard-line Brexiters.
The first sign of job loss or closed markets of agricultural or industrial output related to a successful Brexit would be staggering, potentially ripping the fabric of society apart.

For Quebec, the Brexit fiasco that is unfolding should serve as a cautionary tale.
While politicians in the UK seek a solution to a Brexit problem that cannot be solved, we are reminded that one cannot have one's cake and eat it too.

For Quebec, the failed referendum is a case of a dodged bullet and all the rose-tinted promises made by pro-sovereignty forces can be best compared to those made by Brexit promoters.

As Britain lurches forward after the YES vote, it is a case of damned if you do and damned if you don't and the future is particularly gloomy.

Hard-line Quebec separatists should take stock of what reality is and the pitfalls of a fool-hearty decision.

I shall perhaps in a future post explore the many obstacles and negative consequences of an independent Quebec, issues that, by the way, were largely ignored in the mainstream press.
In fact, it would take many posts to describe the utter disaster that an independent Quebec would become.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Royal Family Canada's Biggest Bargain

Watching the wall-to-wall coverage of the birth of the royal baby to Prince Harry and Meghan I am reminded that the Royals represent one of the biggest bargains that our society owns.
Really..

Of course, there are the naysayers and spoilers who bitch and moan that the royal family are parasites that cost taxpayers millions and return nothing to us.
They are of course wrong...dead wrong.

That enmity towards them is perpetrated by that section of society who hate royalty on principle, because of its rank and privilege, a perceived outrage to modernism, good sense and egalitarianism.

But the argument that the Royal family costs taxpayers something significant is more of a red herring than the truth because when it comes to costing taxpayers anything, it is a mere pittance, about a $1.44 per person in Canada and about the same in Great Britain.

For Britain, the royal family is the greatest bargain on Earth, bringing millions of tourists to England to see the changing of the guard and touring royal castles and sites including the Tower of London and the crown jewels, generating billions and billions of pounds in revenue.

But more to the point, the royal family is worth its weight in gold when it comes to entertainment for the many of us who love everything royal and follow accounts of their lives, with heightened interest in royal births and the pomp, circumstance and pageantry of royal weddings.

If the royal family sold worldwide television rights to their weddings, I daresay they would pay for their upkeep in spades and if the CBC put the wedding of Harry and Meaghan on pay per view, how many millions of Canadians would pay?

Luckily we get to live their lives vicariously for free and for little girls and little girls at heart who dream of being a princess and perhaps being won over by their Prince Charming, having real-life royals makes the fantasy possible.

Now I know you feminists and liberationists are cringing at the thought of such antiquated notions, but the beauty of this world is that it takes all kinds and people and those who love and revere the royals, or those who are just entertained by their lifestyle have just as much right to enjoy their indulgence as those who watch the Kardashians or those who watch Game of Thrones or Hockey Night in Canada.

To those who argue that it isn't the governments role to fund entertainment that appeals only to a segment of the population, I would remind them that that is exactly what the government does, funding entertainment and the arts to the tune of over 5 billion dollars year, or a whopping $142 for each Canadian, through entities like the Canada Council for the Arts, paying for programs like museums, ballet, native culture which by the way, few Canadians partake or care for.

Money spent by the government on the royals is a bargain when one considers how much pleasure it brings to so many Canadians.

What remains surprising and a complete anathema to Quebec nationalists is that this fascination extends to francophone Canada, including Quebec.
Back in 2011, the streets of Quebec city were lined for William and Kate, as local francophones were thrilled by the couple's visit.
In fact interest in the British royal family extends across the world, across all languages, cultures, religions. I daresay that if North Korea allowed coverage of the Royal wedding the country would come to a standstill.

Why there is so much interest in the Royal family is a mystery, but the attraction is impossible to deny.
I'm sure that more people in Canada know the name of Harry and Meaghan's new baby than those who can name one of our Prime Minister's children.

You know I'm right.

At any rate, those who complain about the Royal family are less hateful of them than they are of us who enjoy following the exploits of the Royal family.

For haters, it is a complete betrayal of post-modernist anti-monarchists sentiment that represents a complete humiliation to modern feminism and a reminder that they cannot control human nature or sentiment.

Too bad for them and good for us.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Quebec's War on Islam

Quebec Premier François Legault has been leaning hard on the idea that a majority of Quebecers are in favour of his Bill-21, the proposed law limiting Muslim head and face coverings by civil servants, peace officers and teachers, those public and semi-public employees in so-called positions of authority.

He's probably right, Quebec is in no mood to see Mulsim orthodoxy grow into a meaningful part of Quebec society.

Let's first start by telling it like it is.

I refer only to Muslim female head coverings because this is what the law is really about, a limitation on Islamic orthodoxy, with all other religious restrictions targeting Jews, Sikhs and even Christians really nothing more than a smokescreen meant to offset protest that only one religion is targeted, which of course it is.

As for Orthodox Jews and Sikhs, pertaining to the proposed law, they are irrelevant, the numbers wearing kippahs or turbans in Quebec are minuscule and for those who do, there are precious few that fall under the dictates of the proposed law.
Most Quebecers outside greater Montreal have never seen a real live person wearing a kippah or turban and the number of Quebec adherents doing so is falling precipitously.
For next-generation Jews, adhering to kosher food restrictions and wearing kippahs doesn't fit in with modern life. For Sikhs, following the five tenets of Sikhism is onerous, with the prohibition on cutting all body hair a mean task, especially for women.

However, for Muslim women, orthodoxy endures and although the number of Muslim wearing hijabs is a statistic impossible to come by, the number is not inconsiderable.
In Montreal hijabs are a common sight, unlike the ultra-rare kippah and turban.

In the public debate, one in which the francophone media has largely been supportive of the Premier, the reality of Quebec's vehement opposition to Islamic orthodoxy is glossed over or willfully ignored because both the Premier, his party, its followers and media minions wish to maintain the fallacy that the debate is over a few rags of clothing.

And so, while Jewish, Sikh and Christian symbols are part of the law, you'd never know it from the public discussion.
I have never heard a Quebec politician, journalist or even nationalist say publicly that the kippah makes them uncomfortable.
Quite a difference to the Hijab where bashing is common and where even a sitting Quebec provincial judge felt empowered to throw defendant out of court for wearing a hijab, resulting in the good judge being brought up on disciplinary charges by the judicial council.
"Quebec's newly appointed minister responsible for the status of women is standing by her position that the Muslim hijab is a symbol of oppression.
Speaking to reporters after being named to the portfolio Tuesday, Isabelle Charest said the head scarf " is not something that women should be wearing."
"In February 2007, soccer player Asmahan Mansour, part of the team Nepean U12 Hotspurs, was expelled from a Quebec tournament for wearing her headscarf. Quebec soccer referees also ejected an 11-year-old Ottawa girl while she was watching a match, which generated a public controversy."
Make no mistake, Quebec's opposition to orthodox Islam is deep and well-rooted with a majority of franco-Quebecers not just suspicious, but downright fearful of having proponents establish themselves in Quebec as a meaningful minority.

Those Muslim women who wear the Hijab, the Niqab, the Chador or other Islamic dress that serve to hide women's bodies from the public are viewed with utter disdain and rejection by a Quebec public which utterly rejects the perceived misogynist philosophy behind it.

Of course, many Muslim Quebec women who wear the uniform of orthodoxy proclaim that they do so by choice and perhaps for some it is, but for most, it is not a choice, but rather a family decision made by the head of the family, the all-powerful patriarch.
Whether they wear the symbols of orthodox Islam by choice or by force, it really makes no difference because of it is the underlying values that the dress embodies, the fact that women must hide their body in public that remains the bugbear.

Does the rejection of this orthodox philosophy make Quebec Islamophobic?

I would remind readers that Quebec does not have a problem with Muslims.
The majority of mainstream Muslims are well established and peaceably entrenched in Quebec society, with the majority living and working in French and employed in mainstream jobs both in the private and public sector.
That the veil is repressive, unnecessary or irrelevant is a view shared by the majority of mainstream Muslim women who hold values commiserate with those of the Quebec majority, English, French or minority.
Values that hold women equal to men.

Would one call those Muslims who oppose the veil as a symbol of female repression, Islamophobes as well?
Nonsense.

Now before the liberals and the progressives amongst you get your hackles up in protest, holding that everyone is welcome to believe what they want, it just isn't so.
Society puts limits on acceptable behaviour and where exactly that line is, even though it's a difficult line to demarcate.

We don't allow slavery, polygamy, child marriage, criminality, forced marriage, female circumcision or exploitation of minors, to say the least.
We do not even allow certain 'unacceptable' thoughts or views to be expressed in literature.
Canadian customs officials are renowned for seizing books and magazines at the border because of the glorification of child pornography, even if those works don't contain any images and where no child was harmed in its production.
In other words, written thoughts about sex with children is deemed illegal.
We don't allow (or we are supposed to not allow)  sermons by clergy that promote hate or encourage violence.

So the underlying values of orthodox religion are fair game for debate and we as a society are as much justified in opposing its misogynistic attitudes as we are in opposing other behaviour deemed unacceptable.

The 10,000 strong Hassidic sect of Judaism in Quebec have had a running battle for years with the education department over the education of children who are forced to pore of religious texts for the majority of the long school day to the detriment of the three R's and where girls are segregated and taught that their only option in life is to stay home and pump out babies, one after another.
These children are ill-equipped to make free choice about their future when the time comes and remain prisoners of imposed religious dogma by limitations on their education and skills.
Sadly the Quebec government has actually treated that sect with kidd gloves, fearing a backlash from the media and the mainstream Jewish community which turns a blind eye to what can only be viewed as child abuse.
As for orthodox Muslims, it is common for mainstream Quebec Imans to preach openly about female subservience and obligation, with some imams even organizing clandestine polygamous marriages.

For the Anglo community, opposition by its institutions and leadership to Quebec's secular law is kneejerk, without much consideration to what the community really feels about the place of orthodox religion in Quebec.
While the proposed law is roundly criticized and rejected in the Anglo media in Quebec and across Canada, it remains a fact that the law has quite a bit of support.
While those who object to the proposed law throw around the word ISLAMOPHOBIA recklessly, those who support limitations on religious excess cannot be viewed as intolerant, perhaps quite the opposite.
Defending women and children from religious excess should be viewed as a noble and just cause and in Quebec the message is clear...
Religious dictates that penalize women and children are to be rejected and that those who support those ideals should be opposed.

I will close with one thought for those who complain that the Hijab cannot and should not be equated with religious intolerance.
Recently we have seen attacks by liberals on some individuals who wear Donald Trump's signature "MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN." hat which they view as a symbol of intolerance.

While we are all free to wear what we want, those who continue to wear the MAGA hat in public today are well aware of the message it is sending, even if the original basis of the hat was benign.

Right or wrong, wearing a MAGA hat in public sends a message, just as hijabs do and pretending they don't is disingenuous.

In Quebec, the war on orthodox religion has been declared.
It is a fight that has been brewing for quite some time and has a lot of support not only from the few who are intolerant, but the many who are tolerant and forward thinking, who oppose outdated and misogynist precepts as unacceptable in Quebec's modern society.