2006-12-16

Bring Back the Immigrant Head Tax

The irony of the head tax reimbursement is that the vast majority of the people who paid it would not be allowed into Canada under current immigration laws.

Under the points system, you usually need a degree, related work experience and speak English and/or French.

If you speak neither, have no post-secondary education and have no family in Canada (like most Chinese immigrants who Came to Canada under the racist head tax program), you are out of luck. Granted, the point system applies to everybody, without regards to race. And there are plenty of non-white countries where many people have mastered English or French as a second language (Jamaica, Cameroon, India, etc.).

The American Green Card lottery blatantly discriminates against the Chinese. There is a quota per region and per country. Canada is disqualified because too many Canadians immigrate to the USA under other programs (obviously, that is not racist). In some places, like Northern Ireland (treated as a country for the lottery!), you are much more likely to win a green card than in China.

The American lottery is better than Canada's point system in the sense that all sorts of people get in. It is also much simpler and relatively efficient (no need to prove work experience, degrees or language qualifications). By removing the current regional bias of the lottery, it would be quite fair indeed.

What I propose is an auction system. The spots would go to the highest bidder. That way, it would be win win. Canadians would benefit (income to their government), no particular profession would be affected (as is the case now) and it would keep out the rift raft.

Sure, you might get some criminals being the highest bidder, but let's face it, the "investor class" (immigrants who invest $250,000 and "create" 3 jobs) probably admits some now.

There probably aren't that many people who want to move to Canada. So it isn't as if the bids would be that high. In fact, it would probably be about the same as what some people spend on fees and lawyers to get into Canada now.

And an auction would be much more colour blind than the current system. Seriously, how many Chinese Engineers speak English and French? They are much more common in Europe...

-Four GTA residents are repaid for head tax ;

-Immigrate to Canada ;
-If I Ran Canada;
-Let's auction off the immigration slots;
-LINKS-LIENS ;

2006-12-15

Global Warming: Don't Blame Me!

I don't have a car (when you stop making payments, they take it away). I don't fly (I can't even afford the bus). I live in a 1 bedroom apartment and I walk to the grocery store...

I'm the ultimate environmentalist. And yet I still pay taxes that "combat" global warming. Global warming isn't MY fault. It is the fault of the people who have cars and/or houses.

THEY should pay. Not me.

New Brunswick Minimum Wage Going Up From Last to Last

The minimum wage in New Brunswick, currently $6.70, the lowest in the country, will go up to $7 an hour on January 1st, thanks to the newly elected Liberals. That will make New Brunswick's minimum wage... the lowest in the country.

Still, minimum wage is the jackpot when you are on welfare in the province. Single people physically and mentally able to work get a whopping $276 per month! Rents in NB are pretty low outside of Moncton, Fredericton and St John, but not THAT low!

Having such a low minimum wage is crazy. There are very few if any jobs that could leave the province if the minimum wage went up. The only jobs that pay minimum wage are in the services (fast food, dry cleaning, etc...) . Those jobs would continu to exist despite the higher pay. There are 9 other provinces that have proven it.

-If I Ran Canada;
-Low density zoning ;
-New Brunswick Election ;
-Lazy bums

New Brunswick is Now an Independent Nation

Unlike the sissy dependent nation that is Quebec, New Brunswick is now an independent nation. The new Liberal government in Fredericton voted in legislation proclaiming New Brunswick an independent nation. Outgoing Progressive Conservative leader Bernard Lord declared "c'est bon" when asked if he supported the legislation.
 
As there is no senate in New Brunswick, the law came into effect immediately.
 

Thu Dec 14, 8:45 PM

By Raf Casert

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) - Suddenly and shockingly, Belgium came to an end late Wednesday.

State television broke into regular programming with an urgent bulletin: the Dutch-speaking half of the country had declared independence and the king and queen had fled. Grainy pictures from the military airport showed the dark silhouettes of a royal entourage boarding a plane.

Only after a half-hour did the station flash the message: "This is fiction."

It was too late. Many Belgians had already fallen for the hoax.

Frantic viewers flooded the call centre of the RTBF broadcaster that aired the stunt. Embassies called Belgian authorities to find out what was going on, while foreign journalists scrambled for confirmation.

"Ambassadors who were worried asked what they had to tell their capitals," said Belgian Senate chair Anne-Marie Lizin.

"This fiction was seen as a reality and it created a catastrophic image of the country."

The broadcaster RTBF defended the program, saying it showed the importance of debate on the future of Belgium. But the network won few friends.

Even the Jean-Claude Juncker, the prime minister from neigbouring Luxembourg, was angry and let it be know at the opening of the European Union summit.

"This is not the kind of issue you play around with," he said.

The RTBF's phoney newscast reported the "Flemish parliament has unilaterally declared the independence of Flanders" and King Albert and Queen Paola had left on the first air force plane available.

The broadcast showed jubilant demonstrators waving the yellow-and-black flag with the Flemish Lion outside the legislature. A small crowd of monarchists rallied outside the royal palace waving the Belgian flag.

Sending the royal family fleeing in record time also did not go down well at the palace, which said in a statement the hoax was in "bad taste."

"It is totally unacceptable," said Vice-Premier Didier Reynders.

The linguistic demons pitting Dutch-speaking Flemings in the North against the Francophones from Brussels and Wallonia in the South have been mostly quiet for the last two decades, ever since far-reaching autonomy was granted in the 1980s.

Yet the economic disparity between rich Flanders' wealth and struggling Wallonia has recently intensified the political debate. The North is demanding more autonomy, while the South clings to a unity that better spreads the economic spoils. The royal family is often portrayed as the glue that holds the country together.

Independence is not an aim of any of the major parties in power, whatever their linguistic preference.

It explains why the program was so widely condemned Thursday.

"It is abhorrent. It defies belief," said Yves Leterme, Minister-President of the Flemish region.

"It is a caricature of Flanders."

His Walloon counterpart, Elio di Rupo, was just as negative.

"Never in my long political life have I seen such worry. Anguish came from around the world," he said.

The Francophone minister who oversees the RTBF network called the top management of the company in for consultation, with rumours swirling some would be fired.

About the only people who enjoyed the program were the separatist far-right Flemish Interest party. It wants to dump the king and country and thought it could see a flash of its future.

"I want to congratulate the RTBF for this daring show," said Flemish Interest leader Filip Dewinter.

"It caused a shock in Wallonia where they come to the conclusion that the scenario of Flemish independence is no longer utopia," said the politician generally consider the biggest foe of Francophone Belgium.

Idea Spam and Abuse of Power

Jason Cherniak, self appointed president and administrator of the Liblogs blog aggregator/ blogroll, uses his position to idea spam.

He has a "successfull" blog, why spam?

From Jason Cherniak (Thu, 14 Dec 2006 23:43:25):

Hi all,

In his final press conference of the year, Harper referred to "so
called
greenhouse gasses". I don't know about you, but I believe that this is
a
big screw up on his part.

If you agree, please mention it. It is the sort of thing that the MSM
should be forced to pick up.

Blogger Support Services: a non-profit corporation operating as
<http://www.liblogs.ca/> Liblogs


per: Jason R. Cherniak

President

< http://jasoncherniak.com/> http://jasoncherniak.com

Note to Cherniak, Liblogs isn't a cult! You are not our leader.

To add insult to injury, my blog was removed from Liblogs over a month ago (Cherniak decided I was lying about my location). He is just to damn lazy to take me off his mailing list!

2006-12-12

Dangerous Jobs and the CBC

According to the CBC supper hour news tonight: "5 Canadians die everyday because of work". Well, the stat should have been on the average work day, 5 Canadians die. 1097 Canadians died in 2005 because of their job (or former job). More than half because of illness (read: Asbestos desese). So that is 3 per day. It only become 5 when you take out weekends and holidays and two weeks vacation.

Still, 3 per day is alot.

Those gruesome statistics are something to keep in mind next time your local police force asks for a raise. Their jobs are actually relatively safe.

From memory, something like 2000 Canadians die every year in vehicle accidents.

The moral is stay home... but avoid that death trap that is the bath tub.

2006-12-07

Mobility is a Part of Freedom

People have been writing about Stéphane Dion and his dual Canadian-French citizenship. Here in Edmundson, Fraser Paper regularly advertises for jobs REQUIRING dual citizenship (American and Canadian). Fraser's Edmundston (Canada) mill makes the pulp and the Madawaska (USA) plant turns it into paper (it is shipped via a big pipe).

One of the local American border guards has dual citizenship and lives in Canada !

A good chunk of the local population has dual Canadian and American citizenship. Most do not, however, and there a regular stories about people being barred from entry. And did you know that if you are engaged to an American you need a visa to enter the USA?!

Anyway, seems to me that Canadians should be able to live and or work in the USA and vice-versa. The French and Irish can in the UK. New Zealanders can in Australia. Norwegians (not part of the EU) can in Sweden. Many other countries have similar arrangements. Why not Canada?

Don't blame the Yanks. Canada doesn't even have a mobility agreement as part of its Commonwealth or Francophonie membership. That is just silly.

We send our troops to Afghanistan to defend the USA but Canadians can't work in a Maine Tim Hortens at the height of the summer tourist season! Canadian construction workers can't work in Florida during the winter despite the huge need for temporary workers (especially after a hurricane).

There are many Portuguese construction workers working illegally in Toronto. I'm sure many Canadians would like to live or work in Portugal. Seems to me like a mutual agreement would benefit both countries.

Maybe having a Liberal leader who can live in 25 countries (thanks to his French and EU citizenship), and who has studied in France, will move Canada just a bit closer to allowing its citizens the ultimate freedom: to chose where to live.

2006-12-06

Conservatives Notwithstanding Same Sex Marriage

I was under the impression that Quebec still had a Charter of Rights notwithstanding clause in effect to allow its language law. However, I was wrong. The Charte de la langue française was modified in 1993 to require that French be predominant on outdoor commercial signs. The government did not invoke the notwithstanding clause for the new version of the law.

That would certainly explain how Stéphane Dion can defend Quebec's new and improved language law.

Amazingly, there is currently no legislation in effect, federally or provincially, that uses the notwithstanding clause.

More about the notwithstanding clause from the CBC (excellent).

Since the clause can be used every 5 years, I suspect that it is quite likely that a Conservative majority would use it to outlaw same sex marriage.

I like the notwithstanding clause. It puts democracy first while keeping a nagging reminder that you are violating Charter rights.

2006-12-04

Stephane Dion is a Former Separatist!

As a leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, I guess it is better to be a former separatist than being a former federalist. But still.

As a youth, Stéphane Dion campaigned for the Parti Québécois!

According to tonight's Téléjournal on Radion-Canada, Dion was in favour of the Meech Lake Accord and, get this, he is in favour of Quebec's Charte de la langue française (aka Bill 101, bill 178, the sign law)!

I wonder how long Kennedy's support for Dion will last.

Gerard Kennedy Will Make a Great Minister of Youth and Sports

That is all that Kennedy can aspire to in a Dion government.

-The Kennedy Echo Chamber ;
-Leader Académie débute présentement.

2006-12-02

Even in their wildest dreams, separatists never imagined that Stéphane Dion could become Prime Minister of Canada

I predicted Quebec would be a country in 2008. I wasn't kidding.

"Même dans leurs rêves les plus fous, les souverainistes n'ont sans doute jamais osé imaginer que Stéphane Dion devienne premier ministre du Canada." ( Le nouveau vilain, Michel David, Le Devoir, 2006-12-02).

Translation: Even in their wildest dreams, separatists never imagined that Stéphane Dion could become Prime Minister of Canada.

Back in 1995, there were two federalists at the Université de Montréal (Quebec's largest university with over 50,000 students): Stéphane Dion and myself. That may be an exaggeration, but I honestly knew of no other student but myself who supported the no campaign. Dion was a political science professor and a regular debater on TV presenting the No arguments.

My excuse at the time was that I was half English-Canadian and from Gatineau, a region that would not benefit from civil service jobs moving to Quebec City. And when you are a university student, jobs in your home town are very important. I was especially concerned with being able to work outside Quebec ( i.e, in Ottawa).

Like many Quebec federalists, I left Quebec in the 90s (Quebec has only recently stoped hemorrhaging citizens). Even today, the salary difference between Quebec and Ontario is quite significant (no to mention the tax savings). In the late 90s, there were no jobs in Quebec, so I left reluctantly. But being bilingual, at least I could.

Toronto was as a shock. Thank goodness it was multicultural because being with English-Canadians was, to be polite, different. I actually had to tell my boss that referring to French-Canadians as frogs was insulting. A radio station was trying to compete with Howard Stern by Quebec bashing. A prospective employer told me how surprising that not everybody in Quebec spoke English and she insisted that Canada was NOT a bilingual country. In fact, that seemed to be the consensus among my English-Canadian colleagues: Canada was an English country populated by a minority group too lazy to learn proper English.

Franco-Ontarians were even worst. They watch TV in English only. Listen only to English music and generally consider English the language of business, even when dealing with other francophones.

The laws providing for services in French were ignored both at the federal and provincial level (Harris was in power). In New Brunswick, the condition of the French language is only slightly better despite the fact that Acadians have 30% of New Brunswick's population.

Suddenly, the language laws of Quebec didn't seem so crazy. I realised that labour mobility was probable even if Quebec became an independant country (like between Ireland and the UK, NZ and Australia or Sweden and Norway).

Jane Jacob's book convinced me. Quebec becoming a country wouldn't be a national tragedy. At worst, it would be a minor nuisance.

Stéphane Dion, like Jean Chrétien, is perceived in Quebec as a sellout. "Un vendu". Not only is he against Quebec being a country, he is really against it. He inexplicably trusts English Canadians to do the right thing. According to him, there are only positives to be part of this English speaking country where French is tolerated.

Put me in a room full of nationalist Quebeckers and I'll start signing the praises of Canada. But for the last 10 years, I've been in a room full of nationalist Canadians and I don't like it.

Perhaps dealing with people like Gerard Kennedy will help convert Dion. Help convince him that English-Canadians can not be trusted with Quebec's future. We'll see.

-Liberals Forget Canada is Bilingual;
-Will Quebec Being a Nation Affect the Price of Beer? ;
-OUI ;
-Est-ce qu'on peut etre separatiste et Liberal? ;
-National Defence Should be a Provincial Jurisdiction ;
-Time to Bring Back the Charlottetown Accord ;
-The Process of Becoming Anti-Quebec ;
-Dion Makes Kennedy Sound Coherent ;
-Abolish the Monarchy in Canada ;
-Climate Change: local governments must pick up the slack, or else... ;
-Enjeux: discrimination

Prediction: Dion wins, Quebec leaves Canada

This is my prediction (14:38 AT, December 2, 2006). This isn't necessarily my wish or anything, just my prediction.

-Dion will win the Liberal leadership (seems obvious).
-The BQ will win Quebec in a landslide.
-The PQ will win Quebec.
-The PQ will go into a referendum on Quebec Independence

This time next year, Quebec will be negotiating the details of Quebec's Independence from Canada.

Belfast Girls

Category: TV

"In a bar when I guy chats you up you ask him where he lives and then try to figure out if he is Protestent or Catholic. The best way is to ask what his favorite teem is." Girl in the excellent documentary " Belfast Girls" airing this weekend in Canada on the documentary channel.

This happened to me. Only it was a 7 foot guy trying to decide if he should beat the living crap out of me. I'd forgotten which teem was which, so I didn't know if he was Protestant or Catholic. It wouldn't normally matter, but in Northern Ireland, it does.

Living in Belfast, something occurred to me: people can't tell if you are Catholic or Protestant!

There are two small ghettos in Belfast. Both are adjacent. Both are poor. One is Catholic, the other is Protestant. The rest of Belfast is essentially mixed, including the downtown area where most of the shopping and nightlife occurs.

The documentary follows two girls, one Catholic, one Protestant. Their lives are so similar you'll quickly forget which is which (the Protestant has a kid). There are some great moments, like when the Catholic girl is brought to tears when describing a stretch of road she wouldn't dare go down. Then she giggles as two people walk by. "They must be senile!"

In an other scene the same Catholic Girl attempts to describe that Protestants wear their hair differently, to which her friend responds that she hadn't noticed.

It was a crazy civil war. But it was real and many people paid the price with injury, death and jail time. Peace wasn't that great either with Catholics being economically discriminated against in a clear attempt at "ethnic cleansing" by some Protestants.

Amazingly, there are still Catholic and Protestant schools in Northern Ireland. So for people living in the ghettos (where most of the violence came from), there isn't that much fraternising with the others.

The documentary is great. My only criticism is the lack of subtitles. Even having lived in Belfast, I found the girls difficult to understand. Record it and watch it again, otherwise you will miss most of the dialog.

Related post:
The Boxer: IRA in Belfast

Other Blog:
http://belfastblogger.com/ (contains links to local newspapers)

Liberals Forget Canada is Bilingual

When you give a political speech in the Quebec nation, don't forget to speak French! At least 50% of the speech should be in French and you should start in French.

Tip to Canadian politicians: when you give a "bilingual speech" to a unilingual audience, use Brian Mulruney's trick and pepper your French with "amour", "respect", "democratie", "Canada" and other French words that even Albertans can understand.

What you don't want to do is forget to speak French. Bob Rae spoke "without a net" last night and it showed. He only talked in French when talking about Quebec. And he didn't talk much about Quebec.

And get this, from the Liberal Party web site:

Notice, December 1, 2006
Montreal - The Liberal Party of Canada inadvertently played
an English-only version of a video produced by the campaign of Mr. Scott Brison,
rather than the bilingual version supplied by his campaign. The Party
unreservedly apologies to the Brison Campaign and all delegates for this error.


When you give a speech in Montreal, you start off in French. Ignatieff didn't do this. He spoke French about 25% of the time. Not enough. Rae was the worst offender. He was at least half way through the speech before he spoke a few words in French. Then he quickly reverted back to English.


Gerard Kennedy's French is still horrible, so I wont complain about the lack of quantity. How he can still make grammatical errors while reading his speech (that I assume he rehearsed) is a mystery. He is the only top 4 candidate for whom I didn't flick between the French station and the English stations. I was glad there was a translator to figure out what he was saying. Oh, and parts of Gerard Kennedy's French web site are still under construction! And the "dans la médias" error is still there.


Stephane Dion's English is less than perfect, even when read. You'd think a guy with a Canadian PHD in political science would speak better English. He reminds me of the Political Science teacher I had in college who kept using obscure Belgium examples but couldn't answer the simplest question about the USA. Did you know in Belgium they do exams orally? It was cool that my teacher imported the concept as that was the only course in which I didn't lose 10% for bad spelling.


Contrary to popular belief, the majority of Quebeckers are not fluent in English. Heck, the majority of Quebec university graduates are not fluent in English. So when you give a speech to people who don't have simultaneous translation, keep it simple. Not Gerard Kennedy simple, but simple enough to be understood by people in their second language.


The speech should be about 50% in English and 50% in French. By that standard, all the candidates failed.


If you read French: Julie Bélanger


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