Archive for September 2006

Should the RCMP Commissioner Resign or be fired?

September 30, 2006

Information collected by the RCMP was collected and transmitted to the FBI and it was on the basis of this information that the American police sent Mr. Arar to Syria where he was barbarously tortured and languished in a dank prison cell for longer than a year.

        Even when the mounties realized they had nothing on him they did not to clear his name. Aver after Mr. Arar returned to Canada and proclaimed his innocence the head of the mounties kept silent in the face of Mr. Arar’s cries for justice.  Only when Judge O’Connor nailed the mounties to the wall, did the commissioner speak up and publicly apologize. He is sorry but he will not take accountability, he will not resign. No a single mountie has resigned as a result of this shameful episode in Canadian history.  In fact the mountie’s who were engaged in this frameup of an innocent citizen has been promoted and given medals.

           Let’s cut to the chase in this malodorous affair.  The Commissioner of the mounties should resign forthwith and if he does not the government should fire him. 

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Should Christians Pray Together?

September 29, 2006

According to this week’s Tablet, the marvellous weekly out of London, Benedict XVI recently forbade Roman Catholics to pray in public with other Christians because of the fear of religious relativism, a phrase that really means other Christian religions are not as good as Roman Catholicism.  This would mean if you attended a Protestant funeral or a Remembrance Day service, as a Catholic you could not join in the Christian prayers because your own religion might be tainted.  What rubbish.  Jesus was not even a Christian and he invited community prayer.  It is thhis kind of religious intolerance that gives Rome a bad name.

Should Liberal Delegates Choose Stephan Dion?

September 29, 2006

This weekend Liberal delegates will be meeting across the country to choose slates of delegates to go to the Liberal leadership convention in early December. I will be attending the meeting in Westmount-Ville Marie and I will be supporting Stephan Dion.

       Of the three leading leadership candidates (the other two being Bob Rae and Michael Ignatieff), Dion, in my view, is clearly the best.  He is bilingual, stresses the environment and has more cabit exerience than the other two candidates combined.  Above all, he has an in-depth knowledge of our situation here in Quebec that the other two lack.  If the PQ win the next provincial election (likely) andcall for another referendum (certain), who would you like to head the federalist forces?  No contest.  It’s Dion all the way.  It’s interesting that today the Gazette came out four square in favour of Dion.  If you are a member of the Liberal party be sure to attend your delegate selection meeting this week-end and vote for Dion.

Should the Harper Government Abandon the Aboriginals?

September 28, 2006

After more than 20 years of intensive negotiations, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is ready for adption by the UN General Assembly. The Declaration is urgently needed to promote and protect the human rights of some of the most frequently victimized peoples in the world.

       Canada played a key role in the development of the Declaration.  Yet when it came before the UN Human Rights Council this summer, Canada (along with Russia) were the only two countries to vote against it.  This is a shocking about face by the Harper government.  Of course the U.S. which is not on the Council is also opposed to it.  Is this another instance of Harper getting into bed with Bush?  Whatever, it is important that we let Harper know we want this retrograde policy to be changed.  Write a note to Harper at the House of Commons, Parliament Buildings, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1A O  

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Should the Government Apologize to Maher Arar?

September 27, 2006

On the basis of false and distorted information submitted by the RCMP, the Canadian government let Maher Arar swing in the wind for three years. Furthermore the RCMP sent “unfair” and “inaccurate” intelligence reports about Mr. Arar to U.S. authorities. On the basis of this the Americans shipped him off to Syria where he languished in jail for months and was subjected to severe torture.

         This is a severe blot on Canada’s record and Mr. Arar deserves an apology from the government.  A fortiori Mr. Arar also deserves an apology from the head of the RCMP. If Commissioner Zaccardelli does not apologize without reservation in his appearance before a parliamentary committee Prime  Minister Harper should fire him. 

With Billions in the Kitty should Harper be slashing social programs?

September 26, 2006

The Conservative government, rolling in billions, has announced cuts to programs to promote adult literacy, youth employment and social development. Programs eliminated totally including projects on medical marijuana and a courts challenge project. The Status of Women had its grant sharply reduced.  Is that what most Canadians want – slashing programs that mostly help the disadvantaged while building up a huge surplus?  It seems a curious way to advance social justice in this country. 

Should George Bush be Impeached?

September 25, 2006

George Bush has argued long and hard that the front line against terror is the war in Iraq and that the Iraq war is defeating terrorism and making the U.S (and the world) a safer place.

Now a leaked classified report from all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies shows that Bush’s arguments are rubbish. The report concludes the war in Iraq has spawned a new wave of Islamic radicalism and increased the global threat of terror.  Bush’s position is turned on its head.  After almost 3000 American military dead and thousands of civilians killed, we now learn from an authoritative intelligence source in the US itself that the whole reckless Iraq war is counterproductive.

       The decision to go to war is the most serious an American president can make.  It now turns out that Bush’s prodigal expenditure of treasure and lives in Iraq has made the world less safe.

      Is this not a reason for impeachment?  Could there be a more serious reason?  Nor is talk of impeachment (growing in the U.S) all that far-fetched.  Polls now show that the Democrats will retake the House in the November elections and have a good shot also of winning the Senate. If this happens I predict George Bush will be impeached. What do you think?

Is One’s Own Conscience Supreme?

September 24, 2006

This week’s Maclean’s has a cover story on Pope Benedict. It deals of course with the Pope’s controversial remarks on Islam, but also his strictures on Canada’s elected Catholic politicians for their support of policies such as same sex marriage. Quebec’s Cardinal Ouellet and Calgary’s Bishop Fred Henry (he seems to be at every ecclesiastical dog fight) also weigh in with their own strictures on Catholic politicians.

          As a matter of fact, the Catholic politicians quoted in the article, the NDP’s Tony Martin, Charlie Angus and Joe Comartin, all say they took the Church’s teaching into consideration when they formed their consciences on same sex marriage.  They took other things into consideration too such as Canada’s being a pluralistic society (they are not legislating just for Catholics) and their understanding of Christ’s message in the Gospels. Then each of them formed  his own consience.  This is solid Catholic teaching.  Even the view of the Pope (much less Cardinal Ouellett and Bishop Henry), does not superside one’s own conscience which is supreme in these matters.

Who will be the new Liberal leader?

September 23, 2006

On Sunday, Oct. 1, I plan to attend the meeting to select delegates to the Liberal leadership convention in early December.  I will be up front on this and say that I intend to support Stephan Dion. I first encountered him years ago when he made a speech at Concordia in the 1995 referendum campaign. His logic and his passion blew me away. I told him so the other evening when I attended one of his fund raisers in Old Montreal. 

      I think Dion has the brains, the temperament and the policies lead his party and his country. He is especially sound on tne environment and climate change which will bethe salient issues in the coming years. And of course he has the invaluable experience of having held several senior poisitions in the federal cabinet.  I don’t think any other candidate can match him.  Do you?

Why would a 65 year old man celebrate his nineteenth birthday?

September 22, 2006

Last night, along with seven other friends, I went out to dinner to help a 65 year old man (a medical doctor) celebrate his nineteenth birthday.  Sound bizarre? Not really.  He’s 65 alright but he’also been sober for 19 years in Alcoholics Anonymous.  Worthy of a celebration I should think.  And I know a number of other people who have kicked the demon rum in AA.

      It was Scott Peck who said that AA was the most significant spiritual development of the twentieth century.  Considering the millions of people that movement has helped, I daresay he’s nor far wrong.  The proven theory that alcoholism is an illness not susceptible to the iron fist of will power is one of the great insights AA contributed to the treatment of addictions.