Archive pour avril 2008


avril 30, 2008

So finally Senator Obama came to life and threw his erstwhile pastor under the bus.

Yet it was only a short time ago that Obama said he could no more disown Rev. Wright than he could disown his grandmother. (Is she next?)

So what happened? What happened was that Rev. Wright went public, sucked up all the oxygen and sideswiped the Obama campaign. Can’t have that. So they dumped him lock stock and barrel.

The real question is not that Obama gave Wright the heave-ho but that he didn’t do it sooner. Surely the Senator who chose Wright as his pastor for 20 years should have seen how dangerous Wright might be to his presidential campaign. Why didn’t Obama repudiate Wright a long time ago? Good question.

And it raises another question. If Obama really wants to be president why doesn’t he fight for it tooth and nail? Instead he is so laid back he sometimes seems indolent.

For example when the ABC moderators asked him why he didn’t wear an American flag pin, he floundered and fumbled trying to answer. Instead he might have fought back directly. « Why aren’t you guys wearing pins. Why isn’t Hillary. » Get off the fence and go on the attack.

In a word, be more like Hillary. She is the happy warrior. She’s hungry. She’s ready to slug it out. (Incidentally, whom do you think would make the better candidate this fall against McCain?) Hillary gets up off the mat and glows as though she is enjoying herself. Sometimes Obama seems almost bored. He’s looking wan and tired.

Do you agree that Obama must get in there and fight back?

And if he doesn’t he could lose this thing?



avril 29, 2008

Montreal judge Juanita Westmoreland-Traore has released on bail a 33-year-old man caught on tape helping set two police cars on fire and jumping on the roof of another police car and smashing its lights. The man, David Johnny, a welfare recipient, also said he would vandalize police cars again, because he « hates the pigs. »

The judge granted bail on condition Johnny stay away from the Bell Centre and honour a 10 pm curfew. She did so in this case (and not in others) because the accused is an aboriginal.

Interestingly one of those who protested against the granting of bail to Mr. Johnny was Grand Chief Mike Delisle of Kahnawake: «  »It’s saying ‘They’re poor little Indians ». It’s a slap in the face. We shouldn’t be held to a lesser standard than anyone else.’

Do you agree?

A Crown prosecutor is considering appealing the judge’s decision on bail.

Should he appeal?


avril 28, 2008

Far from fading out, the controversial pastor of Senator Obama’s church, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, is back with a vengeance.

Friday night he gave a reflective, informed interview with Bill Moyers on PBS (Did anybody see it?) Sunday night he delivered a fiery speech to the NAACP in Detroit. He appeared to have the 10,000 crowd in the palm of his hand. This morning he spoke again, this time to the National Press Club in Washington.

Many commentators (harking back to the « God damn America » sermon) claim that these public appearances are hurting  Wright’s  old parishoner,  Barack Obama.    They remind  the voters  of   Obama’s close association with Wright over a period of 20 years.    It’s true that Obama  has condemned some of Wright’s more inflammatory statements but he refuses to disown him personally.   So every time Obama meets the press he is asked about Wright and this detracts from his central message.

Should Wright go silent for awhile and leave the stage to Obama?

Are Wright’s views tarring Obama with guilt by association?

Speaking personally, I have studied Rev. Wright’s views in context and I can’t see thayt much to be upset about?

Can you?


avril 27, 2008

When I was growing up in the thirties, I was a rabid hockey fan. At that time there were only six teams in the NHL and Montreal had two of them counting the Maroons.

Now, I am only a play-off fan. And I must say the Canadiens, first playing Boston and now the Flyers, are serving up some classy hockey.

Can the Habs go all the way?  I would say it will depend a lot on whether Prtice can regain his goal-tending form.

There is only one problem with this picture.  And his name is Don Cherry?  What an over-dressed pompous chap he is.   What is it that viewers find so fascinating about Cherry that the CBC keeps him  on year after year?  Is it for his knowledge  of the game?   I can’t make up my mind whether Cherry  knows what he’s talking about or not.

But the fact is if you want to watch the Habs in the play-offs you also have to watch Cherry.  Too bad.

Are you a hockey fan?

Are you a Don Cherry fan?

Do you think the Habs can go all the way?


avril 26, 2008

With oil at almost $120 air lines are scrambling to pay for the extra charges. So Air Canada has just announced that economy class travellers will have to pay $25 if they want to check a second bag on North American flights. Economy passengers checking more than two bags will be charged $100 for each additional bag on North American flights and $225 on international flights.

How does that grab you?

A business professor at the University of Toronto asks « Are they sacrificing customer good-will by nickel-and-diming the passenger the wa y they are doing? » Another consumer official says, « I think there’s a breaking point in what consumers will take before they reduce their flying. »

Will these extra charges  cause you to reduce your flying?

Will you stick to one bag and avoid the new charge?

Will you happily pay the $25 because the airlines must try to offset their increased fuel costs?


avril 25, 2008

At the same time the TQS television network announced it plans to shut all its newsrooms, the Charest government has announced it wants to control telecommunications in the province. Premier Charest explained the TQS decision is one of the reasons why Quebec needs its own CRTC.

In its lead editorial this morning, the Gazette is flatly opposed to Quebec’s having its own CRTC. « Quebec politicians are once again revealing unseemly eagerness to stick their fingers into federal matters, of which telecommunications is one. »

But despite the fact that immigration is a federal matter, Quebec governments have asked for and received considerable control over immigration in the province.

Could not a similar agreement be reached with Ottawa which would see Quebec gain a measure of control over the province’s radio and television industries?

Do you agree?


avril 24, 2008

After spending two years in jail, the Canadian Brenda Martin has now been sentenced to another five years for her participation in an investment scam.

A great many tears have been shed over this case and Conservative politicians have been flying to Mexico to see what they can do. Many Canadians seem to believe Brenda Martin has been hard done by by the legal authorities in Mexico.

But what are the facts? As the Globe says today in its leader, « there does not appear to have been any great injustice perpetrated against her in Mexico. »

No one has supplied evidence that Mexico treated Ms Martin inhumanely or denied her a fair assessment of the facts in her case.  Canadian consular officials and Paul Martin and Stephen Harper have intervened in her case.

There is no evidence Ms Martin was abused or denied medical care in custody.  Her sentence is at the low end of what Mexican law sets out for the offence of which she was convicted.

What if a Mexican national were convicted of a serious crime in Canada and all kinds of do-gooders from Mexico descended on us  demanding his release?  What would our attitude be?

Canadians who work or travel abroad have a right to expect basic standards of justice.  As the Globe writes this morning, « No evidence has been offered that Mexico violated basic standards in Ms Martin’s case. »   In any event the Mexican government is expected to transfer Ms Martin to Canada to serve any jail time remaining here.


avril 23, 2008

The pundits said Senator Clinton needed to win Pennsylvania be about 10 points. And she did. She also gained a few delegates and reduced Obama’s lead in the popular vote as she won the last big state left in play.

So where does Hillary go from here? Well, there’s Indiana (where she’s three points ahead) and there’s North Carolina (where he’s 16 points ahead). So what are the pundits saying now? That she must win Indiana, it’s do or die or get out.

Then she must convince the super-delegates to stay neutral until after the last primary in the first week of June. She must also convince them that Obama can’t close the deal. Other than his own state of Illinois Obama has not won a big industrial state. Then she must convince them that she has a better chance of defeating McCain in the general election. If she can win Indiana and some of the other nine states left and if she can persuade the super delegates to hold their fire, she could conceivably win the nomination. But at what cost to the party? Where would Obama’s supporters go?

Do you think Hillary can still win?

If she loses Indiana should she drop out?

Does Hillary or Obama have the better chance of beating McCain?


avril 22, 2008

This fall the moral and religious education course in Quebec’s schools will be replaced by the new Ethics and Religious Culture program. This means that these schools will no longer be allowed to provide religious instruction in the class-room. Generations of Quebecers, both Catholic and Protestant, have grown up expecting the schools to provide religious instruction.

The new course will explain the beliefs of major faiths in a neutral way.  But what is the student, say in Grade 1, supposed o do with this material.  Evaluate it?  In Grade 1?

The assumption behind the government’s new program on Ethics and Religious Culture seems to be that religious instruction belongs in the home and in places of worship, not in schools.

This is precisely the point the leader of the Opposition, Mario Dumont, is arguing against.  To him, the new course deliberately ignores Quebec’s reality and heritage.  Dumont wants Quebec children to be taught what they are, and not what they might become.

A number of parents’ groups agree with Dumont.   They fear that their right to choose their childrens’ religious instruction will be undermined.

Do you think some Catholic and Protestant religious instruction should be retained in the class-room perhaps as an option?

Do you think little children can evaluate the worth of various religions?

Should Quebec’s schools be entirely secular?

What if the tenets of the new Religious Culture Program collide with what the child is being taught by his or her parents at home?


avril 22, 2008

Two Anglican bishops are sniping at each other over the issue of fully inclusive affiliation of homosexuals into the Anglican (Episcopaleon) church.

South America’s Archbishop Gregory Venables says he is coming to Vancouver this  week-end to give aid and succour to all those Canadian Anglicans who believe homosexuality is condemned by Scripture.  At the same time the Anglican primate of Canada, Fred Hiltz, has told the South American prelate to stay at home and not interfere in the internal affairs of the Canadian Church.  (The Canadian church does accept homosexuals but a number of Anglican parishes who oppose homosexuals want to break away and have Archbishop Venables as their leader).

During recent years the Anglican Communion (77-million world-wide) has become increasingly fractured  over the status of homosexuals.   The Canadian and U.S.  churches  favour full homosexual membership,  the far more numerous churches of  Africa, Asia , Latin America and the Caribbean are opposed to homosexuals.  Between 15 and 20 Canadian congregations and their priests and two retired bishops have left the jurisdiction of the Canadian and have accepted that of Archbishop Venables.

Is it worth splitting the Anglican communion into various factions over the issue of homosexuality?

Isn’t the unity of the church of more importance than homosexuality which was scarcely understood   when the Scriptures were written almost 2000 years ago?