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Michael Hardner

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Everything posted by Michael Hardner

  1. Just so you know, Auguste, I too was shaken by that happenstance, to the point where I collected images and clips of the jumpers from the internet - in the weeks after 9/11. I didn't share my obsession with anybody, not even my wife, and after a few weeks it faded. To those of us who have worked in tall office buildings especially, the jumpers struck a personal chord of horror that was closer than any other I myself have felt.
  2. I don't know about incorrect, but it's certainly heartbreaking and depressing. I agree with Melanie - it's easier to talk about numbers. Let's do that.
  3. Playing the odds, as you describe here, has a lot of problems. For one, it punishes good people for some bad ones among them. For another, it robs Canada of good immigrants. For another, we don't apply that logic to other countries, other races or other religions. For example, the incarceration rate for American blacks is higher than for whites. Using the principle applied above, we'd be better off selecting US immigrants based on race.
  4. I think we should use this forum to discuss issues, not chariactures.
  5. I don't remember people saying that the Iraqis would treat their prisoners better, or that that question was even discussed. What I do remember are reports of maltreatment, which seems to be continuing under the Iraqis. Hopefully, the Red Cross will be allowed to resume their visits to the prison.
  6. There are a few terms in this post which are used interchangeably: culture, society, civilization. To me, our culture is the state of our living in society - generally, the attitudes and behaviors of its people. Society comprises culture, along with the systems and institutions which we build. Civilization, I think, is interchangeable with 'society'. Our culture grows within our value system, or perhaps alongside it. I would agree that our society is more open, and therefore more sophisticated than a society that only allows limited personal expression and monoculture, but comparing cultures seems like an 'apples and oranges' comparison. Our culture includes performance art, opera, pornography and trash television. What do you do with that ? I think it makes more sense for us to compare systems/institutions than the cultures that develop within/alongside them. If we admire our systems and insitutions - the openness, the individual freedom - are we obliged to admire all the byproducts of our society, or all aspects of our culture ? Why isn't it acceptable to say that we love a system that comprises openness and to also oppose the "hateful, racist, capitalistic, consumer society" ? After all, you're doing much the same thing - saying that you think our values are superior, yet criticizing our culture of hand wringing, etc. The issues of immigration and birth rate seem to have been handled by left- and right- governments much in the same way of late. It's a matter of economics, and I'm not an expert on that. But I think framing the discussion solely in a social context is misplacing it. The US government seems to take much the same tack on immigration levels as the Canadian government so I don't think you should blame liberals for that. The other point is that your post assumes that Muslims are different from every other culture that has come to the west, that has assimilated and learned our system and thrived. Our system was built on universal rights, but was also built so that we could change it if the people wanted to. The American founding fathers were intellectuals who thought that this was the best way to build a society. If we want to restrict immigration, we can do so. If we want to ammend the constitution, we can do so. In fact, we can turn our country into a montheistic religious state too if we want to do that, and that's the dichotomy. It seems to me that believing in our insitutions and the freedom that they offer implies believing that the people will prefer this system - that this system is indeed better than others. Unlike us, those who designed the US constitution weren't born into such freedoms - they used all of their intelligence to architect a new society that would allow for diverse religions and cultures, and believed that it would prove better. So far, it has served its intentions, and there's no reason so far to think that anything is different. To those who were born into them, these freedoms have after 200+ years, become part of the culture. But there's no reason to think that somebody has to be born into this system today in order to see the value in it. If you think that you have to be born into these freedoms to see the value in our insitutions, then it seems to me that you have less faith in them then those that are criticized in your post.
  7. Indeed, someone - everyone - should always ask Leafless to clearly define what he's talking about as it can be very murky. In a recent thread, he suggested that France - a country that expects immigrants to eventually ascribe to their culture - is a country that practices multiculturalism. These types of posts pine for a homogenous Canada that may or may not have existed in the past, but can't practically happen in the future unless immigration is severely restricted or eliminated. They say they want immigrants to adopt Canadian values, but have no suggestion on how to identify these values or how to enforce the reculturing of immigrants. How about some more details, Leafless ?
  8. Ok. So they didn't really govern by polls, in that they didn't make decisions according to popular whim. That means they did what they thought was right. Usually I hear conservatives describe this type of governing as being the style of PM Harper, but ok. And Canadians rewarded them with four straight election whims despite the fact that they did the opposite of what the people wanted.... This is a strange take on things, but I guess it saves you from having to say anything positive about how the Liberals governed...
  9. How exactly were the polls manipulated ? Either the Liberals followed public opinion or they did not. If they misrepresented the findings of the polls, then they weren't following public opinion and they were dictators - dictators who somehow got re-elected time after time. If they followed what the polls said, then they were catering to majority interest. Which was it ?
  10. Fine, Leafless. If you prefer, we should show Quebec who's boss by ignoring all intelligence that isn't in English. That would lighten CSIS's workload immeasurably and quicken their communications as well. Honestly, I wonder if you're serious about these ideas sometimes.
  11. Gerry - If you concede that the poll was done as a legitimate query on government business, then there really is no complaint here. $85K is a small amount of expenditure, and is a worthwhile check to verify that Canadians were behind these initiatives.
  12. Ricki - MLW is the most objective site when it comes to moderating. And... I hd no idea Borden's government was so contentious !
  13. Leafless - were the Liberals totalitarian, or did they govern by polls ? I've read both criticisms of their governments, but it seems to me any critic of the Liberals has to choose one tack or the other - either they did exactly what the polls told them to do, or they imposed their will on Canada. Pick one.
  14. Actually, it does just the opposite. The allegation is that a unilingual and unicultural agency missed some information because it came from the French sphere. If there's any time of government agency that should incorporate as many languages as possible, it's intelligence.
  15. You've hit on the current sleeping giant of politics, IMO. The Democrats don't have much more incentive than the Republicans to do anything about this, as they are connected to the same wealthy interests as the Republicans. ( See Hillary Clinton's ties to Walmart. ) A respectable third party could emerge with a platform that combines strong immigration reform, protectionism, and more money for the middle classes. That would be a big draw for voters across the political spectrum but they would need to snag the right kind of candidates from the other parties in order to draw interest.
  16. The contradiction there is how do you uphold traditions without being a nanny ? At best the state can influence culture but can't control it, and that goes for left-based initiatives (multiculturalism, for example) as well as right-based initiatives. Fundamentalists of every stripe are fighting a losing battle...
  17. I'm surprised that all it takes is platitudes to satisfy you. I can't find anything in the article that indicates any policy changes to back up his statement.
  18. Decisions will always be made behind closed doors, but you're right there could be more done to align our services towards the consumers that use them. In private industry, individuals vote every time they buy a product but in our democracy they vote once every few years, and that vote is supposed to express how the voter feels about a large complex bundle of issues.
  19. The postal system, for example, was moved into a crown corporation and seems to be running better as a result. I think that there are probably many services that would benefit from that kind of move.
  20. Those dumb Ontarians also voted for Harris, and will vote for Harper next time. It's too easy to come up with these little insults, isn't it ?
  21. I don't think so. The fact is, government business is far too complex for the average voter to follow. It would be better for democracy if more people were engaged in the process. This could be achieved by focussing political discussion on the highest level issues, rather than the nuts-and-bolts of service delivery - they are two separate things.
  22. I agree. Most of what government does today relates to the delivery of services. The complexities that are involved in that business are poorly served by a top-heavy political machine run by the governing party. I would say that most of what government does should be overeseen by all-party committees acting much as a board of governors does in the private sector. The House of Commons should only debate high level policy direction. These are issues that most Canadians can get involved in, as they are easier to understand and more interesting too.
  23. It seems strange, but I actually think the Libs and Cons are trying to do right by Canada this one time. When you look at the travesty that is US election financing, it's easy to see why. Of course somebody has to pay for these ads. Personally, I'd rather have everybody paying a little than a few unions and corporations paying a lot.
  24. Nor did the writer of that quote provide any kind of study to back it up. That number sounds preposterous to me. I found what seems to be a source for the quote: Note the slight change in meaning there.
  25. McQ: It is time ? What makes it time ? Certainly not one little error, or maybe that was the straw that broke your camel's back. The CPC isn't going to touch the CPC anytime soon. Even with a majority, they'd be cautious to attempt any drastic cuts. So it may be time, but people aren't ready for it. The CFP certainly has a bias, but it might be your bias that's getting in the way of seeing that. I don't expect the CBC to run constant features on Donald Trump, but I'd like to see less political content. That change would better service viewers and taxpayers, in my opinion.
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