Archive for January, 2008

Canadian is racist!

January 30, 2008

To our horror, we have just discovered that the word “Canadian” is apparently a racial slur against blacks.

Stefan Dollinger, editor-in-chief of Dictionary of Canadianisms on Historical Principles, says the term has its roots in the word “Canuck.”

While Canuck is a term of endearment that Canadians now use, Dollinger says it was once used by racist southern Americans to insult French Canadians with dark skins.

“In the U.S. some people still use Canuck as a slur,” said Dollinger.

Now that’s a bummer. Does that mean that when I travel in the Southern US I can’t tell people that I am Canadian?

Do they sell Molson Canadian in the deep South? If they do, will it be taken off the shelves?

Would the Vancouver Canucks get chased off the ice in Atlanta?

These are all serious questions.

I think the country needs a name change. How about the United Provinces of America?

Toronto the Tedious

January 30, 2008

I am really getting tired of the crap that continues to come out of Toronto regarding their crime problems.

Now we have the Toronto police chief blathering on about a national handgun ban. This new assault comes in the wake of the police solving a 2 year old crime, with the gun being used apparently implicated in some additional shootings.

The gun used to shoot and blind a TTC bus driver two years ago has been shuffled between criminals, Toronto police said yesterday, and is implicated in four other crimes, including the 2003 murder of youth worker Kempton Howard.

Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair said:

While officers are still investigating how the gun, once legally owned in Canada, changed hands by possibly being rented or sold to fellow thugs, police Chief Bill Blair said this chain of violent crimes is a testament to the dangers of permitting access to such weapons.

“This is evidence of the destructive power of even a single firearm in the hands of criminals,” he said. “It reinforces my belief that we must do everything in our power to limit access to handguns throughout our city, throughout our society. And we must do everything to ensure those firearms do not come illegally into this country or are diverted illegally … into the hands of criminals.”

As the Chief surely knows, access to handguns is severely limited throughout Canada. It’s just that his criminals haven’t received the message.

Chief Blair’s definitely has a problem. But at least he should be able to recognize that he wants someone else to try and solve his Toronto problem. Actually he wants the rest of the country to try and solve what is actually a localized Toronto problem

If Chief Blair doesn’t know how to solve his fricking problem he should at least have the honesty to come out and say,”I don’t know how to solve this fricking problem!”

Hopefully the federal government will hold its ground and not be pressured into doing something that would not only be useless but in fact stupid.

The cry coming out of Toronto (and Ottawa when the Liberals still held the reins of power) used to be that we should ban all semi-auto handguns (actually I think that it morphed into banning semi-auto firearms in general) and now it has changed to banning all handguns.

So what happens when Chief Blair gets his wish and all handguns are banned in Canada (make that all handguns held by legitimate, honest citizens) and the carnage in his fair city continues: and it will. What will he call for next?

Frankly, I think that Chief Blair has watched too many episodes of the TV show, Dead Man’s Gun.

I miss Fred

January 30, 2008

Although it was inevitable, I was saddened to see Fred Thompson remove himself from the race. I liked a lot of his ideas and he seemed to truly be a conservative candidate. While the rest of the pack were mouthing platitudes Fred actually had policies and positions. So in a belated show of support – as much as a conservative Canadian could give – I went on his Fred08 website and bought some campaign goods. Maybe I’ll wear my Fred08 hat while traveling in the US this spring.

Now it looks as though Giuliani is on his way out as well. His speech after the Florida primaries certainly sounded like the prelude to a withdrawal. I have not been a big Giuliani fan but the quality of that speech impressed me.

A novel British idea: Let’s ban knives

January 30, 2008

I am not entirely sure whether Britain has the majority of the world’s supply of idiots (most of them apparently in government) or whether they just get better press than the rest of the world. God knows we see some supremely stupid things proposed in Canada and the USA, but Britain just seems to keep coming up with winners.

Now they are back on to the knife banning plan.

Police in the UK’s worst knife crime hotspots will be told to prosecute anyone caught with a blade, Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said.

Mr Brown told The Sun that carrying knives or guns was “completely unacceptable” and that officers should stop giving offenders cautions.

Then the voice of reason – almost.

However, Camilla Batmanghelidjh, founder of the charity Kids Company, warned that the proposals would not address the underlying causes of knife crime – gang culture and the drug trade.

Unfortunately the voice of reason didn’t last for long.

She added: “I think it’s a good idea, but it won’t solve the problem.

If it won’t solve the bloody problem, why is it still a good idea?

And will you be in danger of being thrown into a cell if you are caught carrying a Swiss army knife? Let’s have some clarity here.

The Prime Minister then expanded on his idea.

Mr Brown added that he wanted to use teenagers as “test purchasers” to snare retailers illegally selling blades, and that he was considering outlawing the most lethal weapons.

He also said he was concerned about violent computer games featuring knives.

“No-one wants censorship or an interfering state,” he said.

“But the industry has some responsibility to society and needs to exercise that.”

What is the “most lethal” knife. A sharp one? A sharp pointy one? No doubt the “most lethal” knives will be those that look the “most lethal” to some bureaucrat. Sort of like the way the Canadian Liberal government decided what firearms should be classed as “prohibited”.

And the Prime Minister surely must have a sense of humour as I’m sure that he couldn’t have said “no one wants censorship or an interfering state” and kept a straight face. In Britain? What a silly thought.

The Bucket List

January 29, 2008

We went to see the Bucket List the other night. I went with a little reluctance, as the critical reviews had not been overly kind. But as is often the case, critics be damned, we enjoyed the movie. But then, how can you not enjoy a movie with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman as the protagonists?

Interestingly, or possibly as to be expected, it was an older crowd. Sitting amongst them I almost felt like a youngster. “Almost” is the operative word here. The crowd probably wasn’t quite that old.

I wondered though, how many in the theatre, like me, related to the story and thought about lost opportunities and plans and dreams that went astray somewhere along the journey.

It is one thing that you inevitably learn too late: do those things that are important to you at the time because the opportunity may never come again.

I wish that when I was shooting smallbore rifle competitively that I had made that trip to shoot in the Scottish smallbore championships. At the time I read accounts where they set up a temporary shooting range in a field with large tents erected for the official business and up to 500 competitors showed up for the shoot. It sounded like one helluva lot of fun. But I never went.

I always had a burning desire to hunt in Africa and at one time put down a deposit for a hunt in Zimbabwe. But a new job got in the way and I cancelled out and never found the opportunity again. Now, when you take in all of the costs for a safari, including trophy fees and the like the price is substantial. Shoulda gone then.

Life is one great compromise. I missed some things and I gained some things. But the truth is that if I had it to do all over again I would be loath to do things differently.

On the other hand, if I had known how quickly the time would fly I would have made the effort to do more.

The REALLY dark side of animal rights

January 25, 2008

I have always looked upon the animal rights movement (as distinct from animal welfare) as a bit of a nutty proposition. It seems to be one those movements in which its proponents seem to naturally move more and more to radical positions. For many it seems to have become a religion that needs its missionaries to spread the word to the unwashed. Sometimes “the word” is pretty scary.

The University of Southern Indiana’s student newspaper, “The Shield” printed a “Special Editorial” entitled “Animal Rights and Ethical Veganism by a Gary Yourofsky.

Mr. Yourofsky starts out slowly.

Ever since Pythagoras promulgated peace to our planetary companions some 2,600 years ago, the animal rights community has utilized pacifism in its attempts to facilitate substantive change.

As a proponent of education, my activism is no different.

Then he takes a u-turn.

After all, consuming the cut-up corpses of murdered animals – and the things that ooze out of their bodies – is hardly an enlightened way of living. However, author Sam Harris explained a major flaw with pacifism activism:

“When your enemy has no scruples, your own scruples become another weapon in his hand.”

So, while my lifestyle and lectures are based on compassion, those who refuse to stop harming animals force me to support ‘eye for an eye’ and ‘by any means necessary’ philosophies.

And finally he explains that the following two paragraphs, which he says were posted on his website, was the reason why the University cancelled a lecture of his last year.

“Sometimes I think the only effective method of destroying speciesism would be for each uncaring human to be forced to live the life of a cow on a feedlot, or a monkey in a laboratory, or an elephant in the circus, or a bull in a rodeo, or a mink on a fur farm. Then people would be awakened from their soporific states and finally understand the horror that are inflicted on the animal kingdom by the vilest species to ever roam this planet: the human animal! Deep down, I truly hope that oppression, torture and murder return to each uncaring human tenfold! I hope that fathers accidentally shoot their sons on hunting excursions, while carnivores suffer heart attacks that kill them slowly.

Every woman ensconced in fur should endure a rape so vicious that it scars them forever. While every man entrenched in fur should suffer an anal raping so horrific that they become disemboweled. Every rodeo cowboy and matador should be gored to death, while circus abusers are trampled by elephants and mauled by tigers. And, lastly, may irony shine its esoteric head in the form of animal researchers catching debilitating diseases and painfully withering away because research dollars that could have been used to treat them was wasted on the barbaric, unscientific practice vivisection.”

Well, so much for pacifism. My first reaction is the man should be kept away from carrying pointy sticks and the like.

I wonder if that bit about carnivores suffering heart attacks applies to wolves, coyotes and cougars as well. If they have rights they should be no different than the rest of us carnivores.

Pigs are racist

January 23, 2008

There are stories that I see that just leave me shaking my head. Unfortunately they seem to becoming more frequent – especially out of Great Britain.

This one leaves me wondering at just what point we took the wrong turn in the road.

A story based on the Three Little Pigs has been turned down from a government agency’s annual awards because the subject matter could offend Muslims.

The digital book, re-telling the classic fairy tale, was rejected by judges who warned that “the use of pigs raises cultural issues”.

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The CD-Rom digital version of the traditional story of the three little pigs, called Three Little Cowboy Builders, is aimed at primary school children.

But judges at this year’s Bett Award said that they had “concerns about the Asian community and the use of pigs raises cultural issues”.

The Three Little Cowboy Builders has already been a prize winner at the recent Education Resource Award – but its Newcastle-based publishers, Shoo-fly were turned down by the Bett Award panel.

The feedback from the judges explaining why they had rejected the CD-Rom highlighted that they “could not recommend this product to the Muslim community”.

They also warned that the story might “alienate parts of the workforce (building trade)”.

The judges criticised the stereotyping in the story of the unfortunate pigs: “Is it true that all builders are cowboys, builders get their work blown down, and builders are like pigs?”

Thanks to Small Dead Animals for the pointer.

Handgun Ban rhetoric sees lack of media support

January 23, 2008

After another gang shooting that killed a second bystander in Toronto, Mayor David Miller again called for a nation-wide ban on handguns.

The mayor repeated his call for the federal government to outlaw handguns, a plea he made just days ago following the shooting of another bystander, John O’Keefe, last Saturday morning on Yonge Street.

“These challenges aren’t just in Toronto. They exist across this country,” Mr. Miller said.

But of course the problem is mainly in Toronto and to a lesser degree in Vancouver where gang violence is also a problem.

Then, as was to be expected, federal NDP leader, Toronto Jack Layton also rose to the occasion.

Standing near the Chinatown East grocery where clerk Hou Chang Mao was killed by a stray bullet Thursday while stacking oranges outside, federal NDP Leader Jack Layton yesterday joined Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and Toronto Mayor David Miller in urging an absolute ban on handguns.

Nothing like a good photo-op for a politician.

But despite the emotional entreaties by those politicians looking for a global solution to a local problem, the MSM had a more pragmatic view.

The National Post said, in part:

If restricting ownership of handguns among ordinary law-abiding citizens had a positive impact on crime, our existing laws would already have produced the benefits. Since 1934, anyone wanting to own a pistol in Canada has had to be registered with the RCMP or the federal gun registry. The application process is long and arduous. The fact that almost no registered handgun owner ever commits murder or other forms of violent crime in Canada (one of the recent Toronto shootings being a noteworthy exception) is a testament to the thoroughness of the background checks.

The Windsor Star noted:

Banning handguns will only prevent legal handguns from being used in crimes because there will be no legal ones. A ban would target thousands of legitimate gun collectors and target shooters in the hamfisted attempt to prevent those exceptional and rare instances where legal guns are used illegally. It would do nothing to stop the smuggling of handguns across the border from the U.S. and nothing to dissuade thugs from using firearms in the first place.

The Toronto Star advised Miller and Layton to look towards Great Britain for the failure of their ideas.

If Miller and Layton truly believe a nation-wide handgun ban would bring n end to gun violence on the street, perhaps the two should take a tour f Great Britain where handguns were banned a decade ago, and where the dismal failure of that ban is evidenced by the fact that gun crime on the streets of England is today being vividly described in newspaper
headlines as a “scourge” — with three people getting shot every day, and with one in 10 of them being under the age of 14.

And the Ottawa Citizen was even more pointed in its comments.

A mayor, reacting to killings on his city’s streets, can choose to adopt one of two attitudes. There’s the path of outrage and the simple idea; or there’s the more difficult path of circumspection and wisdom.

Toronto Mayor David Miller has chosen to take the first course, over and over again. Whenever someone is shot in Toronto, Mr. Miller expresses outrage, and demands that the federal government ban handguns. Every crime, to him, comes down to the same cause. Every story is the same story.

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Mr. Miller is wrong to oversimplify the problem. Tragedies happen for many reasons. If all guns were “banned” in the sense that it was against the law to own any kind of firearm, there would still be shootings. We need politicians who are willing to keep asking why that’s so.

Sam Sullivan, the mayor of Vancouver, also had to respond to a very public fatal shooting, this one occurring Saturday. Two men were killed in what looked like an organized hit, in a busy, commercial area.

Ontario and federal politicians have tended to treat every shooting in Toronto as the harbinger of armageddon. In contrast, Mr. Sullivan has put the shooting in Vancouver in a reasonable context, saying that the police have done a good job of fighting gang activity, but that they can’t prevent every crime. And while he’s no fan of easy access to handguns, he’s suggested that more useful efforts to reduce gun violence will entail reducing the trade in illegal drugs.

The difference between Mr. Miller’s approach and Mr. Sullivan’s is subtle, but important. Politicians have a lot to gain by making problems look both simple and huge. They can get a lot of people on their side that way. But that does a disservice to citizens, who deserve to know the subtle, complicated truth.

It is too much to hope that Messrs. Miller and Layton and the others who parrot their position will read these commentaries and rethink their positions. At the least, we can only hope that they experience some private embarrassment the next time they step in front of the media to promote their self-serving agendas.

Ontario Premier McGuinty confirms his handgun ban position

January 17, 2008

My prediction that McGuinty would leap on the handgun ban parade was pretty much a no-brainer. OK – it wasn’t really a prediction, just a statement of the inevitable.

Echoing Mayor David Miller, the premier implored Prime Minister Stephen Harper to prohibit the private ownership of handguns.

“We have a shared responsibility, both Mayor Miller, myself and Prime Minister Harper and Canadians generally, to ask ourselves what more we might do to reduce the incidence of gun violence on our streets,” McGuinty said yesterday at Union Station.

“There’s something that’s pretty simple and straightforward that we can and should do together. I think we should ban handguns. I think we have an opportunity now to distinguish ourselves from our American cousins, to establish a different kind of gun culture here north of the border,” he said.

We know, we know.

New calls for handgun ban

January 16, 2008

There has been another unfortunate shooting in Toronto which has resulted in the death of a passerby. The murder weapon was a handgun and of course the shooting resulted in the expected cry from Toronto Mayor David Miller for a nationwide ban on handguns.

Toronto politicians are calling for their federal counterparts to totally ban handguns three days after a shooting outside a downtown strip club left an innocent bystander dead.

“It’s inappropriate for citizens of this country to own a handgun, there’s no need for it,” said Councillor Michael Walker, who put forward the motion to council.

“It’s the only way to stem the tide of violence in our cities. … Mr. O’Keefe was a victim of that violence,” said Mr. Walker (Ward 22, St. Paul’s).

John O’Keefe, 42, was shot early Saturday morning near Yonge and Bloor Streets. Police believe he was hit by a shot aimed at a bouncer who ejected two men from the Brass Rail Tavern. Edward Paredes, 23, and Awet Zekarias, 22, were charged with first-degree murder and appeared for a bail hearing at Old City Hall yesterday. The semiautomatic handgun allegedly used was legally owned by Mr. Paredes, according to Toronto homicide detectives.

At City Hall yesterday, Mayor David Miller voiced his support for a handgun ban. “It is time to say once and for all we don’t accept the ownership of handguns in our society,” Mr. Miller told reporters.

It is a typical response out of Hogtown, where the Mayor and his cohorts have localized violence problems and have no idea what the solution is. Their political response is to resort to rhetoric and a repeated call to ban handguns nationwide in an effort to convince their constituents that they are really “doing something positive”. Of course that allows them to place the blame on the shoulders of the federal government for not legislating a handgun ban thereby leaving them blameless for the whole situation.

The ban will no doubt be echoed by the Ontario provincial government who can use it as an opportunity to try and make political points with urban Toronto voters and at the same time try to pass it off as the federal government’s problem.

But it is obvious, probably even to the politicians calling for the ban, that banning handguns in Canada won’t solve their social problems in Toronto or anywhere else in the country. Which is not the point anyway, as we have seen in an infinite number of scenarios, politics isn’t about solving problems: it is about appearing to try to solve problems.

However, the obligatory rant aside, there are some things about this shooting that make me wonder if there is more here than meets the eye.

The handgun was legally owned and registered to a 22 year old man who had no criminal record. He and his friend were kicked out of a bar by a bouncer, although the police said that alcohol wasn’t involved. Then this young man and his friend, who also reportedly had no criminal record, went a short distance from the bar, then turned around, came back, and shot towards the building where a number of people were standing. Whether they were trying to shoot the bouncer as some stories have indicated or just shooting towards the building is not clear. Whether they had the gun on them when they were in the bar or whether they went to get it and came back is also not clear.

It would seem irrational that two supposedly law-abiding young men, apparently not drunk, would deliberately return and try to murder a bouncer who had ejected them from a bar. Yet people admittedly commit irrational acts of violence and possibly this was simply that: a stupid, violent act done out of anger. But, disturbingly, it was an act of violence not done in the heat of the moment, but with deliberate intent.

Hopefully the ongoing police investigation will shine some light into the dark corners of this crime and give us a better understanding of just how and why it ever happened.


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