No Dogs or Anglophones

Thanks for the Memories....

For over four years I've written this blog in an effort to fulfill an inner desire to share some of my thoughts and experiences with you.

From a tiny following, the blog has blossomed, giving a small voice to a not so insignificant segment of Quebec Anglo society that the mainstream media doesn't seem to address. It has been, to say the least, entirely rewarding and I've kept going far beyond where I first thought I'd go solely because of the readership.

But all things come to an end.

With the election of the Liberals and the prospect of the PQ dim for the short and immediate term, there is less of an impetus for me to continue.

Can we as Anglos and Ethnics claim victory over sovereigntist forces?

Perhaps yes, but the real problem was never sovereignty, but rather the treatment of Anglos and Ethnics by all  Quebec governments.
It is sad to see that we continue to be viewed as interlopers, a people to be controlled not appreciated, an alien nation within the legitimate body politic of French Quebec.

Too harsh?
Nope, I don't think so. I continue to believe that if Quebec chooses to remain in Canada, it is simply an economic decision, the alternative of an independent and truly French Quebec a dream too costly and unrealistic for a generation whose real values include Facebook and Nintendo.

I remain convinced that if Quebec had the wealth of Alberta's oil sands, this province would have overwhelmingly voted for independence years ago.
It's really just about the money and when Quebecers finally realized how much money Canada lavishes upon them, the independence movement withered.

Such is the reality of our Quebec society, locked into a loveless marriage of convenience, forever unhappy and unfulfilled but financially comfortable, a difficult trade off to make.

As for myself, I look forward to the summer, sipping margaritas by the backyard pool, leaving the bitching and moaning to others, God knows, I've done my share.

To those who have been faithful readers and contributors I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your interest, friendship and lively conversation.

I would never have come this far without you.

and so I fade to black....

I'll leave the comments section open for a while and the blog itself open for research purposes.

Thank you all once again.....

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Posted on 1 July 2014 | 9:23 am

Justin Trudeau

Mulcair shreds phony public transit pledge

TORONTO – Thomas Mulcair is dropping his multi-billion dollar transit funding pledge after Liberals exposed the $28 billion gap between Thomas Mulcair’s empty promises and his Harper-inspired balanced-budget commitment. Mulcair clearly promised $1.3 billion annually for public transit, starting immediately: “An NDP government will partner with cities by creating a new public transit strategy called […]

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Posted on 31 August 2015 | 5:18 pm

Ezra Levant

UPDATE: More non-Muslims denied subsidized housing in Toronto building

Here’s an UPDATE on the story I first told you about last week: It turns out that at least twelve other Torontonians have been removed from one building’s subsidized housing waiting list, simply because they aren’t Muslim. Right now, there are 91,000 people on the city’s waiting list, but only Muslims are allowed to live a particular building. It’s […]

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Posted on 31 August 2015 | 5:10 pm

Scott's DiaTribes

5 Q’s Interview with Haley Brown, Liberal #LPC candidate for Calgary-Midnapore

I’ve not done one of these interviews in awhile, but an opportunity came up to send some questions to Haley Brown, the LPC candidate who is running against Jason Kenney in the riding of Calgary-Midnapore. If there was ever a Cabinet Minister I’d like to see toppled, Mr. Kenney is at the top of the list. I thank Haley for taking the time to answer the questions, and good luck to her and her campaign!



What made you decide you wanted to run to be the official candidate for the Liberals in your riding of Calgary-Midnapore?

I have always been involved in politics by staying informed, voting, and [...]

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Posted on 17 August 2015 | 3:30 pm

Dawg's Blog

Harperman, it's time for you to go

Tony Turner, who studies bird migrations in his day job, has been a fixture of the Ottawa folk community for years, writing and composing as a member of the songwriting collective Writer’s Bloc since 1994. But recently, he’s vaulted...

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Posted on 31 August 2015 | 3:09 pm

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff


Not surprisingly, the musician is being investigated by the paranoid and vindictive Harper Government. The Streisand Effect is working though, and is a hit today. When I tweeted #Harperman last June & you RTed it @saskboy, I did wonder if #cpc thugs would come after Tony. They sure did. @althiaraj — deBeauxOs (@deBeauxOs1) August […]

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Posted on 28 August 2015 | 9:50 pm

Erich the Green

Nothing ethical about any oil

The “ethical oil” brand, dreamt up by Canadian fossil fuel apologists, promotes the concept that bitumen extracted from the tar sands is superior to all foreign oil. Although pitched as a matter of informed consumer choice, it really serves as an obstacle to efforts aimed at energy conservation and the transition to a sustainable, renewable energy paradigm.
The brand evokes the campaign to reduce the purchase of “conflict”or “blood” diamonds whose extraction or distribution supports violent warlords or repressive governments. The response was a system whereby diamonds are certified as “conflict-free”, coming from an upstream supply chain that doesn’t rest on or support massive human rights abuses.
There are movements in many other commodity markets for ethical or sustainable supply, whether organic or fair trade foods like coffee, chocolate, and bananas, or certified forest-friendly paper products, or sustainable fisheries. The key to each such initiative is that for suppliers to certify as ethical, sustainable, organic, or fair, they must continually act to improve their operations and reduce ancillary harms, and have those actions independently audited.
However, there is no such drive behind “ethical oil”. Tar sands companies have made no binding commitments to clean up their act and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, toxic waste or spills. Instead, their only claim to being “ethical” is to point to other oil-exporting nations, branding their product as “conflict oil” and saying “well, they’re worse than us!” They make much of the sexist, violent, terrorist-sponsoring governments of Saudi Arabia and Iran, or the socialist Chinese or Venezuelan regimes, and contrast them with how enlightened and ethical (and free-market) Canadians feel, in contrast. Besides the blatant xenophobia of such an approach, what should offend Canadians is how the tar sands are basically riding on our coat-tails in boasting of being “ethical” based not on their own record, but the virtue of the rest of Canada. But how does this industry fit within our own ethical system?
Filthy lucre
In all ways that matter, the bitumen industry is a drag on the rest of Canada’s ethical values. This industry has opposed environmental regulations and pushed to remove protections from the lakes, rivers, or species their operations threaten. Rather than create sustainable communities of workers, they separate men from their families and communities, mostly in the Maritimes, for weeks at a time, and pour money into their wallets. This is a recipe for domestic violence, prostitution, substance abuse, a widening rich-poor gap, and all kinds of other social ills. It is no coincidence that Edmonton, Calgary, and Saskatoon, the 3 major cities serving the oil patch, are among the 5 worst Canadian cities for women to live, according to a recent report. While demonizing a few million dollars from foreign environmental charities, “ethical oil” ignores the billions of foreign dollars whose investment in our tar sands leaves our governments captured by foreign interests.
If these are the ethics our oil offers, then this industry is a corrupting influence on Canada as a whole, and rather than pretend that propping it up is somehow the ethical choice, we should put aside such silly distractions and concentrate on reducing our dependence on fossil fuels entirely, regardless of the source. Because when it comes to destroying our planet, damage is damage, regardless of how hard a destructive industry tries to pass itself off as “ethical”.

Published as my Root Issues column in the Barrie Examiner as " ' Ethical oil' brand doesn't exist"
Erich Jacoby-Hawkins is a director of Living Green and the RobertSchalkenbach Foundation.

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Posted on 7 August 2015 | 3:57 am

Five Feet of Fury

Mark Steyn: ‘Why is pointing out something entirely obvious incompatible with being employed as a freelance commentator for ESPN?’

Mark Steyn writes: Well, because the American sports establishment are even bigger politically correct eunuchs than the Republican establishment. Re Curt Schilling, before I get the usual boring mail about how “this is nothing to do with the First Amendment, Steyn. A private company is entitled to do whatever it wants”, yes, yes, yes, so […]

Kathy Shaidle's NEW book, Confessions of a Failed Slut, is available HERE.

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Posted on 31 August 2015 | 1:34 pm

A Blog By James Curran

Happy Birthday Madiba

Nelson, the world needs more of you. We miss you kind sir. Happy Birthday!

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Posted on 18 July 2014 | 4:29 am


Harper's PMO Lawyer Spills The Beans At Duffy Trial - Harper Ignored Legal Advice And Named Senators Who Did Not Qualify - The Stinky Senate Scandal Started At That Moment

"Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s closest aides developed a secret plan in February 2013 to protect Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin and other Conservative senators from questions about their eligibility to represent specific provinces in the upper chamber, according to documents tabled in Duffy’s criminal trial Thursday.

Harper, however, worried that delving into Senate residency rules would open a can of worms, and insisted that owning property in a province was a sufficient qualification for senators to hold their seats.

"Had I known we were going down this road, I would have shut it down long before," Harper wrote to a senior aide. "As long as they maintain a residency in their province, as per tradition, we will deem that as sufficient for this purpose … i.e. the property requirement = residence."

But the PMO’s top lawyer privately argued that Harper’s simple definition could be wrong given that the Constitution lists owning property in a province and being "resident" in a province as two distinct criteria for serving as a senator from that province."

The Ottawa Citizen

Oh and for the record:
-this blog contributed in February 2013 to the voices critical of naming individuals as Senators who clearly did not meet the residency requirement.

-And the Right leaning Regina Leader-Post contributed to the voices of support for Harper's inappropriate naming of individuals who did not meet the residency requirements.

(.. just sayin')

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Posted on 21 August 2015 | 12:30 pm

Mark Steyn

Angel Eyes

On the radio a few months back, I heard an old Wink Martindale interview with Ella Fitzgerald, from the Seventies. And apropos her famous songbook series - Kern, Gershwin, Porter, etc - Wink asked if there was one of those great writers with whom she felt a special affinity. And Ella demurred, and added that sometimes a great song could be written by somebody the public had never heard of - "like the boys who wrote 'Angel Eyes'." And you sort of got the impression that, if she'd been put on the spot, she herself couldn't reliably have fished their names out of the old mental filing cabinet. But she knew their song, and she loved their song...

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Posted on 31 August 2015 | 2:00 pm

Huffington Post

Migrants Risking Their Lives Need Your Help, Not Just Your Sympathy

Every year, thousands of people leave their homes in Central America and journey north in search of a better life. By the time they reach Mexico, many will have endured abuse, robbery, assault, or rape -- if they even get there at all. Murder rates along the migration routes are notoriously high.

The criminal gang activity that makes these journeys so perilous is one of the reasons many are willing to make them in the first place. "I fled my country because of the threats of the gangs," 62-year-old Miguel Ángel Reyes of El Salvador told Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Mexico. "I didn't leave because of poverty, but because of security."

Miguel was speaking with Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) teams in Mexico who treat migrants in need of medical care. With authorities in the United States and Mexico becoming increasingly heavy-handed in their attempts to discourage people from illegally entering the U.S., migrants hoping to escape lives of poverty and violence in Central America have been forced to travel via increasingly dangerous underground routes controlled by gangs. By the time many of them arrive in Mexico, they are suffering from injury, illness, hunger, or weakness, but are often too afraid to seek medical help.

Photo: Canadian physician Dr. Simon Bryant, of Doctors Without Borders, tends to a patient during a rescue of more than 450 people from a wooden migrant boat in distress on the Mediterranean Sea. Credit: Gabriele François Casini / MSF

Dangerous undertakings

The route between Central and North America is not the only place where people run the risk of torture, illness, or even death simply because they seek to build better lives for themselves. More than 1,800 people have drowned while trying to cross from North Africa to Europe on the Mediterranean Sea this year alone. Elsewhere, authorities in Malaysia have uncovered mass graves of migrant labourers killed by human traffickers. The search for new beginnings can be a dangerous and deadly undertaking in many parts of the world.

Migration has been a fundamental part of human existence throughout history, for as long as people have been moving to new places in order to flee persecution and pursue better lives. Today, many of the people who undertake these harrowing journeys are fleeing miserable situations. Some are economic migrants seeking real futures for their children, while others are refugees trying desperately to escape violence and misery.

Their plight is a humanitarian crisis that has no place in our globalized and interconnected world. Doctors Without Borders works in many countries where migrants start their journeys. We operate in refugee and displacement camps where people are forced to shelter due to war, conflict and violence, and we see first-hand the squalor and despair of life in such places -- the conditions that drive so many people to seek some kind of hope and new beginning elsewhere.

Photo: Moussa, 15, from Ivory Coast, cries on the deck of the Doctors Without Borders search-and-rescue ship Bourbon Argos after being rescued along with 103 other people in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Libya, en route to Sicily, from an inflatable boat. Photo credit: Christophe Stramba/MSF

An issue than cannot be ignored

In many arrival countries, migration is a divisive issue. Public debate focuses on economic fears and deterrence. Doctors Without Borders does not have all the answers, but we are part of a global system that we can see is failing large numbers of people seeking to live free from violence, poverty and misery. That is why we treat patients along the migrant routes in Mexico, and why Doctors Without Borders launched our first maritime medical operations on the Mediterranean in the spring.

This is not a new topic for Doctors Without Borders. I first wrote about the perils of the Central American migration routes two years ago, following a trip to Mexico during my first year as executive director of Doctors Without Borders Canada. What was an underreported story then is at last gaining more attention, but change must still come. Our approach to human migration is in need of a rethink.

Thousands are dying at sea, in detention and on the way to what they hope are better lives. They deserve more than our empathy, understanding and compassion. They also deserve -- and need -- a helping hand along the way, and a far more humane welcome than our world has so far been able to muster.

Stephen Cornish is executive director of Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Canada.


-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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Posted on 28 August 2015 | 4:49 pm

Fight the Power

Day 244

Teenager raped daughter of family friend since she was 3 years old

by Mahesh Sarin

As originally posted on: WorldWide Weird News
August 31, 2015

A teenager was arrested after he raped a young girl at a state fair.

The 17-year-old boy is accused of raping the 9-year-old girl at the Maryland State fairgrounds.

Jonathan Fleming of Carroll County, was charged with rape, perverted practice and sexual assault among other charges.

The Baltimore County Police Crimes Against Children Unit said that it was discovered that Fleming sexually abused the girl since she was about 3 years old.

Police began investigating on Thursday, after a farmer saw the young man and the girl at the swine barn and alerted the girl's father that something may have happened between the two.

The teengaer is a family friend of the victim, police said in a statement.

“The farmer actually saw the teenager buckle his pants when he approached the two of them,” police said.

When the teen saw the farmer approaching, he walked away with the girl.

The girl allegedly told police that Fleming forced her to perform sexual acts on him several times a year when they met at fairs.

He is being held in a Baltimore County jail on $500,000 bond.

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Posted on 1 September 2015 | 5:01 am

Andrew Coyne

Andrew Coyne on Mulcair’s amazing vow: Could the party of spending really balance the budget in year one?

What the NDP is asking the public to believe is that it will dispense with decades of party orthodoxy on deficits, even in the face of a possible recession

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Posted on 1 September 2015 | 1:17 am

Blazing Cat Fur

Overnight Thread…

Space-CatsHope you all had a fine day, mine was busy, tomorrow a bit less so. Leave your news tips in the comments and I hope you like Mahler.

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Posted on 1 September 2015 | 4:00 am

Driving The Porcelain Bus

NDP Clearest Alternative, Globe & Mail Is Loathe To Admit

The G&M must be loathe to report stories like this. But the NDP are so much in the lead and seen as the party of clear change, that they have no choice. But, that doesn't stop them from trying to tilt the story in the Conservatives favour. Let's take a look at where the G&M has problems writing a news story:

Canadians will be asked to choose between political stability and renewal - G&M states here that we currently have political stability. Funny, since when do these mean political stability?:
- subverting democracy (Bill C-51, Bill C-377, Bill C-23 among many others, cheating in elections)
- racking up the most debt of a Canadian government ever,
- running a deficit for most of their time
- balancing a budget only by looting from the EI fund
- ignoring the urgent issue of Climate Change
- focusing our economy on the oil extraction industry to the great detriment to the manufacturing industry.
-  corruption and cronyism
- warmongering instead of peacekeeping
- and the list goes on.
A more accurate line would be:
Canadians will be asked to choose between gross fiscal mismanagement & the brink of fascism, and stability & democracy.

Pollster Nik Nanos said the NDP has staked out the clearest policy positions in opposition to the Conservative Party, while the Liberals have a more nuanced approach.
- Okay, these were probably Nik Nanos' words but using "nuanced" here is a nice way of saying that the Liberal policy positions are mainly just like the Conservatives, except for when they try to copy some of the NDP policies to try to steal their support. History shows that time and again, the Liberals, whose policies mirror (especially more recently) those of the Conservatives, always campaign on the left only to toss these left leaning policies to the wind if they win the election.

The NDP has been working hard to reassure Canadians its economic policies would be largely in line with those of the current government. The biggest change proposed by the NDP is to increase corporate taxes, although party officials said the planned rate, to be revealed in coming months, would be “reasonable.”
-  Actually, the NDP has been working hard to show Canadians that its economic policies would NOT be in line with those of the current government. The NDP plans to NOT waste money on more and bigger prisons (not needed as the crime rate has been steadily dropping), unnecessary/problematic/costly jets, corporate welfare, unaccountable missing $3.1 billion, and many other porky Conservative pies. NDP governments, on average, have a much better fiscal record than Conservatives.

Party officials said the NDP is looking for candidates with an economic background who could serve as ministers of finance or industry. The recent upswing in the polls could make that easier.
- It may well be that the NDP is looking for more candidates with economic backgrounds, but they already have a number of MPs with economic backgrounds. And unmentioned here is Erin Weir, who has been suggested as a potential Finance Minister.

While both parties want to replace the Conservatives, their partisans have been at one another’s throats. Last week, the Liberals suggested Mr. Mulcair’s flirtation with the Conservatives in 2007 undermined the NDP’s promises to clean up the environment.
- The G&M fails to mention that this has been debunked a number of times, including recently by some high-up Conservatives.
- And "undermined the NDP's promises to clean up the environment"? The facts on this story actually result in boosting the NDP's seriousness about cleaning up the environment. 

I'll leave you with a few choice comments made after the G&M news item (these are all in the top ten most liked comments, and from the G&M readers no less!):

Mr Leblanc's first paragraph is flawed, or the poll was flawed. The choice is not between "change" and "stability." It is between "change" and "no change." I certainly would neither call what our economy had gone through in the last year as anything approaching stability, nor would I call the government actions in domestic and foreign policy as stabilizing.

My wife and I are in the over 65 age group and for the first time ever will be voting NDP as we have seen never ending corruption with the Libs and Cons for way too many years. Many of our friends have also decided to vote NDP as it is clearly time to send a big message to all elected officials, the voters are fed up and will not take it anymore and you will be forced to understand this come the election.

choose between political stability and renewal,..........
Nope......It's choosing between getting a country back to sanity...or carrying on with the most corrupt, crooked, manipulative crew of PROVEN liars and cheats This country has ever been controlled by .....A government rife with contempt, disrespect.....There have never been so many from a political party involved in fraud, lies, election proceedings, and criminal investigations...ever.....
Duffy, Wallin, Brazeau, Porter, Grestein, Stewart/Olsen, Wright, LeBreton, PMO staff
A LONG list of crooks......
It's about voting OUT crooks and taking the nation back from the brink of fascism!!

the first sentence claims there is a choice between change and political stability. Huh? If the government loses an election in Canada, that does not mean there is less stability.
By the Globe's definition of that term..I guess North Korea has the most political stability of all.

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Posted on 8 July 2015 | 5:47 pm

BigCityLib Strikes Back

On The Theory Of The "Sleeping Electorate"

From ONW's Susanna Kelly:

Most people take two, perhaps three weeks vacation a year.

That means that for all the other summer weeks, they're back at work, starting the day as usual by listening to newscasts in their car during commutes, spending lots of time on their computers and Internet-rigged up (CHANGE) devices and chatting around the water cooler - just like they do the rest of the year.

On top of that, even if they are at the cottage, many of those same cottages have now been equipped with the Internet.

And there are fewer and fewer people who live in rural Canada, making their living by working the soil in relative isolation.

So the idea that many people haven't heard of, or heard much of, the Duffy trial is pretty unlikely.

It was the lead story on Internet, television and radio newscasts as well as on newspapers' front pages for many days.

And even if, as is the case with many in the electorate, they only remember the headlines, those very headlines have been very damaging.

I'm about half-ready to buy this.  Today's Forum poll suggest's that the Duffy trial has had a major negative effect on CPC numbers, though these are supposed to be the dog days.  But of course that's only Forum.  There will, however, be an EKOS poll tomorrow and Frank Graves is hinting at some pretty interesting results:

So there you have it.

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Posted on 27 August 2015 | 3:19 pm

Just Right

BC school curriculum - an overdose of aboriginal culture

Alongside the article on the "massive shift" in BC school curriculum (previous post) is a related article - Aboriginal perspectives help shape new B.C. school curriculum:
With the new curriculum comes one notable and significant shift ...

Not only will students in B.C. be learning about the history of residential schools, starting in Grade 5, but they will also have aboriginal perspectives embedded into all parts of the curriculum in what the government hopes will be a meaningful and authentic manner.
In the specific lessons about B.C.’s history, topics will include discrimination, inequality, oppression and the impacts of colonialism. The changes are part of the B.C. government’s response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report on the residential school system. [That was fast! Wasn't that report just published?]
Wonderful! A school system that wasted so much time, money and energy on the highly dubious notion that "self esteem" was a paramount consideration in educating students has now shifted in the opposite direction.  Now it is of paramount importance that students (at least the non-aboriginal ones) be indoctrinated with the equally dubious notion that they should feel guilty for their ancestors' supposed sins.  Perhaps for "progressives" that's progress.

I don't know how many aboriginal children attend BC public schools but those who do will be subjected to this curriculum.  What effect will such an unremittingly negative indoctrination on the "history of residential schools" have on their young, immature minds? Will it not reinforce a sense of victimhood?  Will it not make them feel bitter?  How will it affect their relationships with their fellow non-aboriginal students?

Then, how about the children of immigrants who had no role whatsoever in residential schools?  What will this indoctrination do to them?

Indoctrination (not "education") that induces feelings of guilt, victimhood, bitterness and God knows what other negative effects seems not just a little misguided.  This curriculum needs some serious re-thinking.

As for "having aboriginal perspectives embedded into all parts of the curriculum" -  why, other than to demonstrate "sensitivity" and, perhaps, boost aboriginal self-esteem?  Given the limited time available for more valuable learning, it is a massively unproductive exercise to subject everyone to an overdose of aboriginal culture. This stuff should be strictly optional for anyone who might have a "passion" for it.

First Nations Mathematics
Also discussed in the article is how the mathematics curriculum might embed learning about First Nations:
"... difficult to imagine how math ...  could have learning about First Nations embedded into its curriculum  ... building a canoe is a good example of how to think about it. ... Math ability has always been important for First Peoples.   ...There are some fantastic resources out of Haida Gwaii that show how math was embedded in the creation of a canoe ...
  Well, "math" in this sense has no doubt been important for all human beings at all stages of development.  It's not difficult to imagine that all humans, even at their most primitive stage, were capable of thinking logically about how to measure and compare quantities for various purposes.  How societies  throughout history actually thought about and used these capabilities would be part of the disciplines of "Cultural Anthropology" and  perhaps "History of Mathematics".

So the rather esoteric "Haida mathematics" of building a canoe should not be embedded in the "Mathematics" curriculum.  It would be a possibly interesting but probably confusing distraction that interferes with learning the modern mathematics necessary to survive and get ahead in the modern world. And suggesting that it is comparable with or relevant to the study of modern mathematical concepts is delusional.

While "First Nations mathematics" may be of great interest, even importance,  to aboriginals (for self esteem?) or historians or anthropologists, for everyone else it should be strictly optional. 

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Posted on 1 September 2015 | 1:15 am

Government Procurement Failure: BC Ministry of Education Case Study

Apologies for the lack of posts. I’ve been in business mode – both helping a number of organizations I’m proud of and working on my own business. For those interested in a frightening tale of inept procurement, poor judgement and downright dirty tactics when it comes to software procurement and government, there is a wonderfully […]

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Posted on 6 June 2014 | 5:46 am

Bold Colours

Arctic Apple Takes a Bite Out of Pseudo-Science

After years of research and extensive field testing, the Okanagan’s own GMO apple is going to the big leagues. Genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) are routinely attacked by urban organic activists in spite of the fact that not a single ailment has ever been linked to this technology. And now, as a testament to the baselessness of such attacks, […]

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Posted on 20 March 2015 | 5:08 pm

Accidental Deliberations

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Branko Milanovic answers Harry Frankfurt's attempt to treat inequality as merely an issue of absolute deprivation by reminding us how needs are inherently social:
“[Under necessities] I understand not only the commodities that are indispensable for the support of life, but whatever the custom of the country renders it indecent for creditable people, even of the lowest order, to be without.” (Book 5, Chapter 2)
Smith’s observation has far-reaching consequences. If our needs depend on what is socially acceptable, then they will clearly vary as between different societies. They will depend on the wealth of such societies or wealth of our peer groups. Consequently, our needs are (1) even in theory endless (because development has no material limit), and (2) they are thoroughly relative. We cannot distinguish between that part of the needs which is presumably due to ourselves, our “real” needs that, according to Professor Frankfurt, determine whether “[we] have good lives, and not how [our] lives compare with the lives of others” and the other part which is presumably due to the environment.

It is futile to try to distinguish between the two. We do not know what are our needs until we live in a society and observe the needs of others. So, pace Professor Frankfurt, we cannot just imagine that others do not exist as he enjoins us to do. All our needs are social.
- Meanwhile, John Rentoul reports on a new poll showing just how many social needs are going unmet in the UK, as two-thirds of people don't see themselves having any meaningful influence in shaping their own society. And Robyn Benson comments on the Cons' silencing of anybody who has anything to say beyond their own talking points.

- Guy Boulton discusses new research into the link between poverty and brain development. And Amy Traub points out that equal pay for women would go a long way toward reducing poverty in the U.S.

- Lobat Sadrehashemi, Peter Edelmann and Suzanne Baustad highlight how the Cons' rushed policy on refugees is designed to prevent valid claims from being fully assessed. And Dean Beeby takes a look at the Cons' costly broken promise of a database to track missing persons.

- Finally, Rick Salutin writes that whatever its end result, Donald Trump's presidential run should offer us a disturbing indication as to how anti-democratic leaders can use democratic systems to take power.

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Posted on 31 August 2015 | 1:38 pm

What Do I Know Grit

Happy Birthday Madiba

Nelson, the world needs more of you. We miss you kind sir. Happy Birthday!

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Posted on 18 July 2014 | 4:29 am

Small Dead Animals

"Organic" Is The Latin Word For "Grown In Pig Shit"

Genetic Literacy Project; To use land and derivative natural resources as sustainably as possible requires using the least input to produce the most food. So, how does organic farming stack up?...

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Posted on 24 February 2015 | 2:46 pm

Le blog politique de Claude Dupras

Une élection canadienne pas comme les autres

Le 19 octobre prochain, les Canadiens et Canadiennes sont appelés aux urnes pour choisir le prochain gouvernement de leur pays. Ce sera une journée importante pour l’unité canadienne et notre avenir.

Comment choisir parmi les partis qui briguent nos suffrages ? Par le positionnement politique qui correspond à leur raison d’être ou selon ce qu’ils nous proposent pour les quatre prochaines années ?

Jadis, si on était de droite, on pouvait choisir le Parti Conservateur (PC); de centre-gauche, le parti Libéral; de centre-droit le parti Progressiste-Conservateur avant que ce dernier soit monopolisé par la droite canadienne pour devenir le PC en 2003 et de gauche, le CCF devenu le Nouveau Parti Démocratique (NPD). Les environnementalistes votaient Vert. Quant aux séparatistes québécois, il y avait le Bloc Québécois pour se justifier de voter au fédéral.
Toujours, ou presque, l’électeur pouvait voter en fonction de ses critères personnels, politiques ou sociaux car les programmes politiques et les propositions qui en découlaient étaient clairement établis. Les clivages permettaient à l’électeur de choisir ce qu’il espérait que la société devienne.
Aujourd’hui, cet électeur réclame des actions politiques pragmatiques qui visent directement les problèmes du jour. Et pour ce faire, tous les partis ont recentré leurs politiques, par opportunisme ! Les discours ont changé et prendre le pouvoir avec une majorité de sièges à la Chambre des communes est devenu le seul but, la nécessité pour pouvoir agir. Il ne faut surtout pas afficher ses plus profondes convictions car elles peuvent éloigner l’électorat. Non, on s’adapte, on cherche à se faire aimer, on manipule les images et les illusions, on devient magicien politique.
Le NPD, si près du pouvoir, ne fait pas exception. Il ne veut prendre aucun risque de manquer son objectif qu’il a enfin à portée de main.  

Sous le leadership de Thomas Mulcair qui suit la ligne de son prédécesseur Jack Layton, le parti a bougé fortement vers le centre. Beaucoup trop, selon le président du caucus socialiste du NPD, Barry Weisleder qui s’inquiète de la tendance de son parti à oublier qu’il est celui des travailleurs et des organisations de travail au pays. 

Ce dernier réclame des actions et des politiques qui démontreront que le NPD est un parti de gauche. Il reproche à son chef de trop vouloir embrasser le capitalisme en promettant un budget équilibré tout en refusant de taxer les riches, les grandes entreprises et les banques pour financer de nouveaux programmes sociaux devant corriger les inégalités chez les Canadiens. Il affirme « les gens veulent du changement, mais pas le reniement de leurs espoirs et de leurs rêves ». Malheureusement, il va à contre-courant.
Mulcair veut justement changer l’image de « machine à dépenser » de son parti. Il demeure sensible aux besoins sociaux et veut agir. Mais, il sait que pour réaliser cela, il doit prendre le pouvoir et, pour ce faire, monopoliser le centre politique du débat en se montrant progressif, compétent et capable de diriger un gouvernement avec prudence.
Même le premier ministre (PM) Stephen Harper, le dur parmi les durs, demande aux Canadiens de lui faire confiance à nouveau. Il cherche à changer son image. Il veut faire oublier la ligne de droite de la droite qu’il a poursuivie sur les plans politiques, culturels et sociaux. Celle qui a tant déplu à un si grand nombre de Canadiens, dont les moins fortunés. Pour attirer des sympathies et gagner, il a fait voter des subventions importantes d’aide aux familles devant être remises durant la période électorale. Depuis, il se montre plus sensible, plus compréhensif, plus à l’écoute des Canadiens. Il cherche à faire oublier ses positions diplomatiques radicales et à sens unique comme en Palestine, en Iran, ses rebuffades répétées de plusieurs demandes raisonnables (plusieurs ne le sont pas), dont celle des armes, venant du Québec. Il courtise à fond les électeurs de centre. Il devient enfin plus sympathique pour plusieurs.
Quant à Justin Trudeau, le chef libéral, il joue la carte électorale normale de son parti mais son image souffre de sa jeunesse et de son inexpérience. En début de campagne, il paraissait ne pas être à la hauteur de la tâche de premier ministre. Depuis, selon un plan préétabli, il propose des politiques sensées, bien visées et il marque des points.
À l’élection de 2011, Jack Layton, chef du NPD, a été reconnu comme un homme de gauche très sympathique. Nonobstant une grave maladie qui l’affligeait, il a réussi l’impossible en faisant élire 59 députés au Québec, où il n’y en avait qu’un. Une comète aurait frappé la terre, que l’on n’aurait pas été plus surpris. Il avait axé sa campagne électorale sur les besoins de la « famille », mais c’est surtout par ses prestations uniques à des émissions télévisées, comme « Tout le monde en parle », qu’il a conquis, entre autres, le cœur des Québécois qui se sont levés spontanément pour aller en masse voter NPD afin de lui assurer leur confiance lui permettant ainsi de devenir chef de l’opposition officielle. Ce fut la plus grande victoire du commerce d’images et d’illusions au Québec de tous les temps.
Tous les chefs se rappellent ce grand balayage électoral. Ils en rêvent. Ils comprennent que leur principal défi est de marquer des points lors des débats télévisés des chefs. Ils reconnaissent toute l’importance de ces face-à-face sur le choix des électeurs et ne veulent pas, par conséquent, parler de droite ou de gauche.
Déjà, le premier débat a été révélateur. Ainsi, Trudeau, son image aidant, en a surpris plusieurs par son aplomb, sa connaissance des dossiers et ses réparties bien fondées. Dès le lendemain, les sondages reflétèrent sa bonne prestation et les observateurs avertis spéculaient déjà sur les chances du parti libéral qui remonta sensiblement dans les sondages. Mulcair, avec un air de chef d’État, a été clair, net et précis et a généralement bien fait. Les auditeurs ont compris pourquoi il a été qualifié par l’ex-PM Brian Mulroney : « meilleur chef de l’opposition de tous les temps ». De son côté, le PM Harper a aussi été correct mais j’ai eu l’impression qu’il n’était pas vraiment écouté. Quant au parti vert, n’ayant aucune chance de remporter la victoire, sa chef Élizabeth May a été vite oubliée. Le Bloc Québécois était absent car le débat était en langue anglaise.
Un facteur important de cette campagne électorale est sa longueur inhabituelle. Le double d’une normale. Les électeurs rentrent de vacances. Ils ont été distraits, ne s’intéressant que par de courts moments à la campagne, n’entendant que de bons ou mauvais échos ici et là. Sachant que l’élection est relativement loin, ils se sont plutôt préoccupés de leur famille, de leurs affaires personnelles et peu de la politique. L’intensité électorale s’accentuera peu à peu et de plus en plus rapidement. C’est un gros défi pour chaque parti car il doit se retrouver au top de sa popularité au bon moment. Pas avant et ni après. Il est fort probable que les favoris des sondages d’aujourd’hui se retrouvent dans une autre position en fin de campagne. Il faut donc que les stratèges, dont l’expertise sera de plus en plus recherchée, planifient la fin de la campagne pour placer leur parti en pole position au moment de l’attaque finale. La stratégie devient de prime importance dans cette élection car, à ce jour, on ne peut prédire le gagnant.
Claude Dupras

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Posted on 31 August 2015 | 3:17 pm

Mind of Dan

Bah Humbug!

Physicists who want to protect traditional Christmas realize that the only way to keep from changing Christmas is not to observe it.

(via xkcd)

That is all.

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Posted on 25 December 2014 | 12:12 am

Warren Kinsella

In which I have a journalist’s reaction to #elxn42

Sorry, but all the chirpy, sunny facile partisan tweet horseshit made me throw up, a bit. But I'm okay now. #elxn42 #cdnpoli — Warren Kinsella (@kinsellawarren) August 31, 2015

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Posted on 31 August 2015 | 6:54 pm