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July 29, 2009

A Reversal of Tolerance - Part 1

Disclaimer: I am a Canadian born white male, married into a visible minority family. I consider myself very open minded and non-racist; however, I do have opinions - some of which may be interpreted as racist and/or prejudice. These opinions are my own, and I welcome any feedback as long as it remains civil.

As recently as 20-30 years ago in North America, racism and prejudice were alive and well. It was normal. People were ok with it (well, visible majorities were anyway) and governments looked the other way.

It was a tolerance of the intolerable.

Today, while not totally eradicated, it is now illegal and socially unacceptable to treat a person differently because of the colour of their skin. In fact, it has become unacceptable to a point of going out of ones way to not be accused of racism. We hire visible minorities solely because of the colour of their skin. We make exceptions to laws to accommodate varying cultural and religious beliefs, often to the absurd extreme. In many cases, people are infuriated by this, and governments are proceeding blindly.

The tolerance is becoming intolerable.


Canada is a nation of immigrants. 96% of us are not considered aboriginal. This means we have done nothing but adapt, change and accomodate from day one. So to some extent, not only should be accept this as the truth, but embrace it as what makes Canada truly unique.

Having said that, we are a sovereign nation. Our traditions, cultures and laws must be respected. Change can and will happen, but it must be fair to all, and not to benefit any one race, culture, sex or religion.

In the next several entries I will be discussing examples of where we (society, governments or individuals) demanded our rights, often at the expense of common sense. At the end of each example, I'll include my personal opinion. (Hey, it's my blog...)



White males need not apply
In the early to mid-90's, the Province of Ontario had the NDP party in office, with Bob Rae as Premier.
During this time, some unusual hiring practises were put into place designed at increasing the number of visible minorities, women and disabled employees within the government's employees, otherwise known as affirmative action, or more commonly known as "White males need not apply".

Interestingly, the Federal government had a similar policy in place in 2005-2006:
"All persons recruited externally must be from designated groups (persons who are visible minorities, aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities and women), except for cases having received ADM/CEO written approval."
Some people may justify this as "reverse discrimination", which is simply ignorant. Discrimination is discrimination.

During the first days of President Obama's administration there was a controversy surrounding a similar issue. Robert Reich, a top economic adviser to Obama, stated in a speech:

"I am concerned, as I'm sure many of you are, that these jobs not simply go to high skilled people who are already professionals or to white male construction workers...

... I have nothing against white male construction workers, I'm just saying there are a lot of other people who have needs as well. There are ways in which the money can be, criteria can be set so the money does go to others, the long term unemployed, minorities, women... "
It seemed the more Mr. Reich attempted to clarify his statement, the further he dug himself into a hole. You decide what he really meant. If nothing else, this is proof that the issue is still a sensitive one.

My opinion: While I certainly support equality between race, sex and culture, there was (is?) a clear misrepresentation of the public working within the government. I am all for putting policies, procedures and controls into place to prevent this from happening in the future. This is by no means a simple task, and I'm glad I'm not charged with it's ownership; however, we cannot change history, only learn from it. Discrimination against a majority is no less a crime than against a minority.

Go on - your turn.


Coming in Part 2...
Can there be anything more sacred to Canadians than the uniform of the RCMP? The entire world identifies us with that red uniform. Even Monty Python poked fun at it!

July 13, 2009

Darwin was watching this one closely...


Omg Jill. idk where i am now. it’s 2 dark 2 C. I thk I fell :(

(Feel free to substitute "texting" for "crackberry-ing", "ipod-ing")

You know those people who bump into you on the sidewalk, or suddenly stop and you walk into them? Those drivers you see crossing over the yellow line, only to swerve back... and you notice them texting?

How important can a conversation be? You're on a cell phone typing to someone. Unless it's a two second "I'll be there in 5", why not CALL THEM? You have a phone in your hand!!

So here's a story about the latest moron to get her 15 minutes of fame. Not only did she do something extraordinarily stupid while engrossed in a text conversation, her parents are suing!! God Bless America!!

Moron.

July 6, 2009

Is Universal Health Care a good thing?

Here in Canada we like to brag about our health care system, and we seem to get a lot of praise from around the world as well. The movie Sicko makes it look like the perfect system... completely free for all necessary medical procedures.

What stories like this don't get into are the politics behind the health care system. Here in Ontario, the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) will only reimburse doctors for tests they (OHIP) deem relevant to the symptoms. This means that many ailments that are less common, or are masked behind conflicting/confusing symptoms may not be caught in time, or at all.

Additionally, every Canadian (certainly all of those I speak to) have a story of an incredulous wait time for a given procedure. Thankfully, I haven't experienced any serious illnesses in my family requiring immediate care, but I have heard the stories from close friends.

A recent story on CNN highlights, for the first time that I've seen, the negative side of Universal Health Care. There's a bit of he said, she said in this story, but lets just say, the numbers quoted didn't shock me. And that is sad.

My wife has been treated twice in foreign countries where health care isn't free, neither was a serious matter, and required only an exam and minor prescription:

The first was in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and we expected a scary third world hospital. What we received was top-notch health care in a facility that looked more like a high end hotel than a hospital. 15 minute wait, 30 minute exam, 5 minute discharge. Total cost, CDN$183. Yes, this is a lot of money for the locals and it was a private hospital. Still... $183!!!

The second was in South Carolina, and we expected a bill of several hundred, but no... US$200. Total time was about 1.5 hours.

In both of these cases, the cost in Ontario for similar treatment would be $0. And that's great. However, I can assure you the wait time would be significantly more... in the area of 8-12 hours per visit. Is this reasonable? In my opinion, no... not as a normally expected wait time. Holidays, weather and major incidents (diseases, major accidents) will always mess up an ER schedule. But the norm??

In Ontario I have never been in and out of ER in less than 8 hours. Never.