Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Québec considers lowering voting age to 16?

Recent news is suggesting that Québec Premier Pauline Marois is intrigued with the thought of extending voting rights to 16 and 17 year olds.  -CTV STORY HERE-

Québec's first minister was in Scotland recently, where a vote on independence will take place in 2014.  Scotland will be allowing 16 and 17 year old citizens to vote in a referendum on separation.  There are many who consider the PQ's popularity among the youth of Québec to be strong, I am one of them, so extending voting rights to a younger demographic certainly makes sense in that light.

But what about the rest of our democracy?  Should our political parties consider giving high school students a say in more than just voting during a Québec referendum, but in other elections as well?

Teenagers voting???  Gimme a....wait a minute, this makes sense.

Think about it.  All you basically need to vote in Canada is a birth certificate saying you're over 18 and a pulse, that's pretty much it.  It doesn't matter if you can't name even  three of Canada's ten provinces, or if you think the Prime Minister of our country is George Washington Lincoln Gretzky, here's a ballot go mark your X. 

Why shouldn't older teenagers be given a say in determining Canada's future, be it at the federal, provincial, regional, or municipal level...oh yeah, let's not forget school boards.  Damn this country is so over governed.

If a 90 year old who is likely departing this world in the next few years has the legal right to vote, why not someone who in all likelihood will be contributing to Canadian society for the next fifty years or more?

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Silent no more on 'Idle No More'

I haven't written anything on the 'Idle No More' movement yet, not because I haven't been following it, but becaue the issues at stake are incredibly complex and answers are anything but easy.

We're talking about treaty rights here of course, treaties that were signed back when Canada was in its infancy.  Obviously the world has changed a lot in the past hundred plus years.

I have to admit having a bit of a problem with individuals being assigned rights based on things such as race.  I keep thinking about that old saw about all people being created equal and how we should all be treated in the same fashion before the law.

Canada's Supreme court recently opened a can of worms, creating the possibility that Métis and other non-status Indians may be accorded rights under our Indian rights act.  Something some status Indians are opposed to, fearing they'll be forced to share limited government sfunding earmarked for native programs. 

Welcome to enlightened Canada, where your rights as a citizen can in some cases be determined by race.  Am I living in the twenty first century or nineteenth?

Some might argue I'm talking about assimilation, and perhaps I am.  I'm generally in favour of all races and all groups living in harmony with one another.  The result is a new culture that takes elements from all peoples.  Obviously when groups come together, no one culture remains intact, there is evolution and progression.

The `Idle no more' movement has had more than its fifteen minutes of fame and is quickly being relegated to the back pages of our newspapers.  Maybe its time to replace it with a discussion about bringing all Canadians together and ensuring equality of at least oppourtunity for all citizens. 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Canada's prison plans - Following a failed US example?

It has fallen off the radar of late, our current government's plan to increase Canada's prison population by expanding the prison system.  Capacity is being increased substantially while laws have been changed to ensure more people are incarcerated and for longer periods of time.

Much of this happened without much in the way of debate or discussion, due to the Conservative majority win in our most recent election. 

Given our current Prime Minister's seeming love for all things American, I read with interest a recent article published in the Jan/Feb edition of The Saturday Evening Post:  Jailhouse Blues.

The article makes the point that the United States represents five per cent of the world's population yet houses twenty five per cent of the planet's prisoners.

Is this a model we're looking to follow?  Obviously Canadians have concerns about law and order, and we want our communities kept safe.  That obviously means removing certain members from the overall society.  But are we interested in returning rehabilitated individuals to society, or merely looking to warehouse people until they're released, giving them little hope of succeeding on the outside?

The issue is obviously complex, and almost certainly without a perfect solution.  But incarcerating offenders is expensive, whether they be violent or non-violent offenders. 

Given that our federal government is running large deficits year after year this is likely a discussion worth having.  For fiscal conservatives such as myself I'm not thrilled when I see hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars being spent to further an agenda based on what may very well be flawed reasoning. 

Check the article out and share your comments. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Jodie Foster facing lawsuit for Honey Boo Boo remarks?

Unconfirmed, unsubstantiated and fabricated rumours eminating from this source are indicating a lawsuit by the handlers of reality TV star Honey Boo may be launched against Jodie Foster in the wake of her acceptance speech at the Golden Globe Awards Monday night.

In accepting the Cecil B. Demille award Foster said in part:

''You know, you guys might be surprised, but I am not Honey Boo Boo Child. No, I'm sorry, that's just not me. It never was and it never will be. Please don't cry because my reality show would be so boring. I would have to make out with Marion Cotillard or I'd have to spank Daniel Craig's bottom just to stay on the air. It's not bad work if you can get it, though."

Concocted members of the Honey Boo Boo camp are said to be up in arms and furious over the use of reality TV star Alana Thompson's nickname.

''Where does this Foster woman get off using Honey's name in her speech? Yer dang right Jodie Foster ain't no Honey Boo Boo. Jodie don't have half of Boo Boo's talent and those things about making out with another woman and spanking some guy, well that's just plain rude and if she's gonna dis Honey like that there, then she better watch her back...and her wallet.''

Further unconfirmed, unsubstantiated and fabrictated rumours have Foster's people considering an offer of pork rinds to mollify the Boo Boo camp.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Bilbo tops Jean Valjean in holiday movies

Every Christmas there's an envelope on the tree with a gift card to attend the movies from my father, this year was no different.  And my children also gave my wife and I passes to attend a film.  It wasn't hard picking the two movies we'd watch during our visit to the Toronto area.  We opted for Les Miserables and The Hobbit.

Les Miz was an easy choice,I've seen the stage play three times in Toronto and watched the anniversary shows countless times on line.  I love the story and the music, and the stage production is absolutely awesome.  The most recent film version though?  Not so much.

Adapting a stage play to the screen obviously presents challenges, and while I don't think it could be done better, I have my doubts that it should have been done at all.  The singing is good, Hugh Jackman will probably not give up his acting career for a go behind the mic, but he does the music justice.  Anne Hathaway is even better, her acting and emotion while singing as Fontine is spine tingling.  Even Russel Crowe does the role of Javert credit.

But this is a stage production, it was not written for the big screen.  I've seen other film adaptations of Victor Hugo's epic novel which surpass this most recent effort.  If you ever have the chance to see Les Miserables on stage, definitely go.  If the film is the only chance you'll have, then its a distant second choice.

As for The Hobbit, no complaints at all.  Well, maybe one.  Peter Jackson is obviously milking this franchise,  stretching this story out to capitalize on three films when one would likely suffice.  But that's a small complaint, I'm already looking forward to seeing the remainder of Frodo's adventure.

Valjean's epic strength would no doubt overpower that of a diminutive Hobbit, but when it comes to which film