Sunday, January 28, 2024

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Today's News: an imaginary bouncy castle of 20-20 hindsight

Very disappointing to see a Federal Court judge, Justice Richard Mosely, create an imaginary rewrite of history to conclude that Ottawa really hadn't needed to invoke the Emergencies Act against the freedum convoy protests and blockades in February 2022.
Instead, he argues, Trudeau could have constructed an imaginary bouncy castle of police forces magically enforcing provincial laws to save Ottawa's sanity, rescue Canadian trade, and blunt the Convoy fundraising momentum without being mean or upsetting anyone. 
So rude, you know!
Political scientist Emmett MacFarlane describes the ruling as A Dubious Judgement on the Emergencies Act:
In a ruling sure to be appealed, a Federal Court judge has deemed the federal government’s invocation of the Emergencies Act (EA) during the so-called “Freedom Convoy” protests unlawful and found that the measures employed under it violated the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Because the decision primarily concerned the decision to invoke the EA (rather than the constitutionality of any provisions of the EA itself), the Court’s job was to assess the reasonableness of the decision “with deference owed to the decision maker and its specialized expertise” (para. 202). The judge, however, ends up not so much reviewing the reasonableness of the decision in light of the circumstances facing the government so much as undertaking a total reappraisal, with the judge substituting his judgment for that of the government’s, with little to no deference to be found.
...the EA does not require that federal government to spend time on the metaphysical questions posed by multi-versal ponderings of the imagined parallel universe where Doug Ford took governance and public safety seriously, before they decided to address the national emergency at hand with the last resort tool they had available - a tool, mind you, that worked to finally end the occupation. As I wrote at the time: “The POEC demonstrated what was already clear to those of us who followed the convoy protests themselves: the police were either unable or unwilling to act. It doesn’t matter, frankly, what existing laws might or should have been able to deal with: they did not, and therefore could not handle the occupation of the country’s capital.”
... Judge Mosley concludes instead that “There appears to be have been no obstacle to assembling the large number of police officers from a variety of other forces ultimately required to assist the OPS to remove the blockade participants (para. 250).” I suppose we’re expected to believe it was mere coincidence that blockade participants did not end their siege until the EA was invoked, and the few tools enacted under it were implemented...
In summary: Actually, I would argue the Canada-wide emergency in February 2022 that justified the Emergencies Act wasn't the mess on the Ottawa streets, but rather the impact of border blockages on Canadian business. 
The Ottawa honk-honk was mainly a local problem, though it was so badly mishandled by both civic and provincial authorities that it became a national embarrassment. But the primary national problem with the protest was the continuing threat to cross-border trade, to the point that Canadian manufacturing and auto industries would move to the United States unless Canada was willing to take swift and fierce action to guarantee that a random bunch of bearded yahoos would be shut down and would not be able to threaten the cross-border trade economy. 
Yeah, I know - the story now is how the border blockades were already dismantled before the Emergencies Act was introduced. But what we heard at the time was about how more trucks and farm equipment was on the way to border crossings across the country. Only the Emergencies Act gave RCMP the immediate authority to turn the tide, to stop convoys before they reached the borders, and to disrupt their financing. 
Basically, when Alberta Farmer Dad heard that his tractor and combine could actually be confiscated, the phone call went out real quick "Son, you've had your fun but it's time to come home! Now!"

Sunday, January 21, 2024

Today's News: Prairie Harm Reduction - "It's about keeping people alive"

It has taken years for Canadians to understand the concept of harm reduction - which means everything from sunscreen to seatbelts, not just safe injection sites and naloxone - but Canadians generally "get it" now. 
The federal government's Canadian drugs and substances strategy describes harm reduction as 
 an evidence-based, public health approach that aims to reduce the negative health, social, and economic impacts of substance use related harms, without requiring or promoting abstinence. 
The National Harm Reduction Coalition in New York outlines harm reduction this way: 
Harm reduction is a set of practical strategies and ideas aimed at reducing negative consequences associated with drug use. Harm Reduction is also a movement for social justice built on a belief in, and respect for, the rights of people who use drugs. 
Seems pretty straightforward to me -- but conservative governments just refuse to grasp it. 
They appear to think that shaming and blaming and punishment will get people off drugs, and anyone who can't or won't go cold turkey is just worthless scum who aren't worth worrying about.
Now the Sask Party has done it again. They decided they just had to stop funding pipes and needles for people addicted to drugs because, well, EWEUUUU! DRUGS! 
And Saskatoon's Prairie Harm Reduction is leading the fight against this short-sighted and mean policy change:
Many experts disagree with such restrictions, arguing that adding barriers to sterile needle access can lead to increased rates of blood-borne illness and HIV transmission.
"You know, it's not about funding illicit drug use, it's about keeping people alive. And in this province, we already have the highest rates of HIV transmission in Canada," said Prairie Harm Reduction director Kayla Demong.
"The very little control we're able to keep on this situation, it's just going to explode. And it is directly related to our homeless population, our Indigenous people of this province, and people that aren't welcome anywhere else," Demong said.

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Well, isn't this just ducky? Now Iran and Pakistan are verging on war

Whoa-jeez, this is getting dangerous:
Meanwhile, Canada's Loyal Opposition is still shit-posting about Trudeau's vacation.

Friday, January 12, 2024

The cry of the Cu-cu-cu bird!

From across the Prairies we hear the mournful cry of the Cu-cu-cu bird...."Cu-cu-cu-Christ, its cu-cu-cu-cold here!"

Oh well -- we had a great fall here, and a green Christmas, so of course the weather gods are making us pay for it now. 
Tomorrow's daytime temperature here will be 35 below! Needless to say, we won't be going out anywhere.

  This is pretty outstanding:
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Here are some words of wisdom: From Brittlestar -
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and from Gurdeep -
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...When the door had closed on the last of them and the chink of the lanterns had died away, Mole and Rat kicked the fire up, drew their chairs in, brewed themselves a last nightcap of mulled ale, and discussed the events of the long day. At last the Rat, with a tremendous yawn, said, "Mole, old chap, I'm ready to drop. Sleepy is simply not the word. That your own bunk over on that side? Very well, then, I'll take this. What a ripping little house this is! Everything so handy!"
He clambered into his bunk and rolled himself well up in the blankets, and slumber gathered him forthwith, as a swathe of barley is folded into the arms of the reaping machine.
The weary Mole also was glad to turn in without delay, and soon had his head on his pillow, in great joy and contentment. But ere he closed his eyes he let them wander round his old room, mellow in the glow of the firelight that played or rested on familiar and friendly things which had long been unconsciously a part of him, and now smilingly received him back, without rancour. He was now in just the frame of mind that the tactful Rat had quietly worked to bring about in him. He saw clearly how plain and simple—how narrow, even—it all was; but clearly, too, how much it all meant to him, and the special value of some such anchorage in one's existence. He did not at all want to abandon the new life and its splendid spaces, to turn his back on sun and air and all they offered him and creep home and stay there; the upper world was all too strong, it called to him still, even down there, and he knew he must return to the larger stage. But it was good to think he had this to come back to, this place which was all his own, these things which were so glad to see him again and could always be counted upon for the same simple welcome.

Tuesday, January 09, 2024

Writings about the Israel-Hamas War

First, Paul Wells has an interesting article out tonight about how police are dealing with the pro-Palestinian protests: The police won't make your point Notes on a 20-year revolution in police handling of protests. Spoiler: you probably won't like it. Wells covers a lot of history here, from Selma to anti-globalization to the Freedom Convoy to today's pro-Palestinian sit-ins. He concludes:
...To me it’s highly contradictory to argue the police were too rough on the Freedom Convoy protesters, who had the run of downtown Ottawa for most of a month, and too gentle on the pro-Palestine protesters who’ve rather thuggishly decided to make their point in a Toronto neighbourhood whose only distinguishing feature is that a bunch of Jews live there. But I know people who can navigate that contradiction without difficulty.
What I hope we can all agree is that police forces are not better equipped than the rest of us to make fine distinctions between protest groups based on values, but quite the contrary. Police forces are not precision instruments. They have learned, through long experience over three turbulent decades, that they have a broad choice to make: repress protests through implied or real force and escalation, or help protesters make their point and, at some point, go home. The latter strategy is no fun to watch. The former is often way worse.

Thursday, January 04, 2024

Bring on the crazy!

I'm seeing some crazy stuff tonight on the social.
Like this: At least Canadians are enjoying this: Here's some more crazy stuff :

Monday, January 01, 2024

Happy New Year!


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