Tag Archives: Canadian politics

Is French language instruction a “sacred cow” in BC schools?


The MoE has sparked some outrage with a document that seems to propose allowing children to choose to learn a second language other than French in BC public education, but is this really a big deal?

First of all, if our current practice of requiring children to take French classes is kid-focused-that is, truly in the best interest of kids–then I’m all for it. One hundred and ten percent. But, if the practice is more rooted in tradition, and not necessarily for the benefit of children, then it’s worth a look. Continue reading

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Filed under BC politics, Canadian politics, Education

Will Pender Harbour drag democracy out of the dump?

In a surprise move the SCRD has at least granted a stay of execution for Pender’s beloved dump, in the form of endorsing the principle of a referendum on the hot issue. Just when it was widely felt that the decision to close it had been made, the directors deferred the decision, directing staff to prepare information regarding the possibility of a referendum.

Which isn’t to say there will be a referendum, but it’s nice to see they are considering the option of finding out what the people actually want. It will be an interesting process and just the concept raises a multitude of questions for me. If they hold a referendum, who will be allowed to vote? Will the results be binding?

Very exciting!

There is some good reading on the subject on the Pender Harbour forum. Did you know they had one of those? Turns out they’re actually more “evolved” than the rest of us. Technologically speaking, at least.

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Filed under Sunshine Coast News and Politics

Sortuvocracy and the HST : protecting the Government from the will of the People.

The process of implementing the HST in BC continues to illuminate my long standing arguments about why people have lost faith in our system of government.

I have already written about the democraticness of introducing the new tax weeks after campaigning on a platform of no new taxes, but the Recall and Initiatives Act is an even better example of the safeguards in place to shield governments from having to represent the people.

 The Zalmer’s initiative to repeal the HST under the Act is a noble gesture that is doomed to failure. Not because there aren’t enough people who passionately hate the new tax. Not because the drive won’t be well-organized. Not because of a lack of volunteers. The initiative will fail because even if the canvassers somehow collect enough signatures under the incredibly stringent guidelines, the government DOESN’T HAVE TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT! That’s right. Even if every single person in BC signed the petition, the government would not have to repeal the hated new tax! The Recall and Initiatives Act is specially formulated to ensure that, ultimately, the ruling government can not be forced to represent its people.

How’s that for democracy? The funny thing is that the ACT is a groundbreaking and revolutionary tool of modern democracy. Before its inception in 1994 we didn’t even have a pretend process for people led initiatives! Now at least we have that.

I just don’t get why we cling–like a monkey to her dead baby–to the label of Democracy, when we so clearly don’t have one. Maybe a true democratic system isn’t currently possible, but who decided that all you have to do is hold the odd election in order to use the title? Now anyone who has an election gets to call itself a Democracy. It’s ludicrous. Pericles and Cleisthenes would be all hella trippin on these noobs if they were up in these times.

I see almost no connection between a democracy, in which citizens debate issues and make decisions, and our current system, in which decisions are made by one party or the other. The best we can hope for is a change of oligarchies every few years. Are we cool with that?

And don’t tell me that adding the qualifier “representative” before democracy makes it OK. That’s an even bigger insult, as it implies, well, representation. “Representation” means doing something on behalf of someone, not to someone. The HST debacle illustrates this beautifully. The vast majority of citizens clearly oppose the HST. So who is being represented in its implementation?

I’m not calling for true democracy over night. I’m just saying let’s call a spade a spade.

Either change the system or change the name.

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Filed under Canadian politics, Random, yet deep, thoughts

Proroguing: A big deal?

No, we haven’t figured out a way to prorogue the Board of Education.

There has been a huge uproar over Harper’s proroguing of parliament this time, which is great, but I’m wondering why the use of this archaic tool has caught people’s attention, when it seems like so many other things don’t.

I love to see a group of Canadians coming together and demanding accountability from their “representatives”, but let’s be honest here : Do you actually know when parliament is in session? Do you know what’s happening in parliament on any given day? Do you pay attention to what happens in parliament when they are in session?

I’m not saying there’s not a legitimate beef here. What I am saying is I wish people would pay this much attention to the actual workings of government. You get screwed much less politely than this on a daily basis, if it’s Democracy you’re fighting for.

Because the reality is that the effectiveness of parliament is only very slightly modified when there is no one there. It’s not even clear whether or not this minor impact is negative. Like it or not, parliament has become a farcical (and expensive) shell of what it was once supposed to be : a place where elected officials debate issues and introduce and vote on legislation on behalf of their constituents. Continue reading

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Filed under Canadian politics