Puzzling Over the Quebec Student “Strike”

Par David T. Jones le 18 mai 2012

jones_david.jpgWashington,DC - Following the elements of Quebec’s student “strike” during the past 11 weeks has been somewhat equivalent to a TV mini-series, but while sputtering along, it leaves a Washington commentator with a number of observations.

First, it is really not over money.  The amount of tuition increase over five (or seven) years is trivial in real terms.  Variously, it was been characterized as a latte a day (or a bottle of designer water) in total price.  Rather it appears symbolic, even akin to the precursor-stimulus for theAmerican Revolutionary War of a tax on tea.

Gérald Larose et la marge la plus extrême. Partie 4 de 4

Par Pierre Brassard le 18 mai 2012

Un ami de très longue date de Gérald Larose, le défunt syndicaliste de la CSN Michel Chartrand (1916-2010), qui n’a jamais laissé planer ses doutes sur son petit catéchisme « antisioniste » a eu une influence significative sur Gérald Larose. Laissons les calembours populistes au personnage Chartrand, mais n’oublions pas les propos peu raisonnables qui nous éloignent substantiellement de son côté « humaniste chrétien », surtout quand il est question du Moyen-Orient. Revenons sur une déclaration que ne renieraient pas aujourd’hui les organisations palestiniennes extrémistes. 

Titanic, the Movie Sequel coming soon to Quebec

Par Boyd Crowder le 18 mai 2012

On the approaching 100th anniversary of the the sinking of the Titanic, the evocation of that event brings to mind a suitable metaphor for where we seem to be headed, as western societies in general, and  Quebec society in particular.
Look around and take stock at where we are.
Over 40% of Quebecers do not pay any income tax.
For the remaining 60% who do, what do we get for our hard earned money?

 

Equitable and Responsible: A proposal for proper public transit funding

Par Raymond Beshro le 18 mai 2012

The public consultation currently underway on the financing of public transit (PT) will draw out specialists on new methods and sources of funding, and will generate recommendations for the Transport Commission of the MMC (Montreal Metropolitan Community).  This article seeks to bring to the forefront the notions of equity and responsibility in the allocation of public funds, more specifically for the funding and development of West-bound PT projects.

The urgency for responsible authority. Pause if there is no cause

Par Beryl Wajsman le 18 mai 2012

 

IMG_1307.JPGThe story of the abuse and humiliation of Abiner Lema and Stacey-Ann Philip by Montreal police underlines once again how critical it is that this city achieve what I call for in the title to this piece. Responsible authority.

An end must be brought to the aggression demonstrated by too many of our security officials, whether police or STM guards. The stories come in on a weekly basis. Yes, I know it is a minority of our security personnel that step out of line. But that minority is in danger of growing into a plurality.

 

Those F-35s

Par David T. Jones le 18 mai 2012

There is one sure way to avoid controversy over cost overruns, misestimates, delivery failures and the like for major military equipment—or any significant item of goods or service.

Don’t buy them.
Otherwise, the exercise is problematic.  Attempting to get the best item at the best price with assured delivery schedules and guaranteed performance is fraught with difficulty and usually falls short in one or another particular.

 

Loving enemies: human dignity is ultimately indivisible

Par The Hon. David Kilgour le 18 mai 2012

The words of Jesus, “Love one another as I have loved you”, link explicitly love of God and love of neighbour. The two great commandments, found in both the New Testament and the Torah, complement each other. Similar thoughts are found in the holy books of probably all other spiritual communities, certainly including Tibetan Buddhism.

Le malaise de la France

Par Amb. Freddy Eytan le 18 mai 2012

Freddy_Eytan.JPGLa sauvage tuerie de Toulouse ne peut être oubliée, elle sera longtemps ancrée dans tous les esprits en France comme en Israël. Hélas, labarbarie qui a frappé  la "ville rose" s’inscrira dans une page sombre etpeu glorieuse de la  République. Loin d’être un fait divers local oucommunautaire, la tragédie de Toulouse a franchi les frontières de l’Hexagone. Elle s'inscrit dans une vague anti-juive et anti-israéliennequi se propage à travers les continents. L'Europe des islamistesredevient le berceau de la haine du peuple élu.

There's Hope, It’s Not Over Yet: French Voters Look To Crucial Post-Presidential Legislative Vote

Par Julien Balkany le 18 mai 2012

balkany.JPGFrench voters expressed themselves at the polls democratically choosing alternation in electing Francois Hollande as President. With only the second Socialist Party president in French history, France risks once again experiencing the errors and hesitations of Socialist power at the helm. The U-turn of the last Socialist President, Francois Mitterrand, from socialist economic policy to one of austerity comes to mind.
Even prior to taking office Hollande explained in a media appearance that the fiscal state of the nation is worse than previously thought – a convenient position from which to perhaps prepare French voters for a letdown on the costly promised state spending that formed the cornerstone of his campaign.

China and the West: An Uncomfortable Connection

Par The Hon. David Kilgour le 18 mai 2012

china_west.JPGI admire the people of China greatly, including their often heroic protests against acts of misfeasance by their government. To his credit, the outgoing premier, Wen Jiabao, has spoken often about the necessity for democratic reform. He recently had a major role in blocking the advance of Bo Xilai to the nine-member Standing Committee of the Communist Party. Bo and his mentor, former President Jiang Zemin, have been among the worst offenders in the ongoing persecution of the Falun Gong movement since July, 1999.  Bo has been removed from his  posts and his wife, Gu Kailai, is under investigation concerning the murder of a British citizen. The next to go will hopefully be Zhou Yongkang, the Party head of security, who worked closely with Zemin and Bo in the persecution of Falun Gong.

The Future of Syria

Par Rouba al-Fattal le 18 mai 2012

Al-Fatal_Ruba.jpgIn February the Russia Federation and the People’s Republic of China lay their cards on the table. They vetoed a UN Security Council draft resolution on the Arab League’s Plan for resolving the Syrian crisis which calls for President Bashar al-Assad to hand power to his vice-president, proposes the formation of a unity government,and holding free parliamentary elections within two months. Both China and Russia are putting their money on Mr. Assad, betting that he can overcome both the political opposition movement and growing rebel forces spreading across his country if he is given enough time.

Gems from the 2012 Budget

Par Robert Presser le 18 mai 2012

piggy_bank.jpgSo far, Canadians are an easy lot to distract.  The big budget lead item was the gradual increase in the age of eligibility for Old Age Security (OAS) and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) from 65 to 67 by 2023.  The provinces accused the federal government of downloading since their governments will step in to support those seniors who cannot afford to lose the extra two years of federal payments. Ageing baby-boomers were upset by the change, since most had taken retirement support at 65 as an unchangeable right regardless of the fiscal ability of the government to support it.

Too frail to fail: a look at seniors' residence failures

Par Robert Frank le 18 mai 2012

 

Frank_Robert.JPGBusinesses fail all the time. It’s called creative destruction, and it’s one of the things that North America responds to exceedingly well. That makes our economy more dynamic than Europe, where bankruptcy is still thought of as a moral failure, the way that adultery is thought of here.

In contrast, North American insolvency is usually a stigma-free way to liberate capital. It lets those who have gone bankrupt quickly pick up the pieces and move on.

 

Greece again?

Par Robert Elman le 18 mai 2012

It has been two years and a snit, since I wrote about Greece, and the rest of the PIIGS.
Well it’s difficult to leave well enough alone.

Question: How can a five foot 7 inch Greek exit from a six ft deep hole that is built on quicksand? Answer: You can’t.

This hole with quicksand is the Greek living under the austerity rules of the ECB

Madeleine Parent

Par Alan Hustak le 18 mai 2012

parent.jpegMadeleine Parent was a diminutive but fearless union organizer, labour leader and community activist who devoted her life to improving the cause of working women and to the creation of uniquely Canadian labour unions. Parent, who was 93 when she died March 12 helped to create the Candian Textile and Chemical Workers Union, organized women in Ontario, was active in the Féderation des femmes du Québec, fought for abortion on demand in the 1950s, and championed the rights of aboriginal women.

Bring back garbage!

Par Mischa Popoff le 18 mai 2012

Until someone proves that sorting trash into recyclables and compostables actually helps my family, my community, or society at large, I am no longer doing it. You heard right. I’m bringing back garbage!

Remember when it wasn’t an indictable offence to throw things away? Trash all went into a bin and the garbage man took it all away to the landfill. Why did this stop? Has anyone done a cost/benefit analysis on the various forms of recycling and composting we’re forced to adhere to?

 

Honest talk and mutual respect can make our health services tolerable

Par Rouba al-Fattal le 18 mai 2012

Having spent the last five years in Belgium doing doctoral research before returning to Quebec, I did not realize that going to the doctor nowadays is as challenging as going camping. As I was waiting in my silence for three hours, looking around me at the grim faces of the other tired expectant mothers, I could not help but think about how the natives of this country must have waited for hours to see the only doctor in the village.

Neil McKenty 1924-2012: broadcaster, author, and former Jesuit.

Par Alan Hustak le 18 mai 2012

neil_mckenty.pngThe irreverent Jesuit who left the priesthood and went on to become the cornerstone of Montreal talk radio died Saturday morning at the age of 87. During his 14 years as a CJAD telephone talk show host in the 70’s and 80’s he brought a degree of  civility to  the charged political atmosphere  in province after the election of the Parti Quebecois in 1976, and in the referendum that followed.  In its heyday, his program, Exchange, attracted as many as 85,000 listeners or more than a quarter of the city’s English-speaking audience.

Oz Bijoux: Cherchez la Femme

Par Louise V. Labrecque le 18 mai 2012

oz_bijoux.jpgC’est l’histoire d’une petite bijouterie de quartier. Le spectacle quotidien des commerçants, celui des gens de la rue.  J’écris cet article par solidarité à tous les artistes, qui travaillent durement, et souvent sans reconnaissance digne de ce nom.  Le printemps est revenu sur Saint-Denis.  Une rue pas comme les autres. Nous sommes à Montréal.  Le parfum des lilas n’a pas encore envahi la ville. Mais ça s’en vient… 


The Rif Lover/L’Amante Du Rif

Par Robert K. Stephen le 18 mai 2012

rif.jpgGreat films take a bit of time to digest and I am still digesting“The RIF Lover” (Amante du Rif) a Moroccan/Belgium/French production shot in Morocco in the RIF mountain range. The impression left by director Narjiss Nejjar is a rich portrait ofMorocco desperately trying to escape from an anti-feminist, tribal and patriarchal society with a nasty undercut  of Muslim fundamentalism way far off in the edge of the film. Thedisapproving burka clad women appearing in the early stages of the film like a ghost shaking her head disapprovingly at the behaviour of Aya and her best friend Raida dancing to ”western” music must be a comment by director Nejjar. We also hear riffs of Bizet’s Carmen from a video that Aya watches in a transfixed state. A hint of an impending tragedy?


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