Lesson #75: On Racism, Bill 60, the Senate, and Stephen Harper

Today’s JuicyLesson deals with a variety of subjects. For those of you who haven’t had the chance of perusing today’s Gazette, I offer the following for your enrichment, hopefully.

First, there is the incident described in the excellent and very poignant video above concerning an incident of racist vandalism which apparently occurred overnight in Pointe-St.-Charles. The following article goes with the video:

MONTREAL – A brilliantly coloured mural that brightens a corner of Point-St-Charles was defaced overnight Monday to Tuesday in what locals are calling an act of racism.

Someone painted over the face and hands of a 16-foot-tall black woman depicted in the 400-square-metre work of art, at the corner of Knox and Hibernia Streets.

Her face and hands were painted white, very meticulously. No other vandalism was done.

“Whoever did this was very careful to stay within the lines,” said local artist Marco Silvestro.

The mural, which celebrates diversity and inner-city living, was painted by local artists on the wall that supports the Canadian National train tracks that bisect the neighbourhood in the Sud-Ouest borough.

“This mural represents the past and the future of the Point, the multicultural nature of the neighbourhood,” Silvestro said.

In all, 160 people created the mural over the summer. It shows the area’s first aboriginal residents, the all-important factories and industries that have sustained its residents over generations, the trains, some recent elements like community gardens, and children and adults of many colours and ethnicities, playing music, laughing and intermingling.

Silvestro said it took three months to complete the mural, and that all residents were encouraged to submit their ideas and apply their skills to the huge concrete canvas.

In the coming days, once they can find the right products and paints, the vandalism will be cleaned up and the woman’s face and hands restored.

“We want it known that we clearly denounce this act of racism against black people in a work of art that represents the solidarity of the community in Point-St-Charles,” Silvestro said.


© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette

Next we have this regarding the horrid Bill 60, Quebec’s so-called Charter of Values.

First, some non-bullshit remarks from Jerryville,

This article attacks the MUHC for its failure to take a strong anti-charter stance like that assumed by the Jewish General Hospital, the English Montreal School Board (EMSB) and the municipality of Hampstead which institutions have all roundly condemned this document as well as declaring, in no uncertain terms, that they will not obey the terms of this charter if it ever becomes law, which it won’t and these institutions are well aware of that. (How’s that for a stream of consciousness sentence?)

The Marois government has a minority government and since the Liberals and the CAQ have stated that they will both vote against it as it now stands, this document has no chance of becoming law now or in the near future unless the Premier calls an election and wins enough seats in the National Assembly to form a majority government. Then and only then would Bill 60, this values charter, become law.

The chances of the P.Q. winning the next election are slim and their chances to get the majority they need I would say are nil. Therefore the EMSB, Hampstead and the Jewish General are risking nothing by stating that they oppose the bill and would disobey it; they know the situation and thus are simply blowing hot air… trying to appear brave and fearless. More bullshit.

As for their conclusion about civil disobedience, we don’t get to cherry pick what laws we choose to follow and which we don’t. So we have even more bullshit from these charter opponents, bullshit swathed in bullshit or, even more poignant, bullshit bathed in bullshit. For disobeying the law can lead to huge fines as well as prison sentences which will serve to change minds very quickly.

One more thing, even if the charter does get through the National Assembly, there are still the courts, another hurdle which the P.Q. must get over to get Bill 60 enacted. The above-mentioned institutions – Hampstead, the JGH, and the EMSB – are well aware of this other additional obstacle in the P.Q.’s path and therefore rendering their threats vacuous in facrt. The bill will not become law and that’s that. False bravado makes me want to throw up!

Unless of course they view their stated opposition to this affront to human dignity in a different light – not so much to say that they won’t obey its most objectionable terms e.g. the part of the charter which makes the display of “ostentatious” religious symbol illegal for all public sector employees – but to embolden charter opponents to speak up and avoid a situation in which we go like lambs to the slaughter. I believe in this context, their opposition is a good thing. If it wakes people up a little more tant mieux.

For Ontario people, that means “so much the better”. Richard Yufe, please avoid posting National Post anti-Quebec bullshit. Can you not find what you need closer to home, mine not yours?  Fuck off with the National Post-Toronto Star racist crap regarding the situation here. Please.


Now for the article:

Two physicians have blasted the leadership of the McGill University Health Centre for its “pathetic” response to Bill 60, the proposed Charter of Quebec Values that would prohibit health workers from wearing religious headgear on the job.

At Tuesday evening’s annual general meeting of the MUHC, CEO Normand Rinfret alluded to Bill 60 in his remarks to more than 200 people, warning that the ban on “conspicuous” religious symbols would make it harder to keep talented staff at the hospital network.

“I can assure you that the MUHC will be heard in loud volumes about the great needs that we have as an academic health-sciences centre to be able to retain our people and to be able to continue to recruit people across all faiths, all religions and all languages,” Rinfret said.

But two physicians — one currently practising at the MUHC and another who just retired — took Rinfret to task for not wording his opposition to Bill 60 more strongly.

“I find your remarks pathetic,” Dr. David Morris, an endocrinologist at the Royal Victoria Hospital, told Rinfret during question period.

“We have to be much clearer to the government about the impact of the application of such a restrictive bill would have on our functions.”

Michael Rasminsky, a neurologist who used to practise at the Montreal General Hospital, urged the MUHC to follow the lead of the Jewish General Hospital in openly defying Bill 60. On Nov. 13, Dr. Lawrence Rosenberg, executive director of the Jewish General, said his hospital would not use the exemption clause in Bill 60 that would permit health-care workers to wear religious symbols during a “transition period.”

“Since the bill is inherently prejudicial, there is no point in taking advantage of any clause that would grant us temporary, short-term relief,” Rosenberg said in a statement that was endorsed by the JGH board of directors.

The Jewish General’s position is in contrast with a statement released by the MUHC the day Bill 60 was tabled. In that statement, Rinfret said the MUHC “appreciates the exemption procedure” in the bill and “intends to use it to its fullest.”

“I can’t see why the MUHC hasn’t done what the Jewish has done,” Rasminsky told Rinfret. “We’re a major public institution. It shouldn’t take weeks and weeks to get together to say this law is an obscenity, and we want no part of it; that we will simply ignore it as the Jewish has said is the only appropriate response to this cynical policy.”

Rinfret responded that the MUHC must first “take the pulse” of its staff, then draft a position, which would be submitted to the board for ratification. The MUHC’s position will ultimately be presented as a brief to the National Assembly, he explained.

“We’re trying to complement the strategies of the McGill academic health network — of St-Mary’s Hospital, of the Jewish General Hospital — in order to make sure that we’re well heard with different messages,” Rinfret said. “Our message is clear: We want to attract talent, we want to keep talent, this is what our history and tradition have been and it needs to continue this way.”


After hearing about the hospital “posiiton” how about our universities? What’s happening in the hallowed halls of the fucking almighty dollar … 00ps .. of learning I mean, the hallowed halls of learning. Say it over and over to yourselves and see if can buy into it (pun intended).

It’s not yet clear which universities would defy Quebec’s proposed values charter, but the positions emerging from those hallowed halls of academia — both francophone and anglophone — are clearly showing a discomfort with the portions of the charter restricting religious symbols and garb.Following McGill University’s condemnation of those sections soon after the charter was introduced in September, the Université de Sherbrooke has now strongly criticized the proposed restrictions via Le Devoir. And the Université de Montréal said a university assembly on Monday adopted a motion saying the charter “doesn’t respond to its needs,” according to spokesperson Mathieu Filion.Filion said that doesn’t mean U de M is opposed to the charter, and its final position will only be made public in its brief to the commission studying Bill 60.
All of the positions, however, will be established before Christmas.Quebec’s universities are making their briefs, and checking them twice, in anticipation of the Dec. 20 deadline to submit their positions in order to have a chance to present at the hearings that will begin in Quebec City on Jan. 14. The commission will choose which organizations will have an opportunity to present their briefs in person.Last month, McGill’s senate and board of governors rejected certain provisions in the proposed legislation, and the school will present a brief and make a request to appear at the hearings, principal Suzanne Fortier said in a statement to the university community.Both the senate and board adopted resolutions saying they “strongly object to the restrictions on the right to wear religious symbols, as described in the draft legislation, which run contrary to the university’s mission and values.”Speaking at hearings in Quebec City on Tuesday by the Commission de la culture et de l’éducation, Fortier responded, when asked about the potential impact of the values charter, that McGill has very clear policies on respect, diversity and inclusion, and that the university would like Quebec to be a welcoming place to help attract talent and will definitely ask the government to omit those sections of the charter dealing with restrictions on visible religious symbols.”The talent in our university could work anywhere,” she said. Anecdotally, she added, stories abound about staff questioning if they should stay or if it is time to leave the province. “People are worried.”

A spokesperson at the Université de Sherbrooke couldn’t confirm the university’s position on the charter, but rector Luce Samoisette told Le Devoir that the charter is not applicable.

She said that in a university setting, you could have absurd situations arise where you have two people working in the same lab, one wearing a head scarf because she is a student, and one not allowed to because she is a salaried employee who is restricted from wearing a hijab.

Concordia University will also have a final position on the charter soon, possibly as early as next week, according to media relations director Chris Mota. The university’s senate is meeting on Friday, and its board of governors is meeting next week.

“The president is getting a lot of feedback on the charter,” said Mota. “Based on all of that, and the meetings, our position will soon be determined.”

What remains to be seen is if any of Quebec’s universities will vote to defy any ban on the wearing of “conspicuous” religious symbols by public employees at work — as the Jewish General Hospital, the English Montreal School Board and, most recently, the town of Hampstead have all vowed to do.

“We will not comply. We will not be complicit with hatred, racism and intolerance,” Hampstead said in its resolution Monday evening.


Twitter: KSeidman

© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette
And there’s this, a new angle on the Senate…

A high-profile Liberal senator apologized to his colleagues Tuesday afternoon, saying he fell asleep at the wheel seconds before crashing his car on Parliament Hill.

Sen. Romeo Dallaire, 67, a former army general, said he was exhausted from weeks of meetings, and high emotions over the approaching 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, as well as the suicides of three Canadian soldiers last month.

Around 10 a.m. Tuesday, his BMW crashed into a light pole outside the East Block. The impact created enough force to deploy airbags, Glen McGregor of Postmedia News reported.

Dallaire told his colleagues he was physically fine from the crash. He said he thought he had enough energy to make it to work Tuesday, but realized he was more tired than he believed.

“I simply ran out of steam,” Dallaire said.

“I am very thankful that nobody was injured or worse by my not being more attentive to the level of fatigue that I have been experiencing.”

Alcohol, which had been an issue for Dallaire after his experience in Rwanda, was not a factor. He affirmed he hasn’t had a drink in 14 years, a source said.

Sgt. Karen Zytynsky said an RCMP investigation into the accident is pending and that no decision has been made about whether the senator will be charged.

Dallaire was a general commanding United Nations troops during the Rwandan genocide. His memoir, Shake Hands with the Devil, details the atrocities he witnessed and his battle with post-traumatic stress disorder.

It won the Governor General’s Award for non-fiction in 2004. He was named to the Senate by then-prime minister Paul Martin in 2005 and has taken up the cause of child soldiers.

Dallaire has been in demand for interviews and comments related to the anniversary. He told the Senate he was reliving the events from Rwanda on a daily basis.

Dallaire told the Senate he hoped his falling asleep at the wheel didn’t bring any more dishonour to the chamber.

He received an ovation from both sides of the aisle as he finished, with senators walking over to his desk to talk with him, shake his hand and pat him on the shoulder.


Duffy recovering after open-heart surgery

Sen. Mike Duffy is recovering in an Ottawa hospital from open-heart surgery, the second such operation he’s had to clear up blocked arteries. Dr. Marc Ruel, chief of the cardiac unit at the University of Ottawa’s Heart Institute, also treated the former broadcaster in 2006 for a similar heart problem. Duffy also suffered a minor heart attack in 1992.

Andree Dumulon, a spokeswoman for the institute, relayed a message from Duffy’s wife Heather, saying, “The surgery went well and … he is now resting in recovery.”

Duffy was suspended from the upper chamber last month as part of an ongoing controversy over disputed living expenses. Duffy is the subject of an RCMP investigation into his living expenses and the subsequent repayment of $90,000 in claims.

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun
(4 1/2) HOURS OF WORKING ON IT. Time for lunch. See you all later.
Harper can’t sing; his piano is passable, though, I must admit. Fuck him anyway. Stevie boy, why don’t you sing in the Commons when you are fielding and ducking opposition questions re. the Senate Scandal? We could really use some truth, man. See the video in my next post and read the accompanying article now:

TORONTO – Prime Minister Stephen Harper basked in the glow of support from members of Canada’s Jewish community on Sunday, announcing a first-ever trip to Israel next year and then breaking into song at a gala fundraising dinner.

Hundreds of kilometres away from the battle-like atmosphere of Parliament Hill where the Senate scandal rages on, Harper was clearly relaxed and comfortable enough at the Jewish National Fund’s Negev dinner to belt out his own rendition of the Who’s “The Seeker” and a string of other classic songs.

But first, he announced an official visit to Israel, as well as Jordan and the Palestinian Authority.

“I’ll tell you, friends, what I’m going to be doing in January — I’m going to be going and visiting the state of Israel,” he said to enthusiastic applause.

Harper called Israel a “light of freedom and democracy in what is otherwise a region of darkness,” and reiterated that Canada will continue to back it in the United Nations and elsewhere abroad.

“We understand that the future of our country and of our shared civilization depends on the survival and thriving of that free and democratic homeland for the Jewish people in the Middle East,” he said.

Harper, who skipped his usual suit-and-tie look for a dark shirt open at the collar, then abruptly stopped his speech and launched into a musical interlude for his rapt audience.

“This really is a show of affection of love, and I really appreciate that, and I want to show you a bit of affection and love in return,” said Harper, who took charge on the keyboard and lead vocals with his backing band, Herringbone, for a run of 60’s and 70’s hits.

He started with the Who’s “The Seeker” and continued on with several more songs, including Buddy Holly’s “Oh Boy” and Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” to the delight of the thousands at the event.

And Harper tickled more than the ivories, getting the crowd laughing during some between-song joking about one of his bandmates having a “lost weekend.”

“He ended up in Boston at a baseball game in a drunken stupor. It’s a Herringbone fact.”

The Harper concert concluded with an encore of The Beatles “Hey Jude,” while a throng of the well-dressed crowd bunched around the stage, waving candles grabbed from dinner tables and snapping photos on smartphones.

Harper has been unafraid to sing in public in the past, getting up on the stage at the Calgary Stampede last summer and also performing at an Ottawa gala. But at seven songs the set list for Sunday night’s gig may be have stretched longer than the prime minister’s other musical moments.

After the set was over, Harper was lauded as a “real leader” in a video message by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“Stephen doesn’t want to be politically correct. He wants to be correct.”

Sunday’s gala fundraiser was to acknowledge Harper’s staunch political support of Israel. His pro-Israeli policies have sowed resentment in Canada’s Arab and Muslim communities.

The dinner was put on by the Jewish National Fund’s Canadian chapter, which raised $5.7 million to build a bird sanctuary in Israel to be named after Harper.

Spokesmen for the Jewish National Fund and the Prime Minister’s Office wouldn’t say last week what persuaded the prime minister to lend his name to the Stephen J. Harper Hula Valley Bird Sanctuary Visitor and Education Centre.

Not everyone gave Harper a warm embrace.

Outside the Metro Toronto Convention Centre where the dinner was held, dozens of protesters turned out to protest Harper’s political agenda and his environmental policies.

“Harper, Harper, will you see, Palestine will be free,” they chanted.

“The main message really is to push Canada to end its complicity with these violations of international law that Israel commits,” said a Palestinian activist.

Courtesy of the Gazette, E edition, Wednesday, Dec. 4/13

Don’t forget the video above. It’s really a riot. What an asshole this
Reform politician is and always was. Truly UNPrimeMinisterial.

Have a great day.

Peace out.

Hi Hilton.




One response to “Lesson #75: On Racism, Bill 60, the Senate, and Stephen Harper”

  1. That was too much reading, enjoyed what I did read though, and didn’t understand a lot because it’s Canadian government and not US which I’m used to. But, still always interested in my home country. I give it two thumbs up on the care Hilton has received, and is receiving. How he thinks I don’t know, I’ll have to ask. back to living life and doing housework.

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