D’Ya Think?

 

Crap! reacting to headlines on MSM sites is likely about as real a waste of time as exists in this universe, but there’s this on the landing page of the Globe this morning:

On the verge of being dethroned, Christy Clark’s BC Liberals seek atonement

It remains to be seen whether Clark will actually move out of the way. Certainly the publication of a piece by the Times Colonist written by none other than Perhaps-Shoulda-Oughta-Be-A-Guest-Of-Her-Majesty Gary Collins is emblematic of the coverage given by Postmedia folks and their ilk of the hazards of the Dipper-Green Arrangement, and as a long and tainted history has shown us, most anything wrought by Clark & Co. is likely not at all what it seems. You can almost hear the little crabs crawling around under the rock over the noise of the tide clamouring for change.

There is talk of flip-flops on donations, Oh,well, what have we here? this is the same idea floated tin the legislature six times by the opposition and which polled a vast majority of support from friend and foe alike. but was rejected by those who benefit most, and, strangely enough, have continued to benefit since the election of May 9. It reeks of closing the barn door about the time that the last horse wheezes across the finish line, and that’s without the caveat so often in play with Miz Christy: When? You can easily feature the interior chuckle when this promise materializes in the Throne Speech with the unspoken little thought bubble hanging over her head reading; “When hell freezes over!” It’s also easy for us to visualize the crossed finger behind her back, right over the tramp stamp of a leech emblazoned with the family motto: “Sucker!”

The same applies to the revelation that there is a bit of an *ahem* social deficit stemming from the last sixteen years of corporate giveaways, environmental rapine, a general tapping down the heads of those Less-Fortunate-But-Always-Wtih-Us poor folks, a rise in whose rates would impede the dotting of the landscape with bloated and useless megaprojects dreamed up like so many erector sets for the SNC-Lavalin types and their brethren whose names so prominently grace the BC Liberal donor lists.

Patience. Vigilance. A hair-trigger on saying what needs to be said as a veritable tsunami of bluster, wishful thinking and outright lies washes over the province. I really would like to see Messers. Weaver and Horgan get to put their political experiment to the test. Another election right away? Not so keen just yet, but that would also get us a look at the underlying strength of the NDP-Green accord: how would these two and their henches work out some form of collaboration to ensure that Clark loses the keys to the kingdom and that they would be able to move forward with a mutually-agreed program of forward motion and redress of wrong doings by the current régime.

Bullshit Baffles Brains

Uniconformity? Photo by Scott Webb, via Unsplash (https://unsplash.com)

 

It’s no mystery that there is a serious crisis in the operation of human society, and there are many explanations for why this has come to pass, but it looks increasingly as though humanity may be nothing more than a failed evolutionary gambit and that we are about to bring our temple down around our own ears in the most Samson-like fashion, at least partly through a lack of ability to deploy the reasoning that was touted as the distinguishing feature of humanity (our opposable thumbs may have been the instrument of our undoing).

 

This thought got somewhat focused most recently via a piece from urban homesteader Erica Strauss about the fine experience she has had schooling her children at home. There are a couple of really important and relevant reasons why this works, and she lays all this out in a very readable and thought-provoking manner that leaves me with more questions than answers (as thought-provoking pieces should).

Reason number 5 is a good place to start, because it is at the source of all that ensues. Says Ms. Strauss:

The Vice Principal isn’t a bad person, but her world is juggling legally mandated administrative bullshit constantly. I have very little tolerance for administrative bullshit on a good day, and when I think it’s jeopardizing the safety of my kid…well, I know a few terms that describe how deep inside the administrator’s intestinal tract such concerns should be filed, but they might scorch the eyeballs of our more delicate readers.

The public education system has become increasingly tied up with administrative constraints as a succession of governments in most locales have become more prescriptive about what will and what will not be taught and about how student and faculty interactions will be moderated. This, of course, coincides with the rise of litigious behaviour on the part of most everyone concerned with education. In most jurisdictions, the clear trend over that last half century has been to standardization of both instruction and of evaluation and the questions and answers that guide the educational process have been increasingly written by people who know how to run a business within the current paradigm and are more concerned with perpetuating that paradigm than they are with providing an education that will produce a society whose citizens will have some sense of belonging to a common, yet flexible entity. The intellectual and emotional agility to navigate and sustain the sense of belonging and the flexibility to tolerate and encourage a multiplicity of approaches to participating in and shaping society is difficult to engender when the answers must be machine-scored multiple choice in nature, and often, if there is only one right answer, the question it asked would have been totally irrelevant. The saddest part is that the education system abhors unresolved questions and conflicts and enforces conformity of one kind or another using the biggest hammer it can find. It’s the kind of authoritarian treatment that many would like to be able to implement themselves, but that has produced a likely preponderance of students who come through the system with a sense of having survived rather than having been launched on a path to some version of fulfillment.

From this idea stems the rest of the reasons for keeping the kids at home. “It fits our lifestyle” may not be for everyone, especially a household where either or both parents (or a single parent) has an enforced schedule that precludes any thought of spending any substantial part of the day with the offspring, but obviously works for those who have created a life that revolves around the homestead and where both parents, in this case, can devote time to both direct instruction and to the creation of experiential learning events. If we consider that the whole of the school day can be devoted to a “field trip” where there are directed experiences and reflections, we are already likely to generate more curiosity and interest that we would with the typical day in public schools shuffling from one desk to the next, and the encouragement to reflection without outside direction gives the possibility of even greater exploration and synthesis.

A quick digression might be appropriate here, because this is not intended as a diatribe against public schooling. There are many teachers and administrators who go to great lengths to provide students with the opportunity to engage in experiences that will stimulate reflection and questioning. There are, thankfully, still field trips, visiting guest speakers, internet explorations, work experience and other vehicles deployed by concerned educators to flesh out the bare bones of an educational curriculum that is almost constantly in need of supplementation. These educators also know how to modify and adapt both standard curriculum to the needs, readiness and abilities of their students, and they also understand that the impact of the experiences may be delayed as students process and integrate what they have seen, heard, smelled, tasted, touched and shared with other students and staff. However, not all educators operate on this premise, and even those who do face enormous constraints in terms of time, resources and money, as well as strictures in operating procedures and militate against the implementation of anything that deviates in the slightest from the core curriculum and the published institutional routines.

Free from these strictures, parents can achieve what most educators can only admire from afar, and Ms. Strauss is quick to acknowledge that helping hands are readily available:

The resources for homeschooling in our area are incredible. We live in a little pocket of suburban Seattle with many homeschooling families and strong school district support for homeschoolers. In fact, there is a public homeschooling school – with a campus and everything – that we partner with.

If society encourages home schooling and fosters the initiative of parents by providing  resources and constructive guidance, and if there are other homeschooling parents willing to share resources and perspectives, the chances of desirable outcomes are considerably enhanced. This goes hand in glove with being curriculum nerds:

Tactically, we find the planning aspect of homeschooling just kinda…fun. My husband has his masters degree in Adult Education and designs educational curriculum for a living, and nothing makes me happier than a complicated, intricate project requiring nerdy research and multiple spreadsheets. Ask us to plan 4 years of classical high school education and we’ll call that date-night.

I suspect that the Strauss couple has much to contribute to the home schooling of other students in this little universe, endnote everyone would consider the development of learning maps for students to be pleasure on the “date night” scale, but almost everyone can have something to add to the resource pot and many can benefit from the expertise of those who know how to encourage and channel learning.  This is like public school with only the enthusiastic and knowledgeable educators and without the strictures and administrative bullshit.

The other two reasons fall into the general heading of a process that allows for allotment of time according to the needs of the student and the homeschooling parents:

 

Early grade homeschooling is more like one-on-one tutoring. Unless (student) is a giant ass, it takes us about 45 minutes a day to do a core curriculum – what we call “table work.” We cover math, phonics, handwriting, and reading. He’s 6, heading into 1st grade. That’s all he needs. Over the course of the day we also do history, some art, some science – but that happens more organically. That leaves him a lot of time to still be a kid and just play or deep-dive on his interests.

 

 

 

 

Homeschooling makes traveling with children so much easier. You can take advantage of off-season discounts and odd-routings to nab great deals on airfare, apartment rentals and more. You can hit popular destinations off-peak and spend less time battling crowds who all have the same 10 day spring break window.

 

There are some students who go through the standard school system as happy campers, navigating the shoals of curriculum, regimentation, staff and student personality issues and general growing pains with a minimum of fuss. For many, there are anxieties and conflicts to the degree where these vicissitudes can’t be seen as an opportunity to generalize and synthesize some constructive learning. and where the greatest need is for refuge: home schooling can provide that cocoon, but what Ms. Strauss shows is that there is more than shelter in the home school, that learning happens at all hours of the day and night and in physical surroundings far removed from the classroom. The outdoors can be the place and time for all manner of “curriculum fulfillment”, as can time spent at work with a parent, or a trip to the beach, or a visit to a local merchant, baker, or animation studio. Even those who are well-adapted to the maladaptive system often do a great deal of their real learning outside of the classroom, particularly once they can read, and as they learn to observe and interact with their surroundings, the whole world becomes the classroom in a way that is much less constricted than it has perforce to be for those spending the bulk of their days within the four walls of the schoolhouse. If a student doesn’t have to measure learning by keeping pace with his peers in a class, then time and space can be trump cards rather than limitations.

The fly in the ointment arises from this question:

If society is a common undertaking, how much commonality to we need to make it work?

A look at what goes on in what passes for society of late indicates that there is a lot of pull in different directions, intellectually, politically, spiritually and economically that makes us look more like cohabitants than social beings, and, with the “Let’s go to Mars first” crowd, we seem even less inclined to even cohabitate. The recent rise of the terms Fake News and Alternate Facts seems symptomatic of the splintering of any coherent knowledge that would bind us together as a society, and it looks, as times, as though there is an amorphous mass of humanity that is so deeply asleep as to be incapable even of denial of the need to establish common knowledge and, horrors, common sense. The way our current education system works, it seems unlikely that it can be much of a remedy for our current quandary, and the kind of home schooling undertaken by folks such as the Strauss family is great for those who have parents willing to shoulder the load, but for those students without such parents, the options close up quickly, and there will also be those who are homeschooled with the idea of narrowing the education to a set of tenets held closely and dearly by the educating parents who wish to isolate their progeny from the hurly-burly of broader society, meaning that there is a good possibility of cultivating citizens unwilling to participate and interact with all manner of groups in society that don’t share their world view.

There is, of course, no easy answer, and I fear that time and inertia will militate against our being able to achieve some sort of consensus balance in our educational endeavours, though Finland seems to have devised a system where they rely on a short school year, short school days, an inclusive and flexible curriculum implemented by concerned and involved parents and educators and which acknowledges the central rôle played by parents and students in engendering learning outside of school locations and hours. However, even the implementation of that sort of structure seems hard to envision in our current circumstances.

I, of course, have all the answers, but mostly, so does everyone else.

What Turns Up Sometimes

This was a comment left by Scotty On Denman. Given the long hiatus before the wars at the Rockpile start up again in earnest, I thought it worthy of a look.

 

Voters do not need to vote en mass for the Greens to end up with a BC Liberal government by way of splitting the vote: even if half of polled citizens who say they support the Greens actually voted for them, it would likely return the BC Liberals. All reasonable measures suggest Green support is very soft; sure, lots of citizens would like to vote Green, and probably for more than simply environmental reasons, but will vote strategically for the NDP which is the only party that has a realistic chance of beating the BC Liberals—besides, the parties’ respective environmental platforms are much closer together than either’s are to the BC Liberals’ who are essentially the environmental bad guys in this play.

No serious restructuring of the economy or society is on offer, nor are there compelling reasons for undertaking such before a return to observing laws that already exist happens. Many of the problems we have in BC are due to flagrant breaches of trust by the BC Liberal government that include breaking campaign promises in a very big way (eg. BCR, HST and LNG), blatant conflicts of interest, cronyism, secrecy and numerous negligence in enforcing all kinds of laws and regulations.

We already have a plurality system that rewards parties which build bigger tents through compromise. Otherwise there is no constitutional alternative allowed for the passage of bills, that is, by a simple majority of parliamentary votes. This is true regardless of electoral system, despite claims by pro-reppers that parliamentary voting will be somehow different under pro-rep; it wouldn’t be, and neither would the Westminster parliamentary system’s primary strength: confidence (pro-reppers have been known to make claims that ignore this immutable fact).

Everything you suggest should get done by an NDP government I agree with except for pro-rep. It’s the very last thing a new government should embroil itself in, especially in BC where there’ll be plenty of more important work in forensic discovery and remediation of BC Liberal damage to the public weal, and where STV was rejected twice, by twice the margin the second time as the first. We should take a lesson from the federal electoral reform debacle: never let partisans decide anything about electoral systems. In time an older NDP government might consider referring electoral reform to the proper agency, Elections BC, the only one with the proven impartiality and expertise to address reform to the extent voters want.

Although Citizens’ Initiative has frustrated many voters (reminding that it was designed by partisans under political imposition, not by an impartial agency like Elections BC in response to public will), it seems, with regard “Recall,” unreasonable to allow less than 40% of riding voters to overturn an election result (the designers couldn’t very well set the threshold at 50% because the target MLA could well have won the seat in the first place with less that 50% of the votes, nor could they very well allow only 30% to overturn an election else a revolving door of Recalls and by-elections interrupt with Westminster parliament’s prime directive to pass legislation whenever it’s needed and in a timely way (parliamentary confidence precludes legislative gridlock). No Recall has succeeded in BC despite over two dozen attempts.

The Anti HST Petition, on the other hand, was much more successful, in fact setting an important international precedent: it led to the first time in eight centuries of Commonwealth parliamentary history that a legislated tax was rescinded by force of popular measure. In BC that simply meant the HST was rejected at referendum—although that mail-in ballot voting system experience (not to be confused with electoral systems) should have taught us a lesson that such voting systems should not be allowed due to inherent veracity and fraud problems; banning online voting and mail-in ballots would be a welcome reform.

But these experiences have suggested improvements more practical than firing MLAs with ease. The Petition rules of CI do not include binding MLAs to a clear vote in the Assembly; Campbell could have legally addressed the Petition by simply introducing the matter on the order paper, the Petition only having legal force to make MLAs acknowledge it in session. Referendum is of course another way to address the Petition but, even then, Campbell set the threshold to a level he considered politic—50%—when he could have quite legally set it higher. Taking these kinds of discretions away from partisan politicians might be a worthy reform of CI.

The designers of CI also wrestled with California-style Propositions, but shied away, recognizing existing reticence among the electorate who were well aware of the excesses of such CI tactics in that state. These matters might be addressed in order to allow, but ameliorate the pitfalls of, Proposition rules such as we’ve seen down south.

In any case, as the words Citizens’ Initiative implies, it’s largely up to citizens to make it work, whatever the rules; they have to get involved—and no legislation will make that happen short of compulsory voting. Perhaps we could have a referendum—see how many turn out.

The easiest and quickest way to improve BC politics is to get campaign financing under control, and that means first getting rid of the BC Liberals who will never acquiesce when in power, and who might very well never get a chance, after forensic investigation of the books (assuming they lose), to win power again—if only they’re disconnected from it just once.

 

 

No original Dylan on Y’Tube, so Robben will have to do.

Comfortably Numb

Slacking off because things are busy, but also because I needed a bit of a break from the tension inherent in any discussion how we govern ourselves, the odd time when we get the opportunity.

So I got a notice that WordPress needed to update the site, and there was this comment awaiting moderation, from Scotty on Denman, a cogent bit that I will feature prominently if he gives permission. Crap! I’ve dropped the ball, so I guess I better pick it up, given that we continue to live in interesting times and there is still a crying need for perspective from the proponents of a generous and inclusive society.

Au revoir, Monsieur Nul, sans remerciements pour le poisson

Back when he was First Secretary of he Socialist Party, when his then-wife Segolène Royal was a presidential candidate, Hollande came across as a thoughtful if uninspiring technocrat who had a pretty good grasp of the divide in French society and some ideas about how to address the shortcomings of the Chirac years. Fast forward to the 2012 election, and all of a sudden he’s a candidate, he’s shed his wife (or she him, who cares), he’s found a voice and mouths all the right positions to get him just barely elected over Sarkozy, a plaything of the monied gentry whose hubris and tendency to lecture everyone else on how right he is about anything and everything helped mightily in getting him unelected. Hollande wasted little time in setting out on a course to alienate pretty much everyone, abandoning the workers at Florange, half-heartedly moving to stand down part of the French nuclear electricity generation infrastructure, instituting road taxes that amounted to an enormous burden on independent drivers and fleet operators with no counterbalance, and the quick embrace of the idea of making French industry more competitive, the dog-whistle word that signals that working folks are gonna get whacked again. Finance, the enemy of his campaign, regained status as his friend, and he ended his reign with unrest in the overseas départements of the Caribbean and the revision of the work laws that ensured that the little people would pay once again for flexibility and competition. And so he shuffles off to a degree of opprobrium and oblivion, likely to be noted as a non-leader, a man who accomplished almost nothing, and who was unable to pass along a legacy to a true successor, once the other Emmanuel (Valls) lost in the primary, and Hollande himself couldn’t bring himself to embrace the chosen candidate of his party, Hamon. So good luck to the French who will likely continue to struggle with trying to improve their lives without making the significant changes needed to build a more vibrant and inclusive society. Macron will be more of an obstacle than an expediter.

The Outsiders Have Won! (?)

Various news outlets have pointed out that the results of the first round of voting in the French presidential election show that the outsiders have won the day, and that the vote is a protest against the status quo: fairly shallow stuff, on the whole.

Marine Le Pen does represent a certain ras-le-bol (had it up to here) with the EU bureaucracy (never mind that LP sits as a Eurodeputy) and with all those brown people coming into France and tarnishing its very white, very catholic image. She comes close in many ways to the idea of making France great again. Macron certainly did not get the endorsement of Les Republicans (sarkozistas), nor of the Socialists, even though he had served in the Hollande cabinet :Hollande, of course, campaigned in 2012 on a socialist platform and, upon election, fell back in a rut that looked an awful lot like the program of his predecessor, Nicky Sarko (Sarkozy being the nec plus ultra of sarkozistas). Macron is a banker and an insider of the inner sanctum variety. So while the two “mainstream” parties failed to send a candidate to the second round run-off, the only forecast, barring some really silly happenings in the legislative elections, will be more of the same reign of finance and austerity, more of the floundering economy, and, should Le Pen win, the wrenching of an attempted exit from the EU.  Supporters of Fillon and Hamon have little to worry about, as their programs are fairly well represented somewhere in the Macron-Le Pen duality, along with those minority candidates wanting France out of the EU. Only those along the Mélanchon-Poutou axis will be left out with no good place to put their vote, other than, one might assume, barring the door to Le Pen’s racist rantings. It’s rather like trying to find a safe place for a vote in the last US presidential election, or like making a choice between Stephen Harper and Justin Trudeau, and it has echoes in our current BC election where people are tired of the squabbling between Liberals and New Democrats and want to vote their views with the Greens. Trouble is, there is a good chance that voting en masse mineure for the Weaver Gang is most likely to result in another Liberal government, not the real intent of those Green voters. Weaver does have a certain cachet due to his name, along with a thousand or so others, on a Nobel prize for Climate research, but his endorsement of the continued public funding for private schools and his love for IPPs has somewhat curdled the cream of his agenda. He also states that we need a less-polarized, more centrist approach to governing, but this reeks to me of more More-Of-The-Same: I don’t see that the problems that plague society in BC are likely to be addressed adequately without some serious restructuring of the economic and social pyramid. This seems to be lacking most everywhere (Christy would likely continue to steepen the pinnacle of the pyramid as she commits an increasing portion of the population to descend toward the base). I would love a plural approach to governing, but we can’t get to that with the current group infesting the Rockpile, and the surest way to fumigate the place is a crowd of Dippers, who, in their turn, need help to maintain focus. First acts should include fixing the electoral system with some form of proportional representation, public financing of campaigns, revamping the initiative and recall provisions so that they become viable, and then moving on to reform of tax legislation, retributive measures, rebuilding health and education and addressing the multiple environmental concerns that plague the province. If then, the Greens don’t like what the Dippers have on the docket, they can roll out the recall (I’m sure the Liberals will help, along with Post Media, Black Press and the entirety of the broadcast media) and look to elect a government of a different colour under the new rules (with, of course, no government advertising allowed (that should really annoy the above-mentioned press organs). Gee, I wonder what the odds are of any of this coming to fruition.

How To Shorten Debates

 

 

I didn’t watch or listen to the provincial leaders’ debate yesterday. I am pretty certain for whom I will vote and why, and, increasingly, I find this sort of exercise to be something of a waste of time where nothing of substance gets to the fore, where talking points are repeated and where the object is not to convince, but to score points. It is the very archetype of a “conversation” where the interlocutors listen, if at all, only to reply rather than distilling any useful information. In addition, there is considerable crowding of the oratory space of others in the debate, including, in this latest case, some physical contact that seems less than appropriate (this from a person who has a very warped conception of appropriate): in short, there is nothing either informative or polite about the discourse, and many people in these parts have commented on the distaste that this inspires for the political process and, by extension, the governing process.

I also eschewed the broadcast because I tend to react verbally and often using colourful language when the fanciful turns to the preposterous and this annoys my wife no end though she understands the roots of the vehemence and appreciates the recognition of falsehoods, half-truths, cherry-picked stats, deflections and non-answers. The solution to this problem? Pre-record the debate, fact check all the statements, edit our whatever doesn’t pass the sniff test, and broadcast the result. This would, in the short run,  make for less waste of time and valuable airing over the media and a clearer vision of what connection there might be with the reality faced by the electorate, and in the longer term, it might promote a desire on the part of some politicians to speak in a more straightforward and meaningful vein, especially after a couple of appearances where virtually everything she said fell on the cutting room floor (metaphorically speaking in the age of 1s and 0s.

The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shockproof, shit detector.
— Ernest Hemingway

 

If Christy Were In Korea, Would Life Head South?

The Constitutional Court in South Korea has confirmed the impeachment and removal of the President, Park Geun-hye, as a result of her corrupt dealings with big business. This has been the result of a protracted and sometimes violently repressed series of mass protests, with the citizenry of the Republic of South Korea forcing the impeachment hearings who were confronted with pretty clear evidence of preferential treatment of those who fed the personal and party coffers of the outgoing administration. Does this have a vaguely familiar ring to it? While the multiple donations by lobbyists of funds originating from other donors may be the only legal line crossed, that can only be as a result of the current administration having kept the legal bar so low that it wouldn’t interfere with strawberry pickers, let alone cotton-pickin’ donors looking to circumvent the one person one vote system of elections.

One also might wonder what it was that mobilized so many Koreans to get out in the streets in what might seem like an overwhelmingly difficult task. Could it be the simple knowledge that their system of government was corrupt to the point that it no longer operated in the interests of the general population? Is this part of why people in Canada and, in particular in B.C., stay cozy in their beds and ensconced on their couches with a bowl of popcorn and the latest version of Survivor? The outrage that powered the Korean impeachment, like the movements of the original Arab Spring, the Maidan protests in Kiev. the Velvet Revolution in Prague and a host of other movements was based on knowledge of the corrupt nature and the lack of fairness and voice in the affairs of the various jurisdictions concerned, something that is sadly lacking in Canada for those who haven’t yet had that tingling sensation. that political spidey-sense that tells them that they have to branch out in their quest for what’s bothering them and who are unafraid enough to tumble into the maelstrom of on-line political discourse, armed, hopefully, with a fully-deployed and fine-tuned BS filter, considerable patience and massive doses of discernment.

The fate of Park Geun-hye should also be the fate of Christy Clark and of any person charged with the public well-being who turns instead to the perpetuation of personal aggrandizement and political power.

 

Toad of Toad Hall

 

 

Further Coleman

“The poor will always be with us.”

 

Deputy Premier gets to be himself today, because his very real lack of care for those who aren’t able to feed the Liberal Donor Bag makes him a perfect example of those who throw up their hands (and perhaps wink) while bleating the above utterance. There is a very clear primary cause for the continued existence of a segment of society that is consistently underserved and excluded, that being people like Coleman who are willing to rig the “Free Market” game so that there are many more aspirants than successes, and where the success of the new is determined by the amount of the productivity of society that they can sequester for their own use. He and his governing party, as is the case with almost all governments of our current crop, got to a dominant position not through virtue, intelligence, hard work, nor through any constructively creative problem solving, but through jiggering the apparatus of the state so that wealth flows from the lower strata up into the hands of the puppet masters. His “boss”, Christy Clark, has said in a blog post cited by Huffpo, that what women lack is  the confidence to compete and to win:

It starts very early. When I was growing up, we didn’t have a lot of mentors or even positive role models, showing us that women could compete and win in any field they chose.

So who would be such a laudable mentor that taught Christy that deceit, obfuscation and outright cheating were the path to success, and that success was best obtained at the expense of society’s most vulnerable?

Really, when it comes to a lament, better than today’s opening statement would be:

The rich will always be with us.

 

I wanted to embed the video 50/50 from the site below, but it appears not to be available. Here is the site, perhaps it will come up again later:

http://www.refinery29.com/tiffany-shlain-50-50-film

The Marie Antoinette Moment

It isn’t quite let-them-eat-cake, but it surely heads in that direction.

“We have to remember that a person on social assistance — a single person on social assistance in British Columbia — gets double the annual income of a person in the Third World. And we should remember that — not because we say it’s right but we should remember actually how good this country is.”

(From a Global News Report)

 

There seems to be more gold than Golden Rule in our current ruling clique in Victoria, but this struck me as callous and over-the-top in its lack of empathy and misdirection from the realities of what his government has done to the citizens of the province.

“The test of our progress is not whether we add to the abundance of those who have much. It is whether we provide enough to those who have little.

                                                     —Franklin D. Roosevelt

By Roosevelt’s measure, we in BC have bounded backward for the last decade and a half, and we weren’t doing all that well when Gordon Campbell ushered in his New Era in 2001.

 

What Deputy Premier Coleman misses is that our recipients of social assistance don’t have the luxury of flying off to Costa Rica or Nicaragua where their purchasing power might equate to a more reasonable lifestyle, and that they are facing an employment and cost of living situation that is at least difficult, if not hostile, a situation not improved by the use of temporary foreign workers to keep labour costs at a minimum, even though companies employing them are still selling into a market in the high-rent district. It’s rather like offshoring at home.

In addition, the goose and gander get somewhat separated when Minister Coleman’s salary has risen considerably over the time he’s been in government, and we can’t really say the same for social assistance rates, or for the level of service that the province provides to help its citizens find reasonable work that will meet the needs of those having to exist in cities that have become increasingly unaffordable.

The statement is typical of the total lack of care for anyone other than those on the donors’ list and the lists of approved contractors on mega projects.