Crimes d’honneur: Québec s’engage à agir

A more productive and focussed approach than the proposed Charter of Quebec Values, focussing on  youth protection and police training. The official figures of only 17 cases since 1991 may be understated, and there may be more cases of intimidation and control that fall short of  “honour crimes”. Given how much of this happens within families, like other family disputes, improving awareness is likely one way to reduce the risk.

Crimes d’honneur: Québec s’engage à agir | Jocelyne Richer | Politique québécoise.

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1921 census provides a glimpse into Toronto’s multicultural past

A reminder that Canada’s diversity has a long history. And the value of a consistent national census.

1921 census provides a glimpse into Toronto’s multicultural past | Toronto Star.

We Must Tackle The “Cultural Divide” Now Or Polarization And Racism Will Continue To Haunt Us | Link Newspaper

Ken Herar, of the South Asian community, on the need to break down the barriers between the South Asian and other communities in the lower BC mainland:

The main reason why the “cultural divide” in Canada has continued to grow is because we have allowed it to, and our elected officials have paid very little  attention to the matter. In the next 20 years, if Canadians do not tackle or change the course of action, the cultural polarization will continue to spread. We’re at a crucial turning point where we can build bridges and strengthen partnerships within our communities or face the consequences of growing isolation.

We Must Tackle The “Cultural Divide” Now Or Polarization And Racism Will Continue To Haunt Us | Link Newspaper.

Jackson Doughart: Canada’s scary intolerance obsession

A good discussion on freedom of speech and intolerance by Jackson Doughart. While I would not go quite as far as he does in his arguments, excessive political correctness is  harmful to society. So enjoy your Halloween.

Doughart comes up with his own variation of Godwin’s Law:

Perhaps we need a construction of our own to fight back against the commonplace manifestation of the intolerance obsession. The industry of manufactured offense, after all, has produced a replete share of inanities, including the recent campaign to remove the imagery of Hallowe’en in schools because of its purported intolerance. This is a silly non-issue, but one which shows how the tolerance doctrine has become the universal solvent into which all public arguments are dipped. And as the case of Professor Somerville shows, the use of the bigotry label as a means of censoring disagreement is far from unimportant or ineffectual.

Enter what we might call Doughart’s Law, or the “reductio ad bigotrum”, which declares any person who accuses her political opponent of bigotry or intolerance as the loser of a debate. Once a person has been caught, the argument is over. Just imagine how much more congenial and effective public discourse would be if empty accusations of racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, and so on, were off limits.

Jackson Doughart: Canada’s scary intolerance obsession | National Post.

Keller vs Greenwald: Why Not Both? « The Dish

A good discussion by Andrew Sullivan on open bias versus hidden bias, and his preference, as practiced by the Dish, for “biased and balanced”. Another illustration of the debate over bias and ideology, this time in the media:

But on the basis of this exchange, I think Glenn has the advantage. And that’s because his idea of journalism is inherently more honest – declaring your biases is always more transparent than concealing them. That’s why, I think, the web has rewarded individual stars who report and write but make no bones about where they are coming from. In the end, they seem more reliable and accountable because of their biases than institutions pretending to be above it all. In the NYT, the hidden biases are pretty obvious: an embedded liberal mindset in choosing what to cover, and how; and a self-understanding as a responsible and deeply connected institution in an American system of governance. These things sometimes coexist easily – as a liberal paper covering the Obama administration, for example, with sympathetic toughness. And sometimes, they don’t – as a liberal paper covering the Bush administration, for example, and becoming implicit with its newspeak.

Keller vs Greenwald: Why Not Both? « The Dish.

Annual Report to Parliament on Immigration, 2013

This report is a useful source of statistical and other info on immigration and related programs. Less trend analysis than desired, however, and glosses over problems like the drop in citizenship applications approved.

Annual Report to Parliament on Immigration, 2013.

Quebec premier nixes election call in 2013

Looks like the electoral strategy has changed, with the Charter no longer kicking off the campaign.

Quebec premier nixes election call in 2013 – Canada – CBC News.

Pas d’élections générales cet automne, dit Marois

Slaves of the Internet, Unite!

A funny yet pointed piece by Tim Kreider on today’s world of unpaid work, and how writing commentary is deemed to have no or little monetary value. Having been part of this “economy” (in a very small way), I can only sympathize with the author. Favourite quotes:

I will freely admit that writing beats baling hay or going door-to-door for a living, but it’s still shockingly unenjoyable work. I spent 20 years and wrote thousands of pages learning the trivial craft of putting sentences together. My parents blew tens of thousands of 1980s dollars on tuition at a prestigious institution to train me for this job. They also put my sister the pulmonologist through medical school, and as far as I know nobody ever asks her to perform a quick lobectomy — doesn’t have to be anything fancy, maybe just in her spare time, whatever she can do would be great — because it’ll help get her name out there.

And should someone ask for free writing etc:

Thanks very much for your compliments on my [writing/illustration/whatever thing you do]. I’m flattered by your invitation to [do whatever it is they want you to do for nothing]. But [thing you do] is work, it takes time, it’s how I make my living, and in this economy I can’t afford to do it for free. I’m sorry to decline, but thanks again, sincerely, for your kind words about my work.

Slaves of the Internet, Unite! – NYTimes.com.

If you want to be an author, the worst thing you can do is get published

While certainly not my problem (would be so lucky), telling the amount of time authors have to spend on marketing and promotion. With my own Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, I spend at least as much time on marketing as I did on writing. The following description of what an agenda of a successful writer can look like is revealing:

Thus, at a time I desperately need to get my next first draft off the ground, check out my commitments for the next couple of months or so: multiple-hour interviews with Dutch and Belgian periodicals, along with the dreaded photo shoots. Literary festival appearances in London’s Soho, Charleston, Birmingham, Cheltenham, Newcastle, Folkestone, Cambridge, Wapping, and Bali (yeah, yeah, tell us another sob story—but Southeast Asia involves a 17-hour plane trip and a discombobulating seven-hour time difference; I still have to work on more than my tan). A reading of one of my short stories at the Arts Club in London. Dinners with my publisher and editor to discuss a new imprint. Copious radio interviews. A ceremony for the National Short Story Award, for which I’m short-listed—and prizes are a particularly destructive time and emotion suck, since in most cases you don’t win. The delivery of a “sermon” in Manchester, which for an atheist will be a big ask. A formal lecture in Amsterdam, replete with mini author’s tour for the Dutch translation of my last novel. A panel on “storytelling” for Mumsnet. A presentation to prospective supporters of Standpoint magazine, for which I write a monthly column. An “in-conversation” for a medical conference. What already awaits in 2014? A reading at the Royal Academy, a two-week promotional tour of Australia, a six-week teaching residency in Falmouth, events in Muncie, Indiana, and Bath, and invitations, as yet mercifully unaccepted, to festivals in Alberta, Vancouver, Estonia, and Singapore.

If you want to be an author, the worst thing you can do is get published.

Oh, Canada! Ethnic marketing giving way to “post-multiculturalism”

Another illustration of how multiculturalism and diversity is part of the mainstream:

“You see marketers who want to portray the Canadian mosaic in their advertising, which is important. But people don’t even see it as a mosaic anymore; it’s just the way it is,” Evans said. “We’re becoming less sensitive to those things because they’re part of the norm.”

Oh, Canada! Ethnic marketing giving way to “post-multiculturalism”.