Kelly McParland: Donald Sutherland is from Canada the same way Mike Duffy is from PEI

Good piece by McParland:

The Appeal Court’s reasoning is sound.

“Permitting all non-resident citizens to vote would allow them to participate in making laws that affect Canadian residents on a daily basis but have little to no practical consequence for their own daily lives,” wrote Justice George Strathy.

The decision notes that allowing long-term expats to vote would violate a “social contract” that binds Canadians to laws that they have played a hand in creating.

This makes absolute sense. For every fervent patriot like Sutherland, who presumably lives in the U.S. due to the demands of his acting career, there are tens of thousands, of passport-holders who barely give Canada a thought. At the time the five-year rule was introduced, Canada was in the process of handing out thousands of passports to “investors” who wanted it mainly as a hedge against turmoil in their home country. If you recall, one of Stephen Harper’s earliest international acts as prime minister was a dramatic evacuation of Canadian passport-holders from Lebanon during a confrontation between Israel and Hezbollah forces. It was great theatre, except Canadians learned that thousands of those affected proved to be Lebanese citizens who had met the minimum standards for a Canadian passport before returning home, hanging on to the Canadian document in case of just such an emergency. They knew little about Canada, but without the five-year rule, 50,000 of them would have had the right to vote.

Lebanon is far from the only country where that’s the case. The Vancouver Sun reported in 2013 there were 350,000 residents of Hong Kong holding Canadian passports, and that Asians continue to leave the country in large numbers after completing the minimum requirements. Immigration experts acknowledged many never intended to stay and were merely taking advantage of Canada’s traditional generosity with its citizenship.

The five-year rule may be an inconvenience for Sutherland, who comes across as far less arrogant and self-important than fellow Canadian Neil Young, who prefers jetting into the country just long enough to demand Alberta cripple its economy by getting out of the oil business, before jetting back to California. But both are Canadian the same way Mike Duffy is from Prince Edward Island: it might be where they came from, but it’s not where they live. Even Canada’s Senate now understands that difference.

Kelly McParland: Donald Sutherland is from Canada the same way Mike Duffy is from PEI

And Professor Orwin making a similar point about the link between residency and voting:

Yes, the Charter of Rights proclaims voting a basic right of citizenship. But how far does that right extend? As we’ve already seen, only to the boundaries of one’s riding of primary residence. This is an essential feature of our system. It’s the sacred democratic right of Fort McMurrayites (and conversely of downtown Torontonians) that outsiders not be permitted to vote in their riding. Our representative must be ours, and no one else’s. So while Canadian citizenship may be a necessary condition of voting in a given election, it’s obviously not a sufficient one. This is why it’s mistaken to claim that by denying an expatriate the vote, we are stripping her of anything enjoyed by other Canadians. Rather it’s that by permitting her to vote the current law grants her a right denied to other Canadians. Yes, for five years and no more, but she should be grateful for those years, recognizing (having read this column) just what an anomaly she enjoys.

It’s not just in granting five years of electoral amnesty that the present law is quite generous. It is also so in offering expatriates a varied menu of possible electoral residences. They may choose their last previous Canadian address; but they also enjoy other options equally ungrounded in reality. Let’s face it, once Ms. Choi has decided to live abroad, it is the merest fiction to deem her still resident in my riding. As the years pass this fiction grows ever more glaring, and my neighbours and I increasingly testy. Who is this annoying phantom who pretends to live in our riding and insists on voting there? What does she know or care of our local concerns?

 If I can’t vote in your riding, why should expats vote in mine? 

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Increase in UK anti-Semitism this year ‘due to better reporting’

A reminder that a number of different factors influence statistics, including better reporting, making it harder to isolate underlying trends (CST is better than most in identifying these factors):

A 53 percent increase in the number of anti-Semitic incidents in Britain during the first six months of 2015 can be ascribed to greater communal awareness of the problem coupled with better reporting, the Community Security Trust reported on Thursday.

There have been 473 reported incidents this year, compared to 309 for the same period last year, and 223 in the first half of 2013.

Despite the rising trend, the figures do not come close to the 629 incidents reported in 2009 – the year in which most of the fighting in Operation Cast Lead (against Hamas in Gaza) took place.

The CST monitors anti-Semitism and provides security for Britain’s Jewish community.

Increase in UK anti-Semitism this year ‘due to better reporting’ – Diaspora – Jerusalem Post.

Pas assez de femmes et de minorités à la SQ

All police forces struggle with recruitment and retention of women and visible minorities. What surprised me is that data on police force diversity is not automatically made public, and that one has to request it directly from most respective forces (RCMP is required by law to file a report, La Sûreté is one of the few that do publish their data Effectifs et ressources):

La Sûreté du Québec devrait engager plus de femmes, d’autochtones et de membres des minorités visibles et ethniques, selon la Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse. L’organisme croit que la SQ n’en a tout simplement pas fait une priorité par le passé.

Dans un rapport publié hier, la Commission, qui veille à l’application de la Charte des droits et libertés de la personne, juge que la SQ «n’a pas mis en place des mesures raisonnables pour corriger la sous-représentation des membres de ces groupes». Ces mesures sont régies par la Loi sur l’accès à l’égalité en emploi dans les organismes publics, que la Commission est chargée de faire respecter.

«Au cours de la période étudiée – 2007-2013 -, les effectifs policiers ont augmenté de 10%, ce qui aurait normalement dû permettre l’embauche et l’avancement des membres de tous les groupes visés par la loi», a indiqué par voie de communiqué le président Jacques Frémont.

L’organisme pense qu’il faudrait tripler le nombre de femmes au sein du personnel-cadre «intermédiaire», tout en convenant que la situation risque de se détériorer au cours des prochaines années parce que de moins en moins de candidatures féminines sont retenues par le corps policier.

Pas assez de femmes et de minorités à la SQ | Jasmin Lavoie | Actualités.

What Does Islam Say About Being Gay? – The New York Times

Mustafa Akyol on interpretations of what Islam says on being gay:

The real Islamic basis for punishing homosexuality is the hadiths, or sayings, attributed to the Prophet Muhammad. (The same is true for punishments on apostasy, heresy, impiety, or “insults” of Islam: None come from the Quran; all are from certain hadiths.) But the hadiths were written down almost two centuries after the prophet lived, and their authenticity has been repeatedly questioned — as early as the ninth century by the scholar Imam Nesai — and they can be questioned anew today. Moreover, there is no record of the prophet actually having anyone punished for homosexuality.

Such jurisprudential facts might help Muslims today to develop a more tolerant attitude toward gays, as some progressive Islamic thinkers in Turkey, such as Ihsan Eliacik, are encouraging. What is condemned in the story of Lot is not sexual orientation, according to Mr. Eliacik, but sexual aggression. People’s private lives are their own business, he argues, whereas the public Muslim stance should be to defend gays when they are persecuted or discriminated against — because Islam stands with the downtrodden.

It is also worth recalling that the Ottoman Caliphate, which ruled the Sunni Muslim world for centuries and which the current Turkish government claims to emulate, was much more open-minded on this issue. Indeed, the Ottoman Empire had an extensive literature of homosexual romance, and an accepted social category of transvestites. The Ottoman sultans, arguably, were social liberals compared with the contemporary Islamists of Turkey, let alone the Arab World.

Despite such arguments, the majority of Muslims are likely to keep seeing homosexuality as something sinful, if public opinion polls are any indication. Yet those Muslims who insist on condemning gays should recall that according to Islam, there are many sins, including arrogance, which the Quran treats as among the gravest moral transgressions. For Turks and other Muslims, it could be our own escape from the sin of arrogance to stop stigmatizing others for their behavior and focus instead on refining ourselves.

What Does Islam Say About Being Gay? – The New York Times.

Inequality may be complex, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make sense of it

As always, worth reading.

Economics for public policy

The Fraser Institute has weighed in on the income inequality debate with a report called “Income inequality: measurement sensitivities” that reviews the statistical measurement of income inequality in Canada.

The report quite rightly points out that there are many nuances in the measurement of income, and income inequality, and that the results vary substantially depending upon how economists and statisticians deal with them. Is income measured by earnings, or by total income that includes not just business and investment income but also government transfers? Should it be measured before or after taxes? And should we be looking at total family income or try to represent this as individual income by accounting for family size?

The analysis is carefully done and clearly presented, and though it covers ground that is pretty well standard for many economists working in this area, it helps to clarify the issues for a broader…

View original post 575 more words

Should Palestinians Visit Nazi Concentration Camps? – The Daily Beast

More on Prof. Mohammed Dajani’s efforts to educate Palestinian youth on the Holocaust (see earlier Mid-East: The knowledge constituency versus the ignorance lobby):

“Palestinians should not compare the Nakba with the Holocaust,” he says. “While the Holocaust was the Final Solution for the Jewish people, the Nakba was not the Final Solution for the Palestinian people. It wouldn’t have been possible for Jews to sit with Nazis and reach an agreement. Within the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, it is possible for Palestinians and Israelis to reach a comprehensive, just settlement that will accommodate both peoples. That’s why I think that teaching about the Holocaust is important. For Palestinians to realize that there is hope, and that in negotiation the path to peace lies.”

At the same time, he is deeply uncomfortable with Jews using the Holocaust “to rationalize, for us [Palestinians], why they had to deport us from our homes in order for them to come and live in them. It doesn’t mean,” he insists, “that if we learn about the Holocaust we will not demand our rights, or [will] lose our national identity.”

But this nuanced message was lost on those who stirred up controversy following the trip. Students at Al Quds University – where Dajani was the head of the American Studies Department and library director – boycotted him, claiming that he was “trying to sell Palestinians the Zionist story,” or was “collaborating with the Israelis to undermine Palestinian nationalism.” Dajani knew to take things seriously when he started receiving threatening letters at his office.

His students also faced negative responses to the trip, as well. However, “many of them were courageous,” Dajani says proudly, “to stand up and say, ‘We went to learn, and we learned a lot.’”

Should Palestinians Visit Nazi Concentration Camps? – The Daily Beast.

I’m Canadian – and I should have a right to vote – Donald Sutherland

He forgets that US citizens also have to file US tax returns:

Did you know that? If you don’t live here all the time you can’t vote. Americans who live abroad can vote. They can vote because they’re citizens! Citizens! But I can’t. Because why? Because I’m not a citizen? Because what happens to Canada doesn’t matter to me? Ask any journalist that’s ever interviewed me what nationality I proudly proclaim to have. Ask them. They’ll tell you. I am a Canadian. But I’m an expatriate and the Harper government won’t let expatriates participate in Canadian elections.

But the broader question, for every Donald Sutherland and those like him, there are many more that have a lessor connection to Canada. And there is no way that I can think of that could consistently apply a “connection to Canada” in an administratively fair and efficient manner.

I’m Canadian – and I should have a right to vote – The Globe and Mail.

Denmark Bans Kosher and Halal Animal Slaughter

Balance between animal “rights” and human religious rights. But one would need to know how Denmark treats all farm animals to know whether this is consistent or targeted:

Denmark enacted a sweeping ban on the religious slaughter of animals Monday, prompting a furious backlash from Jewish and Muslim community representatives.

The ban, which requires slaughterhouse workers to stun animals before killing them, will now extend to religious communities that were previously afforded an exemption. “Animal rights come before religion,” Danish minister for agriculture and food Dan Jørgensen told Denmark’s TV2.

Activists with Danish Halal called the restriction a “clear interference in religious freedom,” the Independent reports, while Israeli chief rabbi David Lau slammed the law as “a serious and severe blow to the Jewish faith and to the Jews of Denmark,” according to Times of Israel.

Both observant Jews, under kashrut laws and Muslims, under halal laws, will not eat meat unless the animal has been killed with a single slice to the neck, with the intention to minimize its pain.

Denmark Bans Kosher and Halal Animal Slaughter

Jewish Students Feel Wide Anti-Semitism, Online Study Says

US Antisemitism campuses - BrandeisInteresting studies and charts:

According to the Brandeis University study released Tuesday, a few schools, among them Canadian universities and schools in the California state system, have “particularly high levels of hostility toward Jews or Israel.”

The online survey of over 3,000 North American college students who have applied for a Birthright Israel trip — but have not yet taken the 10-day journey — found that one-third of respondents reported having been verbally harassed during the past year because they were Jewish. Nearly three-quarters said they had been exposed to at least one of six anti-Semitic statements, including the claims that Jews have too much power and that Israelis behave “like Nazis” toward the Palestinians.

More than one-quarter of respondents described hostility toward Israel by their campus peers as a “fairly” or “very big” problem, while nearly 15 percent reported the same level of hostility toward Jews.

Jewish Students Feel Wide Anti-Semitism, Online Study Says – Breaking News – Forward.com.

Antisemitism and the College Campus – Brandeis University

2014 Anti-Semitism Report – Jewish Virtual Library

Brandeis - Israel

Cohen: Canada’s ambition deficit

Andrew Cohen captures it (building on his earlier book, The Unfinished Canadian):

This costs money, and we are cheap. Our new ethic is low taxes, in which a cloying federal government returns money to Canadians, as it did last week in child benefits, rather than make hard decisions for the public good. Or, governments ask Canadians to approve tax increases in referendums, as in British Columbia, evading responsibility for governing.

Today’s deficit is no longer about money. It’s about ambition.

Cohen: Canada’s ambition deficit | Ottawa Citizen.