Monday, 25 March 2013

The "Discretion" issue

Image obtained from the
Green Market Oracle
The Frontier Centre for Public Policy - a hard right, "independent" think tank - has a policy note out opposing Bill 18. It's authored by think tank personnel Rodney A. Clifton and Michael Zwaagstra, as well as retired U of M education professor John C. Long.

The paper repeats two standard rightwing canards about Bill 18, the Safe and Inclusive Schools amendment.

  • It's definition of bullying is vague and could include "single off-handed quip[s]".
  • It interferes with the "religious freedom" of 50% publicly funded Independent Schools.

Now I'll try to focus on the first issue right now. So, how is this bill's bullying definition problematic?

Friday, 22 March 2013

Manitoba Hero Evan Wiens CBC Interview

Evan Wien, a student at Steinbach Regional Secondary School, has been trying to start up a Gay-Straigh Alliance at his school. In his quest, his school's Principal has barred him from setting up posters, fellow students have insulted him with CBC cameras rolling, and his MLA and MP have stood against legislation which would address this nonsense.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Pro-Bill 18 Petition

The opponents of Bill 18, particularly the religious far-right, have been very loud and mobilized. They've had an outsized impact on the public discourse, with the Winnipeg Free Press noting such voices as pastor Deurksen.

Bill 18 is a very important bill, which requires schools to accommodate voluntary, life-saving Gay-Straight Alliances.

Manitoba's progressive majority needs
to speak up and counter the vocal opponents
of Bill 18.

Image Source: obtained from Facebook

I sincerely believe there is a progressive majority of Manitobans on the issue. But we stand a serious threat of getting marginalized and steamrollered by the radical, religious right fringe unless we speak up. Which is why I urge all Manitoban readers to sign the Rainbow Resource Centre's PETITION IN SUPPORT OF BILL 18

To: Hon. Nancy Allen, Education Minister - Manitoba Provincial Government

We believe in safe schools for everyone. The amendments in Bill 18 will create safe and welcoming environments for students in ALL schools, public and independent. The inclusion of GSAs in schools for students that want to start them will let gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and two-spirit students know that they matter. Thank you for creating safer schools for ALL students.


[Your name]

("Support Bill 18 - Safe Schools Amendment /Anti-Bullying Bill/GSA Inclusion". Rainbow Resource Centre.

Manitoba's the egalitarian prairie province which was the first to give women the right to vote in Canada and home of the first large North American city to elect an openly gay mayor. Let's continue the fine, Manitoban tradition of equality and fairness for all.

Would you like to support this blogger? Consider making a donation or checking out their shop!

Also consider liking this blog on Facebook!  

The Need for Bill 18

Note: The image below is very disturbing, as is the reality of anti-gay bullying in Manitoba and Canada. Incorporation of an image with an all too real characterization of the reality of homophobic bullying should not be taken as legitimizing the hateful speech and barbarism behind it.

Bullying, justified by religious bigotry or not, is
an ugly reality for many Manitobans.

Image Source:
Youth Guide
Bullying is a major problem in Manitoba and Canada at large. A minimum of one in three adolescents has been bullied and Canada has the 13th worst bullying rates in a survey of 35 nations. Furthermore, LGTBQ youth face a bullying rate thrice as high as non-LGTBQ youth. Bullying is also shifting into the virtual sphere, with research finding an increasing incidence of suicides due to cyberbullying.

This growing problem had to be addressed and it was only a matter of time before crises spurred political leaders to Canada.

Canada hit such a turning point with the suicide of Jamie Hubley. The son of an Ottawa city councillor committed suicide after harsh, anti-gay bullying which featured a considerable amount of cyberbullying.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

This video is friggin' awesome

The Winnipeg Free Press has a great video out, detailing everyday life as it snows in late March.

(H/t to Winnipeg Subreddit)

Would you like to support this blogger? Consider making a donation or checking out their shop!

Also consider liking this blog on Facebook!  

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

International Interlude

Generally, I like to concentrate on providing analysis and commentary about Manitoba provincial politics. I view it as a grossly under-examined (at least compared to provincial political coverage in other provinces' blogospheres). I sometimes swerve upwards to discuss Federal issues and downwards to discuss municipal issues.

I've gotta make an exception for the Cypriot deposit expropriation scheme. It's a pretty big issue and shows just how bad stupid policy can be.

Let's let the ever prescient economist Steve Keen explain:

It's amazing how incompetent European policymakers have been. Austerity and now deposit expropriation is a surefire way to dynamite the global economy.  The European Central Bank, as you may recall, was foolish enough to raise interest rates as the global economy tanked due to the financial crash - because of inflation paranoia.

I'm rather glad that policymakers in Canada didn't rush to slash spending to deal with cyclical deficits. If we got what "fiscal conservatives" wanted, we'd be screwed.

Would you like to support this blogger? Consider making a donation or checking out their shop!

Also consider liking this blog on Facebook!  

Monday, 18 March 2013

We hear your dog whistles

Last week went by very quickly.

Provincial antibullying Bill 18 dominated the news cycle last week. Amid the controversy, Kelvin Goertzen quit Twitter and The Winnipeg RAG Review made the evening news.

While it initially seemed (to me, at least) like I was the sole "backlash" Tweeter, it's become apparent that others were part of the pushback. A notable Twitter critic of the Steinbach MLA is fellow Conservative Ally Beauchesne!

Monday, 11 March 2013

Rationale for Booze Taxes (wonkish)

The joys of teetotalism become apparent in Manitoba?
 This city's rightwing tabloid, The Winnipeg Sun, has had quite a few cover stories about the horror of a rise in Manitoba booze taxes. Some writers, like hard-right columnist Tom Brodbeck, are even suggesting going the route of Alberta by privatizing liquor stores. The desire for cheaper beer from Sun writers is not too surprising given the effects of intoxication on political beliefs. Heck, the provincial Conservatives might've won a landslide majority last election if only people showed up to the polls hammered! 

Kidding aside, I can't really "feel your pain" as a nondrinker who buys pop at bars. But the rise in the booze tax does represent an opportunity to talk about the economic theory of Pigouvian ("sin") taxes and the prospect of a tax shift.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Pallister CON Kelvin Goertzen vs Gay Rights

Pallister CON and anti-bullying Bill 18 opponent
Kelvin Goertzen.

Image Source: The Manitoba Chambers
of Commerce
Warning: Image with explicit language below page-break.

Well, I've been quite an infrequent conventional blogger as of 2013, but have made up for it with a shift to microblogging (twitter). And, boy oh boy, is there some unsettling stuff you can find there.

Pallister CON and MLA for Steinbach Kelvin Goertzen has led the charge against Bill 18, a Manitoba anti-bullying bill, as education critic. The religious far-right and religious schools in Manitoba (which receive 50% of their funding from us, the public) are livid over this piece of legislation.