Hallelujah Chorus by Kings College Choir, Cambridge celebrates Easter!

Happy Easter everyone!

I hope visitors to Cotm enjoy the above YouTube of the men and boys Choir at King’s College, Cambridge singing George Frideric Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus. The Chorus, which is sung at the end of Part 2 of the Oratorio, proclaims the risen Lord, Jesus Christ.

The reason I chose this rendition of all male voices is that it likely most closely resembles what the singing sounded like in 1741 when Handel composed it.

Flaherty’s tax policies vs Justin Trudeau putting “a price on carbon”

Credit Financial Post.

The Hon. Jim Flaherty. Credit the Financial Post.

Since his untimely death last Thursday, on April 10th, 2014, there have been a lot of kudos for Canada’s former Finance Minister, Jim Flaherty. And, with good reason. As this Financial Post article suggests, one of his finest achievements was steering the country through the worst global recession since the 1930′s.

We know, for example, that in spite of criticism that a consumption tax reduction is not the best type of tax cut, he and Prime Minister Harper reduced the GST from 7% to 5% anyway. And, as a middle class consumer, I have to tell you, that 2% helps a lot, especially with big ticket items like a new stove or vehicle!!!

We also know that the current Conservative government has instituted income splitting for retirees and lowered income taxes for low income earners to 15%. In other words, according to this Conservative Party of Canada website, when it comes to cutting taxes, the Conservative government that so many liberals and progressives love to hate, has actually made it easier for lower income and middle class Canadians to manage their financial lives.

So, how would Liberal leader Justin Trudeau help the middle class, whose party if polls are to be believed, is apparently ahead at the moment? By instituting a tax on carbon — which means that prices would go up on everything. And, who would be impacted the most by such increases – the economically disadvantaged and the ever famous middle class?

Which reminds me how the Ontario Liberals improved health care for its citizens when, in 2003, former Premier McGuinty instituted a “health premium” and then proceeded to reduce services and close hospitals in rural communities. Talk about spin! The “health” tax does nothing to improve the health of the average person living in Ontario. Rather, since the money goes into general revenues, it helps pay for all the boondoggles like cancelled gas plants, as well as wind and solar developers who we will be paying, it seems, in perpetuity.

Truly, just thinking about why anyone would vote for a political party that thinks taxing everyone on the basis of what might happen in 2100 (particularly since climate has been changing since the world began), makes my head spin.

Anyway, on the topic of the federal Liberals and its leader, check out some of the sources on this Google entry, as well as this Financial Post article by Jack Mintz. At one point in Mintz’s column, he discloses the problem Liberals are currently having in distinguishing themselves from the federal Conservatives.

Trudeau supports the corporate tax cuts made by Chretien and Martin but not those by Stephen Harper. This could imply an increase in the corporate income tax rate by seven percentage points to the 2006 level when Harper won power (this would result in the federal-provincial corporate income tax rate rising from about 26% to 33%, one of the highest in the world). Not sure what this would do for middle-class prosperity. Based on previous estimates, kiss away 200,000 jobs in the long run if a seven-point increase were to be adopted.”

In other words, while it sounds good to say you will tax the rich and not the middle class, who would suffer the most when you put a “price on carbon?” Certainly not the rich.

Anyway, what absolute hypocrisy! Trudeau and his federal Liberal supporters are screaming and yelling that the Harper Conservative Government is damaging Canada, while simultaneously complimenting Mr. Flaherty for how well he steered the country during his tenure. Then, given what Trudeau is saying, the minute they would acquire power, they would destroy whatever good Mr. Flaherty did.

Worse, on top of the federal Liberal spin about helping the middle class, most in the mainstream media promote Trudeau as Canada’s possible savior — sometimes to the point of gag-worthy simpering reportage. Moreover, the media is also easier on Trudeau. For example, this CBC interview was completely one-sided where the journalist asks easy questions followed by Trudeau simply explaining himself. Imagine a similar interview with PM Harper and you will get my point — that there would have been many tough follow-up questions.

Truly, when you know what Flaherty did for Canada, compared to what Trudeau wants to do, and the fact that the media essentially approves of what Trudeau wants to do, you realize that we live in a truly upside down world.

Remembering Jim Flaherty’s humanity…

As Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in the above video, our condolences and heartfelt prayers go out to Jim Flaherty’s wife, Christine Elliott, and their three boys.

one of the men who played on the legislative hockey team with him. As a result, I spoke with Flaherty on several times.

What was amazing was that from the time of my first introduction, Flaherty always called me by name. That was his magic and his humanity and no doubt why, today, so many immediately feel his loss.

Jim Flaherty cared about people.

What a giant of a man!

Complaints about Fair Elections Act re “vouching” unfair to those with ID

As the saying goes, me thinks Marc Mayrand, Sheila Fraser, Jean-Pierre Kingsley, and even Preston Manning, doth complain too much. I mean, “vouching” (when one person vouches that another person lives at a certain address) has already been eliminated in five Canadian provinces and one territory. Why? Likely because, in a recount, those voters are essentially secret.

Why then, is it such a breach of democratic principles when the Conservatives want to do it at the federal level? I mean, the complainers are claiming that if C-23, The Fair Elections Act, is enacted without significant amendments, hundreds of thousands of disenfranchised Canadians, seniors and youth will not be able to vote and, as a result, democracy will be at risk.

Talk about an over-reaction and double standard. I mean, when I go to vote I have to show the card I get in the mail and my photo id driver’s licence to prove I am actually the person on the card. You want to talk about unfairness, then that it is — expecting most voters to have both a card and verifiable ID while others simply find someone to vouch for them.

Now, take a look at the list of items that could be used to prove ID.

  1. Driver’s licence
  2. Ontario health card
  3. Provincial/territorial ID card in some provinces/territories
  4. Canadian passport
  5. Certificate of Canadian citizenship (citizenship card)
  6. Birth certificate
  7. Certificate of Indian status (status card)
  8. Social insurance number card
  9. Old age security card
  10. Student ID card
  11. Liquor ID card
  12. Hospital/medical clinic card
  13. Credit/debit card
  14. Employee card
  15. Public transportation card
  16. Library card
  17. Canadian Forces ID card
  18. Veterans Affairs Canada health card
  19. Canadian Blood Services/Héma-Québec card
  20. CNIB ID card
  21. Firearm possession and acquisition licence or possession only licence
  22. Fishing, trapping or hunting licence
  23. Outdoors or wildlife card/licence
  24. Hospital bracelet worn by residents of long-term care facilities
  25. Parolee ID card
  26. Utility bill (telephone, TV, PUC, hydro, gas or water)
  27. Bank/credit card statement
  28. Vehicle ownership/insurance
  29. Correspondence issued by a school, college or university
  30. Statement of government benefits (employment insurance, old age security, social assistance, disability support or child tax benefit)
  31. Attestation of residence issued by the responsible authority of a First Nations band or reserve
  32. Government cheque or cheque stub
  33. Pension plan statement of benefits, contributions or participation
  34. Residential lease/mortgage statement
  35. Income/property tax assessment notice
  36. Insurance policy
  37. Letter from a public curator, public guardian or public trustee
  38. One of the following, issued by the responsible authority of a shelter, soup kitchen, student/senior residence, or long-term care facility: attestation of residence, letter of stay, admission form or statement of benefits.

Interesting, that yesterday I heard former Auditor General Sheila Fraser say to a TV reporter that her daughter couldn’t use her health card because it didn’t have an address on it. Yet, it is the third item on the list — even though our address is not obvious. The reason is likely because, for the new cards at least, the address is available on the chip. I know that because every time I visit my family doctor, the receptionist swipes the card to verify my address is current.

Which means, that any of the forms of ID that are acceptable that don’t include an address are, if ever there is an investigation or a recount, traceable, including your library and debit cards. Anyway, as I said at the start, given that half the country’s provinces do not allow vouching, who among us can claim that, without vouching at the federal level, democracy is at risk?

As PM Harper has apparently said: “We believe and most people believe that elections should be decided by secret votes, not secret voters.” In other words, the secret one person-one vote paradigm includes not only the right to vote according to your personal preference, but the obligation to prove you have the right to do that in the first place.

In the meantime, I have not heard anyone who is against Bill C-23 in its present form talk about the fact that “vouching” is completely unfair to all those millions of Canadian voters who do follow through on their obligation to vote — as I said at the start of this post — by showing the Deputy Returning Officer the Elections Canada voter’s card they received in the mail and photo ID to prove they are the person named on that card. And, I might add, they also have to stand in front of the Deputy Returning Officer, while he or she uses a ruler to draw a line through their name on the voter’s list — before they are even given a ballot to vote.


Update April 9th 5pm: An important issue has been brought to my attention that I didn’t include in this post. And, that is the number of federal seats that are very close races and sometimes only won by a few votes. Let’s use the number 15 for the sake of argument. What if a federal candidate, no matter which party they belonged to, won by only 15 votes? Were the 15 votes, or even ten of those votes “vouched” votes? How would anyone confirm, after the fact, that those 10 or 15 people had the right to vote? For example, when the inevitable recount happens, does a judge count only those votes that were on an electoral list and discount the vouched votes? If not, it is conceivable that an MP would be elected by, as Mr. Harper said, 10 or 15 secret voters. I am told that in some large urban areas, there are sometimes hundreds of vouched votes. Meaning, something is definitely wrong with a voting system that would allow that kind of unfairness and uncertainty.

C/P at Jack’s Newswatch 10/04/2014.

Gallup: Liberals worry about AGW in future while rest worry about pollution NOW.

Click for Thomasnet.com.

Click for Thomasnet.com.

Given the release of the latest UN IPCC report, we, in the West, are being bombarded in and on the media that individuals, corporations and governments must do something about Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW).

Why?  Because, the report claims, by the end of this century, humankind is going to be adversely affected — as in, we must do something now if we are to save the world from total destruction!

When you think about it, such arrogance! The assumptions are that we should cheerfully give the fearmongers our money and gladly agree to shut down all our fossil fuel industries — in effect allowing the developing world to destroy our infrastructure, jobs and way of life because they (e.g., China and Russia) are not expected to remediate anything.

Right. Sure.

Yet, interestingly, at the same time as these arrogant claims and demands are being voiced, some politicians seem to be pushing back, in actions if not in words, as well as the fact some climate scientists are coming forward to openly call the whole hypothesis a political hoax.

For example, a couple of days ago I wrote a post explaining that Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced his government would NOT be putting “climate change” on the G20 agenda scheduled for November this year — in spite of EU and US objections. Now, check out this Washington Examiner column by Byron York (H/T Jack’s Newswatch).

Dated April 6th, 2014, it is titled “Democrats worry a lot about global warming, everybody else not so much.” It is about the results of a recent Gallup survey on what Americans are worrying about when it comes to environmental issues. York’s article starts off: “A new Gallup survey shows a stark partisan divide in Americans’ beliefs on global warming.

Specifically, 34% of those surveyed worry about “global warming” compared to 60% who worry about concerns in the here and now, like pollution. In fact, some 53% responded that they worry about the toxicity of our rivers, lakes and reservoirs. If I had been polled, that is likely what I would have said as well.

However, it appears that the US based Gallup survey has also shown how political it is to even believe in AGW. Of those identified as Democrats, 50% said they were worried about global warming compared to 26% of Independents and 22% of Republicans. In other words, it appears that the scare tactics being used by the UN and others are largely, apart from liberals and green progressives, falling on deaf ears and, in fact, could be self-defeating.

The more they cry wolf, it seems, the more everyone else wants to do something practical and concrete about environmental issues that are current, such as air and water pollution. Why? Because pollution is killing people now.

For example, as this 2012 Blacksmith/Green Cross Switzerland report at Thomasnet.com indicates, 125 million people currently living in developing countries, are at risk of dying from diseases directly attributed to toxic industrial pollution. Interconnected to AGW? Of course, because releasing toxic industrial smoke into the air does cause increased C02 emissions.

However, the rationale behind pollution control methods are different from AGW remediation, as they were thirty-five plus years ago with how acid rain was killing our lakes and rivers and the life within them. In that case, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and President H.W. Bush did not implement a useless carbon tax or a carbon credit system.

Rather, they signed a Quality Air Treaty (which had started with Mulroney and President Ronald Reagan) and implemented legislation and remediation methods that stopped the acid rain from happening in the first place.

My conclusion? Whether small “l” or capital “L,” liberals in the U.S. (and Canada) are aggressively convinced of the need to do something political about global warming/climate change which might happen sometime in the future, whereas in general, the rest of us are more concerned about doing what ever is necessary to take care of our environment — now.

Australia doesn’t want “climate change” on next G20 agenda

Finally! A politician who has the guts to tell it like it is. Apparently, Australia’s new PM, Tony Abbott, has made it clear that when Australia holds the next G20 meeting on November 15 and 16 of this year (2014) in Brisbane, Queensland, “climate change” will not be on the agenda –  a decision that must have been made in spite of the hysterical tone of the recently released IPCC Report.

Because, for the most part, after every IPCC the-sky-is-falling report, all we read are articles like this one from Reuters that claim time is running out to meet the global warming threat. What threat? We haven’t had any warming for 17 years (and no, cooling does not cause warming) which may explain why some journalists are actually starting to publish articles that disagree with the assumptions of AGW (man-caused global warming).

One example is an interview by Neil Hudson, a Yorkshire Evening Post reporter, with retired NASA Professor Leslie Woodcock who says very matter of factly that the term “climate change” or “global warming” are meaningless because they are  “used as a sop by big business to create money.” In fact, in answer to one of Hudson’s question, Woodcock goes so far as to say what many of us have believed for some time:

The Earth’s climate has been changing since time immemorial, that is since the Earth was formed 1,000 million years ago. The theory of ‘man-made climate change’ is an unsubstantiated hypothesis [about] our climate [which says it] has been adversely affected by the burning of fossil fuels in the last 100 years, causing the average temperature on the earth’s surface to increase very slightly but with disastrous environmental consequences…. There is no reproducible scientific evidence CO2 has significantly increased in the last 100 years.”

And, Dr. Woodcock is not alone. Dr. Hal Lewis, a former professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara, resigned from the American Physical Society in 2010, claiming “climate change” was a hoax. Interestingly, in 2010, few media entries could be found on his resignation. Today, however, Google shows over 10,000+ entries, most of which are online news sites and blogs like Breitbart.com and Watts Up With That.  Hopefully, the Woodcock interview indicates that scientists who agree with some or all of what he says are now being quoted in the media in a serious way, rather than simply shrugged off as crackpots or “deniers.”

Anyway, is it any wonder Australia’s PM wants no part of the topic at the next G20, given it appears to be the biggest hoax ever perpetrated on the Western world. Yet, Abbott’s decision does not seem to be sitting well with the EU and US who want him to change his mind.

Given Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper has become a very respected international statesman, particularly given his recent leadership on Israel and the Ukraine, I can’t help wonder if he agrees with Abbott’s decision.

Mr. Harper????

McGuinty/Wynne gas plant cancellation vs PM Harper’s Duffy/Wright cheque

During the last year, blogging has become extremely tedious because of what is commonly called “the Harper Government derangement syndrome” and the constant anger expressed by my fellow Conservatives. Yet, conservative anger, whether small “c” or capital “C” is understandable.

I mean, read any comment under a column on the CBC or Globe and Mail websites and people go on and on about corruption and living in a dictatorship. Irrational hate hardly begins to describe that reaction particularly since we all know that political parties and governments are made up of people. Human beings. So, since no living human being is perfect, no government is perfect.

So, Prime Minister Harper has appointed people to the Senate who have turned out to be disappointments. That’s true. But, then again, Liberal Prime Ministers have appointed Senators who turned out to be disappointments as well. For starters, there is this one who was convicted of fraud and breach of trust and this one who recently retired under a cloud.

In other words, what those Liberal Senators did or did not do is hardly a hit against the judgment of the PM who appointed them. Rather, it is a hit against those individuals, or at the very least, against the Senate’s loosey goosey rules that got them into trouble in the first place.

So, if the anti-Conservative fear and loathing all around us have nothing to do with reality, what is its source? I believe that source, as subtle as it might be sometimes, is not the opposition (who are just doing their jobs) but the assumptions of the liberal media. Simplistic as it may sound those assumptions seem to be “progressive and liberal good, progressive conservative and conservative bad.

For example, check out the April 1st, 2014 column by the National Post’s Kelly McParland. Note the subtlety of his excuses related to Ontario’s Premier Kathleen Wynne. “Less than conclusive.” “Doesn’t mean she was familiar with….”

Yet, the assumption is that the PM would have had to have known about a $90,000 cheque. Why would he have to have known? Prime Minister Jean Chretien claimed he knew nothing about the details surrounding the sponsorship scandal, which went on for years and involved the loss of millions of dollars of government money to the Liberal Party’s coffers. Yet, Mr. Harper had to have known about the Wright cheque?

And yet the unfair comparisons abound, including the thousands in this Google search. Only in liberal Canada would misusing a billion dollars of taxpayers money be the same or worse than repaying those same taxpayers $90,000.

Viciousness the difference between partisan political blogging in 2006 vs 2014.

Politically blogging has become so mean spirited and vile in 2014, even among partisans on the same side, that I can’t help wondering if it has jumped the shark altogether with only a few sites remaining viable.Yet, I can remember how excited I was to discover blogging back during the 2005/2006 federal election campaign and like-minded commenters took part in the political discussion with me. It was truly an invigorating and liberating time.

In fact, in the last two weeks of that first campaign, I can remember being so motivated to write that I would get up at 6 am to do so. Plus, it was not unusual to have 100 comments by the end of the day.

Sadly, those days are long gone. As hundreds, if not thousands, of commenters left the blogosphere and went on with their lives, somewhere along the way, bloggers lost their way.

Sure, partisan bloggers had differences of opinion. But that was all it was.  I can remember, for example, having Liberal Warren Kinsella and an NDP blogger from BC on my sidebar’s Favourites List. I didn’t agree with them but I respected them. I can’t remember when that respect stopped but it did.

The first time I noticed the political debate was no longer about issues was when I began developing the first Harper Government Accomplishment List. Some opposition bloggers went nuts, calling me every name in the book. I still don’t know why. Blame the messenger syndrome I guess. I was simply dealing with what the Conservative government was doing. If something changed, or wasn’t going to happen, I removed that information from the list. And, I never included any item from the stimulus plan.

The problem seemed to be that the messaging at that time was that “the Harper Government wasn’t doing anything.” So, by my proving they were, the anger was directed at me. Yet, I persevered in spite of the partisan anti-conservative tsunami. Now, however, rather than write about something good the Harper government has done, far too many conservative bloggers write about opposition members and their supporters in the same gotcha mean-spirited way conservatives claim they dislike.

In other words, there is lots of blame to go around — including blame for my part in the nastiness, for which I regret.  However, it’s been awhile now that nastiness moved into viciousness and pettiness.

Like today, while it wasn’t any one person, there were some nasty comments on Twitter about Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau posting a photo with his infant son. Did it not occur to anyone that it could just as easily be taken at face value? Yes, Trudeau was wearing a suit and tie. So what? Maybe he was at his Constituency Office at a meeting. I mean, riding work still goes on even when the House of Commons is not sitting. In fact, having worked for an Ontario MPP, I can tell you that is precisely when constituency work does get done.

Of course, not all Tory or Liblogs are nasty. But the reality is that while the Internet opened up amazing opportunities a decade ago, it also opened up a can of nastiness and pettiness. In my opinion, that likely happened, in part because of the anonymity and in part because of the hyper partisanship that has become more important to some than our Canadianness.

Anyway, I have no idea how bad it is going to get before it gets better, or even “if” it will ever get better. Nevertheless, I suspect that if and when the Liberals do get back into power, both the blogosphere and Twitter will quiet down because conservatives will ignore politics, for the most part, as they did before the Harper Conservatives came to power. Why that is, however, is for someone else to analyze.

Suffice to say that while I will continue to blog about book reviews and educational issues, some which may touch on politics indirectly as this recent article on the Alberta Education Minister did.


Update April 4th, 2014. I have published a new political post on media bias, which I believe contributes to the viciousness I was writing about here a month ago. The book reviews I was talking about doing are now on their own blog — The Digital Bookmark — which can be reached via this link.

Alberta’s Education Minister Johnson defends the indefensible re math curriculum

As regular readers of this blog know, I have been supporting two “bring back math fundamentals in public schools” petitions, one organized by Dr. Tran-Davies in Alberta (see here and here), and one put forward for Ontario parents by retired teacher Teresa Murray (see here).

Yet, all I hear and read from the politicians and educrats in response is that the parents and professionals who are complaining don’t understand that curriculum developers are preparing children for the future, a future that will not require the same basic skills as in the past.

As the Globe and Mail link shows, in Ontario the government thinks all they need to do is re-train teachers.

Pardon me? What absolute poppycock! I mean, if you have to re-train teachers, something is very wrong with the math curriculum.

We are aware that there is new technology. We are also aware employees of the future will need to know how to think creatively, often referred to as thinking outside the box. However, that creative thinking has nothing whatsoever to do with the reality that they will only be able to do that effectively if they have all their necessary pre-requisite reading, writing and math skills.

Yes, this is 2014, but adding is still adding. Subtracting is still subtracting and multiplying is still multiplying using the old fashioned times tables. In fact, as far as I know, how you add and subtract has not changed in decades or even millennia. And, the skills required in solving problems builds on those pre-requisite skills. Meaning, children should not be using calculators before they know how to calculate manually.

The reality is that I know hogwash when I hear or read it. I know it because I am a learning and curriculum specialist. I not only used to teach graduate and undergraduate curriculum design and development courses, I also taught “the psychology of teaching and learning” courses. Plus, I actually designed curriculum for private schools and colleges.

Meaning, even though I have been out of the “system” for a few years, I know that teaching math fundamentals is not about preparing our children for the past or the future. It is simply about preparing our children for life. Period. It doesn’t matter whether you learned your basic math skills in 1955 or 2005 or 2014. They are the same now as they were then.

Yet, note the quote about Manitoba in the above Globe and Mail link. It is to weep!

“After a movement led by math professors, Manitoba implemented changes this fall. Students are now taught all four standard methods for arithmetic – addition with a carry, subtraction with a borrow, long multiplication and long division. The recent OECD results suggest that jurisdictions that teach math in a more traditional way had more success than those such as Ontario that use “discovery learning,” a method that allows for open-ended student investigations and problem-solving.”

Can you imagine? The Manitoba government is admitting that for how long, we don’t know, its children were not being taught how to add with a carry, how to subtract with a borrow, long multiplication and long division. One can assume then, that the other nine Canadian provinces and three territories are not doing so either at the moment.

Nevertheless, in spite of Manitoba’s concrete action, Alberta’s Education Minister, Jeff Johnson wrote on March 5th:

“I wish to assure parents that these basic skills will serve as the foundation and starting point of every change made to the curriculum. What they won’t be is the end point. Through inquiry-based learning, we’ll build upon these basic, foundational skills while developing additional skills that the business community and parents tell us are so critical. The conventional method of teaching fundamentals, whereby students rely heavily on memorization, versus a more engaged, inquiry-based method, are not mutually exclusive approaches to education. In fact, I believe it is crucial that we develop a curriculum that uses the best of both methods.” [My italics.]

Remember, Johnson is a politician and obviously a good one given how accomplished he is at edu-babble and spin. All that was missing in his final statement was: “Don’t worry, be happy.”

My reaction? Johnson is trying to defend the indefensible. No one is asking him to put the success of Alberta’s children second. That is what is called a non-sequitur.

Rather, what parents are asking him to do is what they have already had to do in Manitoba — revise the math curriculum to separate the basic skills from inquiry and discovery-based methods because contrary to what he claims — that Alberta is using the best of both methods — there is no concrete evidence that is actually happening in elementary classrooms.

So, the crux of the matter is that Minister Johnson, and all those in the background who are advising him, are wrong. Curriculum decisions have to be deliberate. Meaning, arithmetic should not be taught incidentally but discrete and separate from the inquiry-based methods he espouses.

Make no mistake about it, just as in Manitoba, the math specialists, retired educators and parents who are demanding changes to their provincial math curriculum guidelines, will get them eventually, because to not do so would not only be a dereliction of duty but a breach of the public trust!

C/P at Jack’s Newswatch. Also posted at Newswatchcanada.

How would a public inquiry stop violence against Aboriginal women?

The denial of truth and political correctness is keeping Aboriginal women victims. For example, a parliamentary report came out yesterday on the issue of violence against Aboriginal women which contained several practical and concrete recommendations on how to reduce such violence. Yet, the opposition parties and the Aboriginal leadership appear to believe that only a public inquiry will stop the violence.

Just how a public inquiry would do that is not quite clear because simply talking about the violence won’t actually stop it from happening, nor will even understanding the likely causes of the violence in the first place.

Why? Because we live in a free society and women are free to make choices. No, I am not blaming the victims but the reality is that sometimes the choices that are made result in very bad outcomes.

I mean, what can government do for a woman who runs away from home and finds herself on a lonely road hitching a ride? Or, what can a government or community program do once she gets involved in prostitution to survive and/or because she finds herself addicted to drugs or alcohol?

Yes, it is tragic. Yes, a public inquiry would allow the families to mourn. Yes, a public inquiry would give the victims a name. But, a public inquiry will not change the reason she ran away in the first place.

And, in my opinion, that reason is misogyny, which is obvious not only on reserves but in the wider community as well. I mean, check out this Google page on the rape culture at the University of Ottawa.

Then, there are the words of Aboriginal women themselves — confirming that the problem is misogyny. Read this Gloria Galloway quote from a column she wrote in the Globe and Mail a few days ago entitled: “Fear of retaliation:”

“Some aboriginal women told the human-rights commission they fear that the mere act of lodging a complaint against the police or powerful members of their communities will leave them without access to important health and social services or could lead to intimidation and acts of violence. ‘Truth be told, some leaders are offenders of violence against women,’ one of the native women told the commission. ‘It’s so entrenched, many women live in fear. That is our sad reality, and it’s tough.’”

Yet, given the over-reactive statements at some of the opposition press conferences yesterday, you would think the violence was the fault of the current Conservative Government, a government that has only been in power for seven years. I mean, what did the previous Liberal governments of Jean Chretien and Paul Martin — who governed for nearly 13 years from 1993 to 2005 — do to stop the violence that had been going on against Aboriginal women during all those years?

In reality, as Justice Minister Peter MacKay said yesterday, the current Conservative Government is trying to help. It has, for example, tabled 30 bills in the House of Commons, as well as taken numerous initiatives across the country to directly invest in programs that help women and girls — especially those on reserves.

The crux of the matter is that a public inquiry will not stop the violence against Aboriginal women, anymore than it would stop violence against non-Aboriginal women. Rather, what will stop the violence is when little boys and girls see their brothers, fathers and uncles treating their sisters, mothers and other women in their lives with honour, dignity and respect.

Update: The irony. I wrote this post not realizing today was International Women’s Day 2014. C/P at Jack’s Newswatch.