Whatever happened to Canadians’ famous pursuit of balance?
PRESTON MANNINGSPECIAL TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL
PUBLISHED DECEMBER 29, 2020
Preston Manning is the founder of the Manning Centre and the former leader of the Reform Party of Canada.
Why does our national game of hockey have three periods instead of two halves? So that there would be a middle! Why did the Canadian cross the road? To get to the median!
These old jokes about us Canadians ring true because of our penchant for finding compromise and balance. But lately, the middle ground seems to have evaporated. Polarization and division – some of it absorbed from the political wars in the United States, and much of it fed by identity politics – is the order of the day. And leaders with the capacity to define and champion a principled middle ground are few and far between.
Where – on what issues – is finding a balance between polarized extremes most urgently needed? Is it not in our response to the COVID-19 challenge?
COVID-19 threatens our health. Governments of all stripes have, therefore, understandably and hastily, adopted protective measures based largely on the advice of a select group of health experts. To be clear, this is all well and good.
But in seeking and applying scientific advice on how to cope with COVID-19, the balance between the advice of medical science and the advice of other branches of science with equally important contributions to make has been lost.
Why have we not given at least some weight to the cautionary warnings of social scientists and psychologists that strict and prolonged “social distancing” can have major negative effects on mental health? The price of this imbalance in our application of scientific advice has been tragically high – deaths from suicides and drug overdosing in some Canadian communities, attributable to prolonged social isolation, greatly outnumbering deaths from the coronavirus.
In the name of combatting COVID-19, almost all of the rights and freedoms supposedly guaranteed by the Constitution and the Charter have been circumscribed and even violated. Freedom of assembly and association has been seriously curtailed even for gatherings where health protection measures are rigorously practised; freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression have been attacked, especially when those thoughts, beliefs and opinions differ from the official line of the state.
Meanwhile, the Constitution Act, 1982, guarantees the rights of every citizen and permanent resident of Canada “to pursue the gaining of a livelihood,” which includes the right to work and conduct a business. Yet government policies that require millions of Canadians to “stay home and be safe,” that keep millions of workers from their jobs and the incomes those jobs provide, that drive thousands of businesses to the brink of bankruptcy and beyond, that threaten supply chains, and which indefinitely “lock down” whole sectors of the national economy – all constitute violations of this basic right of Canadians to gain a livelihood.
Every day, our governments present Canadians with evidence of the health consequences of the coronavirus and the results of measures adopted to combat it. But evidence as to the financial and economic effects of these measures – which will affect the overall well-being of millions of Canadians for years to come – has not been presented with anywhere near the same transparency or vigour.
Is it not essential to find a just balance between the protection of Canadians’ health and the protection of their Charter rights and their economic well-being?
Lastly, public support is essential for the implementation of any policies required to cope effectively with the COVID-19 challenge. The easiest and most expedient way of securing and sustaining that support, as our politicians and their advisers well know, is to frighten the populace into compliance by exploiting their fears of the consequences if those policies are not accepted and followed.
There is, however, another way to secure public support for a public policy. It is more difficult and time-consuming than exploiting their fears, but it is also more compatible with the governance of a free and democratic society: providing the public with complete and well-balanced information that challenges and enables free people to make informed decisions in their own interests.
This involves what Thomas Jefferson called “informing the discretion” of a free people in a democracy, and warning them – as did Franklin Delano Roosevelt, during the dark days of Second World War – that what they have most to fear in the face of catastrophe is not the catastrophe but fear itself.
Where is the balance between securing public support for policies to cope with the COVID-19 crisis by openly and dispassionately informing our discretion as distinct from simply exploiting our fears? And who in our current political arena will provide and champion that balanced approach? These are questions to ponder and answer as we enter 2021.
Retired doctors are apparently required to undergo diversity training before they can help administer vaccines.
Arwen~ Steyn is brilliant and a Canadian treasure:) Love him!
2020: One of the most disturbing years in American history.
By KATHY GANNON
December 28, 2020
1 of 8Police officers escort Arzoo Raja, background center, after her appearance in Sindh High Court, in Karachi, Pakistan, on Nov. 3, 2020. Raja was 13 when she disappeared from her home in central Karachi. The Christian girl’s parents reported her missing and pleaded with police to find her. Two days later, officers reported back that she had been converted to Islam and was married to their 40-year-old Muslim neighbor. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)
KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) — Neha loved the hymns that filled her church with music. But she lost the chance to sing them last year when, at the age of 14, she was forcibly converted from Christianity to Islam and married to a 45-year-old man with children twice her age.
She tells her story in a voice so low it occasionally fades away. She all but disappears as she wraps a blue scarf tightly around her face and head. Neha’s husband is in jail now facing charges of rape for the underage marriage, but she is in hiding, afraid after security guards confiscated a pistol from his brother in court.
“He brought the gun to shoot me,” said Neha, whose last name The Associated Press is not using for her safety.
Neha is one of nearly 1,000 girls from religious minorities who are forced to convert to Islam in Pakistan each year, largely to pave the way for marriages that are under the legal age and non-consensual. Human rights activists say the practice has accelerated during lockdowns against the coronavirus, when girls are out of school and more visible, bride traffickers are more active on the Internet and families are more in debt.
The U.S. State Department this month declared Pakistan “a country of particular concern” for violations of religious freedoms — a designation the Pakistani government rejects. The declaration was based in part on an appraisal by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom that underage girls in the minority Hindu, Christian, and Sikh communities were “kidnapped for forced conversion to Islam… forcibly married and subjected to rape.”
While most of the converted girls are impoverished Hindus from southern Sindh province, two new cases involving Christians, including Neha’s, have roiled the country in recent months.
The girls generally are kidnapped by complicit acquaintances and relatives or men looking for brides. Sometimes they are taken by powerful landlords as payment for outstanding debts by their farmhand parents, and police often look the other way. Once converted, the girls are quickly married off, often to older men or to their abductors, according to the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.
Forced conversions thrive unchecked on a money-making web that involves Islamic clerics who solemnize the marriages, magistrates who legalize the unions and corrupt local police who aid the culprits by refusing to investigate or sabotaging investigations, say child protection activists.
One activist, Jibran Nasir, called the network a “mafia” that preys on non-Muslim girls because they are the most vulnerable and the easiest targets “for older men with pedophilia urges.”
The goal is to secure virginal brides rather than to seek new converts to Islam. Minorities make up just 3.6 percent of Pakistan’s 220 million people and often are the target of discrimination. Those who report forced conversions, for example, can be targeted with charges of blasphemy.
In the feudal Kashmore region of southern Sindh province, 13-year-old Sonia Kumari was kidnapped, and a day later police told her parents she had converted from Hinduism to Islam. Her mother pleaded for her return in a video widely viewed on the internet: “For the sake of God, the Quran, whatever you believe, please return my daughter, she was forcibly taken from our home.”
But a Hindu activist, who didn’t want to be identified for fear of repercussions from powerful landlords, said she received a letter that the family was forced to write. The letter claimed the 13-year-old had willingly converted and wed a 36-year-old who was already married with two children.
The parents have given up.
Arzoo Raja was 13 when she disappeared from her home in central Karachi. The Christian girl’s parents reported her missing and pleaded with police to find her. Two days later, officers reported back that she had been converted to Islam and was married to their 40-year-old Muslim neighbor.
In Sindh province, the age of consent for marriage is 18 years old. Arzoo’s marriage certificate said she was 19.
The cleric who performed Arzoo’s marriage, Qasi Ahmed Mufti Jaan Raheemi, was later implicated in at least three other underage marriages. Despite facing an outstanding arrest warrant for solemnizing Arzoo’s marriage, he continued his practice in his ramshackle office above a wholesale rice market in downtown Karachi.
When an Associated Press reporter arrived at his office, Raheemi fled down a side stair, according to a fellow cleric, Mullah Kaifat Ullah, one of a half-dozen clerics who also performs marriages in the complex. He said another cleric is already in jail for marrying children.
While Ullah said he only marries girls 18 and above, he argued that “under Islamic law a girl’s wedding at the age of 14 or 15 is fine.”
Arzoo’s mother, Rita Raja, said police ignored the family’s appeals until one day she was videotaped outside the court sobbing and pleading for her daughter to be returned. The video went viral, creating a social media storm in Pakistan and prompting the authorities to step in.
“For 10 days, the parents were languishing between the police station and government authorities and different political parties,” Nasir, the activist, said. “They were not being given any time… until it went viral. That is the real unfortunate thing over here.”
Authorities have stepped in and arrested Arzoo’s husband, but her mother said her daughter still refuses to come home. Raja said she is afraid of her husband’s family.
The girl who loved hymns, Neha, said she was tricked into the marriage by a favorite aunt, who told Neha to accompany her to the hospital to see her sick son. Her aunt, Sandas Baloch, had converted to Islam years before and lived with her husband in the same apartment building as Neha’s family.
“All Mama asked when we left was ’when will you be back?’” remembered Neha.
Instead of going to the hospital, she was taken to the home of her aunt’s in-laws and told she would marry her aunt’s 45-year-old brother-in-law.
“I told her I can’t, I am too young and I don’t want to. He is old,” Neha said. “She slapped me and locked me up in a room.”
Neha told of being taken before two men, one who was to be her husband and the other who recorded her marriage. They said she was 19. She said she was too frightened to speak because her aunt threatened to harm her two-year-old brother if she refused to marry.
She learned of her conversion only when she was told to sign the marriage certificate with her new name — Fatima.
For a week she was locked in one room. Her new husband came to her on the first night. Tears stained her blue scarf as she remembered it:
“I screamed and cried all night. I have images in my mind I can’t scratch out,” said Neha. “I hate him.”
His elder daughter brought her food each day, and Neha begged for help to escape. Although the woman was frightened of her father, she relented a week after the marriage, bringing the underage bride a burqa — the all-covering garment worn by some Muslim women — and 500 rupees (about $3). Neha fled.
But when she arrived home, Neha found her family had turned against her.
“I went home and I cried to my Mama about my aunt, what she said and the threats. But she didn’t want me anymore,” said Neha.
Her parents feared what her new husband might do to them, Neha said. Further, the prospects of marriage for a girl in conservative Pakistan who has been raped or married before are slim, and human rights activists say they often are seen as a burden.
Neha’s family, including her aunt, all refused to talk to the AP. Her husband’s lawyer, Mohammad Saleem, insisted that she married and converted voluntarily.
Neha found protection at a Christian church in Karachi, living on the compound with the pastor’s family, who say the girl still wakes screaming in the night. She hopes to go back to school one day but is still distraught.
“At the beginning my nightmares were every night, but now it is just sometimes when I remember and inside I am shaking,” she said. “Before I wanted to be a lawyer, but now I don’t know what I will do. Even my mama doesn’t want me now.”
Arwen~ UN abandoned the fight for human rights long before 2020.
Author of the article:Lorrie Goldstein
Publishing date:Dec 29, 2020 • Last Updated 1 day ago • 3 minute read
Human rights took another beating at the United Nations in 2020 — the global body formed after the Second World War, supposedly to protect them.
Despite China’s brutal suppression of democracy in Hong Kong and persecution of its Uighur Muslim minority, the 193-member nations of the UN General Assembly voted in October to elect China to a three-year term on the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), starting Jan. 1.
As Hillel Neuer, Canadian-born executive director of the Geneva-based human rights group UN Watch tweeted Dec. 24 above a picture of Chinese President Xi Jinping:
“One week from tomorrow, a man who herded 1 million Uighurs into camps, jails human rights activists, crushed Tibet, disappeared courageous men and women who sounded the alarm on the coronavirus, and suffocated freedom in Hong Kong will join the UN’s highest human rights body.”
Joining China — which denies all wrongdoing —on the UNHRC next year will be four other countries elected by the UN General Assembly, also infamous for human rights abuses: Russia, Cuba, Pakistan and Uzbekistan.
That flies in the face of the UN resolution which created the UNHRC in 2006. It stipulated that, “members elected to the Council shall uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights.”
As Neuer pointed out, this year’s election of China, Russia, Cuba, Pakistan and Uzbekistan to the UNHRC means 60% of its 47-member nations are now dictatorships, non-democratic and human rights abusers.
Meanwhile, as happens every year, the UN General Assembly —collectively a nest of Jew-hating vipers — selectively singled out Israel in 2020 for condemnation for its treatment of the Palestinians, while ignoring or downplaying almost all other human rights abuses on the planet.
As UN Watch reports, the UN General Assembly in 2020 cited Israel in 17 resolutions, compared to six for all other nations on earth — one each for North Korea, Syria, Iran, Myanmar and two for Crimea.
(The UNHRC, going back to its creation in 2006, condemned Israel 10 times that year, without criticizing any other country, establishing its longstanding bias against Israel.)
Given the UN’s record of selectively condemning Israel year after year, it’s disappointing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government in 2020 and 2019, reversed the policy of the previous Stephen Harper Conservative government and the Paul Martin Liberal government, of rejecting any UN resolutions selectively targeting Israel.
UN Watch, the Conservatives, B’nai Brith Canada, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs and the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center, whose new president and CEO is former Liberal MP Michael Levitt, all condemned the Trudeau government’s policy reversal.
As Neuer tweeted Nov. 19: “SHAME: Canada’s Justin Trudeau government just joined the jackals at the UN by voting for a one-sided resolution singling out Israel, co-sponsored by Syria, Venezuela & North Korea.”
To be fair, the Trudeau government continues to reject most UN resolutions selectively targeting Israel and the one it now supports is a milder one, calling for the creation of an independent Palestinian state.
But Canada’s policy reversal comes in the context of the UN’s long-standing vilification of Israel.
That goes back to its infamous 1975 “Zionism is racism” resolution — reluctantly abandoned in 1991 because of pressure from then-U.S. president George H.W. Bush — and itsnotorious 2001 UN conference on racism in Durban, South Africa, that quickly degenerated into an anti-Semitic attack on Israel, the world’s only Jewish state.
· Thank you Michael Kelly for joining in support of Police on Guard for Thee.
Michael KellyMP Badge #3260RCMP Badge #48837Retired Constable32 Years of ServiceMilitary Police 17 Years of Service Royal Canadian Mounted Police 15 Years of Service
I was proud to serve not only the country but the communities I served in. I retired from service five years ago on a medical pension from injuries sustained while on duty. I felt compelled to first search out and then reach out to this group because I felt Powerless. I have joined in the hopes that together, we can possibly provide a voice of reason or at the very least a voice of unity. A voice of unity to Canadians who are feeling bewildered, confused, angry, and shocked by events unfolding across the nation…in fact across the globe! Your rights, as Canadian citizens were paid for at a very high cost. Police Officers have all sworn an oath to not only protect those rights, but to not step on those rights as well.I joined this group because individually we are powerless, but together we can provide a loud voice that can be heard. I always Policed with this phrase in my head “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” It served me well.–––
This would be amazing
Researchers from Tel Aviv University claim that they have found a way to significantly eliminate COVID-19. The new study found that UV-LED lights effectively, quickly, and inexpensively kill coronavirus.POLL: Will you be spending Christmas with your family or social distancing?
The promising study was published in the November 2020 issue of the peer-reviewed Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology. The study attempted to find the disinfection efficiency of ultraviolet light-emitting diodes irradiation at different wavelengths or frequencies on coronavirus. It is said to be the first of its kind in the world, according to the Jerusalem Post.
The research team said that the UV-LED lights required less than half a minute to destroy more than 99.9% of the coronaviruses.
The researchers set out to discover the optimal wavelength for killing coronavirus, and found that a length of 285 nanometers was almost as efficient in disinfecting the virus as a wavelength of 265 nm. The cost of 285 nm LED bulbs are 30% lower than that of 265 nm bulbs, plus they are reportedly more readily available.
From the scientific TAU study, which was a collaboration with Professor Yoram Gerchman of Oranim College; Dr. Michal Mandelboim, Director of the National Center for Influenza and Respiratory Viruses at Sheba Medical Center at Tel HaShomer; and Nehemya Friedman from Tel Hashomer:
UV light-emitting diodes (UV LEDs) are an emerging technology and a UV source for pathogen inactivation, however low UV-LED wavelengths are costly and have low fluence rate. Our results suggest that the sensitivity of human Coronavirus (HCoV-OC43 used as SARS-CoV-2 surrogate) was wavelength dependent with 267 nm ~ 279 nm > 286 nm > 297 nm. Other viruses showed similar results, suggesting UV LED with peak emission at ~286 nm could serve as an effective tool in the fight against human Coronaviruses.
“We discovered that it is quite simple to kill the coronavirus using LED bulbs that radiate ultraviolet light,” professor Hadas Mamane, head of the Environmental Engineering Program at Tel Aviv University’s School of Mechanical Engineering, said. “We killed the viruses using cheaper and more readily available LED bulbs, which consume little energy and do not contain mercury like regular bulbs.”
“The entire world is currently looking for effective solutions to disinfect the coronavirus,” Mamane said. “Our research has commercial and societal implications, given the possibility of using such LED bulbs in all areas of our lives, safely and quickly.”
“We know, for example, that medical staff do not have time to manually disinfect, say, computer keyboards and other surfaces in hospitals – and the result is infection and quarantine,” Mamane explained. “The problem is that in order to disinfect a bus, train, sports hall, or plane by chemical spraying, you need physical manpower, and in order for the spraying to be effective, you have to give the chemical time to act on the surface.”
“Disinfection systems based on LED bulbs, however, can be installed in the ventilation system and air conditioner, for example, and sterilize the air sucked in and then emitted into the room,” Mamane stated.
Ultraviolet radiation has been used as a common method of killing bacteria and viruses for years. This year, technology has utilized robots equipped with UV-LED lights.
The Carolina Panthers use two Xenex LightStrike robots that cost $125,000 each to sanitize locker rooms, showers, and other areas of the NFL team’s Bank of America Stadium in downtown Charlotte.
The Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office is utilizing a robot that kills viruses with ultraviolet light, and is capable of disinfecting 1,000 square feet in less than 10 minutes.
In March, a group of 13 researchers wrote an editorial in the journal Science Robotics:
Instead of manual disinfection, which requires workforce mobilization and increases exposure risk to cleaning personnel, autonomous or remote-controlled disinfection robots could lead to cost-effective, fast, and effective disinfection. New generations of robots, from macro- to microscale, could be developed to navigate high-risk areas and continually work to sterilize all high-touch surfaces.
In April, science and technology advisor to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security secretary, William Bryan, said government scientists had found ultraviolet light showed promise in killing SARS-CoV-2.
“Our most striking observation to date is the powerful effect that solar light appears to have on killing the virus, both surfaces and in the air,” Bryan told reporters at the White House. “We’ve seen a similar effect with both temperature and humidity as well, where increasing the temperature and humidity or both is generally less favorable to the virus.”
Poland’s national conservative government has detailed a new law protecting free speech online against Big Tech censorship, backed by a new court and big fines.