Four In The Afternoon: Water, Syria, Space Generals, Bigots And Right-Wing Politicians Being Ridiculous

4 in the Afternoon1 ON THE WASTEWATER PLANT REFERENDUM AND CHANGING RULES IN THE FOURTH QUARTER OF A GAME It looks like Regina Water Watch, an organization that opposes building Regina’s new waste-water treatment plant with a controversial public private partnership (P3) model, is going to get enough signatures to force a referendum on the project. But yesterday, the group got an e-mail written by the city clerk to the Province that requested the referendum threshold be raised, based on a higher Regina population figure (read Pat Book’s story for details). The basic idea here is all right but the timing,obviously, is unacceptable. If the rules do get changed, Regina Water Watch should lawyer-up. The City Of Regina can’t move goalposts during the game–especially when it’s obviously convenient for our (small-C) conservative City Council. In any case, the biggest problem here is Conservative government policy on federal funding of projects, which if I understand correctly is basically blackmailing cities to use questionable funding models that probably aren’t in citizens’ interests.

2 IT’S LIES, THEY SAYS Long-time awful country Syria, and their Russian allies, say the United States has fabricated evidence that Syria used chemical weapons. Want to read the story on the BBC as well? Okay! The U.S. has said it’s going to start giving direct military aid to the rebels. Canada sides with the U.S. version of this story, in case you were wondering.

3 WALT NATYNCZYK: SPACE GENERAL The Canadian Space Agency has a new president but I’m uncomfortable with the post going to a retired general. It sends an alarming message. The last head, Steve MacLean, is a retired astronaut and physicist. Do I need to explain to anyone that astronaut-physicists are just plain better than generals? Also, I just whined about this out loud and publisher Terry said, “hey, whatever gets us more weapons in space.” Hopefully he was being sarcastic.

3.5 ATTENTION QUEBEC: STOP ACTING LIKE BIGOTED DICKS I’m really glad that FIFA supports soccer players’ right to wear turbans. Quebec has been absolutely idiotic about this. And here’s a Canadian Press interview that sums up the correct position on this matter.

4 PAMELA WALLIN, ROB FORD, ANOTHER WHINING CONSERVATIVE RULE-BREAKER Wallin has her own version of spending missteps; Rob Ford says Toronto city council is “addicted to spending” revenue from an important land transfer tax, which is perhaps an unfortunate choice of words as well as bullshit and Ontario Tory MP Jeff Watson says Elections Canada is pursuing a “vendetta” against him.

Friday afternoon animal video up next, and with that, have a good weekend! I’ve been on reduced vacation hours for the past couple weeks (surprise!) but I’ll be back at this desk at 8:30 Monday morning. See you then!

Author: Stephen Whitworth

Prairie Dog editor Stephen Whitworth will never, ever pass up a chance to make a Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo pun.

12 thoughts on “Four In The Afternoon: Water, Syria, Space Generals, Bigots And Right-Wing Politicians Being Ridiculous”

  1. (1) The optics are terrible, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s cause-effect happening, as you imply and as today’s L-P article does also. That said, I wonder why City Hall didn’t get the numbers issue clarified sooner; it’s not as if attempts to force a referendum are rare — recently, anyway. Sidebar: petitioners should never get into the mindset of “we just need X number of names”. They should always push to surpass the limits by as much as they can.

    (2) We should stay the hell out of this mess.

    (3.5) This is yet another example of knee-jerk anti-federalism (as well as the nastier side of “pur laine”) on Quebec’s part. I wonder why they can’t see how nonsense like this augurs badly for what they’d perpetrate as an independent nation.

  2. 3.5 — Geez, doesn’t take much to incite Quebec bashing does it? Here’s a couple of things to consider: A. The Quebec soccer federation wanted to follow FIFA’s lead, not that of the Canadian soccer federation. B. Any Quebec party would assert Quebec’s autonomy relative to a Canadian association re. jurisdiction. C. FIFA is currently undecided about the safety of turbans. D. Quebec does not hold a monopoly on bigotry in Canada — i.e. unpack the expression “Saskatchewan values” and the claim that urban voters might not have these. E. Liberal minded people justify hatred of others by attributing intolerance to the people they want to hate. F. Quebec’s charter of rights and freedoms is almost identical to the Canadian charter with the exception that Quebec’s charter recognizes the collective rights of ethno-cultural minorities, whereas the Canadian charter only recognizes individual rights.

    How about taking the high road next time and provide some counter-point to national unity-destroying anti-Quebec bullshit promulgated by the mainstream press?

  3. Even several readings of your comment, sir, produces some puzzlement. All your “couple of things to consider”, which turned out to be 6, simply reinforce my point. And did you not hear FIFA’s pronouncement on turbans? Your point E is especially incomprehensible, unless you are working with a very different vocabulary.

  4. Barb:

    Point granted, six is more than “a couple”, “a few points” would have been more accurate.

    However,

    FIFA initially passed the buck on making a ruling. It currently permits turbans in official matches on a trial basis. FIFA forbids headwear of any kind that poses any danger to players. FIFA only recently — last year — changed its position of the hijab worn by some female soccer players, but had not ruled on turbans. What was at issue was FIFA’s position on safety, once this was clarified, the QSF agreed to adibe.

    The Quebec soccer federation is autonomous from its Canadian counterpart, and therefore not bound by its rules, just as the QSF cannot dictate rules to Canadian soccer associations. Both defer to FIFA.

    Liberalism involves tolerance of everything except intolerance. It is therefore ok to refuse to tolerate people who are intolerant. If you wish to stir up animosity towards a group, characterize them as intolerant of others (i.e. “they hate our freedom”. ). Its possible to both feel like a liberal minded person and harbor bigoted beliefs. Further, attributing hateful and intolerant motives to groups of people based on preconceptions, stereotypes, and unfounded generalizations is a rather pernicious form of bigotry — a lot of Islamophobia, for example, is based on precisely this form of prejudice.

  5. Thanks for clarifying, JMM. CBC Radio, part of the mainstream media the last time I checked, came through with a more detailed explanation, with background, of FIFA’s ruling, after I had commented. It now seems to be the QSF’s position that its action was a move to force FIFA to get off the pot and make a clear ruling. If so, the QSF could sure use some remedial work in diplomacy. Really, was it worth it, to antagonize Sikhs in Quebec and the rest of Canada (and internationally), just to prod FIFA? But then, ham-fistedness where linguistic and religious differences are concerned goes back decades in Quebec, and I’m sure we could both cite examples.

    I would dearly love to see the source of your definition and characterization of “liberalism”.
    That would be the springboard to a really meaty discussion.

    By the way, my father’s folks came from Quebec in the early 1900s, because they wanted more options in life. The relatives left behind stayed insular to this day.

  6. Barb: Sources re. Liberalism: John Locke, J.S. Mill, Will Kymlicka. —

    Or this “Our tolerance is part of what makes Britain Britain. So conform to it, or don’t come here.” — Tony Blair

    Re. FIFA & QSF: Agreed that it was extremely unfortunate that this created social antagonisms, and I am pleased to see the right decision was made. I do think the media played a big part in this “controversy”

    It is not the first time the press has engaged in “Muslim baiting”. The Quebec based Journal de Montreal a few years back “broke” a bogus story that Muslim women were upset at being forced to reveal their face in order to vote and/or get driver’s licenses. While the law did require visual confirmation of identity, this was not something that had been the source of outcry before the J de M ran the story. The newspaper tried to manufacture a conflict in order to provoke a controversy, sadly it succeeded.

    Similarly, a short while ago an issue was made about young female athletes wearing the Hijab, once again in a Quebec soccer league. The coach who wanted to impose a ban was Muslim. This was not widely reported in the press, nor is the fact that there is some disagreement among Muslims re. jilbaab, Niquab and the wearing of the hijab. This debate occurred and i believe is still ongoing within Quebec’s Muslim communities.

    Re. Quebecers being “bigoted dicks” [from the P-Dog item, not you Barb]: Of course there are insular and bigoted people in Quebec. I’ve lived in many parts of Canada, those types are everywhere. I’m from Quebec, we don’t like bigots either, its why so many quebecers stood with the Sikh community in opposition to the ban. It’s probably also why so many turned against the Bloc in the last election when they trotted out Jacques Parizeau [we didn’t like him either].

    The real shame is that this debacle has been that it was used to stir up anti-Quebec sentiment. We don’t like being unfairly characterized as racists, particular when such accusations are based on absolutely no evidence of wrong doing. As you agree, the QSF was forcing FIFA to make a ruling, it was not going out of its way to exclude Sikh players, and yet in spite of this fact many insist on the negative characterization, alluding to other “evidence” of Quebec intolerance. Unfairly accusing people of intolerance is a form of intolerance.

  7. One last thing Barb: Your father’s folk came to Saskatchewan in the early 1900s looking for “tolerance”? You might be interested to know that according to the history books, Saskatchewan boasted the largest branches of the KKK outside of the U.S. until the 1930s — their main target? New immigrants, including the ones coming from out east.

    Here’s some reading material:

    http://esask.uregina.ca/entry/ku_klux_klan.html
    http://globalnews.ca/video/605006/kkk-in-saskatchewan
    http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/articles/ku-klux-klan

  8. Ah, classic Liberalism! Why didn’t you say so in the first place? Because the term “liberalism” has been used and misused to describe a number of positions, it’s always best to define your terms, rather than to assume that your readers know precisely what you’re discussing.

    Gee, I thought Tony Blair was New Labour.

    You don’t think that this brouhaha was a controversy, and you blame the press. You also conflate this situation with “Muslim baiting”, as you call it. As you must know, Sikhs and Muslims are 2 different entities, and to use the same phrase to describe what you think the press did/does, is to engage in imprecision. And on the topic of imprecision: I didn’t “agree”: I simply stated what QSF was now saying its position was. Unfortunately, by going hard against FIFA on the turban issue, the QSF unavoidably singled out Sikh players. My argument that the QSF used unnecessarily divisive methods to achieve a ruling still stands. If Quebec institutions do things which reflect badly on Quebec, that’s hardly the fault of the media. Folks who march to their own drummer need to grow the thick skin necessary to deflect the inevitable criticism. Bashing the media is so thin-skinned.

    I

  9. re. liberalism: Will probably wouldn’t call himself a classical liberal. New labour is just a brand-name. I have no problem with liberalism, just the use of liberal rhetoric in service of claims that run counter to its spirit. Perhaps you may want to consult Chantal Mouffe on this.

    Journalism put in service of stoking antagonisms is referred to as “yellow journalism”, to be precise I am using the term as coined circa the Spanish-American War. Being critical of the press isn’t the same as media bashing. You might note that I cited a Quebec based publication as a source of such journalistic “abuse”.

    If you are committed to Quebec bashing then by all means feel free to indulge. Personally I think that it’s taking the low road, but to each their own.FYI: Jay Smooth’s Ill Doctrine web site is a decent sign post to the high road.

  10. Not having bashed Quebec, but only having been critical about another in a series of insensitivities, I will close discussion by noting that the QSF apologized for the “misunderstanding” and for the dismissive comments made about Sikh players by the head of the federation.

  11. I’ll let you have the last word on this Barb: “I wonder why they [Quebec] can’t see how nonsense like this augurs badly for what they’d perpetrate as an independent nation.”

  12. 1) Here we go again. More attempts to hold something back from happening just because some small groups of very vocal opponents don’t like how it is going to be funded. As if attempts at opposing the funding plan for a whole new football stadium wasn’t both pathetic and bad enough already.

    3.5) I have to agree, banning soccer players from wearing turbans while playing is plain idiotic.

    4) Those in the Prairie Dog must love all of this conservative bashing. They never had it so good in a while.

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