Saturday, September 5, 2009

Police Called Because Man didn't Speak French.

Yet another blow to my fair city... A foreign student studying in a Master's program at Concordia University was the latest victim in Montreal's ongoing and everlasting language war...

He got on the 66 bus in NDG (a mostly English neighborhood) to make his way to school, he asked the bus driver what time it was in English (as he doesn't speak French) she answered in French. When he told her that he didn't understand and that he didn't speak French, she told him that she didn't speak English. To which he answered something along the lines of: I can see that.

After which the bus driver pressed the emergency Police call button reserved for dealing with dangerous and aggressive passengers, locking the bus and forcing the confused man to wait for the police. No charges were laid against the man and I've to find a comment anywhere from the STM (Montreal Public Transit Authority) anywhere.

This really makes me ashamed, I mean really ashamed that an employee that is paid with my tax dollars does not have to speak both official languages, does not have to answer to anyone for her actions and can bully people this way. This man who is here from Pakistan to study is fluent in four languages and is on his way to learning French but says he doesn't yet know enough to put a complete sentence together. I know I'm not the only one who's ashamed an witness who was asked by the Montreal Gazette how she felt about it said: “I was so embarrassed. This is the first time I have ever been embarrassed to be a Quebecer. Everyone was outraged over this”

This can't keep happening, this can't keep going on... How long can we possibly continue to live with this hatred and intolerance? What kind of examples are we setting to the for the world, for ourselves and for our children when someone has the police called on him for asking what time it is in English?

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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Cuban Health System

"It was just mentioned to me by our esteemed speaker, 'Did anyone say
anything about the Cuban health system?' And lemme tell ya, before you
say “Oh, it’s a commu–”, you need to go down there and see what Fidel
Castro put in place. And I want you to know, now, you can think whatever
you want to about Fidel Castro, but he was one of the brightest leaders
I have ever met. [APPLAUSE] And you know, the Cuban revolution that
kicked out the wealthy, Che Guevara did that, and then, after they took
over, they went out among the population to find someone who could lead
this new nation, and they found…well, just leave it there (laughs), an
attorney by the name of Fidel Castro…"

Oh man... I came across this video and transcript (thanks Charlie) of a congresswoman from L.A. praising the Cuban Revolution and Fidel Castro stating that he is one of the brightest leaders she's ever met and that the health system in Cuba is one that America should aspire to.

No offense lady, but have you been to a Cuban hospital? I don't mean the nice one for tourists that Michael Moore went to, I meant the "REAL" hospitals that regular every day people go to? Didn't your mother teach you not to be a Communist? Didn't you grow up in the land of opportunity? I bet you never tried to get on a raft made of tires and driftwood to sneak INTO CUBA!

Anyways... Enough said, read the transcript or watch the video and I dare ANY of you to come up with something positive to say about Watson's stance about Castro.

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

"Canada...the most racist country in the world.”

Brandon Huntley, a white South African was granted refugee status in Canada after he claimed that he was attacked 6 or 7 times and that he could not find employment because of the color of his skin. South Africa's white population is about 10% of the overall population while whites hold about 60% of hugh paid executive jobs in the country.

I'm not going to discuss the refugee board ruling because I don't know enough details to be able make a good and fair analysis, but what I will comment on is the backlash from South Africa calling Canada racist.

South Africa's ANC (Nelson Mandela's party) said “Canada's reasoning for granting Huntley a refugee status can only serve to perpetuate racism.” Local papers called the ruling “shocking and saddening" and added "the truth is that the overwhelming majority of crime victims in this country are black and many of the perpetrators are white." Locals even went as far as to say: “I will never set my foot in Canada, it's officially the most racist country in the world.”

Now while some may not agree with the ruling, I can't believe people see this ruling as being racist. It is neither pro-white or pro-black. It is pro-civil-liberty. To me this just means that anyone from anywhere regardless of color can get a shot at being protected in Canada. If a black South African came and claimed refugee status and it was granted, no one in South Africa would care... But because it's a white man all of a sudden Canada is the most racist country in the world? Please, STFU and open your eyes!

Canada is a haven for anyone who feels they are persecuted, treated unfairly and need a place to start over, to find the safety they were lacking back home. I hope that this ruling stands and that it is not overturned because of some overzealous reporters in South Africa that see this as their next meal ticket.

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Monday, August 31, 2009

Another Country, Another Journalist, Another Jail Cell

A Sri Lankan court has sentenced Tamil journalist J.S. Tissainayagam to 20 years in prison because he "criticized the government's conduct and accused authorities of withholding food and other essential items from Tamil-majority areas as a tool of war."

The government of Sri Lanka claims that although “the constitution guarantees media freedom, but no one has a right to deliberately publish false reports that would lead to communal violence.” All the while Mr Tissainayagam's defence lawyer upholds that the journalist has been a tireless fighter for Human Rights and has been jailed for simply doing his job.

Both Amnesty International and US President Obama seem to agree, as they have both singled out this reporter as an example of journalists being jailed for simply doing their jobs. Amnesty International also states that 14 journalists and media workers have been killed since 2006 and that 11 journalists were forced to flee the country since the end of the 25 year civil war in May of this year.

I don't really know what to add exactly to all this, I mean how many times can one speak of anger and outrage and shock at situations like these? God knows I've written about prisoners of conscience over and over again on this blog and I'm pretty sure that everyone who reads this agrees with me that it is wrong. The good part in all this is that being Canadian, I have never had to worry about being jailed for expressing my opinions and I've never had to watch over my shoulder for fear government assassins were following me around.

So my heart goes out, again, to all those who are jailed for expressing their thoughts, their opinions and all those who fight for the rights of others despite the possibility of losing the very rights they are fighting for.

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