Sunday, November 21, 2021

Highway 413 should never be built. Here's why.

Doug Ford

If you care about the environment, then you should let the Ontario government know that you are opposed to their plan to build Highway 413.

Here are the facts.  Highway 413 will cost billions in taxpayer's money to build.  It will be both a financial and an environmental disaster for the province.  It will pave over the Greenbelt, contaminate waterways and destroy valuable farmland.  It will also ruin the treasured archeological sites of the Huron-Wendat people.  

This is not the kind of Ontario that puts people and the environment first, ahead of cars and wealthy developers.  It should also be noted that the proposed highway will save drivers about 30 seconds a trip.  Is that worth the destruction of the Greenbelt?

As Joni Mitchell sang, "Don't it always seem to go, you don't know what you've got 'til its gone.  They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.,"

Look how Toronto's view of Lake Ontario has been blocked by condominium after condominium surrounding the lake.  Don't let the Progressive? Conservative government of Ontario do the same to the Green Belt.

 Premier Doug Ford is trying to win the next Ontario election by appealing to the greed of some developers.  He is trying to woo drivers with the promise of new highways.  Don't let it happen.  Flood your MPPS with the message to stop Highway 413.  Ford may change his mind if  he thinks  Highway 413 will cost him the election next year.  It's the only way to reach him.

You can also donate money to launch a high-impact ad campaign to stop Highway 413 and protect our Green Belt.  Just click on the link below.

Chip in for a hard-hitting ad campaign to Stop Highway 413 |

Democracy is precious, so let your voice be heard.

- Joanne

Thursday, November 18, 2021

What's really behind Tucker Carlson's comments about VP Kamala Harris?

Tucker Carlson
Tucker Carlson of Fox News has a large captive audience.  Unfortunately, his audience is influenced by his bigoted views.  Recently, Carlson made an outrageous comment about Vice President Kamala Harris.  He said that the vice president is "is not from this country" because she went to school in Canada.  Here are his exact words: "There's a lot we don't know about Kamala Harris.  Most people probably don't know she really grew up in Canada.  It's where she went to high school.  She's not from this country in that sense, or she's certainly also from Canada."

That's a real head scratcher.  Carlson's words sound nonsensical because many people are educated in other countries, including Carlson himself.  He told a Swiss magazine that he briefly attended attended a boarding school in school in Switzerland before he "got kicked out."

So, what 's the big deal about Kamala attending school in Canada?  If you scratch beneath the surface, there's a method to Tucker's madness.  Carlson's remarks were simply a dog whistle to his far right audience.  He knows very well that it doesn't matter one iota that Kamala spent some of her high school years in Montreal.  His only intention is to paint Harris as some kind of foreigner or "illegal alien."  Why?.  He can't come right out and say that she isn't a real American because she is of Black and Indian descent.  That would be showing his true racist colours.

Here are some background facts.  Kamala Harris is an American by birth.  She was born in Oakland California on October 20, 1964.     When she was 12, Kamala and her sister moved to Montreal, Quebec.  Kamala spent her middle school and high school years in Montreal because her mother, a biologist and cancer researcher, obtained a job at a hospital in that city.  In 1982, after high school, Kamala returned to the United States to attend Howard University in Washington, D.C..  After graduating from Howard, she returned to her roots in California to attend law school.  In 1990, she was admitted to the California Bar.  From 2004 to 2011, she served as District Attorney of San Francisco.  From 2011 to 2017, she served as Attorney General of California.  She was a U.S. Senator from California from 2017 until 2021.

Vice President Kamala Harris has spent a great deal more than the constitutionally required 14 years of her life in the United States.  The truth is that it's the colour of Kamala's skin, not her palace of birth or where she went to school, that matters more to Carlson and others on the far right of the political spectrum.  Donald Trump tried to use the same tactic to discredit former President Barack Obama.  His claims that Obama was not really born in Hawaii were proven to be completely false.  Trump initiated his "birther" theory because he couldn't say that Obama was a foreigner because he was Black.  He had to make his followers believe that Obama was really from Africa or Indonesia.  

A president or prime minister's place of birth should not be an issue anyway, as long as he or she is a citizen and resident of the country he or she wishes to serve.  Vice President Harris, like any politician, is fair game for reasonable criticism.  She should not have to take flack for where she attended high school.  That is sheer bigotry.

Tucker Carlson has unfairly attacked Kamala Harris in the past.  He has criticized her for her dating history and has repeatedly mispronounced her first name.  Would he have done any of those things if she were a white male?  Somehow, I don't think so.  Senator Ted Cruz, a white Republican, was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.  Has Tucker questioned his Americanism?

- Joanne

Monday, November 15, 2021

The politics of COVID-19

It's very sad, in fact it's tragic that COVID-19 is being politicized.  COVID is a matter of public health.  The most important thing is to protect people from the disease.  Unfortunately, those on the far right are using masks and vaccines to express their anti-government political beliefs.  They rail against such protective measures.  "The government can't tell us what to do," they whine.  What about our freedom!"  Oh yes, their precious freedom to infect others is sacrosanct.  Their freedom to cause themselves and others to die must be defended.  

Some anti-vaxxers are so extreme that they would die or have someone else die in order to protect their warped concept of freedom.  Almost nothing can be done to change their minds. So, the rest of us have to suffer because of their delusions.  I could tell a right-wing anti-vaxxer over and over again that freedom is not absolute.  I could tell them ad infinitum that they don't have the right to harm others.  They will seldom listen.  

The right-wing anti-vaxxers are not necessarily uneducated individuals.  Take Senator Ted Cruz for instance.  He's a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School.  So, what has been concerning him lately?  Climate change?  The pandemic?  Inflation?  Homelessness and poverty?  Health care?  Why, of course not!  He's in an a terrible tizzy over that awful Big Bird on Sesame StreetThat yellow Muppet has some nerve!   He's encouraging children to get vaccinated.  The horror!  That dastardly bird actually declared that he had received the COVID-19 vaccine.  He then  remarked, "My wing is feeling a little sore, but it'll give my body an extra protective boost that keeps me and others healthy."  That's when the Texas Republican took immediate action.  "Government propaganda . . . for your 5-year-old!" Cruz tweeted.  

My! My!  What a hero!  What a patriot, that Ted Cruz!  He's protecting children from becoming brain-washed.  Where was Senator Cruz last winter when millions of people in Texas were without water or power due to a storm,  He was on a family vacation in Cancun, Mexico, while his constituents froze in the dark.  He later called it a "mistake.", but such thoughtlessness shouldn't have happened in the first place.  Would he even have acknowledged his "mistake" if he hadn't been caught with his fingers in the cookie jar?  It wasn't a tiny error either.  Ted Cruz abandoned millions of people who were suffering from a disaster.

Football star Aaron Rodgers is another example.  Rodgers is the quarterback for the Green Bay Packers.  He attended Butte College and the University of California, Berkeley.  He was also knowledgeable enough to be a guest host on the popular game show Jeopardy!  You'd think he would have known better than not to protect himself and other from COVID.  Such was not the case.  Rodgers said he had been vaccinated when he hadn't.  Then he tested positive for the virus.  While unvaccinated, he violated COVID protocol and appeared unmasked at postgame press conferences.  

Aaron Rodgers

Rodgers denied that he was an anti-vaxxer. He claimed that he had an "allergy to an ingredient that's in the mRNA vaccines."  Then he said that he did his own research with the assistance of reliable conspiracy-minded podcaster Joe Regan.  He also spouted the usual right-wing rhetoric about "cancel culture" and "the woke mob."         

If it weren't for the anti-vaxxers, the world would certainly b much further ahead in the fight against COVID-19.  What a shame!  It's a good thing they weren't around back when the polio vaccine came out.

- Joanne

Way to go Argos! All the best to the CFL

Remember the Toronto Argonauts.  They are the forgotten team in their home city.  They don't receive much media coverage and they're not talked about too often.  Well, I have to congratulate the Argos for finishing first in the Eastern Division of the Canadian Football League.  They have a great chance of going on to win the CFL's holy grail, the Grey Cup.  Their next game is at home tomorrow against the Edmonton Elks.  

I must admit that I have a soft spot for the CFL and the Grey Cup.  Of course, it's not as glitzy and glittery as the NFL and the Super Bowl.  Yet it has its own charm.  It's more homey and down to earth, and it is far less commercial.  Does anyone out there remember a Grey Cup ad?  

Several years ago (I think it was 2007), when the Grey Cup was held in Toronto, I visited one of the pavillions at the Toronto Convention Centre.  As it turned out, I sat at a table with a group of Americans from Baltimore.  I asked them why they were attending Grey Cup festivities.  They told me that they had been fans of the defunct Baltimore Stallions, who won the Grey Cup in 1995,  In the 1990;s, the CFL expanded into U.S. cities.  The American experiment didn't succeed and the CFL reverted to its Canadian teams only.  However. the Stallions remain  the only American franchise to capture the Canadian football championship.

For the Baltimore gang, the Grey Cup was s different experience than the  Super Bowl.  They still wanted a taste of it years after their CFL team disbanded.  I enjoyed talking to them as they provided me with another perspective.  Oh yes, they enjoyed being entertained by a Newfoundland band.

The Toronto Argonauts have won the Grey Cup a record 17 times.  They have appeared 23 times in the CFL final.  Their victories came in 1914, 1921, 1933, 1937, 1938, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1950 , 1952, 1983, 1991, 1996, 1997, 2004, 2012 and 2017.  Their record of 17 wins and six losses in those 23 games is quite good (73,9.per cent).  Furthermore, the Argonauts were founded in 1873, making them the oldest existing professional sports franchise in North America still using its original name.  To anyone who has any interest in sports history, that is impressive.  The team has its origins in a version of rugby football that existed in North America in the latter half of the 19th century.

It should be noted that the Argos had a long championship drought from 1952 until 1983.  During those years, they were regarded as loveable losers to their fans in the Toronto region and sad sacks elsewhere in Canada,  The Argos also have the distinction of winning the 100th Grey Cup in 2012 in front of the hometown crowd in Toronto.

This year's Grey Cup will take place on Sunday, December 12, 2012 at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton.  It will be the 108th Grey Cup.  The first Grey Cup was played on December 4, 1909 at Rosedale Field in Toronto.  There was no Grey Cup last year as the entire CFL season was cancelled due to COVID-19.  2020 marked only the 5th time in Grey Cup history that the game was not played.  It was the first time the event was not held since 1919, when it was cancelled due to a rules dispute with the Canadian Rugby Union.  There also was no Grey Cup game from 1916 to 1918 as a result of World War I. 

Fortunately, the Grey Cup is back this year.  It is is a piece of Canadiana and it is uniquely ours.  I ask you, where else can you see scarlet clad Mounties carrying a championship trophy into a stadium?  

- Joanne