Late last night, there was an earthquake here in BC. This morning, everybody at work was talking about it.
Per news reports, the epicentre was off the coast of Saanich, on the Island.
As for what I felt, it woke me up. I heard a rumbling noise, and there was light shaking for about several seconds.
Voting day is tomorrow in British Columbia. Make sure you vote.
Based on the polls and predictions, it seems likely that NDP flags will fly in enough ridings tomorrow to give them a narrow majority government. It was a lot bigger margin weeks ago, but after Christy Clark’s performance in the leaders’ debates, her party acquired a big jolt of momentum, causing the gap to narrow. Frankly, the election can’t come soon enough for Dix and the NDP. Part of me is happy that there won’t be a Liberal wipeout. First, a strong opposition is always necessary, and second, the strength of the Liberal showing will have a large influence on whether Clark stays on until the following election. This means that we British Columbians still have a chance to end our perverse political “tradition” or streak of putting women in charge of political parties in ruins.
I am glad that the Liberals will be out of power. But I am not particularly thrilled that the NDP will be taking power; for various reasons, I believe that Dix will be a disastrous premier. And it is a sad reality of a two–party system that only the Liberals and NDP have a realistic chance of forming government. And furthermore, although exceptions exist, in general, only those two parties manage to recruit knowledgeable and qualified people who can bring their expertise to government.
For the above reasons, I explicitly refuse to endorse any party. But there are indeed a number of individual candidates I’d like to see elected, such as Weaver in Oak Bay–Gordon Head, and a number I’d like to see defeated, in particular Polak in Langley. Please, elect him and throw her out.
On the day the Supreme Court ruled incorrectly by failing to completely strike down hate speech laws, I think that there is a form of speech that should be illegal nationwide: partisan government advertisements. Is it just me or is there really a whole spree of them going on right now? I’ve seen ones from both the federal government (it’s action plan, etc) and from the provincial government (especially the one with the cell phone dominoes). Now, these ads aren’t technically partisan, as they aren’t explicitly promoting any political party. But, still, if you read between the lines, you’ll see that they intend to show you how the government (the party currently in power) is doing X (low taxes, action plan) to help you. Hence, since these are supposed to remind you of what the current party in power is doing, they are still partisan, even if not explicitly so.
Partisan government ads are nothing more than legal propaganda. They should be banned, for all levels of government.
Any problems arising from people not being informed of necessary government functions (which advertising is in part supposed to deal with) can be handled by requiring the official opposition to agree to those advertising expenditures as well. This way, partisanship is avoided.
In today’s paper, I read this story. The actions of some people in it are absolutely mind–blowing and very much a threat to public health:
The B.C. government has temporarily backed away from a controversial plan to force thousands of provincial health workers to get a flu shot before they can work with patients.
Health care is the exact sort of industry where flu shots should be mandatory. The only way out should be a medical exemption, none of this personal choice bullshit. You would think that nurses and other health care workers would know better than to fall for anti–vaxxer bullshit. This is how we get (as reported in the article) more than half of all health care workers not getting a flu shot. But few things surprise me anymore.
And the position of the head of the Health Sciences Association (a union) is dangerous:
“[Members of the HSA (who are health care workers)] are entitled to that choice [to have a flu shot or not because they should make their own health care decisions] and they’re entitled to the privacy of that choice. Under this new policy people had to be identified as having had the shot, in fact the employer was publishing a list of people who had the flu shot. We just said that was a violation of people’s privacy.”
I agree that people have a right to privacy. But what you don’t have is the right to give the flu to someone who might die from it.
A new study has determined that more than 366,000 British Columbians use marijuana, with the market value of their purchases being about half a billion dollars a year, According to the study, taxing it (the same as with alcohol or cigarettes) would bring in billions in new revenue (links removed):
The researchers also point to data from Washington, which recently held a successful referendum to legalize pot, that suggests the same number of pot smokers in that state could bring in $2.5 billion in taxes over five years in a regulated system.
This is one of the reasons why marijuana should be legalized. It would free up money spent prosecuting and incarcerating non–violent criminals who harm no one other than themselves. It is especially important, as the legalization in Washington state could cause a grey market of British Columbians going there to get their marijuana. Completely legalizing it here would prevent such an event. As it stands, a potential boost to ours (and more diffusely, the Canadian economy) is being lost and undercut.
And this study shows yet again why socons should never be allowed to control the public purse. Given the chance, they’ll always deny revenue and blow the budget on puritanism, going after people for doing something they probably do themselves.
As all rational people could reasonably foresee, the Supreme Court of British Columbia has upheld the sections of the Criminal Code of Canada that outlaw polygamy. The pith and substance of the ruling is that even though laws against polygamy infringe on the religious freedom of Mormon fundamentalists, it is a justified restriction based on a Section 1 tes
Cartoon by Barry Deutsch
Such a decision is the correct one. If polygamy were to be legalized now, almost certainly the only ones who would take advantage of the legalization would be Mormon or Muslim fundamentalists. Considering that severe negative consequences arise from the existence if these relationships, (such as how Mormon fundamentalists rape women, abuse girls, and expel “surplus boys”) it is perfectly justifiable to keep polygamy illegal.
Considering that many bigots and opponents of marriage equality explicitly argued (the fallacy of the slippery slope) that same–sex marriage would lead to polygamy, this decision proves them wrong. In other words, so much for the slippery slope.
Hopefully, this case will set a precedent regarding the harmful effects of religion on others. Frankly, women’s rights (and others) ought to take precedence over freedom of religion. Amongst the people this ought to apply to are fundamentalist Muslims, Mormon fundamentalists, the Patriarchy/Quiverfull movement, and ultra–Orthodox Jews. First of all, religion is a choice, while gender isn’t. Even if adults voluntarily chose to enter these religions, their children didn’t, and unlike them I don’t think children should suffer just because they had the misfortune of being born to nutcase parents. Furthermore, no one is preventing these people from converting to denominations that are not so blatantly misogynistic. No one is ever forced to be a gynophobic misogynist. Freedom of religion shouldn’t be the “freedom” to oppress women, especially those who aren’t part of it.
Cartoon attribution/legal stuff: Barry Deutsch / CC BY 3.0