Sunday, May 08, 2016

Sunday Post

Happy Mother's Day

The wildfires that originated in Fort McMurray are drifting towards Saskatchewan:

At an update Saturday, officials said they held the line, protecting critical infrastructure for a second day and the blaze was headed northwest into the boreal forest, toward the Saskatchewan border.

Oh, look what those mean, old Tories did! They refused to change an anthem no one else wants changed!

Ailing Liberal MP Mauril Bélanger appealed Friday to have MPs pass his bill to make the national anthem gender-neutral, but several Conservatives oppose it — saying it would open up a “Pandora’s box” on national symbols — and delayed further debate on it.

Bélanger’s private member’s bill would amend the National Anthem Act to change two words in O Canada from “in all thy sons command” to “in all of us command” — making it gender-neutral.

Liberal MPs have been lobbying parliamentarians to secure all-party support to have Belanger’s bill passed quickly through the Commons and Senate.

But some Conservatives who continue to oppose the change seemingly used stalling tactics Friday to delay further debate on the bill and potentially push back a vote on second reading. In the process, multiple Tory MPs said changing the lyrics to the anthem could lead to debate over changing other important national symbols like the maple leaf or the beaver.


To wit:

Two-thirds of Canadians don’t want to see the lyrics to “O Canada” altered, despite a bid by some to make the national anthem more gender-neutral, according to a new poll. 

In a survey of 1,484 English-speaking adults over 18, Forum Research found that 965 people, or 65 per cent of respondents, oppose changing the lyrics.


The last time the English lyrics were changed was in 1980, when O Canada was officially adopted as the national anthem. At that time, repetitive phrases were replaced with "From far and wide, O Canada" and "God keep our land, glorious and free."

Since then, there have been at least 10 attempts to change the second line to include women -- all of which have failed.


Menegakis pointed to a 2013 study that, he said, found 65 per cent of Canadians opposed changing the words.

Quebec, the same province that wanted head coverings banned, wants the head covering set to replenish its depleting numbers:

An ever-declining birthrate in Quebec as well as an aging population are putting the spotlight on the province's immigration levels against the backdrop of issues such as the economy, identity, culture and language.

The province's statistics bureau said the 2015 rate was 1.6 children per woman, down one per cent from 2014 and marking the sixth consecutive year it had edged lower.

While that figure may not appear abnormally low, the province also has a rapidly aging population and a growing shortage of skilled workers.

Quebec estimates 1.1 million people will retire between 2013 and 2022 and a recent document published for the Immigration Department said "this situation underscores the need to reassert immigration’s role and its contribution to Quebec."

Immigrants, however, are not spread out evenly across the province, and Statistics Canada estimates visible minority groups will represent 31 per cent of Montreal's population by 2031 — but no more than five per cent everywhere else in Quebec.

Universite de Montreal demographer Marc Termote said he's "very, very worried" about the growing cultural and linguistic divisions between Montreal and other cities.

"What's happening is a profound break between Montreal and the rest of Quebec," he said.

For example, he explained, there are more immigrants in one of Montreal's suburbs, Brossard, than in all of Quebec City, the capital and second-largest city in the province.

Furthermore, Termote said it's a widely publicized myth that increasing immigration will help labour shortages or the economy.

"All the studies show immigration creates a neutral benefit to the economy," he said. "And we will need to welcome many, many more people than we do now for it to affect our aging population figures or fix labour shortages."

You know what you're doing, Quebec.

This can't be good:

The federal government is preparing to introduce legislation that will establish rules for a new border-crossing experiment that could change the way travellers enter the U.S.

Obama has actually made it easier for illegal immigrants (not the legal, law-abiding ones) to enter and stay in the US and one can only guess what PM Trulander and his handlers will allow.

Will China do in the South China Sea what Iran is doing in the Strait of Hormuz? In a word, yes. It's not like anyone is really serious about stopping them: reported on the Iran story on Friday, citing remarks made on Iranian television by General Hossein Salami, the deputy commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard. “If the Americans and their regional allies want to pass through the Strait of Hormuz and threaten us, we will not allow any entry,” Salami said. ...

As China continues to build on its reclaimed reefs, islets and formations in the South China Sea as well as placing military assets on these new formations, including runways, in time fighter jets, missiles, radar installations, troops and naval assets, it will also increasingly be able to threaten to close much of the South China Sea, or at least pose a lethal threat to shipping and aircraft traversing the body of water.

Moreover, like Iran, China would likely threaten to do so to bring pressure against U.S. naval activity and military drills Washington conducts with its allies (the Philippines, Japan, Australia and others) in the region.

To think otherwise, would be to ignore China’s aggressive South China Sea push in the last few years, particularly since Xi Jinping took office in 2013.

Why do Canadians pray? In gratitude or because they want something, according to this study:

Of the 20 per cent of Canadians who say they pray every day, most say they do so out of gratitude.

But when the rest — who pray fewer than two to three times a week — close their eyes and talk to a supreme being, chances are they’re asking for something, according to a survey of Canadians and prayer carried out in March.

And now, cakes for our mums:

I guess she's happy.

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