Friday, June 23, 2017

Friday Night

The first week-end of the summer ...

One should have seen this coming:

NDP leader Tom Mulcair is forgoing the celebration and raising red flags after reports a Canadian sniper in Iraq broke the world record for the longest confirmed kill. ...

(Sidebar: this kill.)

But while news of the shot is spreading around the world like wildfire, Mulcair has written to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau raising concerns about what the shot means for Canada’s mission in Iraq.

In particular, Mulcair says the incident raises fresh questions about the Liberals’ promise that Canadian soldiers would not be involved in combat with ISIL.

I don't know why Mulcair is so distressed. Trudeau fled from ISIS at the first opportunity.

That's not fair to attack Trudeau. Kathleen Wynne is also a heartless b!#ch who hates autistic children. Indeed, it's like most of her party wants autistic children gone:

In a rare display of unity, three opposition party leaders rose in the House of Commons this week to ask the prime minister why he hasn’t funded an initiative that aims to improve autism services across Canada.

“Many Canadian families are forced to mortgage their homes to pay for early intervention programs and more than 80 per cent of adults with autism struggle to find meaningful work,” Conservative leader Andrew Scheer said during question period Wednesday, the last day of the spring sitting. 

“When will the prime minister finally listen to these Canadians and reverse his cold-hearted decision to reject the Canadian autism partnership?”

Scheer was followed by NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, who asked similar questions.

Last fall, a working group asked the government for $19 million over five years to fund a Canadian autism partnership, an arm’s length body that would advise provinces and territories on programs and services for people with the disorder. 

But the partnership didn’t make it into the 2017 budget. And in May the Liberals voted down a private member’s motion, tabled by Conservative MP Mike Lake, that called on the government to fund the partnership.

In an interview with the National Post Thursday, Lake said the opposition has now asked about the partnership 17 times, and has yet to hear an explanation from the government.

“There are no answers. There’s no rationale yet given as to why it was rejected,” he said. “And it leaves me to wonder if it was simply political.”

A spokesperson for Health Minister Jane Philpott told the Post the partnership wasn’t funded in part because there wasn’t unanimous support for the project from the autism community.

Yes, about that:

Ontario has announced the launch of its new autism program, which is expected to go much more smoothly than the Liberal government’s last attempt that angered thousands of families and spawned large protests.

Children and Youth Services Minister Michael Coteau says children will begin moving into the new program on June 26.

Unlike the bungled rollout last year, intensive therapy will not be limited to children under five as the government works toward fully implementing the program by the spring of 2018. ...

The positive reception is in stark contrast to last year, when the government announced that a new autism program would do away with the distinctions between Intensive Behavioural Intervention and Applied Behaviour Analysis and blend them into a service that would tailor the intensity of therapy to a child’s individual needs.

That program was not due to roll out for two years and in the meantime the government said it would stop funding IBI for kids over four, giving families of kids removed from the IBI wait list $8,000 to pay for private therapy during the transition.

The backlash from parents was swift and sustained. Hundreds of children had spent two or three years on the IBI wait list, only to be abruptly removed and given an amount of money that would only pay for, at most, a few months of therapy.

The previous minister was canned and mere weeks after getting the job, Coteau announced those families would get successive payments of $10,000 for private therapy until the new program was up and running, and the start date for the program was moved up to 2017.

The newly designed $533-million Ontario Autism Program still does away with the distinctions between ABA and IBI, but it will be open to all children under 18 with a diagnosis anywhere on the autism spectrum. There are an estimated 40,000 children and youth in Ontario on the autism spectrum.

As one can see, these sorts of promises and delays are not new. An election is around the corner. Where it would be easier to simply let experts in the field (not government experts that served only to bolster the government's position) determine autistic children's needs and let the parents keep their money and use it as needed, the government still insists on being claws-in.

Wouldn't these priceless artefacts be better cared for at a major museum?

Nunavut’s premier complained directly to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last fall that federal scientists took artifacts of the doomed Franklin Expedition — enough for a major museum exhibit — without permission.

The artifacts recovered since HMS Erebus was found in 2014 cover a wide variety of well-preserved ship’s equipment and men’s personal belongings: part of the ship’s wheel, its bell, belaying pins, blue and white china plates, cups and saucers, a cannon, a sword hilt, a knife and a ceramic pot labelled “anchovy paste.”

The complaint is in a formal letter from Premier Peter Taptuna, obtained by the Ottawa Citizen through an access-to-information request.

His protest adds ownership disputes to an archeological search already plagued by bad blood. Last summer private searchers discovered the wreck of one Franklin ship, HMS Terror, and didn’t tell their government search partners for a week.

Nunavut considers the wreck site of HMS Erebus to be within its internal waters, giving ownership to the territory and to the Inuit Heritage Trust, the letter says.

“Nevertheless, Parks Canada removed artifacts from HMS Erebus.

This sounds like a pi$$ing match for a long-buried treasure.

If Nunavut has the resources to safeguard these items, fine. Otherwise, put them where they won't be lost again.

Why would he? North Korea is a vital buffer state for China, his most admired country?

The family of a Canadian pastor imprisoned in North Korea is urging the prime minister to pressure the hermit kingdom for his release following the death of a 22-year-old American.


“The fact that Warmbier died suddenly in less than a week just after his return to the U.S. in his normal state of health indicators is a mystery to us, as well,” KCNA reported, citing a spokesman for North Korea’s foreign ministry. “To make it clear, we are the biggest victim of this incident.”

... says the country firing missiles at Japan.

Culture matters:

A Belgian court has found a princess from Abu Dhabi and her seven daughters guilty of mistreating around 20 servants forced to work for them in a plush Brussels hotel.

The court found the eight princesses guilty of “human trafficking and degrading treatment,” handing down 15-month suspended prison sentences and fining them $245,000. Their butler was acquitted.


Hanzad Morat was only three when she was kidnapped by Islamic State. By the time she was released back to her family, two and half years later, she could not remember her own name or native language.

Speaking from a refugee camp in Duhok, the northern Kurdistan region of Iraq, the newly freed six-year-old Yazidi recalls the day Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants captured her family, separated them and sent them to their fates.

Her father and brothers were taken one way, while she, her sisters and mother were driven to Mosul, where she was sold at a slave market to an Iraqi ISIL leader she knew only as Abu Bakr, and his wife Umm Bakr.

Umm Bakr, who had four children of her own, took Hanzad home and told her that she was her aunt and that her mother had died.

The woman gave Hanzad a new name, Nada, and spoke to her only in Arabic. As a Yazidi, Hanzad spoke the local Kurdish dialect Kurmanji. “She treated me very badly,” Hanzad says, playing with the frills on her smart-looking dress. “She was nice to her own children, but not to me. She would hit me if I didn’t do what I was told.

(Sidebar: prioritising this child for refugee status would have been "disgusting".)

And now, hide-and-go-seek:

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