Monday, February 19, 2018

For a Monday

Thirty more shopping days until spring ...

Canada's biggest trading partner is the United States, exporting US $319.6 billion in 2017 (China is at a US $36.5 billion trade deficit but that will be for a later time). India is the seventh on the list of trading partners with Canada. As of late, Justin has fumbled the re-negotiation of NAFTA and the dishonest broker, China, isn't a weaker partner; Canada is. In order to appear to be salvaging Canada's flagging economy, Justin is conducting a single day's business in India.

And he's screwing it up:

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau toured the Taj Mahal with his wife and children on Sunday as he began a week-long visit to India. 

The family was pictured larking around by the famous marble bench where Princess Diana once sat looking forlorn and alone in 1992, and where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge returned in 2016.

Trudeau, his wife Sophie Gregoire and their three children posed for a family portrait before marvelling at the legendary marble monument frequently visited by foreign leaders.  

It came after an apparent 'snub' at the start of his trip when the country's PM Narendra Modi failed to meet them at the airport and instead sent a junior agriculture minister.


As Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau continues his eight-day visit to India, the fact that his schedule includes just half-a-day of official engagements in New Delhi is being described as “unusual” by veteran diplomats and criticised by a Canadian watchdog.

A veteran Indian diplomat said in his long experience with bilateral visits, he had never experienced a trip of this nature, where the visiting dignitary spent so little time in official engagements with counterparts in the Indian government. 

In addition, he said, it was equally surprising that six cabinet ministers accompanying Trudeau had scant official engagements, except for foreign minister Chrystia Freeland, who will confer with external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj ahead of the meeting between the prime ministers in New Delhi on February 23. 

(Sidebar: oh, we don't find it unusual.)


Japan, Australia, the United States and India are talking about establishing a joint regional infrastructure project as an alternative to China’s multibillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative in an attempt to counter Beijing’s spreading influence, the Australian Financial Review reported Monday, citing a senior U.S. official.


Perhaps the judge didn't want the trial to evolve into a big circus:

Cameras are rarely allowed in Canadian courtrooms, but the Gerald Stanley murder trial could have been an exception.

Stanley, a 56-year-old farmer, was charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of Colten Boushie, a 22-year-old man from the Red Pheasant Cree Nation.

The Saskatchewan case had highlighted the friction between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in the province, between rural and urban. Some saw it as a test case for the wider issues of racism and justice.

Which is why a group of media outlets applied to broadcast or live stream parts of the trial, arguing it had "major social and justice interest and importance."

But the defence lawyer in the case expressed concern over it becoming a "spectacle" and asked that the application be denied — and the judge overseeing the trial agreed. ...

None of the jurors or witnesses would have been captured on camera.

No camera operators would have been in the courtroom, and Popescul would have had a kill switch at his side to stop the transmission whenever he wanted.

The Boushie family supported the plan.

Besides, there was time enough for this to become a media circus.


We need to reject cheap overtures from self-interested persons for reform when no reform is needed. The jury system works well.

On occasion, juries may ignore the instructions of judges and deliver a verdict that is perverse, contrary to the evidence. Jury nullification happens when the personal values of individual jurors reject what the prosecution is attempting to accomplish. Disclosing to jurors the existence of this legal right is not legally permitted, as there is fear public knowledge of this limitation on government power might lead to chaos and disturb the rule of law. This is particularly so in situations when racial prejudice is so strong that a juror may take the view that under no circumstances could that juror ever convict someone of the same race, or conversely, may vote to convict an accused person because the victim is of the same race as the juror.

Raising the issue of race in the wake of the Stanley case does not lead to more justice but smacks of jury tampering by political interference, rendering an expectation that race is a factor in achieving a better or desired verdict. This is a dangerous path that must be soundly rejected by people of principle and integrity. There are other ways to combat the evil of racism. This is not one of them.

The most important educator there will ever be is the parent. If one has instilled strong study and work ethics and one's self takes part in educating one's child, any academic future is possible. A new report card on test scores would be, at best, a guideline for choosing a school:

Fundamental  to  the mission  of  secondary schools  is  ensuring that  students  are equipped  with  sound  skills in literacy and mathematics. Differences among students in abilities, motivation, and  work  habits will inevitably have an impact upon the final results. 

There are, however, recognizable differences from school to school within a district in the average results on both of these tests. There is also variation within schools in the average results obtained on these tests. Such differences in outcomes cannot be explained simply  by  the  individual  and  family  characteristics  of  the  school’s  students.  We  believe  that  teaching  makes a difference to student outcomes and it therefore seems reasonable to include the average levels of achievement  in  these  critical  subject  areas  as  indicators of effective teaching.

Also - it's just money:

Recently released fiscal documents show the Canadian government won’t collect $203.5 million in debts from 34,240 students, according to the Canadian Press. It’s the third round of loan write-offs in four years.

Even though this is a recurring problem for the federal government, people are less concerned with student loan debt and more concerned about consumer debt students accumulate during the course of study, said Freida Richer, licenced bankruptcy and proposal trustee with Grant Thornton Limited, in an interview with Global News.

“You don’t need a job to qualify for a credit card,” said Richer. Students can obtain credit cards with low limits to build up a credit history.

“Most students are just paying the minimum payments,” Richer added.

Credit cards are the top driver of consumer debt, said Richer. Typically students carry balances and pay high rates of interest and the burden compounds. Revolving lines of credit are also offered to students. Not being able to find a suitable job paying an ideal wage after graduating makes it difficult to bring down the debt load.

But I thought that Canada wasn't Israel's "special friend" any more:

A majority of the 37,000 citizens of Sudan and Eritrea living in Israel are being ordered out of the country beginning next month. The Israel government has started distributing notices advising asylum seekers they have 60 days to leave for a "safe" African country with the help of a plane ticket and a few thousand dollars.

If they don't go voluntarily, they face indefinite imprisonment.

"Canada does not support policies of mass deportations of asylum seekers. The rights of asylum seekers and refugees are laid out in the Geneva Convention on the Status of Refugees, of which Israel is a signatory," said Adam Austen, spokesman for Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland. 

"As the country that resettles the highest number of African asylum-seekers from Israel, we are in direct contact with the Government of Israel to convey Canada's concerns about the situation."
Just because Canada and Europe have decided to commit national suicide by letting in vast numbers of unvetted migrants, it does mean that Israel is keen to follow suit.


Hundreds of Asian-Canadian protesters, supported by several white, far-right, anti-immigrant groups stormed Parliament Hill on Sunday afternoon to demand an apology from the prime minister.


Hhmmm ... 

And now, things one didn't know about Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness:

The well-traveled Marlow—who appears in other Conrad works, such as Lord Jim—is based on his equally well-traveled creator. In 1890, 32-year-old Conrad sailed the Congo River while serving as second-in-command on a Belgian trading company steamboat. As a career seaman, Conrad explored not only the African continent but also ventured to places ranging from Australia to India to South America.

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