Canadians Are Moderate for a Reason

Haroon Siddiqui praises Canada’s lack of ‘extremism’ on immigrants. It’s true that we don’t see the kind of right-wing parties and rhetoric in Canada that is seen in Europe and the US. This has something to do with culture and history (and our lack of free-speech protections), but more, I think, to do with the composition of our immigrant population. Replace all the East Asians in Canada with Muslims or blacks, and you’d start seeing something different.

The Strange Priorities of Ontario’s Human Rights Commission

Kathy Shaidle in Taki’s Magazine:

Even when they are supposedly sticking to their “housing and employment” knitting, the HRCs add to the discrimination, division, and social discord they pretend to ameliorate.

Last year, Ontario’s HRC declared that certain commonplace phrases found in online apartment ads were illegal. For instance, expressions such as “ideal for student” now constitute “age discrimination.”

But when a reporter brought over thirty “Muslim only” online apartment ads to their attention, the HRC claimed their organization was suddenly too small and overworked to prosecute these cases.

Could This Make Prisoner Treatment More Humane?

Robot guards!

Also: a bunch of prison-related articles in the Globe today, including: high concentration of Hell’s Angels credited for orderliness of Quebec prison (lesson: homogeneity is good for order); Canada’s new tough on crime laws apparently haven’t yet led to a big upswing in incarceration (encouraging news); life in Kingston Penitentiary.

The Globe Finds a Racial Disparity

Of 100 new federally appointed judges 98 are white, Globe finds.” The first thing the reasonable reader thinks is, of course, “I wonder what the composition of the candidate pool is like.” The Globe does address this, at the very end of the article.

In some locations, the pool of minority lawyers is modest. For example, just five per cent of Nova Scotia’s 2,000 lawyers belong to a visible minority; while a 2006 B.C. survey found that just 18 per cent of Vancouver’s lawyers were from a visible minority, compared to 42 per cent of the city’s population.

In Ontario, a similar survey conducted by the Law Society of Upper Canada in 2009 found that 693 of the province’s 20,000 lawyers were black. It found that 979 were Chinese, Japanese or Korean; 101 were Hispanic; 1,312 were South Asian; and 290 were of Arab or West Asian descent. The province had 281 aboriginal and 96 Métis lawyers.

 It’s surprising to me how few Asian lawyers there are, but anyway that pretty much explains the situation. And yet the Globe thinks this needs to be fixed for some reason. Why? Obviously Asians especially are over-represented in other areas, so try to get proportional representation in the places where they aren’t just amounts to an effort to prevent whites from getting jobs.

The Charter Has Fostered Individualism

Roy Romanow, an architect of the  the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (which turns 30 today), thinks the effects have not been altogether positive:

“When I teach today, I notice that these Charter kids think more individually. They have less of a historical connection to the notion of communitarian impulses. It’s almost like a different country now.

“They see Canada through an individual lens, whether it’s their gender rights or health rights. It’s worrisome because the answers are not always either/or.”

There are no doubt larger social forces at work here—increased diversity, changes in gender roles, etc.—which the Charter helped cement.

Maybe Canada’s Two-Tiered Justice System is a Good Thing

In the Vancouver Sun, Peter McKnight argues just that, on the grounds that the aboriginal prison population keeps rising, ‘lighter’ sentences often aren’t, and they provide more opportunity for rehabilitation.

His suggestion that the court system has an institutional bias against aboriginals is silly, but I think this is still a reasonable position. If different groups have different capacities, then they also can’t be held to the same standards. (However, a better solution might be to punish the members of some groups more brutally and with more immediacy in order for the lessons to stick. I’m not sure.)

The Tory Secret Agenda is that There is No Agenda

Andrew Coyne on the 2012 federal budget:

You fiscal conservatives who hung on all this time, while the Harper Conservatives ran up spending to levels no previous government had ever dreamt of—you who stood by the party through the years of minority government while it discarded every principle it had ever held and every commitment it had ever made—you who swallowed all of this in the belief that, one day, the Conservatives would win their long-sought majority, and all your compromises would prove to have been worthwhile: you, ladies and gentlemen, have been had.

Of course some of the big spending recently has been intended as stimulus, and the economy is hardly in good enough shape to make big cuts yet. But everyone seems to agree that the budget is surprising lacking is vision or direction, given the Conservatives new strength.

The CBC is Getting Slashed

The 2012 budget cuts 10% of the CBC’s funding. But it deserves it:

[The CBC], in programming on English radio and TV, has been utterly feckless, constantly diminishing its own standards. It has leaned right and ostentatiously pro-businesslike, a nervous Nelly anticipating criticism before it arrives. It has abandoned excellence in countless areas. On many nights, the main CBC English channel schedule looks like a mishmash of game shows and lightweight news and docs.

Canada’s Airline Industry is Being Mismanaged


It’s been five years since U.S. low-cost airline JetBlue Airways applied for, and received, a licence to fly to Canadian cities like Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. And yet there has yet to be a single JetBlue flight venturing north of the border. Why? “It’s hard to stimulate travel with low fares while operating in a high-cost environment,” says airline spokesperson Allison Steinberg.

Canada’s Unions are in Decline

Even their influence with the NDP is waning:

Even [NDP leadership] candidate Peggy Nash, a former lead negotiator for the CAW, acknowledges the problems posed by public discontent.

“Unions are facing a difficult climate. There’s an unease out there, and some of the biggest challenges relate to the tremendous insecurity people are feeling in the workplace.”

This is an interesting idea, though I imagine it’s a long shot:

“We shouldn’t kid ourselves,” says CAW president Ken Lewenza. “The multinational companies we deal with can move capital from one jurisdiction to another with no impediment.”

Unions have talked about trying to catch up and become more powerful global entities through the International Trade Union Confederation, especially since the application of Canada’s foreign investment laws appears highly arbitrary.

Asian Campus Dominance is Here to Stay

Jonathan Kay in last month’s National Post:

Last year, my wife read Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua, and laughed at the author’s insanely Type-A mothering techniques. But when she put Chua’s book down, the first words out of her mouth were “Should we put our kids in piano lessons?”

And so we did. We also sent our youngest child to after-school reading lessons, even though I’m not sure she needed them. The competition from highly motivated immigrants is making stressed out Tiger Mothers of us all.

Unfortunately, it won’t be that simple for everyone. Besides work-ethic and single-mindedness, there are two other major factors here. First, East Asian students are very willing to cheat—success is encouraged by any means necessary. This may change over time, or maybe non-Asians will start cheating more. Second, East Asians have a higher average IQ than Caucasians. That won’t change.

Both Monsters and Victims

Yesterday I mentioned the (Canadian) Supreme Court’s ruling that aboriginals must receive special consideration is sentencing.

Jonathan Kay thinks that at least in the case that incited the ruling, this is hopeless:

If only taking the monster out of the man were that easy. The whole concept of “alternative sentencing” for aboriginals — encoded in Section 718.2(e) of the Criminal Code — is built on the idea that natives somehow can be deprogrammed from crime if they are permitted to reconnect with their communities in a positive way. And no doubt, that sort of special treatment may work for, say, young runaways from aboriginal reserves who fall prey to big-city gang life. But it is naïve to think that men such as Ladue and Ipeelee belong anywhere except prison.

There’s no question that Ladue and Ipeelee are both monsters and victims of tragic circumstances:

Ipeelee, a 39-year-old Inuk from Iqaluit, had an alcoholic mother who died when he was a child. Ipeelee himself was an alcoholic by the time he was 12.

Before he turned 19, he already had 36 convictions. Several of them involved instances in which he had beaten other men into submission — and then continued stomping on their heads even after they had lost consciousness. In another case, he raped a homeless woman while punching her in the face.

The justices are wrestling (not necessarily very well) with what is known in philosophy as the problem of moral luck. In my view, moral luck represents an irresolvable tension at the heart of moral thought.

Two-Tiered Justice for Canada

Today’s Globe and Mail:

The Supreme Court of Canada has issued an iron-clad edict that sentencing judges must search out lenient or creative sentences for aboriginal offenders that recognize the oppressive cultural conditions many have grown up with.

I would imagine that many criminals have tragic pasts, regardless of ethnic background.

However. I assume that aboriginal crime mostly affects aboriginals. And having a bunch of aboriginals locked up also mostly affects aboriginals. If this is what aboriginals want (and the article says that it is, at least in the case that triggered this ruling), then it’s probably good to let them have it.