Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Accusations of Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing

Any discussion on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict quickly turn to a lob of accusations at Israel. These accusations include, ethnic cleansing, genocide, apartheid Gazacaust and maintaining the world's largest open air prison (concentration camp) in the most densely populated place on earth. These accusations recall horrible atrocities. The juxtaposition helps to create images that makes it difficult to examine facts that apply to the Israeli conflict.

If Israel is trying to commit ethnic cleansing of Palestinians they are doing are really bad job. During the 3 week Operation Cast Lead where 1300 Palestinians were killed there were approximately 3500 births. The IDF had a self imposed 3 hour ceasefire to allow humanitarian convoys into Gaza while Hamas kept firing at Israel.

The response to the fact that Israel has been unsuccessful at genocide is that they want it to be slow so nobody notices. The back up to this argument is the blockade that Israel has on the Gaza strip. Sanctions and blockades have been used around the world to bring rouge states back in line with the international community. Under Saddam Hussein, Iraq suffered heavily from sanctions. The oil for food program was designed so that civilians would not starve.

The embargo on Gaza is designed to put pressure on the Palestinians to stop firing rockets at Israel and to block supplies that could be used to kill Israelis. Israel has allowed enough food and supplies to keep the people of Gaza fed as shown in this report. The release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit (who is being denied his basic human rights of visitation by the Red Cross and other violations) are necessary steps to having the border fully open to regular commerce. Gaza is not the most densly populated place on earth, Manhatten is.

The accusation of apharthied is also a favourite for attacking Israel. Israeli society is on constant vigilance for the possibility of the next terrorist attack. This resulted in Israel to set up the security fence and check points to help save Israeli lives. For the most part the strategy has worked with most recent terrorist attacks coming from Arabs living in Israel proper. Sympathisers can only see how inconvenient these security measures are for Arabs (and Israelis) who need to travel through these check points.

In a bid to ease the inconvenience two check points near Jenin were recently removed. On the very same day, Israeli police officers were ambushed and killed. While not confirmed it is possible that it could have been possible to reach the point of the attack travelling where the check points used to be without going through any other check point. What is the proper way to respond to such a major concern?

There also seems to be an assumption that a Palestinian State would automatically have open borders with Israel. Algeria and Morroco temporarily opened their border for the first time in 15 years to allow the George Galloway convoy through. Will the difficulties Israel is being blamed for being any less should Israel not have open borders with a Palestinian state.

The most troubling question is why doesn't anybody want to live in a Palestinian State. Palestinians want to negotiate for the full right of return to live in Israel outside of the land currently being demanded for a Palestinian State. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman was labelled a racist and a bigot for suggesting that land claimed by Palestinians with Jewish populations be directly swapped with land being lived on by Arabs in Israel proper. The Arabs in Israel have protests and the world support seems to be for these people to remain in Israel.

The accusations against Israel are intentionally over bloated in order to demonize Israel and ignore their considerations. Palestinians want an independent but would prefer to live in horrible Israel rather than their national homeland. Israel is supposed to bend over backwards to accommodate all of these contradictory opinions. Israel is more than happy to live in peace with it's neighbours. Giving away land in order to bring the weapons of those who want to destroy Israel is not peace.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Court Upholds Decision to Keep George Galloway Out of Canada

A Canadian Federal Court has upheld the CBSA decision to prevent British MK from entering Canada. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney was the only person with the power to overturn the decision agreed that Galloway should not be allowed into Canada.

For many Canadians this is a case of free speech and punishing a person for sending aid to the Palestinians. From this angle it appears that the government is carrying out a gross injustice in an attempt to silence it's critics. What could possibly be wrong with providing humanitarian aid?

First step is to exam how he choose to deliver aid. The aid convoy started it's 3 week journey in London, crossed through Northern Africa before arriving at the Egyptian border. The size of his convoy at the beginning was just slightly less than the amount of aid Israel was allowing into Gaza during the 3 hour ceasefires during Operation Cast Lead. Israel was letting the aid through despite the fact that Hamas did not hold by the humanitarian cease fire.

The convoy was stopped at the Egyptian/Gaza border for 4 days. Egyptian officials said the aid was not urgent and some of it would have to go through Israel. Galloway refused insisting that the entire convoy together because he "would not accept any special favour from Israel." While claiming victory he let the Red Crescent bring in some of the aid. The Red Crescent makes all of their crossings thorugh Israel.

While waiting at the border his followers did have a clash with police with a couple of injuries. The night before they finally crossed their convoy was stoned and vehicles spray painted with anti-Hamas graffiti. While he supports Palestinians right to throw stones he was unhappy about being on the receiving end of the welcome. He did decide to avoid bringing up the embarrassing incident.

While in Gaza he happily met with the leaders of Hamas giving them $45,000 in cash. He was also photographed with Hamas in front of their map of the Middle East. That would be the one that does not include Israel.

Every other country in the world sends their aid to the Palestinian people through Israel via United Nations organizations. It is the only way to guarantee that aid gets to the Palestinian people instead of being siffened off to buy weapons to attack Israel. Even then the UNRWA had problems with Hamas hijacking their trucks. Galloway choose the slowest most inefficient method for delivery the so called emergency help. The entire convoy was a huge publicity stunt in order to show his support for Hamas.

Hamas is listed as a terrorist organization in Canada. This means their assets in Canada are frozen and it is illegal for a Canadian to provide them with funding. Galloway argued that his only intention was helping the Palestinian people and that meant giving money to the legitimate government of the Palestinian people. The fact they happen to be the same party as a terrorist organization is irrelevant. It is clear he wanted to legitimize Hamas as much or more so than he was concerned where the aid would be delivered.

The second argument was making this an issue of free speech. On two occasions Galloway was on the record in full support of the British government to ban politicians from visiting England. It is hypocritical to make the free speech argument when he is on the other side of the coin.

Galloway gave cash directly to a terrorist organization. His intention of the cash transaction was to legitimize the terrorist government. These actions would be illegal if done by a Canadian. Therefore they constitute grounds for refusing his entry into Canada.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Taxing Together in Perfect Harmony

The PST and GST seem like similar sales taxes to the average consumer. Aside from which items are exempt there is a huge different in the way they are structured.

The PST is a tax on a goods sold. Items that are considered basic needs are exempt from this tax. If a business is buying a product for resale they are exempt from paying PST on the purchase. The exemption must be applied at the point of sale. Their is no mechanism to recuperate over payment of PST.

GST is a general tax on everything. The cost of basics is factored into a tax credit that is distributed based on income. The big difference is businesses can use GST collected to pay for their GST expenses, with only the balance going to the government. This can help with a companies cash flow. In general as long as a business is profitable, their customers will be paying all of their GST expenses. It is a much more favourable system for businesses.

When the Federal Government was implementing the cut in the GST from 6% to 5%, it was suggested that the Ontario government should harmonize their PST with the GST. The PST would be collected by the Federal Government and follow the same rules as the PST. It would have the benefits of less bureaucracy with a single tax collector plus businesses who want to upgrade their equipment. The draw back would be the numerous items that are not subjected to PST would be subjected to the harmonized tax.

Although the Ontario Government did not want to admit it, the economy was already showing signs of decline. Harmonization could help out the struggling manufacturing business by allowing them to upgrade their capital equipment with the new tax break. They also had the opportunity to use leverage to exchange support for the GST cut with the Federal Government agreeing to waive the GST on some items that are already PST exempt. At the time the Government decided it was not a good idea and passed on trying to take advantage of the opportunity.

Last week the Ontario government announced the budget with the plan to implement a harmonized sales tax. They will get all of the benefits as stated above. The cost of some items that were considered basic in Ontario will immediately rise 8% to reflect the new tax structure. The government is giving out cash to try to ease the burden of the tax increase. They would have been in a much better position if they choose to make the same decision earlier. This is a missed opportunity that Ontario tax payers will keep on paying for.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Standing up for your beliefs, even when you don't know what they are

CBC articles on Israel are quite frequent, to the point I am waiting for the article about the fact a politician sneezed. No matter what the topic, the comment sections breakdown into the same circle argument of Israel is evil and should it have a right to exist. The anti-Israel posters almost always get the most agreed upon comments.

I was amused by one of the comments this week.

"Boycott Israel. Google ......... to see why"

This was around the same time a friend had a job interview with Google Israel.

I wonder how many people who are calling for the boycott, actually put their so called beliefs into action.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Illeagal Construction in Israel

I opened a Twitter account for use at work. Last week, I had some Palestinian News account following me. I decided to post a whole bunch of articles about what things are really like in Israel. I also sent them a note asking how they found my account and why they were interested in following it. Just as quickly as they appeared on my account they disappeared. Today's post is dedicated to them.

I checked out their website. Their main story was about the horrors of the IDF bulldozing a Bedouin home. Taking into account some the realities around the issue of illegal construction I will try to figure out the most likely scenario in the story they reported.

The first thing is it was amazing the lack of detail in the story. They put in some geographical markers at the very end, which could have easily been made up. The family didn't have a name. There was a picture of the alleged bulldozed home. It could have been very easily any one of the many construction sights around the country. There was a pile of rubble with a clean bright pink phone on the top. Did the family remove all of their possessions ahead of time and forgot their phone, which miraculously survived the bulldozing to fly through the air and land in a pile completely unscathed? This technique of adding props to sell the story has been well publicized since the 2006 Lebanon War.

I found more interesting the claims of the family. They said that they had received all of their building permits from the Palestinian Authority, while the Israeli authorities said that it was completely illegal construction. Israel stays out of the day to day operations of territory controlled by the PA. It is possible that the PA did authorize the building permits in an area, where they have no jurisdiction. Israel is then faced with the problem of allowing illegal buildings to stand or look like the bad guys for undoing illegal construction.

Over the weekend Jerusalem Mayor Barkat spoke about the problem of Palestinians building on public land that the city had intended to use for other purposes. Aside from causing massive infrastructure problems, such as sewage they block the government from appropriating land as they originally intended.

In Toronto a tent city was set up as a place to protest homelessness and provide a place to live. The problem was that the land was owned by Home Depot who wanted to exercises their rights to their land. Despite protests from homeless advocacy group Home Depot eventually evicted the people and took possession of their land.

Israel is in their full rights to crack down on illegal construction by both Jews and Arabs alike. If Arabs are going to ignore Israeli authority and build on land that they do not own, how is Israel supposed to respond?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Immigrants Need to Learn the Official Language

There is a great deal of concern regarding the amount of Canadian Immigrants who are not able to speak English or French. Not having basic skills in your Country's official language can cause a great deal of difficulty in functioning in society. Many of these people end up in low paying customer service jobs, causing even more frustration and resentment towards the immigration population. There was a case last year where a nurse was not hired even though she was bilingual because she could not speak the language of the local immigrant population.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has expressed concern about this issue. He said that he had sat in on immigration interviews were the applicant was not able to carry out the interview in either English or French. This includes people who have been living in Canada for 10 - 15 years. The interview stage is designed to review applicants who failed the 20 question multiple choice test. He suggested that he is considering adding a language requirement to the application process.

The problem with such a proposal is that it is not easy to learn a new language. It harder as you get older, especially if you are struggling to put food on the table. While bringing in basic language requirements is a good idea, it needs to be implemented in a way that would also address these concerns. There are also concerns that it is possible to be a good citizen without the language skills.

In Israel, every new immigrant is entitled to up to approximately 500 hours of free language training. Plus their is some financial assistance during the first 6 months while people are getting settled. Canada could easily take some ideas from this system.

The Canadian government should require a minimum amount of language skills. They should also make language classes affordable to those who need it. The end result would be immigrant who are better able to function in society. The cost would be minimal compared to the benefit of a well functioning society. People need to be able to speak the official language. This is just a practical solution.

The Winner Still is Ehud Olmert

It has been 236 days since Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced that he would not run in the Kadima leadership race to replace him. This decision should have taken away his moral authority to lead the country and shift to a caretaker roll until he was replaced.

When Tzipi Livni took over as chairman of the party he refused to step down as Prime Minster. Instead of taking over as Prime Minister she was forced to form her own government. Taking advantage of her difficult situation she was unable to form a government and elections were called 3 months later. President Shimon Peres gave the nod to Benjamin Netanyahu to have 6 weeks to from a new government. The original deadline is at midnight. A two week extension has been granted as Labour will be deciding on Tuesday if they wish to join the government. In the unlikly case that Netanyahu fails to form a government, Livni would be given the oppurtunity or elections could once again be called.

During this time the world has been a fairly busy place. The world economy has collapsed with governments around the world printing hundreds of billions of dollars to keep the ecoonomy moving. Russia invaded the Ukraine. The United States elected adn installed a new President. The Canadian government called elections, installed a new government, progoued parliament and passed the budget which has already been passed by the Senate.

Olmert has tried to create his own legacy and tie the hands of the next govrenment to his vision for the future. He activly tried to get a peace treaty signed with Syria. He sent the IDF to Gaza to try to stop missle attacks that he had been ignoring. He tried and failed to release Gilad Shalit who has been a Hamas prisoner for 1001 days. He also failed to pass the budget for the fiscal year that began on January 1st.

Olmert's role as Prime Minister can be described as a failure. It is time to stop with the legacy building and move on to the government that is looking into the future. Hopefuly everything will fall into place so that after Tuesday a new governernment that will be effective can be formed.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

World follows Canada's foreign policy example

The first ever United Nations Anti-Racism conference in Durban South Africa was a complete disaster. Instead of dealing with improving living conditions and preventing racism around the world it became a massive Israel bashing session. The conference accomplished nothing productive.

Durban II is scheduled to take place next month. Canada out of concern that it would be a repeat embarrassment of the first conference declared their intention to boycott. Israel eventually followed suit.

The United States sent a delegation to try to have the objectionable language removed from the conference. They had a few major concerns. Once again Israel was going to be the only country singled out for Human Rights violations, by countries who have enough problems granted human rights to their own citizens. Another issue was to make it a human right violations to criticize another religion. This would justify the riots following the publication of the Muhammad cartoons as response to a human rights violation. It also flies in the face of free speech which is highly regarded in the West. A demand for reparations for slavery were also on the table. The United States announced their intention to boycott if the text was not changed.

Italy became the first European to announce their intention to boycott. It is interesting that it was an Italian reporter that went to Gaza and said that the humanitarian situation was not that drastic. England then expressed reservations about the conference, followed by a possible boycott by the EU.

The text has now been changed. It will probably be enough for most countries to call of the boycott. Although, there is still a great deal of concern that all the elements are in place to still have a repeat of the last conference. Canada has not announced they have changed their mind about attending

Canada was the first country to stand up to this pending injustice. The world has fallen suit. Even if the conference does turn into a disaster the actions of Canada, United States, Italy and EU have minimized the amount of damage that can be done.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Raising the Bar on Electoral Reform

Canadian Parliament has all of the ingredients for a long term stable government. Elections campaigns are short with the new government sworn in a short time later. Politicians are held directly responsible for their actions. Individuals not affiliated to main stream parties can be elected to represent their constituents. Governments have enough political power to direct their government according to the mandate they were given. When the writ is dropped Parliament is dissolved limiting the power of the outgoing government. The major parties tend to cater to the same group of voters. This allows for consistant expectaions from the government, even when there is change in government. It is not perfect but it works really well.

The Israeli system is quite the opposite. There is no individual accountability. Even if a party is punished by the electorate the key decision makers are high enough up the list to keep their jobs. Government changes can take a long time. Ehud Olmert has been on his way out for quite some time. First his party had to run a leadership race to replace him. Once he was replaced as party leader he refused to step down. This left his succesor Tzipi Livn with 6 weeks to form a government with the possibility of a two week extension. When that failed elections were called for 3 months later. In the after math of the election Netanyahu was given 6 weeks to form a government. With the deadline looming he also has the oppurtunity to request a two week extension.

While all this was going on, the Knesset failed to pass a budget by the December 31st budget. The government has to work on a formula based on previous budgets, that do not account for the economic down turn. Olmert has taken Israel to war without much to show for it in terms of tangible results. He is desperatly trying to engineer a prisoner swap to bring Gilad Shalit home after almost 1000 days of captivity. His major bargaining chip is that his deal will be better than anything the new government will offer. Olmert doesn't have a clue about the fact he lost his moral authority to make major government policy decisions after elections were called.

As election results were coming in their was a feeling that major electoral change needs to be brought in. Unfortunatly, as with all electoral reform it needs to be brought in by the parties that will likely lose the most from the change. Small cosmetic changes are likly to be approved than the changes that are required.

One idea is that Israel should join the rest of the world and increase their minimum vote threshold from 2% to 5%. This would encourage smaller parties to merge with bigger parties and form a more central approach to government. Right now parties with 3 or 4 mandates have the same clout as parties with 11 mandates. This forces the ruling party to give away most of their principles in order to keep the smaller parties happy.

Here is a look at how the government would have looked if these changes had been applied to the recent elections.

First column is with the current 2% threshold, second column is 3%, third column net change.

Likud 27 29 (+2)
Yisrael Betaynu 15 16 (+1)
Shas 11 11 (no change)
UTJ 5 6 (+1)
Bayit Yehudi 3 0 (-3)
Ichud Leumi 4 5 (+1)
Kadimah 28 30 (+2)
Labour 13 13 (no change)
Chaddash 4 5 (+1)
National Arab Party 4 5 (+1)
Balad 3 0 (-3)
Meretz 3 0 (-3)

The way things stand it looks like the government will consist of Likud, Yisrael Betaynu, Shas, UTJ, Bayit Yehudi, with a total of 61 seats. Ichud Leumi is similar enough to Bayit Yehudi that the considered going into negotiations as one party and decided not to.

Increasing the threshold to 3% would eliminate Balad, Meretz and and Ichud Leumi. The government could simply replace Ichud Leumi and add an extra mandate to their coalition. Ichud Leumi and Bayit Yehudi could merge to maintain a strong voter base. Meretz is a far left party that needs to regroup as they has seemed to lost thier purpose. Balad is the party who's leader went to Lebanon to help with strategy during the 2006 Lebanon war. Although he is wanted in Israel, he is still collecting his Israeli pension.

First Column 3% threshold, Second Column 4% threshold, Third Column net change.

Likud 29 33 (+4)
Yisrael Betaynu 16 18 (+2)
Shas 11 13 (+2)
UTJ 6 7 (+1)
Ichud Leumi 5 0 (-5)
Kadimah 30 34 (+4)
Labour 13 15 (+2)
Chaddash 0 (-5)
National Arab Party 0 (-5)

In this scenario National Arab Party, Chadash (Arab/Jewish) and Ichud Leumi would be eliminated. It is not a desirable result for the Arab parties not to have representation in Knesset. To be fair they do have representation from some of the main stream parties. A merger leaning towards a more tolerant position towards Israel could keep the parties in the Knesset. As stated above Ichud Leumi merging with Bayit Yehudi could keep their political clout. Likud and Yisrael Betaynu alread have a coaltion agreement in place. With the exception of UTJ they would be able to form a government with one other party. Netanyahu would not be in the position he is today selling out his party just for a couple of more mandates to stay in power.

First Column 4% threshold, Second Column 5% threshold, Third Column net change.

Likud 33 35(+2)
Yisrael Betaynu 18 19(+1)
Shas 13 (+2)
UTJ 7 0 (-7)
Kadimah 34 36 (+2)
Labour 16 (+1)

UTJ is a merger of the 3 Haredi parties. Their core support is from people who take orders from their Rabbi's how to vote. In order to stay relevant they would need to be able to cater to the electorate outside of their close knit community. Shas is also a Haredi party that also appeals to the Sephardic community at large. This is how they have been able to be so succuessful in the world of politics. In this scenario, forming a stable government with 3 parties would be fairly simple. The coaliton would probably be able to hold itself together to fulfill an entire mandate before going to the polls.

Raising the minimum voting threshold is a bandaid solution to the problems in Israeli politics. It would create stable governments, which could be an important first step to needed electoral reforms down the road.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Does the Shoe Fit?

In Canadian politics there have been many incidences that could have been major issues. They range from a pie in the face, to a Prime Minister being defended in his own home by his wife with an Inuit statue, to a pie in the face, to people eating their electoral ballots. The Canadian psyche has been to downplay the significance of these events. No harm, no foul and good for a laugh.

The case of Muntadhar al-Zeidi, who through his shoes at George Bush would have fallen into the same category. The fact that shoe throwing has become a popular form of protest around the world adds to the amusement factor. Even George Bush was willing to shrug it off when it happened.

Then the lawyers and the courts got involved. All of a sudden they are dealing with serious charges. Someone attempted to physically assault a foreign dignitary, who happens to be the President of the United States. This is the frame of mind the court took when the handed out a 3 year jail sentence. It appears that the courts only showed leniency because of his clean record and age rather than in reality it was really a minor incident.

The arguments put up by his defence team are quite disturbing. What is more disturbing is that these arguments have been picked up around the world and are being used to justify other acts of violence. He told the judge that it was a natural response to the occupation. This seams to be a growing trend. Any action can be justified by blaming the situation around them. It is amazing that in the entire country he is the only one who was forced by the occupation to throw his shoes at politicians. It is still better than bombing civilians or military personal. In some cases Aboriginal groups in Canada have turned to blockades to fight for their land claims. They seem to be getting more violent. Can they now blame the 'occupation', if they choose to attack police officers or others that stand in their way? How far can society go with 'natural responses' until enough is enough. Why can't people take responsibility for their own actions.

The most unusual argument was that Bush was not on an official visit and therefore just an ordinary visitor (who happens to be President of the United States). If his actions were motivated by the occupation what difference does it make if an official invitation was issued? Is it normal to throw shoes at other people?

The most ironic argument was that his actions should be protected under freedom of speech. Tariq Aziz was sentenced to 15 years in jail for his role in the execution of 82 merchants. They were guilty of price fixing. Without, the liberation of Iraq Aziz actions would have gone unpunished. Sadam Hussien tested chemical weapons on his own people and was executed for murdering 148 people in response to an assassination attempt. Does al-Zeidi really believed that his freedom of expression would have been protected if he decided to throw a shoe at Saddam Hussein. The death sentence would have been carried out quickly.

This incident was relatively minor and the court should have taken that into consideration. His justifications for his actions should not be used to condone what he did. He should have never done it. This incident is minor enough to justify a more lenient sentence.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Good Bye John

In Canada, politicians are often given a second chance in order to prove themselves. Party leaders are often given two kicks at the can before they are turfed. Even Bob Rae has been given an opportunity to recover from his brutal run as NDP Premier of Ontario, to become I high ranking member of the federal Liberal party. On the flip side leaders who fail miserably on their first attempt are quickly removed from ever having that second chance. Joe Clark, Kim Campbell and Stephane Dion are the prime examples of this second group.

John Tory should have also been placed with the group of one time failures. It speaks to his honesty, integrating and generally sense of caring that allowed him for this rare second chance. He seemed to have all the qualities we claim to want in a politician. During the provincial election, while McGuinty pre-screened every person he made contact with, Tory had camera crews follow him on door to door campaigning not knowing what issues he would be forced to confront. It took 18 months until he finally had his oppurtunity to regain a seat at Queen's Park. Despite running in a safe Conservative riding that won the election by over 10,000 votes, he fell short on his second chance. He has done the right thing by stepping down from the party leadership.

Tory was a succesful businessman, before venturing into politics. He lost the bid for Mayor of Toronto, he was an advisor on the Kim Campbell campaign where the Conservative Party was left with only Jean Charest and Elsie Wayne to rebuild the party. McGuinty and the Liberal Party were vulnerable and he failed to take the oppurtunity.

Tory has the qualities of a good legislator. Unfortunatly they are not necessarily the same qualities for winning votes. Hopefully he will be able to find a home in the public sector where he can contribute to society, without the drawbacks necessary to be popular enough to win.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Ignatieff Continues with Rebuilding

Stephane Dion is just a tiny blip on the history of the Liberal Party. His most notable accomplishment was "The Clarity Act". It is supposed to be a clear guideline of how the question should be asked, should Quebec separatists decide to hold another referendum. Just like Stephane Dion's hopes of becoming Prime Minister, hopefully there will never be a need to apply this legislation.

Michael Ignatieff has brought an immediate change of course to the Liberal Party. He has announced that the Green Party will not get any kind of free ride from the Liberals in the next election. He believes the environment plank of their platform will be able to stand on it's own. He also acknowledged that the Alberta Oil sands are an important part of the Canadian economy. He will not alienate Western Canada. This a change from Dion who tried to make them the major target of his environmental plan.

Ignatieff has earned respect from Harper because he is willing to stand up to the government if ti is the right thing to do. This change of course continues to take the Liberal Party on the path as being a viable alternative to lead the country. Governments are more in tuned with the public, when they are battling to keep their jobs. A strong Liberal Party is good for Canada whether they are in the government or sitting on the opposition benches.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Sid Ryan, Where are You?

On Saturday a Grad rocket from Gaza landed in a school in Ashkelon. It completely penetrated the fortifications that had been added to the school. They were designed to protect students from Kassam rocket attacks. Any other day of the week, there would have been a tremendous amount of casualties. Since the ceasefire there have been 100 rockets that have landed in Israel. On Sunday all of the schools in Ashkelon were open with the exception of the one that was bombed. The government choose to ignore fears that the schools may no longer be a safe place from missile attacks.

Sid Ryan has decided to make bringing peace to Israel his pet project. He is a big supporter of the Right to Education Project, aimed to help Palestinian children. What about Israeli children? Where is Sid Ryan to condemn this attack? Where is the outrage that an entire school is no longer usable? Where is the concern that once again all schools in the area may be forced to be closed because they are not safe from Palestinian rocket attacks?

CUPE Ontario still has on their website the alleged incident of Israel bombing a school housing refugees. The United Nations have publicly updated their information on the attack because it didn't happen. Why hasn't CUPE Ontario? When Israel bombed the University in Gaza it was being used as a launch site for attacks against innocent civilians. IDF soldiers discovered schools booby trapped which could have killed IDF soldiers or innocent children. How can the attack on this school be justified?

Why hasn't Sid Ryan rallied his 200,000 strong membership to condemn this attack. We hear the silence loud and clear. The silence says more then any half hearted boycott ever will.