The last day of my 45th year

It was on my 35th birthday that I was granted the greatest gift I could ever receive, the gift of fatherhood. My son was also born on May 21.

We both share the day as a birthday, now a surreal experience with a pandemic underway.

I’m waiting to return to the job, Rylind is waiting to resume some normal existence and hang out with friends again.

But as we wait for the calendar to flip over a day, I’m reminded of my role too.

It’s my job as it is anyone’s, to leave a better world for our kids than what we received.

So I will continue to argue and fight for what is right.

Right, on human rights, climate change, science, social and economic justice.

Look at me.

I’m of the demographic that has the least to worry about things. I sit atop a world in a fairly privileged position.

As Tommy Douglas once said that it’s never too late to fight for a better world.

I agree.

My first 45 years have brought me to this place. I’ll spend the next 45 making it better, for my kid and yours.

Let’s go

My2bits

Serious question for the legal community

Considering free speech guarantees in the constitution, which is the First Amendment of the USA constitution and 2(b) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in Canada, there are limits to the above freedoms.

Both countries place limits on what you can advocate, such as Canada’s criminal code sanctions on Hate Speech. And no where do you have the right to yell “fire” in a crowded theatre.

These limits have faced legal tests of their own in the supreme courts and have been validated over the years.

So my question for legal experts, can laws be passed that outlaws and criminalize any advocacy that runs opposite to public health orders? I mean if to yell “fire” in a theatre can get you a serious fine (or worse if your actions caused injury or death), then shouldn’t that apply to those opposing vaccinations? Flouting ‘stay-in-place’ orders?

We’re not talking about those who argue that earth is flat or that the moon landings were faked in a Hollywood studio. Making these arguments based on conspiracy theories is inconsequential; nobody can be harmed by how flat you feel the earth is. You might be called stupid or an idiot, but that’s your argument to make.

Those who argue against life saving medical advice and established science have a profound impact that could cost lives. That, in my opinion, is no different than the asshole who yells “fire” in a crowded theatre.

You have every right to follow whatever faith you wish; stand on your soapbox and bang the drum for (or against) whatever political cause or party you wish…and as repugnant as those views may be, I support your right to have them.

But I do not support you having the right to argue against life saving medical advice because *you* feel that it goes against your personally held beliefs.

In my belief system, I accept that we are all created in his (God’s) image. To me, that means that everything that exists today as we know it flows from this design. Including the medical science we have gleaned from years of experience and education. If we, human animals, were not intended to discover things and generally *advance*, then we’d be no different than any other mammal prowling the earth on instinct alone.

It’s not my place to judge how you interpret the articles of your faith, but if in the free practice of your faith you put my community, my family, and myself at grave risk by your actions, then your actions are akin to calling fire in that crowded theatre.

And there should be a law against it.

My2bits

BC Liberals playing a dangerous game with ICBC

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Loudmouth BC Liberal MLA Jas Johal appears to have committed the BC Liberals to putting ICBC brokers out of business. In the article where the above clip comes from, Jas comments that by offering online insurance renewals, clients could save the broker share of the costs and pocket several hundred dollars as a result.

This presumes that an online apparatus is free to run (it isn’t), it assumes that no problems would arise as a result (unlikely).

Where does one pick up their insurance decal when ordering online?

But here is the kicker: there is absolutely no evidence that the BC Liberal Government prior to the 2017 handover was planning a roll out of online ICBC renewals. This seems to be another hot-air idea drummed up by overly ambitious BC Liberal hacks seeking out a position merely to attack the NDP with.

This doesn’t assume that online renewals cannot be done; you can do almost anything online. But to retain some buy-in from the industry, there will have to be some sort of check-off for originating brokers to get some residual fee from a renewal.

ICBC brokers charge a fee to resell insurance. Of course they do. EVERY insurance broker makes a percentage or fee from an insurance package they sell – whether car insurance, home insurance, life insurance, or anything. Its how a brokerage exists; those margins define the revenues for these independent brokers to exist…and provide a human contact between insurance company and client.

This latest pseudo-outrage over what ICBC pays out to brokers is a giant #nothingburger.  As a precentage, ICBC brokers change on average 8% back to ICBC as their margin. This is less on average than what other brokers charge for vehicle insurance elsewhere in Canada.

If anything, should ICBC be dismantled and a privatised model take hold, those rates could indeed rise; as would almost every other fee possible. ICBC isn’t perfect, and the upheaval its going through isn’t unlike others in the industry.

What this imaginary fiasco really is, is a distraction as the government is facing legal action by the trial lawyers association over legislated caps to soft tissue damage awards…caps that exist elsewhere in Canada and have withstood legal challenges there too.

I get it, turn ICBC into a phantom enemy so its easy to hate it and legitimise a campaign to destroy it. But the BC Liberals with their 16 year legacy of power saw no urgency in dismantling ICBC; they instead saw an opportunity to use the insurance corporation as a cash cow to prop up their imaginary budget surplus. That is the real scandal.

Sure the BC Liberals aren’t in office anymore and its the NDP’s show. Ok, so let them get it done. The reforms they’re undertaking were the ones originally hidden from public knowledge in the secret report into reforming ICBC that the BC Liberals didn’t want anyone to see. Its a report that highlighted problems *and* fixes.

Its a report that had the BC Liberals retained power, they would be enacting said reforms too.

The BC Liberals are now wasting time attacking the NDP for fixing the thing that the Liberals tried so hard to break and bleed white.

Look, the NDP isn’t perfect as they’re journey in power hasn’t been exactly smooth. But the alternative #partyofstupid is unthinkable.

My2bits

 

It wasn’t politics as usual to call out the ambiguity of Elizabeth May’s social policy flubs

Unfolding in Alberta right now is the full reveal of what happens when a seemingly conservative populist economic reform type party takes power.

Their attacks on all things public commence immediately; healthcare, education, the front lines in public service. But what comes next can knock the underpinning of a progressive society.

The UCP government is backing a private member’s bill that is literally going to reopen women’s health issues in Canada.

Technically, it’s not an official government position. But, conveniently enough, a regiment of hard right social conservative MLA’s just happen to agree with this private member’s bill, and it’s effect may be profound.

How does this affect the Greens you may ask?

Because the two narratives of the “I’m personally opposed to [issue] but would never impose that on women” and “I cannot tell or force my MPs how to vote” are not compatible.

Either you stand up for human rights or you don’t.

The Greens went bizerk at a handout the federal NDP launched in the south Vancouver Island region that outlined Elizabeth May and the Green Party ambiguity on social issues. What the NDP did was to quote directly from May and some of her candidates.

What the Greens pride themselves on is this utopian vision of “no whipped votes”, and the new found culture wars proves this ideal to be dangerously naive.

Except for environmentally conscious social conservatives. They love this right to vote their social conservative views while hiding in a party that pretends to be progressive.

These positions are incompatible for the left. In our view, social justice and environmental justice are inextricably linked, and there is no room in this movement for those who would take away from women.

But the Greens have made them welcome. That’s inexcusable.

In a federal parliament that is now sitting in a minority govt situation, the even harder-right conservative party is spoiling for a fight on social issues too. They sought out social conservatives at the grassroots level and they installed Andrew Scheer as leader.

As Alberta is showing, despite an official promise not to reopen such issues by “The Government”, the caucus is more than happy to unanimously endorse the proposal when offered as a private member’s bill.

Imagine now a strengthened Green Party with its “do not whip votes” greets such an issue.

So to those now call for a merger between the Greens and NDP can probably go pound sand.

Social conservatives and related libertarians have no place in a progressive party.

My2bits