wRanter.com

Gentle and not-so-gentle thoughts and musings from a Jewish, left-leaning, Canadian, pro-Israel, inner-suburban, fortysomething, libertarian, recovering perfectionist, quasi-socialist husband, dad, basketball fan, writer and editor with a few opinions.

wRanter.com - Gentle and not-so-gentle thoughts and musings from a Jewish, left-leaning, Canadian, pro-Israel, inner-suburban, fortysomething, libertarian, recovering perfectionist, quasi-socialist husband, dad, basketball fan, writer and editor with a few opinions.
Featured wRants

Jewish issues at centre of partisan sniping

Jewish issues and candidates made headlines last week and became the subject of some distasteful political rhetoric on the campaign trail. In Alberta, a 21-year-old hijab-wearing university student resigned Aug. 18 as the Liberal candidate in ...

Read More

Thursday the rabbi walked out, or was he pushed?

Being a pulpit rabbi can be a cutthroat business

When Toronto Jews awoke last Saturday morning and collected their Globe and Mail newspapers from their doorsteps (those who still subscribe, that is), they discovered a front-page story detailing how Holy Blossom Temple, the city's ...

Read More

The next occupants of 24 Sussex?

Why Thomas Mulcair gets it when it comes to Israel

Not surprisingly, Thomas Mulcair won the NDP leadership last month, replacing Saint Jack Layton as the man social democrats hope can rally left-of-centre voters to defeat Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservatives. Here's hoping he's successful, but ...

Read More

Who will be the next big-name Jewish MP?

Last week, we examined four “Jewish” battleground ridings, including two – York Centre in Toronto and Mount Royal in Montreal – where, one way or another, a Jewish candidate is likely to win. This week, ...

Read More

Being mislabelled by educators can make school a misery.

Your December-born kid may not have ADHD. He might just be immature.

A new Canadian study is bolstering an argument I've been making to my kids' teachers and principals for years: children born later in a calendar year are more likely to be diagnosed with attention deficit ...

Read More

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau

Israel shouldn't be a political football or litmus test

Despite public and private appeals to call off the event, the Jewish Defence League (JDL) went ahead with its unfortunate decision to picket a Liberal fundraiser at the Toronto home of pharmaceutical magnate and Jewish ...

Read More

He was burned by this very issue.

The Jewish community should fund its own schools

The fallout from the recent controversy over the creation of gay-straight alliance clubs (GSAs) in Ontario's publicly funded Catholic school system should give pause to those seeking funding – in the name of fairness – ...

Read More

Let’s cut the Jewish indignation in Parliament

Joe Oliver at wRanter.com

Maybe he was tired

What’s next? A discussion of the weekly Torah portion?

Or maybe a daily page of Talmud study?

Perhaps morning and evening prayers?

It seems that debate in Canada’s House of Commons has had a decidedly Jewish tone to it lately.

There are an estimated 315,000 Jews in Canada, representing less than one per cent of the total population, and there are only three Jews in the House of Commons, representing about one per cent of MPs.

But in the last week or so, Jewish themes have intruded on proceedings to an odd degree, and I must say that it’s all been a bit much.

For me, the message has been clear: Jewish MPs should stop using their Jewishness for partisan purposes, or perhaps they should tell their party leaders and whips to not pressure them into doing so.

Continue reading

LeBron deserves to win a title

LeBron James at wRanter.com

Say what?

God help me, but I feel like I’m rooting for the devil himself.

I’m hoping that LeBron James and his Miami Heat prevail in this year’s NBA Finals.

The reason? I want LeBron to win a championship. He’s the best player in the game, bar none – better all around than Derrick Rose, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant or Dwight Howard.

And the best players deserve to win championships.

Who else could have carried an otherwise mediocre Cleveland Cavaliers team as far as he did – to the finals in 2006-07 and twice to the league’s best regular season record?

The Cavs had no business being that good, but they had LeBron, so they were.

Now the Heat are in the finals for the second straight year. Last year, it was good to see Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks win for once. This year, the Oklahoma City Thunder, with all their young talent, can wait their turn. So can Rose, Paul and Howard. Continue reading

Free advice for the federal Liberal party

Bob Rae at wRanter.com

Finally, he’s done trying to be leader.

Well, well, well: it appears that Bob Rae has decided not to run for the federal Liberal leadership after all, despite rampant speculation over the past year that he would if the party let him.

This has to be a relief for people who’d like to see Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservative wrecking crew defeated sometime before, oh, 2028.

That was unlikely to happen with the Liberals being led by Rae. Obviously, he carried too much baggage from his polarizing time as the NDP premier of Ontario from 1990 to 1995. As well, he turns 64 in August and would be 67 at the time of the next election.

Justin Trudeau at wRanter.com

Saviour, pretty boy, both or neither?

These facts hardly scream “renewal” to a party sorely in need of just that.

The temptation for the party will be to go for what might appear to be the quick fix, namely choosing 40-year-old Justin Trudeau, son of Pierre and MP for the Montreal riding of Papineau, as its next leader.

That may or may not be a great idea.

At the very least, party members should take a collective deep breath, have a good debate about who they intend to choose and – above all – avoid handing the reins to Trudeau in a coronation, because we all know how that turned out with the last guy. Continue reading

What can we learn from the Eaton Centre shooting?

Brett Lawrie Eaton Centre Twitter photo at wRanter.com

The scene outside the Eaton Centre

It’s a bit of a mug’s game to try to find meaning in the kind of shooting crime that occurred June 2 in a food court at Toronto’s Eaton Centre, in which one man was killed and two other people – including a 13-year-old boy eating dinner with his family who was hit in the head by a stray bullet – were seriously injured.

The details will only come out at trial, so it’s hard to speculate on what exactly happened or why it happened. But reports suggest the shooter and the victim were part of the same gang, and the shooting may have been in retaliation for the victim (and the injured man) having robbed and stabbed the shooter this past winter.

The reports also suggest the two men ran into each other randomly in the mall, so this appears to be partly a crime of opportunity. Nevertheless, their alleged gang affiliations belie police claims that the shooting wasn’t gang-related, presumably because it wasn’t a case of gang-on-gang violence.

The shooting has generated a huge amount of news coverage and a deluge of commentary and analysis.

Torontonians need to take a deep breath and avoid hyperventilating about the incident, but we also need to figure out if anything can be done to avoid similar events in the future. Continue reading

The Jewish community should fund its own schools

The fallout from the recent controversy over the creation of gay-straight alliance clubs (GSAs) in Ontario’s publicly funded Catholic school system should give pause to those seeking funding – in the name of fairness – for their own faith-based schools.

It should, but it probably won’t.

Cardinal Tom Collins at wRanter.com

He stuck out his neck, and his schools could suffer.

The so-called anti-bullying bill, which seeks to end bullying in publicly funded schools, passed in the legislature earlier this week. Catholic leaders – including the Archbishop of Toronto, Cardinal Thomas Collins – had opposed it because it allows students to set up GSAs in schools and requires the schools to permit them, and for them to be named as such if students prefer it.

The whole idea was to provide safe spaces for gay students in schools, in order to prevent bullying and the kind of high-profile suicides that prompted the legislation in the first place. But Catholic leaders said the move amounted to an attack on freedom of religion.

The Liberal government denied Tory opposition charges that it has been using the issue of GSAs to try to open a debate about the $7 billion in annual public funding for Ontario’s Catholic schools.

The claim seems to be borne out by the fact the recent Drummond Report –which went over government operations in minute detail with an eye to finding as many budgetary savings as possible – passed over some rather low-hanging fruit in the form of Catholic schools and their parallel public educational bureaucracy. Some estimates put the annual savings from folding the Catholic system into the public one at a whopping $1 billion annually.

But regardless of whether or not the government intended to pick a fight over Catholic school funding, the war may already have begun: a new poll taken June 4 found that 48 per cent of Ontarians  oppose Catholic school funding, while 43 per cent favour it (eight per cent were unsure). Continue reading