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
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 ...

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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 ...

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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, ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 – ...

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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 ...

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The PQ is embarrassing itself

It’s been an inauspicious month for Premier Pauline Marois’ minority government.

Pauline Marois at wRanter.com

Pauline Marois

First it tabled its so-called charter of Quebec values. Bill 60 – whose full, Orwellian name is the “Charter affirming the values of state secularism and religious neutrality and of equality between women and men, and providing a framework for accommodation requests” – seeks to ban public servants, broadly defined, from wearing religious symbols at work.

There’s no point sugar-coating the plan. It’s exclusionary and reactionary, plain and simple. As many critics have noted, it’s a classic case of a solution in search of a problem. There was – and is – little evidence that public servants can’t put aside their religious beliefs when doing their jobs.

But as is so often the case with divisive, wedge politics, the charter’s true purpose lies elsewhere. Bill 60 sacrifices minority rights in a craven effort to gain a majority and provoke a fight with Ottawa, with the ultimate aim of achieving separation for Quebec. Continue reading

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Canada needs Conrad Black

Conrad Black at wRanter.com

“Thanks for the softball questions, Peter…”

In honour of Victoria Day, one presumes, Conrad Black, the former industrialist and onetime newspaper baron, he of the British peerage – his lordship, if you will – took part in what reportedly will be his one and only sit-down media interview, chatting with the CBC’s chief news anchor Peter Mansbridge at his palatial Bridle Path home in Toronto after his release from a Florida jail earlier this month.

Sitting in what appeared to be a study, with multitudinous volumes of books in the background, the 67-year-old Black was at his feisty best as he excoriated NDP leader Thomas Mulcair for using his parliamentary immunity to call Black a “British criminal” in the House of Commons. Black also took Mulcair to task for none-too-subtly insinuating that he had used his Tory contacts to gain a one-year temporary residency permit in Canada.

And like he always has, Black maintained his innocence in the most vociferous and florid of terms, as is his wont and tradition.

But aside from minor bouts of irritation with Mansbridge’s chummy, softball questions, it was a rather subdued performance from a man who was clearly looking to rehabilitate his tattered public image and burnish his quest to regain his Canadian citizenship. Continue reading

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Is Iran making Israelis crazy?

Will Iran acquire nuclear weapons and use them to wipe Israel off the map, as its president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has threatened to do repeatedly?

Benjamin Netanyahu at wRanter.com

Does he really think he's the messiah?

Is Iran rational or irrational? Would it or would it not unleash nuclear weapons on Israel? Can Israel take the chance? Does Iran, a country of 77 million people with armed forces totalling some 545,000 people, represent an existential threat to Israel, or not?

Will Israel attack Iran? If it does, will this unleash a regional war? Is Israel bluffing? Is all the bravado just cover for covert operations to slow down Iran’s development of nuclear weapons or to encourage Iran’s liberal opposition – mowing the grass, as the Israelis call it?

Would an Iranian counter-attack cause hundreds of Israeli casualties or thousands? Does the first estimate represent Israeli bravado and the second a fear that runs deep in the Jewish psyche?

Is the United States hoping that Israel does the world’s dirty work for it? Is Israel hoping the same about America? Is U.S. President Barack Obama serious about not wanting a nuclear Iran, or is he prepared to live with the reality if necessary?

These are all important questions, particularly if you’re a supporter of Israel.

The pressure would be enough to make any country come apart at the seams, and it seems to be testing even Israel, which has a remarkable ability to hold itself together despite many internal, seemingly irresolvable tensions.

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Why I like the CFL, and you should, too

As my beloved Raptors wind down yet another lost season, and with the Leafs mercifully having been put out of their misery a few weeks ago, it’s time to turn my attention to the sports of summer.

Arrrrrgooooooooooos at wRanter.com


Here in Toronto, that means Blue Jays baseball – it’s hard not to get excited about a team that could contend this year – as well as Toronto FC in Major League Soccer and the Argonauts in the Canadian Football League.

I realize that pro sports is mostly a business populated by multi-millionaire players and billionaire owners.

A left-wing Christian that I once profiled felt all pro sports are wastes of time and money, diversions from more important pursuits, and he was probably right.

Intellectually, I can understand this “bread, not circuses” attitude, and I don’t take any pro sport that I follow too seriously (although I did as a kid and as a teenager). But emotionally, I think there’s something fun and collectively healthy about bonding around a local sports team.

At the very least, it gives Torontonians something to talk about beyond the buffoonery of our dumb-as-wood conservative puffball of a mayor and his fumbling of the transit file.

It’s also a bit easier for a lefty like me to get behind smaller-scale teams such as TFC and especially the Argos, the latter being the poor cousin of the local pro sports scene.

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