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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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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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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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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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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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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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

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Things that make me go arghhh! Part 2

For your reading and pleasure, or perhaps frustration, I present the second installment of a semi-regular series dedicated to kvetching and carping about annoying stuff that’s been on my mind or in the news.

Police culture in the city of Toronto.

Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair at wRanter.com

He needs to get his rank and file in order.

Shortly after a report by Ontario’s police watchdog accused frontline officers and their superiors of unlawful conduct during the 2010 G20 Summit in Toronto, and with charges pending against a number of officers and investigations ongoing against others, comes the story of a rookie Toronto cop who was harassed by fellow officers for charging an off-duty Halton police constable with drunk driving in 2009.

The revelations of harassment came out at the trial of the officer who was accused of driving drunk. They included allegations that Const. Andrew Vanderburgh was followed home from a police station (where he had taken the allegedly drunk cop for a breathalyzer test) by a third officer who charged Vanderburgh with running a red light. The charge was eventually dismissed and the ticketing officer was disciplined, as were two other cops who didn’t intervene (all three had their pay docked).

In addition, Vanderburgh’s own partner refused to take part in charging the allegedly drunk officer, and Vanderburgh was said to have been called a “rat” by other fellow cops.

In response to the report about Vanderburgh’s treatment, the militant head of Toronto’s police union, Mike McCormack, said that while the union doesn’t condone this kind of behaviour, it’s not a systemic issue. He said a culture of police officers protecting their own may have existed at one time in Toronto, but doesn’t today.

Sorry, but I’m not buying that. It lacks credibility. 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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What will replace newspapers?

Ever since I can remember, I’ve read and loved newspapers.

I got hooked on the comics pages when I was 5 or 6, migrated to sports, and then graduated to the rest of the paper.

Canadian newspapers at wRanter.com

A dying breed?

My parents subscribed to the Toronto Star and the weekly Canadian Jewish News, both of which I used to (and still) read (pardon the pun regarding the latter) religiously.

For about a year when I was a kid of around 11, I wrote a three-page weekly “newspaper” that I called the Local Gazette.

The contents consisted of neighbourhood gossip and sports scores that I cribbed from the Sunday Star. I produced each edition’s three copies by hand using carbon paper. (This was before home computers became affordable and popular.)

My paying customers – at 25 cents an issue – were two neighbours, parents of friends of mine, as well as a teenager who hung around the neighbourhood and was also my one and only “reporter.” To this day I don’t know why he subscribed or why he wanted to be part of my little vanity project.

Later, as an undergraduate, I spent two years reporting for the Excalibur, York University’s main student-run newspaper, bugging administrators and keeping them honest, or at least that’s what I liked to think I was doing. Continue reading

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