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

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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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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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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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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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


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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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More lessons from Alberta’s surprise election result

Political junky that I am, I can’t get enough of the analysis being generated in the aftermath of the Alberta election, which saw Premier Alison Redord and the Progressive Conservatives defy virtually all the polls to beat Danielle Smith and her Wildrose Alliance party.

It’s truly a fascinating result that holds lessons for the entire country, a few of which I mused about earlier this week.

Here are some more that have been rattling around my brain.

Joe Clark at wRanter.com

The Chinless Wonder lives.

• Redford, the onetime adviser to former  prime minister and national Progressive Conservative leader Joe Clark, won on a socially progressive but fiscally conservative platform, showing that Red Toryism is alive and well in Canada. As Thomas Walkom argued in the Toronto Star, in defining the term made popular by University of Toronto political science professor Gad Horowitz, “Parties that are successful in this country tend to marry fiscal conservatism with social progressivism. They support free markets but don’t make a fetish of them.

“As a result, Red Tories don’t hesitate to intervene in the economy to serve what they define as the public interest. Successive Red Tory governments used the state to build railways and public hydro-electricity networks. One invented the CBC.”

Redford is definitely a conservative in the Red Tory mode. Red Tories still exist. Really, truly.

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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.

Thomas Mulcair and Catherine Pinhas at wRanter.com

The next occupants of 24 Sussex?

Here’s hoping he’s successful, but as I argued in an earlier post, it seems unlikely that he will be, because the left is as divided today as the right was in the 1990s, with a rapprochement nowhere on the horizon. Or as Winnipeg NDP MP Pat Martin famously told The Hill Times earlier this month,  “If we don’t unite the progressive vote, Stephen Harper will be prime minister until he gets bored.”

(Taking a different tack, the inimitable Chantal Hebert argues that Mulcair’s feistiness makes him the strongest opposition leader Harper has faced so far. She reminds readers that he arrives in time to face the PM in 2015, near Harper’s 10-year mark in power, when many prime ministers – e.g., Pierre Trudeau and Brian Mulroney – wear out their welcome with voters and lose the fire in their belly. She also recalls that no one thought Harper would ever be prime minister, having been written off as a transitional leader of a reunited Conservative party.)

As has been widely noted, NDPers clearly chose Mulcair, a former Quebec Liberal cabinet minister, because they think he can win. They put aside what many see as his tenuous ties to the party and his previous statements against the oil sands (which, as right-wing media pundits have noted, are sure to alienate many Albertans), as well as his reputation for surliness. They hope he can consolidate the party’s massive 2011 gains in Quebec while gaining enough support elsewhere to push it over the top.

But some on the left of the NDP, such as longtime B.C. activist Murray Dobbin, are mourning how its members “could collectively have let Thomas Mulcair, the right-wing Liberal, pro-Israel, political bully become head of their party.” Continue reading


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