Monday, December 12, 2005

The Parenting Issue II

Canadians need to put more parenting back into child care (see my first parenting issue post here). I can’t help but think of the classic Beatles tune..."Can’t Buy Me Love".

Have you noticed how the term child care has become interchangeable with early learning? Our policies in this country need to be completely overhauled in order to provide equal access to a variety of care giving options to all families. Outsourcing the care of a 2 year old (oops, should that read education instead of care?) for 40-50 hours a week is not a progressive step. Read the book I’ve posted here if you need convincing. Education is a powerful tool and Canadians would be smart to consider the outcome that any National Child Care (early learning) program will have on the armies of infants paraded through it. You simply must check out this book. It's a quick read and most libraries should have it because of the famous author.

"working women want to make their own choices, we don't need old white guys telling us what to do," February 16, 2005 Rona Ambrose, MP

Sometimes you have to be assertive when you are trying to make a point. The Canadian parliament is full of old white guys and many are part of the Liberal brigade that brought in this vote buying scheme. (In the 2004 election, 16.62% of the seats were filled by women - via).

"I am convinced that when future generations look back they will recognize in our pan-Canadian approach to early learning, a project of nation-building in the same sense as universal medicare."— Right Honourable Paul Martin, speech to senior civil servants, Gatineau, Quebec, September 21, 2005 (via).

Nation building indeed, just as long as the Liberals get to dictate how it gets built. And how exactly does medicare equate to child care. When people are sick, they need care. When children are born they need care. What kind? Read on....

“…the social skills of white, middle-class children suffer- in terms of cooperation, sharing and engagement in classroom tasks - after attending preschool centers for more than six hours a day, compared to similar children who remain at home with a parent prior to starting school.” (14,000 study participants – American kindergarten children) Drs. Margaret Bridges and Bruce Fuller, UC Berkeley News 01 November 2005

Doesn’t nation-building require team building skills Mr. Martin?

“…the new childcare program led to more hostile, less consistent parenting, worse parental health, and lower-quality parental relationships.” Analysis of Quebec’s universal child care programtwo parent homes only, Drs. Michael Baker, Jonathan Gruber, Kevin Milligan, National Bureau of Economic Research December 2005

So let me get this straight Mr. Martin, the child care program is supposed to help parents, right?

Child Care Information: Canada and International
Advocates for Child Care Choice (Ontario)
Kids First Parent Association of Canada (Daycare Fact & Fiction, Ideology & Agendas pdf report here)
International Childcare Policies
Info regarding latest U.S. Studies on Day Care

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Ecology Issue

"Ecology: The study of the relationship between plants and animals (including humans) and their environment." (Fisheries and Oceans Canada Kids Section)

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"To the United States...there is such a thing as a global conscience and now is the time to listen to it,” Mr. Martin told reporters after speaking at the United Nations climate change conference in Montreal....

Mr. Martin admitted in his speech that global warming is affecting Canada — especially in the north, where ice caps and permafrost are melting.

"The country we know is being transformed," he said." (Globe and Mail December 7, 2005)

Excuse me Mr. Martin, did you say transformed? How?

Industrial pollution?
Global Population?
Weather modification?
Power generation?
Changes in Ocean Currents?

An in-depth analysis is available here to bring some of this together. There are no easy solutions.

p.s. it's not nice to point fingers Mr. Martin but it sure helps cloud the issue eh?

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The Hostage Issue Redux

The Brits:

British Foreign Minister Jack Straw said Wednesday that his government was open to hearing from the hostage-takers.

"We've had no contact from the kidnappers. We're obviously aware of their so-called demands. These are demands which plainly no government could meet," Straw told reporters as he arrived in Brussels, Belgium, for a meeting of EU foreign ministers.
CNN December 7, 2005

The Yanks:

Right Wing Nation's open letter to Canadians:
"... believe it or not, we’re not even that annoyed with your left-wing nonsense. Even that bed-wetter Martin’s refusal to sign the missle treaty didn’t bother us, because be realistic. If a missle comes toward us through your air space, we are shooting it down, whether you like it or not. Deal with it. Come back to planet Earth."

The Hostage Issue

Although Canada is not officially involved with Iraq (hostages?), all Canadian citizens bear the blood of the massacre that is happening over there at the hands of our supposedly democratic 'friends' - you know the ones - the ones that invaded a country without UN approval. It is not enough that our country said ‘no’ in March 2003. Canada should be demanding a UN investigation into this matter in order to stop the terror and bloodshed. Without pressure from its members, the UN can only do so much.

“Well, if you told me you were drowning…
I would not lend a hand…
I've seen your face before my friend…
But I don't know if you know who I am…
Well, I was there and I saw what you did…
I saw it with my own two eyes…
So you can wipe off the grin, I know where you’ve been…
It’s all been a pack of lies…”
Phil Collins, In the Air Tonight 1981, Face Value

Link to above movie via my friend ZimZalabim.

The Citizenship Issue

We are sure to hear a lot more from our party leaders on the immigration issue but when was the last time you heard one talk about citizenship?

Us Canadians get so uptight when it comes to giving citizenship away that I think a lot of them have forgotten what it means to be a citizen. The graph below indicates how poorly Canadian citizens are performing with respect to the number one job on the list of tasks required of a citizen.

"In Australia, where voting is a legal obligation, turnout in the last election was 95 per cent."” (CBC, June 29, 2004)
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Source for this graph.

In 2004, voter turnout was 60.5% (

The media would have us think that Canadian voter apathy is a youth issue.

Naomi Wolf had a recent article about Americans rediscovering democracy as of late and I don'’t think I could say it better than this - paraphrase this statement for yourself appropriately using Canadian references.
I do feel hopeful: everywhere I go, I hear disgust at our long drunken lurch through recent history give way to a renewed interest among ordinary people in activism, in justice, in what we used to understand as citizenship. I am less concerned about whether this results in a Democratic or Republican victory at mid-term elections than I am in whether we get to be a democracy again. (Naomi Wolf, Guardian UK Monday November 7, 2005)

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The Gender Issue

I was a University of Waterloo undergraduate student in mathematics on December 6th, 1989: the day that 14 of my Concordia peers were murdered in cold blood simply because they did not have a penis.

If you do not have a penis and you can recall that date then you share my horror and perhaps can not help but cry when calling this memory to mind. My heart still bleeds for the victims' families and it will until the day I die. It could just as easily have been me on that day, on another campus, in another province, since I too was breaking traditional grounds by enrolling in a mathematics degree program as a woman.

If you do have a penis and do not dismiss this as "‘some crazy guy"’ then I thank you for recognizing the atrocity of this act and it'’s implications beyond the act of a crazy man.

Since 1989 female enrolment in mathematics, computers, and engineering have taken a downward turn after seeing steady increases throughout the 1980s. Here is a clip from Statistics Canada pronouncing increases in these fields in 1997 (using data from 1992):

Statistics Canada data show an eight per cent increase - up to 34 per cent - in the enrolment of women in natural sciences and engineering at the undergraduate level between 1982 and 1992.
This 2003 clip is from a pdf newsletter from WISEST at the University of Alberta:
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Please donate to the December 6th fund in memory of the 14 murdered women. It is a small action to help other women threatened by violence.