Reflections For Easter 2008

March 21, 2008 · By

Today, Good Friday, is a statutory holiday in Ontario and thus most of the province spent their first day of a three (or four)-day long weekend off from work. Being a Christian myself, this day is very important in my life as a reminder not only of the massively significant life of Jesus of Nazareth but also His willing sacrifice on behalf of humanity and ability to deliver a lasting and complete remedy to sin.

In our day and age people have gotten so used to the idea of the ability to chose and sit in judgment over matters that enter their life, that they have allowed themselves to enter into a state where, truly, nothing is sacred any longer and we cannot take any moral good for granted any more. This is not a new phenomenon in my experience but it is getting more intense, and it really impacts me when the Gospel accounts of the trial of Jesus are read.

Pontius Pilate, who was governor of Judea at the time of the crucification, is quoted quite bluntly in the Bible as saying a simple little phrase:

What is truth?

The question came in response to Jesus claiming to be the truth and life who had authority over all creation and to set the world free from its own sinful desires and the subsequent consequences. Every time I hear it though, it reminds me of those who will question any and every reality in our world no matter how plain and obvious the reality is. It grieves me to know that the greatest hindrance for many people is the self-imposed limits on any reality that would force us to look inside, recognize that we’re not “basically good people” and even require some changes in how we live our lives. It’s a horrible prison to put yourself into, especially when the truth is so joyous although urgent once revealed. Pilate too didn’t seemed concerned with truth, but rather asked his question as if to say that he made his own truth and could not come to terms with surrendering any control over the course of his life.

Instead of pointing this out though, I’d like to offer a personal example today of how my perspectives have changed over the past two years. While I was always active in the Christian community, it was not until just a couple of years ago that I really began to see my true role in the universe…and it wasn’t much in the end! I was honestly afraid of handing the reigns over, even to a God who I believed in and professed to know as being Almighty! It was also a matter of believing that somehow I could do better on my own and that God, while having a place scheduled in on Sunday mornings, was too intrusive if He was to guide and lead me in every moment of my life. To take it further, I still struggle with this as every Christian does too often — sin is after all an uncontrollable reality of our lives the moment that we take our eyes off God.

Part of the issue was also that while I wanted to see God as Saviour, I never truly grasped what it meant to have God as Lord in my life as well. Given His infinite wisdom and desire for the wellbeing of me, I reluctantly came to realize that maybe, just maybe, the Creator of the universe might have a better perspective on my situations and was thus better able to protect me from destroying myself. It is sadly too common in our culture to believe that we are capable of all the answers, even though we NEVER achieve this, and yes, I bought into that lie too. In the end though, it was the real truth — the one that told me that I had it wrong on a great many of my personal dogmas and morals — that did set me free and put my life on a path that has been far more joyful ever since. Knowledge in itself does not make things better though, and the more important step was to accept my role as mere servant within instead of master of my life.

So, in conclusion for this Easter, I write out to anyone, even people who are Christians and very familiar with Christian theology, who is struggling with truly wanting to find joy in their life, and truth that if you are bold enough to accept all the possibilities, including the ones that have man on the bottom and God on top (as opposed to the opposite), then there is hope out there at coming to know this realization without any doubt. You don’t even need to go anywhere to get there either, as God is only as far away as a “Hello God!”

Happy Easter everyone and God Bless!

Guelph Is The Next Battlefield, But Will Dion Abstain?

March 19, 2008 · By

Tonight about 250 people gathered into a local Guelph banquet hall to see the Prime Minister, who was finishing up a swing through southwestern Ontario today. I was personally happy since not only did I get a picture with the architect of the Conservative coalition of the 21st century (I lost some pics taken during his 2005 summer tour later that summer) but also got to connect with many old friends, as well as new ones who apparently know me via The Politic (hi guys!).

For those who aren’t politically obsessed, let me bring you up to speed:

The Liberal caucus, just itching for yet another rematch after their four seats became two-and-a-squeaker is now going to be short another member as Guelph MP Brenda Chamberlain is calling it quits after representing the riding for the past 15 years (maybe this is Dion’s strategy of making sure he doesn’t accidentally trigger an election…). Two ridings will have to have by-elections before Guelph if the Prime Minister decides to call them separately although Saint-Lambert, Quebec is a Bloc fortress (the Liberals came second for the record) and Westmount-Ville-Marie will likely retain its Liberal tint since Marc Garneau is running as a star candidate in that highly federalist Montreal riding. Of course, with Don Valley West — famous for denying John Tory a seat last fall provincially — also due to have a by-election, the Prime Minister will likely call the lot of DVW, Guelph and Saint-Lambert for some time in the early fall, likely in September (WVM must be called by July).

As Monday showed, Don Valley West needs no John Tory to demonstrate Toronto’s addiction to Liberal voting paterns, and Saint-Lambert might see the Tories replace the Liberals as the runner up although the outside chance of a federalist party taking the seat at this point is less than the seats of Vancouver Quadra and Saint-Hyacinthe-Bagot changing hands. Guelph, on the other hand, used to be considered to be the safest Liberal riding in Southwestern Ontario — a title that now belongs to Kitchener-Waterloo.

In Guelph the Tories halved their distance from Chamberlain between 2004 and 2006, where they were 10,000 and 5,000 votes behind the Liberal MP each time respectively. The riding has gone PC in the past though and is very bellweather. The NDP does very poorly in the riding traditionally which isn’t all that strange when one considers that the University of Guelph is more of a farming university than a bastion of leftist thought. The rest of the city, 100,000 strong, is very similar to the tri-cities of Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge with tech, hardware and farming companies, along with factories. Suburbs are growing in the city, although without proper GO Transit and a 1.25 hour drive to Toronto, commuters are not a big component of the city’s population. There is still an agricultural element to the city, although it has largely transfered to the rest of Wellington County. In other words, this is going to be another dog fight between the Liberals and the Conservatives and will be used as a gauge for support that each party has when the election comes.

The Conservatives, rallied tonight by the first of many expected visits by Prime Minister Harper, are running a local star candidate, Gloria Kovach who served as Guelph Ward 4’s city councilor, the president of the Canadian Association of Municipalities and is quite popular in the area. The Liberals are running Frank Valeritote, a local lawyer, Catholic school board trustee and community volunteer. It’s quickly becoming a rematch of Vancouver Quadra, with a little less urbane flare and a few more farm animals.

Much of the result will depend on local organization, but it will primarily centre around what happens in Ottawa during the spring session and whether the voters in Guelph trust Stephen Harper versus believe Stephane Dion. Given the underlying trend of the past twelve months, it’s starting to become believable that the Liberals will begin to see, quite appropriately in a farming city riding, the chickens come home to roost after squandering more than a year in opposition under a clucky leader.

Idiots Vandalize Liberals’ Cars

March 19, 2008 · By

For the record, if I knew who they were, I’d carve “Lobotomized” into the paint on the cars of the half-wits who did this.  For pete’s sake, they’re liberals!  Who takes their politics this seriously?  Geez.

China Boycott: It Should’ve Started in 2001

March 18, 2008 · By

I remember watching the decision making vote back in 2001 when the IOC, the governing body of the Olympic games, back in 2001. It was a pre-9/11 world still back then and Boris Yeltsin had just retired a year and two months earlier, making Vladimir Putin an unknown quality at the time. Toronto, great epitome of all things Canadian, was bilking the province and the feds for as much money as possible to make its bid to host the 2008 games as attractive as possible and Paris, France was seen as a dark horse.

Beijing, China was regarded as the one to beat though as many of the delegates in the IOC thought that bringing the Olympics, with all its capitalist dollars and scrutiny, would be a vehicle to enhance the progress that China was making at that time to become a freer society. There was a columnist that wrote at the time that China’s then-leadership was probably going to be replaced by the time that the games came to the Chinese capital and that somehow a sporting event was going to usher in a push to hold free elections in the billion-strong nation. How wrong they all were.

Fast-forward seven years and aside from the blessing of the Vancouver-Whistler 2010 games — an endeavor that will at least save Ontario taxpayers a few ‘G’s for the next two decades — there isn’t much to report on in way of good news. Today it is being reported that France may boycott the games now (for once I support their auto-trigger response to surrender), and the undertones are indicating that other western nations might join in. Since Athens was the last city to host a summer games, it might be asked in the event of a large enough boycott to re-host the games although they would almost certainly be delayed at this stage until later this year or even 2009. The fact remains though that China the reality isn’t settling very nicely with the real world and it is only the IOC pie-in-the-sky types that we have to blame for what might not be a crisis, but certainly might be a disappointing disaster for the hundreds of young athletes who sacrifice almost all of their young lives to make it to the five-ring competition.

While I’m reluctant to say that the world owes anything to these talented young people, certainly the officials in the IOC do, and they’re about to let them down quite unpleasantly. The fact that boycotts are already being suggested is no surprise; if we were honest with ourselves we’d know that China has an atrocious human liberties record and is using its human capital clout to bully the world into maintaining the status quo. This might work when we are talking in terms of economics (we’ve already seen China politely threaten Stephen Harper’s government if Canada takes a hard line with it, risking the valuable trade we have with the nation), but the Olympics are at the end of the day a highly symbolic situation, wherein the only losses will be suffered by the athletes, their coaches, families and friends. Sponsors will find other events to bankroll, people will find other shows to watch, and the economy will remain virtually unaffected, aside from the Olympic emblem hat here or the torch keychain there.

Of course, China, in continuing its violence in Tibet is only hurting itself at this point. Even the Soviets back in their day knew how to look pretty when they had to , and cover up the fact that they weren’t playing nice behind the scenes. In other words, China might have finally pushed around its weight a little too much and crossed the previously-mythical line that the West had drawn in the sand. China will be set back if they have the games disrupted by this folly, both economically in the short-term and politically down the road. Who knows, maybe this’ll even start to make us here in the West serious about our feelings that Tibet should be given independence; a blessing in disguise that will bring about tremendous good in the years to come. All we can know for sure right now though is that China had put on a pretty good show in the next few weeks if it wants to keep the Beijing games intact. A word of warning to the Asian country though — watch out for the French judge, as he’s looking pretty grumpy right now!

Canada is Aging, We Need More Babies. Should Families be considered “Producers”?

March 18, 2008 · By

The only way to stop the Canadian aging process,” states the 2006 StatsCan report, “is to increase fertility.”

It’s no accident that the world’s most heavily taxed industrialized countries also have the lowest fertility rates. When Canadians have to work half the year just to pay the tax man, babies become economically impossible. By the time a couple achieves financial stability, the woman has often passed her best-before-date in terms of fertility.

The time is past due for all levels of Canadian government to give birth to a new strategy to increase our population the old-fashioned way. Anything less is slow death to Canada’s way of life.

I was thinking about this the other day.  I was thinking about how we subsidize farmers, farms, farm equipment, how we even have special “purple gas” that is tax-free for “producers”.

Why are these offered?  Because the government, from time immemorial, has considered the production of food to be of benefit to the entire nation.

I think it is time for society to collectively get over the “overpopulation” myth.  All around the world, fertility rates are plummeting, in the first world and the third.   There is no slowdown in sight.  At current rates of decrease, the third world won’t have any surplus population to send us to make up for our own fertility shortfalls, within 20-30 years.  Then the demographic glacier that is already visible on our horizon will overtake us, and the Employment Insurance, the Welfare, the Public Health Care, the Canada Pension Plan, all these products of socialism that relies on perpetual population increase, will collapse.

My thinking is that we should start to consider families (and I mean man-woman-children families, which have already been proven to be the most cost-effective structure to produce balanced, healthy citizens) as producers.  Start giving them the same kind of preferential treatment as farmers get.  Without human resources, this nation will fail.  Having kids contributes to the entire nation’s future.  If you choose not to have kids, fine, that’s your choice, but you are not contributing to the nation’s future.  Enjoying the benefits of society now comes at a cost of supporting that society’s future.  It makes sense, then to have those who are not producers support to a degree the producers.  It makes sense to give financial benefits to producing at the lowest cost with the best results.

I don’t question that singles could have kids, or homosexuals for that matter, with fertility treatments, etc.  However, those means have a greater cost to society than the nuclear family.  Using science to make babies is more expensive than using the reproductive organs the way they were designed.  Plus, the cost of raising productive, healthy citizens is higher when a child lacks a parent of the opposite gender.  If health care costs are higher, if socialization skills are lacking (relating to both genders in a family has a greater instructional effect than only encountering one gender outside the safety of the home), that costs society, hence they should be discouraged – or nuclear families should be preferentially encouraged.  Serious thought should be given to how to encourage couple who have kids to stay together – to repair broken relationships, to live in cooperation, to think of their kids before themselves.  This produces healthier adults and healthier children.  And a healthier society.

Choose ye, liberals.  Start scaling back government now, or start encouraging families.  But get a wiggle on, eh?  I kind of like Canada, and would hate to see it go away.

By-Election Watch: Sleep Well Stephane, Sleep Well…

March 17, 2008 · By

Two of your leadership rivals win seats tonight in Toronto, Vancouver is a “dogfight” currently (although it will probably go Liberal) and you got creamed in a seat that you meddled too much in. Should be sweet dreams!

One happy note that France’s, er, Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition Leader might take up is that Miss Hall Findlay, aside from being a decent person in the opinion of this blogger, really, really cannot deliver a speech! Oh well, there’s always Michael Ignatieff and now Bob Rae to make up for the lack of oratory skills in the Liberal Party, right Stephie?

Is the Obama Campaign Imploding?

March 17, 2008 · By

With the media scrutiny of the Obama’s pastor continuing, James Taranto thinks the Obama campaign may be in serious trouble over Obama’s so-called “spiritual mentor” who Taranto describes as a “certifiable America-hating crackpot.”

Read more here at Best of the Web…mid way down the page.

Canada’s crack capitals

March 17, 2008 · By

Last week, the International Narcotics Control Board of the United Nations posted its annual report in which a finger was pointed directly at Canadian politics:

The Board calls upon the Government of Canada to end programmes, such as the supply of “safer crack kits”, including the mouthpiece and screen components of pipes for smoking “crack”, authorized by the Vancouver Island Health Authority, as they are in contravention of article 13 of the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances of 1988. The distribution of drug paraphernalia, including crack pipes, to drug users in Ottawa and Toronto, as well as the presence of drug injection sites is also in violation of the international drug control treaties, to which Canada is a party.

The arguments for and against the United Nations in this matter come from all directions. Some people agree. Some people say that the U.N. is just taking orders from the U.S. war on drugs and that the U.N. has no business telling Canadians how to deal with health issues. It is abhorrent that Canadian bureaucrats are facilitating illicit and dangerous drug use.

I reject “harm reduction” goals because I believe they represent demonic twisted priorities. Worrying about the “harm” of an intravenous drug user spreading disease among other drug users is warped. Here is their rallying cry: “I inject less as I have easier access to pipes” These “harm reduction” advocates even recommend that drug users do not recap their syringes for fear of pricking their fingers. You heard that right. Go figure!

Call me heartless but I do not give a damn about the drug users. My sympathies go out to the hapless innocent people who get stuck with discarded city syringes. I have collected discarded syringes and crack kits that were supplied by my municipality for free to drug users. They were scattered dangerously on side-walks, in play-grounds, around churches, behind apartment buildings and commercial properties.

——

The drug users are usually quite destitute and they certainly need help. Supplying them with fresh paraphenalia is not the help they need.

I think drug pushers are horrible people. I think the bureaucrats who endorse these “harm reduction” programs and supply free syringes are horrible people too. I would not trust any of them.

The logistics of following the money is straight-forward:
from tax-payer to bureaucrat
from bureaucrat to welfare recipient
from welfare recipient to drug pusher

Oh, I forgot one person: the middleman. Somebody is making money by supplying the bureaucrats with the free syringes, crack pipes, lip balm, lubricants and condoms. Sweet gig.

Google Hypocrisy – Microsoft is Bad for the Internet?

March 17, 2008 · By

Google’s Chief Executive Eric Schmidt, had this to say about Microsoft’s attempts to acquire Internet giant, Yahoo:

“We would be concerned by any kind of acquisition of Yahoo by Microsoft,” Chief Executive Eric Schmidt told reporters.

“We would hope that anything they did would be consistent with the openness of the Internet, but I doubt it would be.”

Which is pretty laughable coming from anyone who cooperates with Chinese censors to limit freedom of speech in China in exchange for access to the lucrative Chinese market.

Online search engine leader Google Inc. has agreed to censor its results in China, adhering to the country’s free-speech restrictions in return for better access in the Internet’s fastest growing market.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company planned to roll out a new version of its search engine bearing China’s Web suffix “.cn,” on Wednesday. A Chinese-language version of Google’s search engine has previously been available through the company’s dot-com address in the United States.

By creating a unique address for China, Google hopes to make its search engine more widely available and easier to use in the world’s most populous country.

Schmidt isn’t worried for the Internet, he’s worried about the potential for loss of market-share…

Militant Atheism: There Is No Grounds!…Is There?

March 16, 2008 · By

The other day I posted a piece on how no one can say for certain that there is no God without stepping into the arena of faith. Some commentators pointed out that an Atheist can be uncertain on whether there is a God or not, but can believe that there is no sufficient evidence for God (until proven elsewise). I did some digging into this, and it seems that both the posters and I (who felt that Atheists were those who were certain there is no God) are both correct in that there are a few varieties of the belief system out there.

The commentators on that post were respectful and represent the softer wing of the group, however many of us on the information super highway, or involved with churches have witnessed a louder, more militant variety of Atheism; a group that goes so far as to accuse anyone involved in religious organizations as being stupid, devolved or abusive. These are fighting words to say the least. So the question to me now becomes, where do the militant atheists stand in light of the Thomas Aquinas reasoning with regards to the origins of existence? I have heard quite often from individuals who espouse absolute certainty that there is no God that they have figured out the puzzle and are frustrated that others have not seen the light that they have. If there are any takers, I’m sincerely interested to hear the line of reasoning on how the A* of my previous post came about without Divine intervention.

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