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turningrite

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Everything posted by turningrite

  1. If you have to pick between the global 'hegemons', which would you choose? Realistically, does Canada even have a choice? For better or worse, we're geographically, culturally and economically intertwined with our American neighbors. Better the devil you know...
  2. Well, let our Lib ideologues acknowledge the truth here. Of course Friedman was pro-immigration and against the welfare state. Canadians who believe that the welfare state is sustainable in the context of a large-scale immigration program are dreaming in technicolor.
  3. Do you want to read a story about the kind of "iron fist" China is now exerting on its economic underlings? If you do, you might want to research Ecuador's recent experience in dealing with China. It's a fascinating story that should serve as a cautionary tale to people who think China's global ambitions and practices are more enlightened than are or have been America's.
  4. 1.) Your first Friedman quotation pretty much sums up the conundrum of open borders for Western countries and validates his general assertion that an open immigration policy can't co-exist with the modern welfare state. And he was talking about the U.S. welfare state, which is somewhat more restrictive than the broader models established in Canada or Western Europe. 2.) Again, in noting the benefits of Mexican immigration, Friedman noted that it was only good provided that it remained illegal because these migrants had/have no choice but to work as they're not eligible for taxpayer-funded benefits. So, nothing you've provided does anything to undermine the position that Canada's welfare state would simply be unsustainable under an open immigration model. This, I believe, is a choice voters rather than the political elites (who are quite good at taking care of their own interests) should get to make. However, honest discussion about such matters is stifled in this country.
  5. The Canada of the early 20th century was mainly an agrarian and pre-modern society. None of the characteristics of modern society that we now characterize as the "welfare state" then existed. Income taxes were not even levied until WWI. As the late American Nobel prize winning economist Milton Friedman noted, open borders cannot co-exist with a modern welfare state. So, by all means open the borders, provided you're willing to get rid of public health care, pensions and other social welfare programs, because that's what you're really advocating. Those, including politicians, who promote open borders should be honest about this and Canadian citizens (i.e. voters) should have the opportunity to make this choice rather than have it imposed on them by their busy-body betters.
  6. Yes, I've wondered about this as well. I also thought about the Asia Bibi case, where a Christian woman in Pakistan was sentenced to death for alleged blasphemy and the crowds screamed in protest after she was acquitted on appeal. Has she been able to make it to the West? It seemed for a time as though some Western governments were apoplectic about the prospect of infuriating their Muslim minority populations by advocating for Bibi. The case of the Saudi teen is particularly interesting in that media reports indicate that she feared retribution from her family should she return to the KSA. I'll give her the benefit of the doubt here but does this set a new standard where fear of family members can be applied to establish a refugee claim?
  7. You're citing Canadian legislation (the Immigration and Refugee Act), and our system is in and of itself part of the problem. The context of the 1951 UN definition, of course, was the aftermath of WWII, which saw tens of thousands of displaced persons seeking resettlement. War and civil war have been the primary underlying causes of refugee crises ever since. The reasons that conflict zones are generally interpreted as synonymous with refugee migrations are pretty obvious. Once you get into the realm of considering anybody a refugee simply because they say they are, refugee determination becomes impractical. Anybody coming from a country run by a dictatorship could make a claim of "fear" but is that alone sufficient to render one a refugee? Most would believe it does not. By Western standards, every person living in, say, China, or Venezuela, or Saudi Arabia, or Turkey, or Russia, or Iran might be considered a refugee based on self-declaration according to your preferred standard. In practice, it's the application of a broadened definition that's contributing to the migrant (which is different than refugee) crisis the West is now experiencing. The objective should be to focus on conflict zones and assist conflict refugees as close to their countries of origin to as great a degree as is possible. For every refugee Canada resettles, likely at least a dozen could be adequately maintained in UN-managed camps for the same cost. And the ones who reach our shores on their own are likely among those with the most resources and connections. The West needs to disincentivize irregular migration. It is the humane and civilized approach to take.
  8. Perhaps, but most such migrants, then, likely don't and won't meet the UN "Convention Refugees" definition. Leaving a country governed by a despotic or tyrannical government does not in and of itself confer refugee status. If it did, a large portion of the earth's population would be on the move. In order to tackle the migration crisis, refugee receiving countries should get together and formulate a common refugee policy that's aligned with the UN's 1951 definition and stipulates that the preferred approach is to care for refugees in countries as close as possible to their countries of origin.
  9. Canada's political system is controlled by an elitist cabal that does everything in its power to ensure that alternative (or "fringe", as Trudeau puts it) perspectives are silenced. Corporate globalism is at the root of our economic malaise, yet not a single major political movement exists in this country to challenge it. At least the U.S. has Trump, as inconsistent and imperfect a voice for change he might be. We, the minions, simply try to survive as best we can in a system over which in practical terms we have little or no control. We, ordinary taxpaying citizens of modest means, are the "yellow vests," as I said earlier, even if many don't realize it. Our lives and relatively marginal prosperity is continuously being squeezed for the sake of the powerful being able to say they are doing something. As long as you leave their family trusts alone, I guess, "they" are doing just fine.
  10. Denmark is now planning to implement an approach similar to Australia's, as indicated in the news link below. The problem with promoting an airy-fairy and positive view of uncontrolled migration is that it encourages all kinds of negative things, including but not limited to promoting risky journeys to reach the West and expanding markets for human trafficking. A humane system would seek to assist refugees fleeing real conflict as close as possible to conflict zones so that they could return to their homes and lives quickly following the cessation of hostilities. And a productive system would not incentivize economic migrants to jump queues but instead would seek to channel migrants toward legal migration. There isn't much middle ground in any of this. Legal migration strategies should always be promoted by those who say they're interested in the welfare of migrants. https://globalnews.ca/news/4728230/denmark-immigration-lindholm-island/
  11. Speculative cup? You mean my fairly small RRSP mutual funds (which have declined in value in recent months) or my modest work pension, which no doubt is funded to some extent by investments in speculative markets? Did I have any real choice in this? Should I simply saved for retirement by putting money under my mattress or in the back of the freezer? I largely agree with the points you make about the "casino" economy, which has focused on bidding up the value of existing assets rather than create new or productive wealth. The R/E sector is a good example of this. But, as individuals, what say have we had in the matter? What alternatives have our political parties offered?
  12. I wonder what you mean when you say "we" because we taxpayers have been paying the bills for decades for a system that provides offers us increasingly less in return. The so-called safety net, grounded in "social contract" philosophy, is pretty much dead in this country. Now, what's left of it mainly serves the interests of an entrenched subsidy class. And then there's health care, which has been eviscerated to the point that any description of the system as being "universal" is entirely euphemistic. I think the only way to fix the system is to wind down the subsidy programs and redesign the system to allocate benefits based on a formula structured on contributions and residency requirements. I no longer want to pay high taxes to get virtually nothing in return. And I suspect many other taxpayers hold similar views. I certainly don't feel I have any responsibility to "right the wrongs" I had nothing to do with creating.
  13. It would negatively impact some industries, particularly in the resource and agricultural sectors. And Western Canadians would pay the highest price, a situation that will likely ensure the current federal government, which is already widely reviled in parts of Western Canada, will refrain from rocking the boat too much. But your main point is correct. China only imports from Canada what it can't make or grow itself in sufficient quantity. There is no reciprocity where it comes to trade in manufactured goods and, infamously, China doesn't recognize or respect Western standards on intellectual property. Because our economy and supply chains are so integrated with the U.S. economy, however, it's unlikely Canada would have the capacity to suspend trade with China. The cost of consumer goods would likely skyrocket were we to do so. What we should do, I believe, is tie our strategy on trade to the American approach as Trump is far more likely to get trade concessions from the Chinese than are we.
  14. I too believe that many Ontarians, and likely other non-Francophone Canadians, are fed up with the form of quasi-segregationist multicultural dogma that's emerged in this country. But I'm not sure how feasible or well-supported an Islamic party might be. I read a report indicating that the putative party has opposed the previous (Wynne) government's sex-ed policy. Well, Ford's coalition of so-con cranks seems to be working on that. What else might an Islamic party achieve, given that the mainstream brokerage parties in their quest for votes seem willing to hand minority factions almost anything they want on a silver platter? Even Wynne had a carve-out (cave in?) in her sex ed regime for skittish religionists who didn't want their kids exposed to, well, the real world. My guess is that minority voters will stick with the brokerage parties. It's worked out well for them, so far.
  15. That's far too simplistic an explanation. Many developed countries that have faced the same technological and economic environment Canada has are faring much better than are we. One of our biggest mistakes was to deprioritize productivity growth, mainly by suppressing wages. And another was protecting and promoting some sectors and interests at the expense of others, often by tolerating and even encouraging the growth and entrenchment of oligopolies and near-monopolies. Canada's standard of living was once in the post-WWII era ranked as high as 2nd in the world, after the U.S., but I believe is now ranked somewhere between 28th and 34th depending on the analytical metrics applied. I recently read an analysis that concluded that if our productivity growth had matched the American level over the past generation, our per capita GDP would be roughly 15 to 20 percent higher than is the case today. As a country, we're not merely a victim of circumstances over which we've had no control. We've chosen to suppress wages with our large-scale immigration and fairly wide-open foreign worker policies. We've chosen to make it easier for the so-called "gig" economy to displace regular full-time paid employment. I believe the OECD ranks protections afforded temporary and contract workers in Canada as the worst among its member nations. At some point, politicians in this country have to acknowledge accountability for the circumstances they've created and for a system that surely isn't sustainable for much longer. I read a column in today's Toronto Star stating that it's likely the Ontario government will end universal drug coverage for seniors, even though most of these people paid high taxes for years believing they'd have such coverage when they most need it. Rather, only those in the subsidy class are likely to retain coverage. The so-called "safety net" is dead, an outcome our politicians have achieved. Ordinary workers should wonder why they continue to pay taxes in return for increasingly less coverage and protection. We, the ordinary taxpaying citizens of this country, are are for the most part in the same boat as the "yellow vests" these days. We simply haven't organized.
  16. I think this is part of a broader indigenous strategy. If indigenous activists achieve a situation whereby what essentially amounts to universal consent is required for any resource project to proceed, resource development in this country will grind to a halt. Everybody else, including federal Libs, should seriously consider the implications of this. The more radical indigenous activists seems to equate 'reconciliation' with capitulation. If this approach prevails, we face a future of escalating conflict rather than the sunny ways JT promised.
  17. As I've stated earlier under this topic, it appears that indigenous activists could be seeking a strategy to achieve an effective (i.e. 'de facto) veto by extralegal means and thereby overturn the fight that was lost at the SCC in 2017. The generally pro-Lib Toronto Star in its print edition today published a couple pieces on the B.C. situation, noting in its main editorial that it is quite problematic that an indigenous consensus on a resource project can be upended by even a single opposed community. The question that emerges is whether this system can in any way be made to be functional going forward. My guess is that many of the most radical elements in the indigenous movement hope it can't. The language of the activists, which focuses on an broad interpretation of "consent" rather than veto, is now heavily laden with verbiage from the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which the Trudeau government signed after coming to power. Harper had steadfastly avoided doing so. It looks like the provisions of the Declaration have become 'Plan B' for activists who want to establish an effective veto, suggesting that the Trudeau government didn't understand what it was getting into. Plus ca change...
  18. The problem here is that most of the gains were made in the first couple decades (i.e. 1950s and 1960s) following 1950. Further, per capita GDP isn't always a wholly accurate measure to assess living standards. It's well-documented that recent GDP gains have primarily benefited corporate corporate bottom lines and the wallets of the wealthiest. Average wages illustrate the degree to which incomes have stagnated in recent decades, as indicated by Stats Can data discussed in the link below. https://globalnews.ca/news/3531614/average-hourly-wage-canada-stagnant/
  19. We'll see. China's future impacts on world trade and diplomacy are matters of significant conjecture. The outcomes will be determined as much by what happens within China as outside of it. It's unlikely it can be isolated although for decades it isolated itself. Can the West isolate itself? That's a good question. I think the one thing that is clear, though, is that China's economic growth will plateau. With a stagnant and eventually declining population and labour force this is a pretty solid prediction. China needs to learn to be subtle in its relationships with other countries, something it has not exhibited much capacity for to date.
  20. China faces many structural problems going forward, some of which are similar to those Western economies are facing. It's population is set to age quite quickly and the size of its labour force will stagnate as will its general population size, which will see only marginal growth between now and 2050. And after 2050 its population is set to face decline as is the size of its labour force. Japan was once predicted, as recently as the 1970s, to be the world's first Asian economic superpower but due to several structural factors, including population and labour force stagnation, the predictions never came to fruition. Its real estate and equity markets essentially collapsed and it's faced a couple decades of stagnation. There are already indications that China's residential real estate sector is overbuilt. Further its debt levels, which have risen to accommodate infrastructural development and growth, may dampen future growth prospects. Another problem for China is what's sometimes called the prosperity conundrum whereby once a country's population reaches a certain living standard its growth rate levels off significantly. As such, India, which will displace China as the world's most populous country and will experience significant population growth until the end of this century, may become a bigger growth engine in the global economy than China will be. Another problem for China is political monopoly, which tends to undermine trust and productivity. China's two path (Communist - capitalist) system isn't easily transferable, nor is it palatable in a lot of places. It's difficult to operate a mercantilist trade policy without alienating a lot of your trading partners. The stronger ones (i.e. the U.S. and E.U.) will demand reciprocity and the weaker ones will come to resentfully view such a system as a form of economic colonialism. So, China faces a lot of hurdles in its quest to establish economic suzerainty outside of Europe and North America. Optimistic projections may be premature.
  21. Of course I understand what 'de facto' means. (I worked for several years in a capacity where I dealt with legal issues and procedures.) I just think the distinction is irrelevant in this case. I believe many indigenous activists have simply given up on the notion of obtaining recognition for any kind of veto, 'de jure' or 'de facto', under existing Canadian law and are thus now arguing the primacy of what they instead call an obligation of "consent" - listen to the BC blockade activists on the TV coverage and you'll hear the word consent rather than veto raised more often than not - a concept included in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. (It's no surprise, really, that PM Harper wouldn't sign the Declaration, right?) But the Declaration has no formal legal standing in our courts and thus the concept of "consent" does not replace or override the SCC's precedent-setting ruling that a veto right does not apply. By the way, the 1997 case you cited earlier does not address the veto rights issue but was instead a land claims matter that affirmed indigenous title for lands on which the Crown claimed a valid argument for historical or traditional title no longer existed. The Crown's contention was rejected. The 2017 precedent addresses specific aspects of the meaning of indigenous title relating to resource development and pipelines and thus amounts to a clarification of the relationship between land rights, duty to consult and the (until then argued) applicability of an indigenous veto, which in the latter instance established that neither a a 'de facto' nor 'de jure' veto right applies under Canadian law. That battle is now over in our courts. The activists have moved on to a different strategy, which is grounded in the UN Declaration.
  22. I disagree with you. I believe the prevailing legal position would be that no veto right (in any sense of that term) applies. A duty to consult does apply, but presumably that's been met because governments and courts have approved the LNG project. It's my understanding that the SCC's 2017 decision relating to veto rights likely in part contributed to the BC court decision concerning the blockade. Some indigenous activists have an an entirely different view of the situation and don't accept the validity of the current legal and jurisdictional regime. They don't refer to a veto right but instead invoke the primacy of indigenous "consent" and some cite Canada's signing of the UN Declaration of Indigenous Peoples as effectively overriding domestic legal precedent. But, for the time being, the laws of Canada and its province's prevail in our courts. Any change(s) will have to be negotiated. I'm not convinced that blockades or protests will achieve very much and might in fact be counterproductive.
  23. Well, I think you're wrong about this. A more recent (2017) SCC decision, which specifically addressed the matter of resource and pipeline projects, explicitly determined that no indigenous veto right applies. The SCC can in fact issue decisions that alter, clarify or even overturn previous decisions and thus establish new precedents. (See link below.) I won't address the remainder of your post because you're obviously expressing your opinions, to which you are entitled. In the meantime, I believe the 2017 precedent applies. https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/politics-briefing-supreme-court-rules-indigenous-people-have-no-veto-over-resource-projects-trump-to-ban-transgender-people-from-us-military/article35815361/
  24. Yup, and never in most cases be re-elected. LOL. Not much of an option in our system.
  25. The blockade of the NG pipeline project in B.C. illustrates another case in which Trudeau's 'sunny ways' policy approach has resulted in stalemate and blowback. Personally, I think Trudeau's approach has generated unrealistic expectations on the part of indigenous activists. The blockade's supporters seem to be operating on the premise of supporting an inherent indigenous veto on development, a position the Supreme Court has already rejected. Are the activists now trying to obtain an effective veto by extralegal means? Another issue raised here is that while some impacted indigenous communities (i.e. "nations") favor the NG pipeline project, a minority or even single community seems intent on impeding it. We have to wonder if this system is tenable or if an new system has to be devised whereby an umbrella organization represents various indigenous communities in such negotiations? Clearly, the current situation is neither productive nor tenable. Finally, the counter-protests that are emerging on the pro-pipeline side includes elements supporting the "yellow vest" movement and opposing carbon taxation. This could all get very messy for Trudeau, especially in an election year. Sunny ways has given way to very cloudy skies.
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