(First posted March 3, 2020) Nobody knows how the tides of the Coronavirus will turn, but we could be sitting on an unexpected powder keg.
To date all the deaths in the U.S. – six at this writing – were from Washington state, just a stone’s throw south of us.
Worldwide, officials in just about every country have done their utmost to bring the virus under control. It’s an easier task in a controlled atmosphere where individuals or small contained groups can be isolated in quarantine.
The west coast, from British Columbia to California is virtually overrun with homeless people, living on the streets with poor to no sanitation, poor health support and little or no observation of their living conditions. Should the virus make its way into those populations the word pandemic would not be enough to cover it.
At this point we can only hope that health officials are proactive and get ahead of the threat. They cannot overlook this segment of the population. That is not only for far off places like Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and Los Angeles but particularly our own Nanaimo homeless encampments. If it ever manifests itself in the camps and those living in bushes and parks it could turn explosive.
We have to rely on provincial and federal health officials to keep them from falling between the cracks.
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HAVING SERVED in political office, one of the most frustrating things was the passage of measures that we not enforceable. It was usually a chest pounding of “well, we did something about it, we passed a bylaw.”
When citizens seek enforcement of such bylaws nothing ever happens because there is no enforcement aspect.
That’s what raised my interest when the province announced that it would depend on municipal bylaw officers to enforce rulings from the provincial medical health officer. Attorney General Mike Farnworth stressed these orders are not suggestions, “they are the law.”
"To that end we will be enabling municipal bylaw officers to be redeployed to help ensure compliance with the provincial health officer's recommendations and orders. Orders which could carry fines or even jail time."
That sounds like a full police force hitting the streets. That’s news to my sources at city hall. They believe the AG’s order does not give authority to levy fines or detain peoiple, only to monitor, warn and provide information to health officers in respect of potential contraventions. It basically orders bylaw officers to assist.
Nanaimo’s bylaw department is already stretched with homelessness issues. And the bottom line so far, there has been no extra funding offered to municipalities.
In a quest for clarity, I have placed a number of requests to government information offices, waiting for a response. It’s simple questions – what authority will bylaw officers have, and is the province kicking in funding to help municipalities with this extra burden. Shouldn’t be difficult to answer.
A clear set of rules and money is needed. It’s early, and a lot of these action are made on the fly, so more details may flesh out the order and even provide some funding.
It’s going to take a lot for Canada’s and the world’s economies to recover, anything that creates a lot of jobs will definitely get a lot of attention.
Well, Mr. Trudeau, you can create a lot of jobs and boost the economy by ramping up those pipelines projects that seem to be moving at a snail’s pace. Now that there’s the suggestion of a Quebec pipeline to the East coast you have all the incentive you need.
Economic recovery on steroids – fast track pipelines, get them built and create tons of employment. We hear about infrastructure all the time. Well these projects are ready and they represent something tangible for the money they are about to spend.
How about it?
Our justice system has been in disarray for quite some time, in reality being little more more than a legal industry. Justice is not being served by the courts, all you have to do is look around you.
Many people are seeking alternatives. Until most recently, Canada operated under two sets of laws. British Common law, the Criminal Code, is used throughout Canada except in Quebec which operates under a civil code, based on the French Napoleonic Code.
Additional codes or levels of law based on cultures and religions are now becoming part of our system.
Most recently, the provincial government has taken a new approach to First Nations justice.
While Muslims around the world have been preaching Sharia law, more and more countries are adopting that system. And they are active in Canada as well where Sharia has been recognized by Canadian courts.
Just last week, Attorney General David Eby and Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth were in Nanaimo to sign the new First Nations justice strategy, with the B.C. First Nations Justice Council.
The province is establishing three indigenous justice centres – in Prince Rupert, Prince George and Merritt. Three more are planned each year until there are 15. The centres are intended to be “safe and welcoming places that provide legal help and early resolution programs,” and will be tailored to regional needs.
Another strategy will be addressing over-representation of indigenous people in jails.
Doug White III, chairman of the justice council, said we’ve reached a breaking point where we must create something different. “This is about fundamentally re-imagining the criminal justice system in a new, modern, mature way that reflects the realities that we’re faced with and that reflects the future that we want to build together,” he added.
He said the justice system hasn’t always been about justice, but rather expressions of power and control.
Sharia law is already here. Ontario Superior Court Justice Robert Smith ruled in 2017 that a Muslim man was not guilty of sexually assaulting his wife because the government failed to prove that he knowingly violated the criminal code, when he had sex with his wife without her consent “as both he and she believed that he had the right to do so. The man was found not guilty because it was his honest belief that he had that right whenever he wanted.
Submission to Sharia Law is also accepted by the Toronto District School Board. It implemented the Islamic Resource Guidebook for Educators 2017 by Taha Ghayyur, advocating gradual implement of Islamic Law in North America. Ghayyur is the Executive Director of the Islamic Society of North America.
Also in October 2017, Mufti Aasim A. Rashid, Al-Ihsan Educational Foundation in Vancouver, spoke at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops.
He told his audience: “I’ll tell you who wants to bring in Sharia Law. The Canadian government wants to bring Sharia Law and this is not a joke. Why? Because Sharia Law is simply the way Muslims are doing things.”
It is not an issue of arguing or judging the various forms of justice, but the trend toward multiple systems has to be a concern when we have many different levels of justice reliant on individual choices rooted in culture and/or religion.
It’s not going to go away by pretending it doesn’t exist. The aim of justice for all is noble, but if multiple, competing, perhaps contradictory, "justice systems" are in effect and empowered, then there is no equality before the law.
That may be even more than the wisdom of King Solomon could render.
There’s virtually no topic off base when it comes to how we select those who will govern us. The current American election process is quite something to behold.
First there is the loud-mouth incumbent president who appears to be on the glide path to another term. It’s just a question whom he will face off against. It’s questionable whether the boorish behaviour is what’s propelling him to another term or whether it’s the successes, especially the economy which has translated into millions of new jobs, especially for minorities.
His approval rating is the highest recorded for any president at the same time in his mandate, at more than 50 per cent and rising.
That’s not the interesting part. You have to wonder how some of the other candidates even made it to the starting line of the race, let alone hoping to be the winner at the finish line. Today’s journalism is all about fact checking, and these folks at not meeting the smell test, they come up reeking.
They appear delusional, but worse still, they appear to actually believe them – recalled false memory syndrome. We often say you can't make this up. Rather than making history they make up history.
Joe Biden is the poster child for recalled false memory. First he bragged on television about having extorted the Ukrainian government with a $1 billion aid package unless his demands were met. He’s been trying to tag onto the coattails of Barack Obama by consistantly referring to “Barack and me” on Obama's achievements. It is notable that so far Obama has not endorsed Biden.
Joe’s latest attempt at name dropping was his claim that he was arrested and spent time in jail when he went to South Africa to support Nelson Mandella. Problem is, there’s no such event on record ever having happened. Others on the same trip say it never happened.
Joe’s not alone. Billionaire Mike Bloomberg, who got crushed in the primary debate on television, claimed on Friday that as mayor he guided New York through the 9/11 terrorist attacks. There’s a small matter of detail here – he was not mayor of New York at the time, Rudy Guiliani was the mayor.
Then there's Elizabeth Warren who benefitted over the years from her claimed minority status which resulted in a number of choice appointments in academia. She claimed American Indian heritage, and even convinced herself because she took a DNA test and then revealed the result on live TV. Oops, embarrassing to learn she was in no way a minority, at least not of the culture she claimed.
Now the very latest, the clear frontrunner, socialist Bernie Sanders unless he gets undermined again like he did last time by his own party. He has been formally informed by U.S intelligence officials that Russians are secretly working in support of his campaign to become president. Well, he did honeymoon in Russia after his latest wedding.
Over the years it has become apparent that we in Canada seem to copy some American tactics in elections, especially the mudslinging and personal attacks of candidates. We can only hope we don’t subscribe this the latest chapter in American political history.