Sunday, July 7, 2013

Canada: Abode of Earthly Evil or pretty good place?

World's most to least racially tolerant countries. Key to reading such maps: Whatever colour Canada is shown in is the best. Colours descend from there. Countries in grey weren't surveyed - or couldn't be.

A meditation on Canada Day
I happen to believe that as Canadians, we ought to wake up every morning and thank God we live where we do.  

By any reasonable measure, our home in one of the most blessed countries on the face of the earth.  On this planet, 2.8 billion people make less than $2 a day. Compared to them, even a Canadian on welfare is fabulously wealthy. No two ways about it: we’re rich. Even in the face of the recent global recession, Canada’s economy did little more than blink.

Sure, things aren’t perfect. Our health care system has its problems. But it’s better than almost anywhere else on Earth. Is our education system faultless? Certainly not, but it’s in the world’s top ten.  Do we have crime? Sure, but there isn’t a neighbourhood in Toronto where I wouldn’t walk at night. And of course Canada is a beacon of tolerance, freedom, and peace.

If you don’t know what a great place this is – compared to almost anywhere else in the world – you’ve got rocks in your head.

But sad to say, some people do have nothing between the ears but granite.  Take Judy Rebick as a case in point.

Percentage of population living on less than $2  a day

Rebick is something of a Canadian institution. For the CBC, she’s the go-to Leftie. She used to host a couple programs, and she’s still a regular on Q’s media panel, where she gets to weigh in on the stories in the news.

She was also a columnist with Elm Street Magazine, London Free Press, and on CBC Online, and in 1990 to 1993 she headed up the National Action Committee on the Status of Women.

This year for Canada Day, Rebick penned an article saying that she doesn’t celebrate Canada Day – and neither should anyone else. Canada, she says, was conceived in original sin, stolen from the First Nations, so from now to eternity, Canadians should all just cover our heads in shame.

On top of this says, Rebick, the country is going backwards.

“Our government has made us an international pariah. Worse,” says Rebick, “than the U.S.” In Rebick’s books, that’s like saying we’re worse than Satan. 

How long you can expect to live. Dark green = 84+ years

But while Rebick believes Canada has become an international pariah,” scorned by the civilized world, it turns out the world thinks differently. According to a poll of 27,000 people across all the G8 countries, Canada has the best reputation in the world.

People were asked how much they admired and trusted 50 different countries, and how they rated the country’s overall reputation. Canada scored 76.6 out of 100. Sweden, with a score of 76.5, came second, while Switzerland (76.3), Australia (76.1), and Norway (74.1) rounded out the top five.

But here’s the real kicker: this is the third year in a row that Canada has been rated the world’s most admired country. Far from being an international pariah, Canada’s stock in the world is going up.

Rebick’s problem is that rather than starting with a look at reality, she starts with her politics and assumes the world follows her preconceptions. In Rebick’s politics, the West is always contemptible – so please, no Canada Day for her! And the Conservatives are evil incarnate – so Canada must be an international pariah; the whole world sees it, right?

Rebick published her anti–Canada Day piece on Rabble, an on-line news and discussion site for Canada’s left that Rebick founded. It’s published by Kim Elliott, who is the life partner of Libby Davis, deputy leader of the NDP. It’s financed by the Centre for Policy Alternatives, a think tank and advocacy organization linked to the NDP, and by Canada’s more politicized unions.

(As an aside, most Canadians have no idea how radical some of our unions are. CUPE for example, has a history of cozying up to Islamist terrorist organizations. See here.)

World's free (green), partially free (yellow) and unfree countries (blue)

Along with Rebick’s article, Rabble published an even more strident anti–Canada Day article by Nora Loreto. Let me give you a taste of it: 
Today, Canada Day should be stained in black for the oil spills and environmental destruction that has been waged across this country for the past year. [Canada Day] should be silenced, as we’ve witnessed another watershed year of [as?] our freedoms vanish under a radical, conservative government…. [Canada Day] should be spat upon.
Loreto obviously shares Rebick’s aversion to reality. If indeed our freedoms have vanished, as Loreto claims, how has she gotten away with telling people to spit on Canada Day?

Unlike Rebick, Loreto is a marginal figure. But I fear she may be the future of the Left in Canada. She was the editor in chief of the Ryerson Free Press and the Communications and Government Relations Coordinator for the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario.

Worse, Loreto is completing a Master’s in Education. God knows, we already suffer from enough lunatics, in our education system.

It’s true Canada could be an even better place. But to help us get there, we need education experts with an attachment to reality, not ideologues who believe Canada is the abode of earthly evil.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Arab Christians: Israel is the only state worth fighting for

Arab Israeli soldiers celebrating Christmas
Wednesday, July 03, 2013 |  Ryan JonesIsrael Today
Arab Christian residents of Nazareth who proudly serve in the Israeli army and encourage their children to do the same are coming under increasing attack, and Israel is starting to take notice and come to their aid.
For a number of years now, a group of Nazareth Christians who are officers in the Israeli army have been actively recruiting young local Arabs to follow in their footsteps and serve the Jewish state.
Though not an officer himself, one of the main figures in this movement is Greek Orthodox cleric Father Gabriel Nadaf. Late last month, the Greek Orthodox patriarch in Jerusalem, acting on demands from Muslim Arab members of Israel's Knesset, threated to fire Nadaf.
Father Nadaf
Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Interior Minister Gideon Saar immediately called the priest to convey their support and offer their assistance.
On Wednesday, Israel's Attorney General's Office announced that it had opened an investigation into the activities of the Muslim Knesset members who pushed for Nadaf's dismissal.
"It’s unacceptable that Arab MKs should think that they can be Trojan horses in the Knesset and send letters of incitement against a Christian priest who encourages young Christians to enlist in the IDF," said Likud MK Miri Regev during a Knesset Interior Committee hearing on the matter.
Many Arab politicians vehemently oppose Arab participation in Israeli national service for fear it will legitimize the existence of the Jewish state (which signs their paychecks).
Israeli Arab combat soldier
Meanwhile, the pro-Israel Arab Christians of Nazareth are becoming increasingly bold in their stance. Though part of Israel, Nazareth’s population is Arab, about two-thirds of whom are Muslim. But Nazarene Christians even dared to hold a public gathering late last month to toast the achievements of their new forum whose goal is convincing more young Arabs to join the army.

"We chose to hold the conference to demonstrate that nothing will deter us," forum spokesman Moran Khaloul told the newspaper. "We don’t live in Syria, where Christians are not allowed to speak...or in Iraq, where churches are bombed. We live in a Jewish state, which is democratic and free. As Israeli Christians we see ourselves as part of this state and not as part of those who oppose it."
Khaloul said that until now, many in the community had been too afraid to speak out, but that was going to change. Many are now even referring to themselves openly as "Israeli Christians."
Ali, an organizer for the forum, noted that local Arabs see what is happening across the Middle East and realize that Israel is the only place in the region where Christians can feel safe and belong. "That’s why more and more of us are realizing that there is no other country here that is worth fighting for," he added.
Some went even deeper in their reasoning for joining the army of the Jewish state.
Henry Zahav, a 12th grader who intends to join the IDF gave this moving answer when asked by Ma'ariv why he made that decision: "Ultimately, from a religious point of view, we are one. Jesus was a Jew, his mother was a Jew, and his 12 disciples were Jews."