Archive for November, 2008

Ben Viccari’s Canscene — Canada’s Multicultural Scene

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

Vol 8 No 11, November, 2008

This a FREE information service which you may republish at will with credit to Canscene. In the case of articles with other authors’ bylines, please contact me at (416) 944-8175 and I’ll direct you to the source of permission for reprinting.

The day America came of age

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

(Canscene) — Mr. President-elect my heart goes with you on the four-year journey you and your supporters have made.

During the recent US presidential campaign, I was very much aware that many churches and other puritanical supporters of hellfire and brimstone hold so great a power over voters. One has only to view objectively the recent spate of documentary films on the subject, to be convinced that here is a clear and present danger to democratic institutions and their adherents.

Now, as I celebrate your victory with millions of other North Americans, I caution you and your followers to look on the nature of your enemies. (more…)

Mother Goose updated

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

Here we go again!

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

Canscene) — One of the things I find curious about Prime Minister Harper’s recent cabinet appointments is his raising the number of cabinet ministers from thirty-one to thirty- eight. He has included a number of achievers but also washouts like Stockwell Day, Rona Ambrose and Peter McKay. To please local interests, he’s still giving a nod to persons who don’t deserve to be in cabinet.

Thirty-eight? That’s getting close to a third of all Conservative Members of Parliament now sitting. Now with another eight of them, the government must find funding for their offices and staff — for everything from paper clips to new stationery to a bar for visiting firemen.

With a cash-strapped government operating in what the Prime Minister persists in denying is a recession, how can the government justify this extra expenditure?

Perhaps when this minority government decides it’s time for a change, the Tories’ next election strategy could be embodied in a new slogan:

“Get elected and become a cabinet minister!”

A cabinet minister for every Tory household. Just think of that.

Ibrahim wants to know

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

Canscene) — In a taxi driving me home last month, I found Ibrahim, the driver, conducive to conversation and asked him how he’d fared during the recent Canadian Thanksgiving weekend.

Not badly, he said, but then asked me the true significance of Thanksgiving Day. I used as a comparison, Eid, the feast that ends he month long Islamic month of fasting. But I had to tell him that unlike Ramadan and Eid, our Thanksgiving had strayed from its religious past into a far more material world.

Just before our trip ended, he asked me the meaning of Remembrance Day and I could do little better than refer him to sources of information at his local public library. I would have needed a ride to North Bay to have explained all the ramifications of two world wars which failed to bring peace to humankind.

We do our best to help newcomers adjust to life in Canada, finding shelter, jobs and understanding what’s legal and whats not. However, in the intensity of zeroing-in on the target, could we be overlooking other opportunities to help them know and understand Canada? Warts and all?

Where is Canada headed?

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

(Canscene) — It’s almost impossible to comment intelligently on the economic situation that we Canadians find ourselves in.

The minority government that we recently elected is going to have its work cut out to deal with what — at the time of writing — PM Harper insists isn’t a recession but what our collective gut feeling tells us is.

This is a time for all Canadians to insist our federal politicians think of the nation as a whole and not just three prairie provinces which must be coddled up to as a reward for their fidelity.

Even though the basilisk of Parliament Hilll chooses to cloister himself in the sanctorum of the PMO and ignores personal accountability for his edicts, there’s one right we all have: the power of personal protest. So don’t give up the ship of state to the enemies of true democracy.

Write letters, send e-mail, pester your MPs:– above all keep the struggle for democratic government alive. Remember, they’re still in the minority!

The myth of laissez-faire

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

(Canscene) — One of the most preposterous statements coming from a “pundit” on the North American economy I heard was that the current partial forfeiture of our civil liberties to help overcome the world financial crisis may be necessary but in about 30-35 years, we’d be able to return to the old laissez faire economy.

Squandering the lesson learned from the Great Depression, capitalism returned to a dog-eat-dog system by which because of a “trickle down” philosophy, wealth was supposed to enrich all sectors of the economy, from the CEO to the office cleaner.

But the buck stopped in the offices of CEOs who were granted supernormal powers to write their own tickets to paradise.

As a believer in enlightened capitalism offering each of us the chance to prosper according to our chosen labors I still acknowledge we must face the fact that we’re never going to return to laissez faire, which we had only partially, anyway, ever since we began to pay income taxes.

Norman Cousins: hero for our times

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

(Canscene) — I have but few heroes but for certain one of them is the late Norman Cousins.

This great American liberal thinker and doer was born in 1915 and electing for a career in journalism took over editorship of The Saturday Review of Literature when he was 27 years of age. It was a well meaning weekly magazine with a circulation of 60,000.

Cousins changed the name to Saturday Review and included in-depth reviews of art exhibitions, musical performances, films and original essays, raising the magazine’s circulation to an all-time high of 650,000.

The Improbable Triumvirate is Cousins’ record of the most significant year in his life. After the 1963 Cuban missile crisis, President John F. Kennedy, Pope John Twenty Third and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev agreed that Cousins was the person to begin a communications link between the Vatican, the Kremlin and the White House.

Cousins worked tirelessly to get the three to sign a test ban agreement. Had it not been for the death of a president and a pope and the eventual replacement of Khrushchev, who knows what more might have been achieved?

I noticed The Improbable Triumvirate is still available via the various book services such as Amazon and Indigo.

The Last Word

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

(Canscene) — From Norman Cousins’ The Improbable Triumvirate

The making of moral judgments is not a natural function of sovereign national states. Yet progress and indeed survival depend ultimately on the ability of society to make moral judgments. The same society or government that has developed abstract ideas of justice within its own jurisdiction does not accept moral law as a primary factor or obligation as a governing principle in its world policy…….

Military power becomes political power not solely because of maneuvering inside government but because the society itself tends to metabolize military power on the economic level. The biggest impetus for large military spending programs in the US has come not just from industrial military contractors but from men and women who feared they would lose their jobs.