Homicide, Dumbing Public Ed, Homeless North, Israel Dissent, Cruise Lines, Madagascar Coup

March 17, 2009 at 3:37 pm | Posted in Politics | Leave a comment
  • Homicides in Metro Vancouver and Fraser Valley in 2009:

    uhhh! This is a depressing map. Click to see locations of 2009 homicides and names of victims.

  • BC policy is Dumbing Down public education:

    Teachers complained Sunday that school principals are ordering them to never give zeros when marking class assignments, to accept late work and to allow students to rewrite tests as many times as it takes for them to get good marks.

    Such orders are being delivered in many schools around the province by principals who have embraced a program called Assessment for Learning, and it’s undermining teachers’ professional autonomy in the classroom, delegates said at the annual meeting of the B.C. Teachers’ Federation.

  • Homeless Crisis Grows in BC North:

    Across northern B.C., the homeless and social workers say there is no affordable housing available and little opportunity to escape the cycle of homelessness and addiction. Predominantly aboriginal and struggling with alcoholism, the north’s homeless have been quietly growing in their own communities. But with recession forcing the forestry industry to lay off thousands of workers, many predict the homeless crisis in the north is about to get much worse.

  • Carnival Cruise Lines pull out of Vancouver:

    An estimated $18 million will sail out of Vancouver next year after Carnival Cruise Lines decided to shift most of its Alaska cruise business to Seattle, Tourism Vancouver said Monday.

    Steve Pearce, vice-president of Tourism Vancouver, said the dwindling economy worldwide seemed to be the reason behind the decision, because most Carnival customers are from the United States and flying in and out of Seattle is cheaper for them.

  • Jewish Canadians on Suppression of Criticism of Israel:

    This statement was rejected by both the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail (as an op-ed). Please help this important statement get into broad circulation – pass it on to your networks (faculty, community, MPs, university presidents, unions, etc.). You might also write to the papers, expressing your dismay that they have chosen not to publish it.

    OK Chrystal, I’m generally opposed to the suppression of criticism. So what is the issue?

    Over 150 Jewish Canadians signed a statement expressing their concerns about the campaign to suppress criticism of Israel that is being carried on within Canada. The signatories include many prominent Canadians, including Ursula Franklin O.C., Anton Kuerti O.C., Naomi Klein, Dr. Gabor Mate, and professors Meyer Brownstone (recipient of Pearson Peace Medal), Natalie Zemon Davis, Michael Neumann, and Judy Rebick.

    The signatories are particularly concerned that unfounded accusations of anti-Semitism deflect attention from Israel’s accountability for what many have called war crimes in Gaza. They state that B’nai Brith and the Canadian Jewish Congress have led campaigns to silence criticism of Israel on university campuses, in labor unions and in other groups. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney and Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff unquestioningly echo the views of these particular Jewish organizations.

  • Military Coup in Madagascar:


    Gunfire, believed to be shots into the air by celebrating soldiers, was heard in Antananarivo today as the army of Madagascar forced armored vehicles into one of the country’s many presidential palaces in an apparent military coup. Madagascan President Marc Ravalomanana, whose I Love Madagascar party controls an overwhelming majority of seats in the National Assembly, was not in the palace and is said to be taking shelter in another palace six miles (10 km) from the site.

    “The President of the Republic, the National Assembly and the Senate, and the government are removed from their duties,” announced declaration signed by opposition leader Andry Rajoelina which also said new elections would be held within two years. Earlier in the day, Rajoelina, the former mayor of Antananarivo and head of the Tanora malaGasy Vonona movement, had called for President Ravalomanana to be arrested, rejecting the President’s offer of a plebiscite on his rule. The occupation of the palace follows a long chain of events which includes Mr Rajoelina’s January 31 declaration that he would “run all national affairs” of the country. Mr Rajoelina has been publicly supported in turn by the self-proclaimed chief of staff of the Army.

    Just in case you missed it, the president’s political party is called the I Love Madagascar Party. That’s some pretty good marketing. Who are you gonna vote for? Not going to vote for the I Love Madagascar Party? Why not, don’t you love Madagascar?

    Anyways, today:

    Leadership in Madagascar is unclear as Madagascan President Marc Ravalomanana announced his resignation in favor of a military committee headed by Vice Admiral Hyppolite Ramaroson, only to have that resignation rejected by the Admiral, the military and opposition political groups. Admiral Ramaroson joined other military leaders in saying they would back opposition leader, former Antananarivo mayor and former DJ Andry Rajoelina.

    Mr Ravalomanana attempted to hand power over to the heads of the military, given the tasks of discussing and drafting constitutional changes, rather than transfer power to Mr Rajoelina. After the resignation was announced to the opposition, four Army generals and a head of the church were detained for reasons unknown. The true extent of the Army’s loyalty to Mr Rajoelina is unclear, as reportedly the military refused to arrest President Ravalomanana despite orders from Mr Rajoelina.

    So it looks like there may still be some love for the I Love Madagascar Party. Boy, some days the good news just keeps on coming eh? If you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll go eat a barrel of ice cream and sit in the bathtub for about 14 hours.

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