Archive for : December, 2018

Venality

Rachel Maddow tells a story of Deputy to former Chief of Staff Kelly, named Zachary Fuentes, who planned to hide out on salary for six months in another office after his boss left, so that he would qualify for a special pension program, and could retire on pension at the age of 37. Fuentes almost persuaded the US Congress to pass a bill allowing the pension, even though the program had expired.

This scheme is pure venality, a textbook example. What kind of person would plan to do something like this? How would anyone think that such an arrangement was defensible? And there’s the answer. In Trump’s world, that’s the way things work. Here is a President who is under investigation for misuse of his charities, whose family appears to have engaged in malfeasance in the Trump inauguration, who is suspected of collusion with the Russian government. There are Cabinet Secretaries who get caught in the trough. Fuentes had examples far more egregious to follow.

Is there a compassionate way to deal with mass migration?

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/12/26/opinion/europe-migrant-crisis-mediterranean-libya.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage

The United States and European countries are required to cope with mass migrations of peoples from failed or imperilled states. Canada copes with a comparative trickle. Yet no country handles this well.

• In the US, illegal-immigrant children die in custody;
• Europe contracts out refugee return with refugee origin countries;
• Canada lets its immigration systems be overwhelmed, dumping costs and responsibilities on unprepared provincial and municipal governments.

Let all of us answer some basic questions about extra-legal immigration. If you do not like it, what do you not like: the increased immigrants themselves, or the unfairness of the processes by which they arrive and stay?

The more significant problem is the sheer volume of mass migration. On what grounds would a State accept thousands of undocumented immigrants? Compassion is a treasured motive, but when the impact of immigrants is upon the welfare of the state, the responsible government faces a difficult choice. “The Wall” – if ever it were to be effective – would in some ways be the more compassionate response, certainly better than having the European-subsidized Libyan navy interdict and imprison boatloads of African emigrants. Angela Merkel’s acceptance of a million refugees was an example of maximum compassion but with resultant high political costs.

Canada does not face such a challenge nor is likely to.

Yet, Canada provides welfare to undocumented immigrants, with up to two years’ waiting for a refugee claim hearing. But employment is allowed, under certain rules. The system is over-capacity but not overwhelmed.

In the past, Canada has acted to require Visas for Mexican visitors, due to the large volume of refugee claims. More targeted application of Visa rules is a reasonable control for mass migrations. But such rules would not be effective against border crossings in unauthorized areas.

Anyone in Canada -legal, illegal, undocumented – is protected by the Charter of Rights: that is the determination of the Supreme Court of Canada, although not the Parliament of Canada. However, there is a strong moral argument that Canadians themselves should determine whether their citizenship entitles them to the same rights, more rights or less rights than those who cross our borders without asking.

A country is entitled to defend its borders. Against all: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor, Rich Man, Poor Man, Beggar Man, Thief. We need to determine whether Canada has the right to resist flows of illegal or undocumented immigration and, if so, what actions are justified to maintain that right.

Three Strikes against the Neverendum

The most forceful factor in favour of the First-Past-the-Post (FPTP) electoral system is its simplicity. Voters know what happens to their vote. The person with the most votes becomes their representative. In each electoral district, there is a clear connection between voters and elected representative.

Proportional representation (PR) systems are less transparent, indeed sometimes obscure. A satirical take by Rex Murphy outlines the opacity of PR:

“Offered a choice of choosing their elected representatives by the tried-and-true method of First Past the Post, where the candidate’s name, face, address and party are known to all who vote — or by various more serpentine methods that called for solving a Sudoku puzzle, reading the flight of migratory birds and writing a short essay (with equations) on quantum entanglement, all prior to voting for an anonymized candidate to be chosen later by the leader of a fringe party promising to ban indoor heating and to subsidize all urban hen farms by the imposition of a nationalized cluck tax — B.C. voters chose — and this is astonishing — FPTP, the system that fashioned the democratic government of Canada, has worked for over a century and a half, is straightforward and which they understood.”

The voters of British Columbia have rejected proportional representation decisively. This is the third time in 15 years that BC voters have been asked about proportional representation and each time they have not accepted the option.

Time to stop the neverendum. Electoral reform should be set aside in BC for at least 15 years.

Bad Shoppers

We have an exemplary record of incompetence in defence procurement. Why?