It’s the little things


 

I quit smoking a little over 6 months ago. I was a pack a day smoker for 33 years. It was my choice to quit. No one else forced me to make that decision, try as they might over the years. I was just at a point where I was ready to stop, so I did. I still think that if people want to smoke, that it is their right to do so. I am a firm believer in my body, my choice. So when I read this article  http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/02/14/cote-st-luc-smoking-bylaw_n_1276604.html?ref=canada  it put the wind up my skirt (or, in this case, the smoke). I understand banning smoking in indoor public places, what with ventilation being an issue and all, but OUTDOORS? I could even get on board with no smoking in playgrounds, if only to keep parents quiet. This smoking ban surprised me most of all, because it was put in place in a Montreal adjacent municipality. Yes, French Canadians are banning cigarette smoking outside. The last time I went to France (admittedly, it’s been a while), I got off the plane in Paris, went to the service desk, cigarette in hand, asked for a light and was immediately obliged. Smoking is practically mandatory in France. Have French Canadians been so watered down by Canadian political correctness that they are okay with banning smoking OUTSIDE? I expect this kind of erosion of personal freedoms in laces like California, where you are not allowed to smoke on the beach anymore… yes, the beach, nature’s ashtray. But Montreal? Really?

Then, on the very same day, from the other side of the very same country comes this story. http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/02/14/former-bc-attorneys-general-pot-prohibition_n_1277040.html While I think this is potentially a good thing, what I would like to know is, if we can’t smoke cigarettes indoors or outdoors, just where will we be allowed to smoke pot? While one hand gives us freedom to do what we want to/with our body, the other hand takes it away by telling us we can do it, but only in designated areas, which are getting fewer by the minute. So for those of you who are excited by the prospect of legalized marijuana, don’t think you’ll be seeing this sign anytime soon.

 

 

Are we married or aren’t we?


 

 

 

 

Yesterday the news that gay marriages performed in Canada to couples who don’t live here may not be valid, swept the internet news sites and the blogosphere alike. As a Canadian and a supporter of gay marriage, the news made me a little sick to my stomach. This was the first article I saw on the story. In the last paragraph, the article quotes family law attorney Andrew Feldstein, of Toronto, as saying, “Where the Harper government should have approached this is: you are not a resident of Canada, you are not a taxpayer in Canada, why should we be using the court’s time, money, resources, taxpayers dollars for people who don’t live in Canada?”

My response to this comment is, it’s not taxpayers who pay for divorce proceedings, it’s the couple in question. Is Canada now so allergic to money that we will decline it just because it comes from another country… or is this a gay issue? Is gay money somehow not worth as much as straight money? And what about all the tourist dollars we get from the gay couples from all over the world who come here to get married, some with an entire wedding party in tow? Are we, as a country really in a position, in this economy to turn away revenue? I am purposefully responding to this topic from a financial view-point because that’s the only thing that lawyers and politicians seem to respect and understand. Financially, this just doesn’t make sense.

What about Canada’s reputation as a tolerant country? We are a country that famously touts our multicultural  status as something to be proud of… and it is. We are ahead of the curve when it comes to Human Rights… but Gay Rights ARE Human Rights.

One month ago, almost to the day, former Prime Minister, Jean Chretien posted a letter to the Liberal party website. In it he said, “The Conservatives already ended gun control and Kyoto. Next may be a woman’s right to choose, or gay marriage. Then might come capital punishment. And one by one, the values we cherish as Canadians will be gone.” Did he know something the rest of us didn’t? Of course the liberals are jumping all over this hot button issue. Interim liberal leader Bob Rae was quoted as saying. “It’s quite clear that we have enabled and allowed people to come to Canada to marry in Montreal, in Toronto and everywhere in the country. People came from the U.S. and elsewhere and that means very clearly they have the right to marry and have the right to divorce,” and he’s right.

Just one day later, the Federal Government has decided to change the law.

“We want to make it very clear that in our government’s view, these marriages should be valid,” a senior government official said on Friday. “That’s why we will change the Civil Marriage Act so that any marriages performed in Canada that aren’t recognized in the couple’s home jurisdiction will be recognized in Canada.”

This is fantastic news and I’m sure it will be implemented quickly so as to nip this scandal in the bud.

I must admit I’m a little confused by something. Using the United States as an example, what about gay couples who marry in Vermont, but live in Florida? Their marriage isn’t recognized in the state they live in, so if one partner is in the hospital, for example, the other isn’t considered a family member, regardless of the marriage licence issued by Vermont. If this hypothetical couple wants to divorce, doesn’t the same problem rear its ugly head? Are they only married in Vermont and the other 5 states that allow gay marriage, but not married in the other 44 states that don’t?

It’s questions like these that I hope the GLBTQIA community south of the border is asking itself. I sincerely hope that this issue spurs more activism in the United States and around the world.

 

I hate people who hate


What is with all of this hate speech that is coursing through the veins of our society of late? It seems that people are spewing all sorts of heinous vitriol in the name-of their religion. Not that this is anything new. I had just hoped that society had come a bit further than this, since the days of the Inquisition.

Today, the Huffington Post reported on George Michael being hospitalized with pneumonia, which, in itself would have been worthy of a mention, however the story was accompanied by some truly disturbing hate speech. See for yourself here, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/29/george-michael-hospitalized-christians-for-a-moral-america_n_1118654.html?ref=tw

Also today, on twitter, a self professed Christian porn star had these choice words for a terminal cancer patient in her own industry.

Monica Foster

@MonicaFosterMonica Foster
I hate to say this – but sometimes people with terminal diseases need to give it a rest & stop ruining other people’s happiness with their
Monica Foster

@MonicaFosterMonica Foster
tragedy. If you have a terminal disease let your family and friends know. Bring awareness to the disease to help others – but then just live
Monica Foster

@MonicaFosterMonica Foster
the rest of your life and stop draining others emotionally or otherwise. It’s wrong to do and very selfish.
Monica Foster

@MonicaFosterMonica Foster
When God wanted to take out the trash in the old testament – plague and disease worked quite well. Considering all the satanism, demonic
Monica Foster

@MonicaFosterMonica Foster
activity and evil in the world today (especially within the la porn circuit) God’s getting old testament gangster once more. Sickness &
Monica Foster

@MonicaFosterMonica Foster
disease isn’t random – quite often it’s God taking out the trash…  Christ is RIGHT!
In the United States, the law is part of the problem. The first amendment to the constitution protects free speech, unfortunately, in many cases this also includes hate speech. I’m sure quite a few of you have heard of the Westboro Baptist Church and their penchant for protesting the funerals of gays, soldiers and an innocently by-standing 9 year old girl. The fact that the Supreme Court of Kansas sided with them sickens me to the core.
This video is interesting. It was made for students of political science. It explains why/how hate speech is protected in America.
In Canada, however, where, yes, contrary to American opinion, we actually do have free speech, we also have laws against hate speech. Oh and we actually DO separate church and state.
Sections 318 and 319 of the Criminal Code of Canada make it a criminal offence to:
  • advocate genocide
  • publicly incite hatred
  • wilfully promote hatred

against an “identifiable group.” 

 An identifiable group is defined as any section of the public distinguished by:

  • colour
  • race
  • religion
  • ethnic origin
  • sexual orientation

The Criminal Code provisions are intended to prohibit the public distribution of hate propaganda. Private speech is not covered by the provisions. 

For example, “advocating genocide” includes publicly arguing that members of an identifiable group should be killed. Willfully promoting hatred can only be committed by communicating statements other than in a private conversation. And inciting hatred is only prohibited if statements are communicated in a public place.

 Online communications that advocate genocide or willfully promote or incite hatred are likely to fall within the provisions because the Internet is a public network.

This is something that Ann Coulter found out personally. When she wanted to speak at a university in Ontario recently.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-rowe/sorry-ann-coulter-canadas_b_513865.html

Though, when she went back home, she claimed SHE was the victim of a hate crime.

I am a believer in freedom of speech, but not when it puts someone in harm’s way. Hate speech in the name of religion, well, if you’re going to claim to be better than the rest of us, then you shouldn’t be allowed to spread hatred, ignorance and obscenity like the Westboro Baptist Church, the Christian porn star and the ironically named Christians For A Moral America.

Although, if you keep it up, you’ll just be making more atheists like me.

It’s a crime (part two)


Why is prostitution illegal? It really is a victim-less crime. Oh, sure a case could be made that the wives of the male customers are the victims, but, without prostitutes, these men would find somebody else to cheat with. Actually by keeping prostitution illegal, the real victims become the prostitutes, themselves.

If you look at the countries that have legal prostitution, the women who ply this trade have less instances of violence, have less STDs and have less social stigma attached to what they do, which, in turn, gives them a better quality of life.

In countries where prostitution is illegal, sex trafficking is a real problem, STDs run rampant, prostitutes are not protected by the law, so there are more instances of violence perpetrated upon them. These women live in fear of being jailed, beaten or worse on a daily basis.

If your daughter chose to be a prostitute, which of these two lives would you prefer she lived?

There will always be a demand for sex, so there will always be a supply. Keeping prostitution illegal only serves to vilify women who choose to profit from their own sexuality, (and we all know how scary a woman’s sexuality is, just look at how many women are still getting female circumcisions forced upon them on a daily basis worldwide).

We have come a long way, baby, but the road ahead is just as long, if not longer.