Monday, August 31, 2015

BC school curriculum - an overdose of aboriginal culture

Alongside the article on the "massive shift" in BC school curriculum (previous post) is a related article - Aboriginal perspectives help shape new B.C. school curriculum:
With the new curriculum comes one notable and significant shift ...

Not only will students in B.C. be learning about the history of residential schools, starting in Grade 5, but they will also have aboriginal perspectives embedded into all parts of the curriculum in what the government hopes will be a meaningful and authentic manner.
In the specific lessons about B.C.’s history, topics will include discrimination, inequality, oppression and the impacts of colonialism. The changes are part of the B.C. government’s response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report on the residential school system. [That was fast! Wasn't that report just published?]
Wonderful! A school system that wasted so much time, money and energy on the highly dubious notion that "self esteem" was a paramount consideration in educating students has now shifted in the opposite direction.  Now it is of paramount importance that students (at least the non-aboriginal ones) be indoctrinated with the equally dubious notion that they should feel guilty for their ancestors' supposed sins.  Perhaps for "progressives" that's progress.

I don't know how many aboriginal children attend BC public schools but those who do will be subjected to this curriculum.  What effect will such an unremittingly negative indoctrination on the "history of residential schools" have on their young, immature minds? Will it not reinforce a sense of victimhood?  Will it not make them feel bitter?  How will it affect their relationships with their fellow non-aboriginal students?

Then, how about the children of immigrants who had no role whatsoever in residential schools?  What will this indoctrination do to them?

Indoctrination (not "education") that induces feelings of guilt, victimhood, bitterness and God knows what other negative effects seems not just a little misguided.  This curriculum needs some serious re-thinking.

As for "having aboriginal perspectives embedded into all parts of the curriculum" -  why, other than to demonstrate "sensitivity" and, perhaps, boost aboriginal self-esteem?  Given the limited time available for more valuable learning, it is a massively unproductive exercise to subject everyone to an overdose of aboriginal culture. This stuff should be strictly optional for anyone who might have a "passion" for it.

First Nations Mathematics
Also discussed in the article is how the mathematics curriculum might embed learning about First Nations:
"... difficult to imagine how math ...  could have learning about First Nations embedded into its curriculum  ... building a canoe is a good example of how to think about it. ... Math ability has always been important for First Peoples.   ...There are some fantastic resources out of Haida Gwaii that show how math was embedded in the creation of a canoe ...
  Well, "math" in this sense has no doubt been important for all human beings at all stages of development.  It's not difficult to imagine that all humans, even at their most primitive stage, were capable of thinking logically about how to measure and compare quantities for various purposes.  How societies  throughout history actually thought about and used these capabilities would be part of the disciplines of "Cultural Anthropology" and  perhaps "History of Mathematics".

So the rather esoteric "Haida mathematics" of building a canoe should not be embedded in the "Mathematics" curriculum.  It would be a possibly interesting but probably confusing distraction that interferes with learning the modern mathematics necessary to survive and get ahead in the modern world. And suggesting that it is comparable with or relevant to the study of modern mathematical concepts is delusional.

While "First Nations mathematics" may be of great interest, even importance,  to aboriginals (for self esteem?) or historians or anthropologists, for everyone else it should be strictly optional. 

"A massive shift"in BC school curriculum

Vancouver Sun:
"... it is clear that schools will have to move away from a traditional model where all students read the same book at the same time, answer the same questions and write the same test.

There is a massive shift underway, and as students go back to school next week, a new optional curriculum will be in place for students up to Grade 9. It will be mandatory next year. Grades 10 to 12 are next, with a draft curriculum expected this week. ...
The need for "a massive shift" becoming "clear" seems to be based on an assumption that the internet, iPads, iPhones, etc have suddenly changed how kids learn what schools are responsible for teaching. Sure, the internet is neat and there some nifty new tools for accessing information but it is highly doubtful that kids' brains have evolved measurably since their invention and that what they need to know and how they learn it has radically changed.  But what the heck, an Education Minister has to make his mark, doesn't he?

Then there's this interesting assertion:
The shift will also bring in new methods of assessment that could see traditional report cards and letter grades disappear. A bit further off are new graduation requirements, which could mean the end of every student passing the same basic courses and exams in order to get a diploma.
Haven't teachers' unions been pushing these ideas for some time?  Students learn whatever strikes their fancy at their own rate with no tests and no report cards.  Also, no more measuring student progress and so no more accountability for their success or failure.  What could go wrong?

Then, if nothing else, this should be a huge alarm:
"there are no global examples to follow and this education transformation is untested."
Yikes! But why am I not surprised?  This seems to be the case for so many grand new educational schemes.  While there are no doubt some reasonably decent ideas in it, this "massive shift" appears to be yet another giant social experiment involving every child in the province as a guinea pig.  It's an experiment to test the latest radical progressive "thinking" coming out of academia.  And it'll take a generation before we have any inkling of how big a flop it is.

Evolution, not revolution, should be the rule in bringing about change in large crucial systems like education.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Hilarious Trump

Whatever else you might think of Donald Trump, you can't deny that he's a hoot:


Friday, August 28, 2015

The latest from the Fiscal Monitor: a $5B budget surplus

Brian Lilley:

"... what is happening in oil and gas and a few other sectors of the economy things will not be great going forward and probably are not as rosy as some Conservatives will have you believe but they also are not nearly as bad as the doom and gloom preached by the NDP and Liberals. ..."

An open letter to Robert Fife and all the other media jackals at the "Duffy" trial

John Pepall: Mike Duffy's trial by media:
Sub judice. It’s the idea that when a matter is before the courts we should follow the allegations, the evidence and the arguments but leave the courts to decide what to make of it all.

... sub judice is not just some quaint leftover from the days when lawyers were supposed to know some Latin. It has a point: that matters that are to be decided by the courts should be left to them to decide; that they should not be subject to popular pressure telling them what to do.

... The media, when it is not just partisan, which much of it is, is flopping between unctuousness and the cultivation of populist [resentment] against anyone comfortable on the taxpayer’s dime.

...  It’s juicy gossip. And like all gossip, it is fuelled by malice and ignorance. ...
 And while the column is about Duffy's trial, the most recent phase has really been the trial-by-media of Stephen Harper.  Pepall's column would make a good open letter directed to the likes of Robert Fife (CTV) and Andrew Coyne (Post Media) [explicitly excluding Christy Blatchford]. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Good news for Jason Kenney, bad news for Justin Trudeau and his senior aide

First the good news, Jason Kenney won a law suit filed against him by the Canadian Arab Federation (CAF):
The Federal Court of Appeals sided with Minister Kenney’s decision to cut funding to the Canadian Arab Federation ... over its promotion of “hatred, anti-semitism and support for the banned terrorist organizations Hamas and Hezbollah”.

The decision, in part, stated (July 24, 2015) that groups which promote hatred, including anti-Semitism, or excuse terrorism and violence, should not receive any official recognition or subsidy from the state.
Yesterday (August 22) Minister Kenney issued a statement in response to the Court’s decision, which said: “As Minister for Muliculturalism, I have always taken zero tolerance attitude toward anti-Semitism. Years ago I was criticized for saying that groups who express hateful views or defend terrorists should not receive taxpayer funding. As Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, I ended government funding for groups such as the Canadian Arab Federation, and Palestine House.”
The bad news (for Justin Trudeau):
Minister Kenney also urged voters to ask their Liberal and NDP candidates if they still believe that the government should give millions of tax dollars to groups whose leadership promotes anti-Semitism, and who express support for banned terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, and questioned Justin Trudeau’s position on the Federation, given that one of Trudeau’s close advisors, Omar Algabhra, is a former President.
Ezra Levant notes that the Media Party, which gleefully covered the CAF's court challenge to Kenney's decision, no surprise, completely ignored the court's decision:

No surprise that the Media Party weasels will only cover bad news for Conservatives and cover up bad news for Liberals.

I also wonder if this weasel, Canadian Charger, will be as enthusiastic about the outcome as he was about the CAF's initial law suit.

Burning fossil fuels is a moral imperative

Dr. John Christy, climatologist and director of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama, Huntsville responds to the Pope's encyclical:
...We have a “moral imperative” to burn carbon dioxide-emitting fossil fuels because the energy they provide is a “liberator” of humanity ...

...“We are not morally bad people for taking carbon and turning it into the energy that offers life to humanity in a world that would otherwise be brutal ... On the contrary, we are good people for doing so."
... Carbon-based energy, which is “the most affordable and reliable source of energy in demand today, liberates people from poverty,” ... “Without energy, life is brutal and short.”

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Climate Crisis, Inc - a $1.5-trillion-a-year business

Paul Driessen at Watts Up With That:
No warming in 18 years, no category 3-5 hurricane hitting the USA in ten years, seas rising at barely six inches a century: computer models and hysteria are consistently contradicted by Real World experiences.

So how do White House, EPA, UN, EU, Big Green, Big Wind, liberal media, and even Google, GE and Defense Department officials justify their fixation on climate change as the greatest crisis facing humanity? ...

... What drives their intense ideology?

The answer is simple. The Climate Crisis & Renewable Energy Industry has become a $1.5-trillion-a-year business!

... Climate Crisis, Inc. is a wealthy, nasty behemoth. But it is a house of cards. Become informed. Get involved. Fight back. And elect representatives – and a president – who also have the backbone to do so. 
The only ones in the US presidential race with the necessary nerve and desire to take that on are Ted Cruz and maybe Donald Trump.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Andrew Coyne - a nasty, partisan Media Party naif

Coyne's most recent contribution to Media Party yellow journalism opens with:
I am beginning to think we have done Stephen Harper a disservice. No, I’m sure we have. In fact, I think we — and by we I mean the media, me includedhave been grossly unfair to him, and never more so than in the matter of Mike Duffy’s expenses. 

You will be familiar with the picture we have created of him: suspicious, paranoid, controlling, a leader who trusts no one, leaves nothing to others, insists on taking a hand in even the smallest matter. Well, you’d be suspicious, paranoid and controlling, too, if everyone around you was lying to you all the time.
And that's just for openers!  What follows is quite, let's say, uncharitable.

Coyne's opening sarcasm is actually a fairly accurate statement of the Media Party's characterization of Stephen Harper throughout his entire time in office.

Of course, he is suggesting, sarcastically, that the media (him included) have not created such a picture - that those who think so are just being "paranoid".  But that "picture" is a meme the media started and has continuously reinforced from square one.  And it is one that Harper's other opponents have adopted as routine talking points.

Coyne's entire column is just one more reinforcement of that smear.  "Harper, the paranoid micromanager not only knew every detail of his chief of staff's  handling of the Duffy affair but was directing the whole thing."  That's what beggars belief!

The simplest and most believable scenario is that Stephen Harper the CEO of the Government of Canada, like any other successful CEO of a large enterprise, would have entrusted a relatively minor internal problem, like the handling of the Duffy affair, to his chief of staff - just like he said he did.  Furthermore, any other CEO, not being subject to a partisan, hostile media would not have fired his COS but instead given him a raise along with a commendation.

Coyne needs to stop being so naively, blindly and nastily partisan and start paying attention to Christie Blatchford.  Better yet, the Post should give him back to the CBC, full time.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Anchor babies and the 14th Amendment

Donald Trump has said the US should stop giving citizenship to anchor babies.  His opponents all insist that the Constitution's 14th Amendment gives them automatic citizenship and that therefore Trump's idea is unfeasible, if not idiotic.

Anne Coulter begs to differ, saying that the 14th Amendment gave citizenship only to blacks following the Civil War and that the Supreme Court confirmed this in a case in 1884:

Update: Here's more from Ann Coulter, including:
"... The anchor baby scam was invented 30 years ago by a liberal zealot, Justice William Brennan, who slipped a footnote into a 1982 Supreme Court opinion announcing that the kids born to illegals on U.S. soil are citizens. Fox News is treating Brennan’s crayon scratchings on the Constitution as part of our precious national inheritance. ..."

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Rachel Notley's disgraceful climate action "survey"

Ezra exposes it all:

If they don't already, Albertans will seriously rue the day that they elected Notley's radical wrecking crew. If they have any real sense Albertans will compensate by shutting out the NDP (and Liberals) in October.

See also: Scary NDP Climate Change Survey Reveals Their Desired Policies

Day 395 of the endless Mike Duffy trial

Christie Blatchford: "At the Mike Duffy trial, it’s hard to tell who is really the accused"

First, watch Christie's video ... 
... this freaking trial, where a passerby, sitting in, would assume that Wright, the witness, is the alleged perpetrator, or perhaps the PM, and where ... every thundered question ... echoes across the land and into the campaign buses where it is parsed to shreds as though the question was the evidence, not the answer. ...

 Father Raymond de Souza: "The Duffy scandal is not worth the attention, or the cost" 
... a very strange scandal that leaves everyone looking bad, but Canada looking relatively good. 
... The criminal law is a blunt instrument, and this criminal trial, drenched in political showmanship, is a blunt instrument put to ill use.
... The problem Senate expenses does not justify the tens of millions of taxpayer dollars, hundreds of hours of court time and the huge quantity of public attention given to it ...

Monday, August 17, 2015

The Mike Duffy affair - "What scandal?"

Colby Cosh: "If there’s a scandal in the Duffy affair, why can’t I spot it?"
"... If I ask what is actually scandalous about this, I am guaranteed to receive several different answers. The Conservatives are charged with having considered paying Duffy’s expenses out of party funds, which, I am told, are “public” in nature because they are supported by a tax subsidy. The Conservatives did, of course, contemplate using party funds … but didn’t. And those funds, though subsidized, exist precisely to be applied ad libitum for partisan convenience. ..."  [And, since when is it a crime to "consider" doing something?]
"... When media scalp-hunters say the Conservatives were trying to “avoid” or “tamper with” the Deloitte audit of Duffy, for instance, I find myself saying, “Well … yes: they wanted to make the audit unnecessary, to hold Duffy to the strictest view of his financial obligations.” Is that an illegitimate reaction to an audit?" ...

Sunday, August 16, 2015

The NDP's radical anti-Alberta position

Ezra Levant highlights the public statements of NDP candidates, politicians and operatives attacking Alberta oil sands industry noting that they shy away from similarly attacking Newfoundland's oil industry, Ontario's automobile manufacturers, Venezuela's oil ... ... Neither Tom Mulcair nor Alberta Premier Notley have objected to any of the "crazy talk".  The NDP is of one mind across the board both federally and provincially in its determination to destroy Alberta's oil sands industry (and with it Alberta's economy).  Meanwhile, the Media Party lets it all slide, holding no one to account.

Friday, August 14, 2015

A conversation with Mark Steyn

Somehow I missed this video conversation with Mark Steyn at UC Berkeley where he was the 2007 Nimitz Lecturer.  It gives some great insights into what makes him tick:

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Justin promises to "grow the economy ... from the heart outwards"

Justin Trudeau at a campaign stop in Regina today:
"We're proposing a strong and real plan, one that invests in the middle class so that we can grow the economy not from the top down the way Mr. Harper wants to, but from the heart outwards,"
 That ranks right up there with "the budget will balance itself".

Well, he's very consistent. Whenever he's off script his true "thinking" shines through.

[h/t sda]

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Mulcair's debate "zinger" a calculated lie

William Watson: Oops Mr. Mulcair, you just flunked your recession history
Instant reports on last week’s leaders’ debate suggested one of the most telling lines was Thomas Mulcair’s “Stephen Harper is the only prime minister in Canadian history who, when asked about the recession during his mandate, gets to say, ‘Which one?’”

 That’s too bad. The line wasn’t especially well delivered ... and it was obviously canned

... Two more serious problems with Mulcair’s zinger are that it’s almost certainly not true and, beyond that, it’s just not very relevant. But apart from being wrong and immaterial, it was a great line.
Watson provides the record: MacDonald was PM for 6 recessions, Laurier - 4 recessions, Borden - 4,  King - 5, St. Laurent - 3, Diefenbaker - 2, Trudeau - 3 and Harper - 2. 

How much more wrong could Mulcair be!  However, given that it was scripted implies that his "zinger" was a calculated lie, a cheap shot lie for scoring debating points. 

Mulcair could have truthfully claimed that there have been no recessions during any NDP administration, but that wouldn't have scored him any points, except maybe for laughter.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Mulcair - "a self-righteous, even simple-minded politician"

Robert Fulford reviews Mulcair's autobiography:
Tom Mulcair has proven himself a talented opposition leader but close scrutiny of his written words can only detract from his reputation. Strength of Conviction (Dundurn Press), an autobiography and a campaign kickstart, gives the impression that Mulcair is self-righteous and simple-minded, even for a member of the New Democratic Party. ...
 That's just for openers!! Ouch!

Kathleen Wynne's bizarre assault on Stephen Harper

Kathleen Wynne has been feuding with Stephen Harper, in part because he refuses to have the feds  collect the mandatory deductions for her new Ontario pension plan.  And why would he?  He is against expanding CPP mandatory deductions, favoring instead voluntary contributions, the  approach preferred by, for example, the employers of 2/3 of the private sector workforce.

Kelly McParland on Wynne's latest bizarro outburst:
Wynne’s latest effort is the suggestion that, had Harper been prime minister instead of Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada’s national railway would never have been built.

... This is an odd statement, considering the considerable efforts Ottawa has put into convincing Ontario to get behind Energy East, the transcontinental pipeline that would move crude from Alberta and Saskatchewan to Saint John. It’s a truly national project, it would work to the benefit of the country as a whole, would create jobs and expand domestic refining activity ...

... Wynne and Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard have issued a list of conditions they want met before they will deign to support the project.

... If Sir John A. had faced similar efforts to derail the railway over patently partisan provincial antics, the great project might indeed never have been completed. But it wouldn’t have been Ottawa’s fault, it would have been that of petty, narrow-minded premiers protecting their flanks at the expense of the country as a whole.
This an example of how the "loony left" earns its name.

Friday, August 7, 2015

The great and not-so-great debates

The not-so-great debate
Last night's Macleans/Rogers leaders' debate was painful to watch. It was a heavily sloped (one against four) playing field with a lone Stephen Harper facing off against three opposition party leaders and a Media Party Trudeau cheerleader, Paul Wells, who "moderated".

Predictably, the Media Party's National Post front page opinion column by another Trudeau cheer leader was headlined: "Billed as a gaffe-prone bumbler, Trudeau surprises with solid performance".
Well, at least the "gaffe prone bumbler" part of that sentence is accurate.  Justin has no record to defend, except for his ultra-thin resume, his bumbling, his gaffes, his broken promises, his shameless collection of speaking fees from charities and schools while still an MP.  However, none of that was challenged last night.  If this had been a debate run by, say, Fox News professionals he would have had to answer for all of it.  But, like the NP and Michael Den Tandt, Paul Wells has been a Trudeau cheerleader from day one.  Neither Den Tandt nor Wells has ever exposed any of Trudeau's bumbling and contradictions to daylight for the public to see and assess.  They have instead, to their discredit, consciously covered for him and they continue to do so.

In spite of having to deal with four opponents, Stephen Harper still came out ahead.

"Mad Tom" Mulcair
Oh, and one thing about Tom Mulcair - his smile looked like it had been botox'd in place (though it faded towards the end of the evening).  Together with his wide-eyed stare this gave him a bit of a crazed appearance.  So, he's managed to change his demeanor from "angry Tom" to "mad Tom".

The great debate
After getting tired of wincing during the Canadian leaders' debate, I switched to the Fox News hosted Republican top-ten candidates' debate in Cleveland, Ohio.  Now that was something to behold.  Ten contenders for the Republican nomination on one stage in a two-hour debate, tightly moderated by three exceptionally talented TV journalists.  The moderators pulled no punches in grilling the candidates who in turn gave frank, concise and sometimes funny answers.  Unlike the Canadian debate, there was suspense, there was drama, there was action and there was comedy - it was absolutely fabulous.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Obama's delusional rhetoric on Iran nuke deal

Charles Krauthammer nails it, saying Obama has set a new low with his demonization of Republicans who oppose his deal with Iran on nukes:

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Election 2015 is on!

The Prime Minister, as expected, dropped the writ today, with the Media Party absurdly whining about Conservatives' taking "unfair advantage".  Good grief!  Brian Lilley reacts:

Terry Milewski can be an idiot sometimes.  It's part of the job description for Media Party "reporters".