Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Today, history was made in Canada for two reasons: 

1) our Prime Minister delivered a full and complete apology to all first nations people for the residential school system, abuses, effects and pretty much everything about the 
issue.  He asked forgiveness and set the stage to move towards the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's mandate to pursue ... truth and reconciliation between aboriginal people and the government, churches and, in fact, all Candians.  Good stuff Harper ...  Maybe we can stop the denial and get on with the solutions to other issues concerning first nations people.

2) the Ontario Gaming Commission is being sued in a massive class action by people who signed self-exclusion documents which were to prevent them from entering any gambling establishments in the province - in theory, they would be arrested for violat
ing a ban since they signed these documents.  So now, of the 10,000 people in Ontario who wanted themselves banned from gambling establishments, or who were banned for other reasons, a whole bunch of the self-exclusion ones are suing because they have been able to enter gaming establishments undetected, uncaught and unpreve
nted from exercising their "addiction". The claim here is that the consequences of their gambling should have been prevented by being stopped at the door.  Why is this making history?  Well, I think it is a day that will live in ridicule some generations from now because an opportunistic lawyer and a bunch of people with addictions have found a way to present the argument that someone else must stop them, or be legally liable.  I have to give the gaming commission some credit for the mess - they signed up the thousands of people, but now every gambling centre has a photo book with 10,000 photos to check who might be sneaking in.  

I have a simple solution.  At this stage, the Gaming Commission should have a full list of all those who snuck in.  It is time to lay charges, have them arrested and convicted of violating the ban they were all under.  After all, they have "confessed" haven't they?  The sentence?  Well, I could humbly suggest that there are many places in the world where people are starving, suffering real injury.  Perhaps a year of volunteer work with an NGO, in a country that has not the luxury of gaming houses.  

What it is all really about, both issues, is a contrast between systemic, long-term abuse of a people by a more powerful government and churches which are also complicit in the residential school system and another system of self-abuse which is widespread and damaging, from which the government profits hugely and has no intention of ending its part in.  The aboriginal people of Canada have a case.  The class action group does not - not morally anyway.   

One comment appears on today which is apt:  "Gee, I wonder what they are going to do with the money if they win?"

I think that I may look into a suit against my family.  They have not prevented me from eating a bit too much too often, from staying up too late, from taking on too much work,  .... should be worth some cash!

Mr. P

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

In PEI History, we looked at Prohibition (yeah, the picture is from Western Canada but I didn't want to incriminate anyone here on the Island). So, it brought women into politics and the vote, focused continental attention on a social problem, and ....

Can law prohibit human activity? Well, yes it can, but can it control it? It seems that Prohibition is one of those social issues that neatly demonstrated the power of tacit resistance - what people do when they just don't agree or just don't want to obey. It would be difficult to profile as criminal all those who nipped a drink or got too many scripts from the druggist or perhaps even who used the fishing boat to bring in a few loads from the Nellie J. Banks. But, legally, they were criminals. Al Capone types aside, the focus on alcohol may actually have become a more important focus on the idea of law and the concept that behind every civil or criminal law there needs to be some moral or ethical law that makes sense. Did banning alcohol consumption make sense? I suspect a lot of male legislators did not think so but were not willing to take the heat from rather well organized and vocal pressure groups (sound familiar?), so they worked out a way of duplicity. It is hard to take a stand that might get you into big hot water.

My musings lead me to the consideration that law only works and is enforceable when it reflects the meaning of the human person. Alcohol consumption isn't bad. Excessive alcohol consumption is destructive. By calling something bad that is not intrinsically bad, and then by legislating against it, Prohibition created an untenable tension between the meaning of being human and the law. We should think about that.

Mr. P

Friday, May 30, 2008

Ms. Downe said ...

She got a blog so I learned how to do a blog from she who got a blog and now i gotta blogga too. Clearly I do not yet know what to blog but I am okay with that because in Sophistry your content is always secondary to your delivery. Though not a Sophist, I thought you should know that. Marshall McLuhan's "Medium is the Message" was all about Sophistry in its own way, but way, way, deeeeeeper, cuz he was way, way smarter and wrote stuff we can read now.

This is getting too post-literate. Soon I will be on facebook claiming I have all these friends who I got when I posted what I want people to think I am and they posted what they wanted people to think they are and we got together and now we are really friends. This is your first exercise, class. What is wrong with THE PICTURE?????

You cannot stand in the same river twice. Why?

Think about this: "I am now telling a lie." What are the logical problems that arise as you wrap your mind around someone who simply tells that to you?

Gotta Stop

Raiderstok go home ...