March 24th news discussion

I was going to talk about the Ann Coulter fiasco in Ottawa. I was, but other things have come onto my radar that I think I can say more about.

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Iceland:

Iceland outlaws striptease

Legislation Bans Stripping in Iceland

I first heard about this on the 5 p.m. news on Newstalk 1010. I think it’s completely hilarious. I really do. But I don’t see it being successful.

The reason I say it won’t work is that the clubs can simply change their business model. Instead of the strippers being ‘employees’ of the club, the club could become the ‘employee’ of the individual strippers.

The strippers could very easily ‘hire’ the club to advertise the strippers’ talents and services. Another way to circumvent the law, as I see it, is for the strippers to pay the club ‘rent,’ solely for the use of the premises. That way, while the club does profit from the nudity of the strippers, the strippers are not being paid by the club and are therefore not ‘employees’ in the strictest sense.

Now, I will admit my understanding of labour law is not great. Most of what I said may be loopholes that do not exist in the law. All I am saying is that I think the law will not work because I can see logical ways around it.

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Québec

Quebec bill would ban niqabs in public service

New Quebec law tells Muslims: Uncover your face

Quebec passes law regarding Muslim veil

My first thought here is “Thank you Québec.”

I know I’m going to come across as some kind of intolerant bigot here, or at least I suspect some people are going to think I am. And maybe I am, I don’t know.

But I think Québec is doing the right thing here. Yes, Canada is a country that allows immigrants to maintain their connections to the ‘olde countrye.’ And yes, we do not expect our immigrants to assimilate to the same degree the U.S. is portrayed to do.

But we still must remember this is OUR country first, and the immigrants’ country second. We have our laws and our customs that must, I feel, when push comes to shove, supersede those of our newly-arrived immigrants.

I feel this is necessary. I am not one to believe that religion has any bearing on how a person interacts with others in public. In public, I feel we are all the same. Neither male nor female, neither Catholic nor Protestant nor Muslim nor Hindu nor atheist. In public we are all identical, and should be treated in the same way. None of us can or should claim preferential treatment. The obvious exception is those with dis/abilities, for a completely separate set of reasons.

From all this, I say, “Thank you Québec. Much of Canada may want you out, but I salute your fortitude.”

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TTC

TTC plans suicide barriers on Yonge line

TTC approves subway suicide barriers

Well, I am being the controversial contrarian today. By that you should be able to tell which side I am taking on this issue.

I am not in favour of it.

Yes, I know preventing suicide is a good thing. And I know it is more likely than not that these doors/screens/whathaveyous would speed up travel on the subway.

But I firmly believe there are better ways to spend money than on this. There are massive budgetary shortfalls at the TTC, ones that need to be remedied before money is spent on what I, hesitantly, would call nearly frivolous.

The TTC is more or less falling apart as I write this. And it’s also more or less bursting at the seams. Have you ever tried travelling during rush hour? You’re packed in there tighter than Kirstie Alley in a size 0. I hardly think it would be a prudent course of action to spend money on these barriers when there are other ways to improve the TTC.

And then there is also the issue of automatic train control needed to have the trains line up with the doors on the barriers. I know the new signal systems being installed will allow ATC. But we should be sure ATC works before we build something that requires ATC to work to be effective.

Plus, since the barriers will not be rolled out all at once, instead being built ad hoc as the funding becomes available, their impact will be less than expected. I think of the Prince Edward (Bloor) Viaduct when I make this statement. The Luminous Veil was built on the Bloor Viaduct to eliminate that bridge as a suicide magnet. Although I recall reading that the number of suicides from other bridges has not been studied, it would not surprise me that the overall suicide count has not changed too much across Toronto. This is not to say the Luminous Veil was a waste. Nor am I saying suicide barriers at subway stations would not be a total waste. I’m just saying, at this point in time, it’s not the best investment the TTC could make.

[I am also somewhat opposed to the planned station improvements being planned for several subway stations. The work being done at Victoria Park I like. The work at Pape, maybe that’s not necessary. For me, the opposition is on a case-by-case basis.]

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