Monday, March 30, 2009

James Laxer scares the crap out of me.

Is Barack Obama the Bob Rae of the United States? (It's a good post and all, but it's persuasive to an extent I don't like to think about.)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Monday, March 23, 2009

Shorter Greg Gutfeld.

"I'm sorry you Canadians are too stupid to tell when I'm kidding."

Typical, in so many ways. (1) Retreats to claiming "it was a joke!", even though only idiots would find it funny. (2) Retreats to "sorry if you were offended!" rather than the sincere "I'm sorry that I offended you". (3) The host half-apologizes for his own conduct, and leaves out the conduct of his guests (who, so far, have said absolutely nothing about their own remarks).

Still, it's Fox News. What can you expect?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Ray Deonandan on George Galloway.

What I said.

Robert at My Blahg underlines my earlier point about the only poll that matters being an election poll. Compare the polling results he cites to the results in the next election.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday metal-blogging.

Zyklon - Hammer Revelation

(Not a video as such, but does this song really need one?)

Well done.

So, Jason Kenney has decided he won't allow a British MP to enter Canada because he opposes the war. Should we take this as notice that a significant chunk of the ProgBloggers are on the verge of being expelled from Canada? And what about the NDP, which officially disagrees with the war in Afghanistan? Or is it just that smelly foreigners aren't allowed to express opposition to the war?

Have any Canadian papers noted this decision? Or is it only the English who get to learn about or government's attempts to dictate what ideas we're allowed to be exposed to?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The NDP and the CBC.

Over here, I note that the NDP is currently the only federal party doing anything to try to help out the CBC. (The BQ are excused because of the whole separatism thing -- it'd be surprising if they did support the CBC.) No, it's not much, but it is at least something.

Liberals and Conservatives are apparently busy with... well, something clearly much more important. For the Conservatives, it seems to be saving private broadcasters. What I find interesting about the above press release, incidentally, is how it copies some of the Cons' language used to endorse giving money to the private broadcasters, including the need to preserve local news gathering.

What are the Liberals busy with? Apparently, risking serious injury patting themselves on the back for a poll. Three points about the latter, incidentally. First, it's all a game. The only poll that really matters is the election poll. Unless we're going to an election soon, these lovely polling results don't mean squat. I think most of us realize it's a game and polls are just a way of playing. I don't object to that (I've done it on occasion) but don't start taking this seriously, folks.

Second, Ignatieff has never faced the electorate as a party leader (he hasn't even faced a vote in the party yet). Harper blew it the first time he tried -- he had a majority within his hands, and it slipped away. Same goes for Dion -- he couldn't sell good policy, let alone bad policy. Same goes for Layton -- he encountered the same problem as Harper, getting overconfident and saying things he couldn't back up. I could get going, but I think the point is clear. There's a hell of a learning curve involved, and the LPC is in serious enough trouble financially that it can't afford -- literally as well as figuratively -- an epic screw up. Nothing about Ignatieff seems particularly exceptional, so the claim that he can keep it together during a campaign, and hold on to numbers even close to where he's polling, remains to be demonstrated.

Third, I'm convinced that the voting public are idiots. I would've been surprised if the NDP started pulling big numbers; that they're not confirms my low opinion of the intelligence of most Canadians. (No, I didn't say that voting NDP is a sign of intelligence; I said voting Liberal or Conservative, as if there's a significant difference these days, is a sign of low intelligence.) Democracy only works in two situations. First, when the citizenry are broadly well-educated, intelligent, and practically rational. Then, you could probably pull off a Rousseau-styled direct democracy. Second, when the citizenry are idiots, and the government has pretty limited authority. We're not in the first situation, and we're also not in the second. So, I consider this more evidence in support of contempt.

God, I'm cheerful, aren't I?

Twitter.

I don't get Twitter. At all. It reminds me of IRC, but is far more crippled (e.g., no images, mp3s, or video files). Maybe it's a kid thing? (I do get Facebook, though.)

Anyway. That said, Chris Walken -- AFAIK, the Chris Walken -- seems to get it.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Let me see if I'm following....

In Conservative-land, you can't do anything to help the public broadcaster when it's struggling. But if the private broadcasters are having problems, then they're right on top of it.

Fantastic.

Are the Liberals going to roll over and support this, too? Do the Liberals hate the CBC as bad as the Cons, but just don't have the courage to admit it?

Now the Liberals don't like science, either.

See, this is why I don't take the LPC seriously. We've got a frickin' (former) astronaut claiming that it's a "personal" matter whether the minister responsible for science actually believes in science or not.

Y'know, I've been thinking that it's the party that has a problem, that the party is to blame for keeping the Cons afloat. I don't think that's true any more. I think the problem is the people who vote Liberal and are letting the party get away with running to the right. Those are the ones who need to be blamed for what the Cons are doing to this country. Garneau wouldn't have said anything so utterly stupid if he thought his supporters would turn on him for doing it.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

How cynical is Jack?

I've seen a few things around the ProgBlogs today castigating Jack Layton for pledging NDP support for the Cons' new anti-gang omnibus crime bill. I have to wonder, though, as mentioned in the title: how cynical is Jack? Is he endorsing the bill to get some public support ('cause, face it, folks, drug legalization is electoral suicide in this country, as is any anti-gang strategy that doesn't include increased punishment), knowing full well that the Cons will flake on enforcing it like they flake on enforcing everything? I'm not sure. I do know that Layton has previously demonstrated a pretty good sense of what needs to be done in order to resolve crime in a lasting rather than knee-jerk sort of way. So, either he's lost his senses, or he knows something that we don't regarding this bill. For now, I'm favouring the latter: something else is going on here. Maybe there's another bill coming down the pipe, or maybe Layton doesn't think the Cons are any more serious about this than they are economic stimulus.

(If it turns out the former is true, then I'll gladly join the anti-Layton group, with the caveat that I agree with stronger penalties for people who commit crimes as part of criminal gangs. Yes, broader solutions are needed, yes, the drug war is a failure. But, there needs to be enforcement of criminal penalties against people who form organized groups to systematically break the law -- whether these groups are called gangs or corporations is irrelevant.)

Bwahahah, etc.

Minister won't confirm belief in evolution.

Good ol' Gary Goodyear. Always good for a laugh. Gotta love how he assumes that asking him whether he accepts settled science is a question about his religious views.

Thanks again, Liberals, for keeping these twits in power. Much appreciated.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Does Apple like piracy?

If not, I can't explain this. In essence, Apple has DRM'd the accessories for the new iPod Shuffle. Meaning that it's illegal under the DMCA for anyone to manufacture accessories for the device -- doing so constitutes reverse-engineering your way around a copyright-protection mechanism, which, AFAIK, is prohibited.

Of course, DRM never stops anyone long-term, as the switchover from Napster to a decentralized network of blogs and torrent sites (some private, which strikes me as oddly reminiscent of the days of BBSes) should demonstrate, as well as the repeated hacking of HD-DVD/Blu-Ray DRM (including the infamous Digg revolt). So, it's only a matter of time before someone breaks the DRM and starts, illegally, manufacturing iPod Shuffle accessories. And people will buy them insofar as they are price-competitive with official Apple accessories. And what's Apple to do then: cripple the Shuffle somehow, so these illegal accessories won't work? send the FBI after people who buy them? try to shut down all the manufacturers (and hope like hell they don't release the specs on the internet beforehand)?

This is no business strategy. It's dogmatic stupidity. It doesn't make long-term sense for Apple to try to restrict competition in the accessories market, as they'll only end up converting the broad market into a black- or grey-market. So where's the logic? I just don't get it.

Thanks, Liberals.

But we couldn't have possibly split up the budget bill so things like this could actually be debated, could we?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Why I don't listen to climate change "skeptics".

The "skeptic" speaks.

Wikipedia shows he's an imbecile. Wikipedia.

And that's why I don't listen to them.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Six words.

Martha Hall-Findlay has been looking for people to state, in six words, what "Liberal" means to them. Of course, she's seeking sycophants, but I thought I'd chime in given Ignatieff's latest string of capitulations to Harper.

I just can't take you seriously.

Six words. Enjoy.

Friday metal-blogging.

Strapping Young Lad, Detox.

Unions and liberty.

0. This may be a little disjointed, but here goes. I've suggested in several different fora over the past few months that the existence of unions ties pretty closely with political liberty and human autonomy. Here's the argument to that effect, at leastg in sketch, which also entertains ideas about action, social institutions, and the role of government.

1. Everyone accepts that, politically, humans should be free to choose their employment and, indeed, whether or not they are employed at all. This seems to be part and parcel of autonomy: if it means anything to be able to legislate for oneself, then it follows that one can choose how to govern one's employed life. This implies, then, that one is free to not work except under a union contract.

2. Similarly, everyone accepts that, politically, humans should be free to choose their associations and, indeed, whether they associate with anyone else at all. Again, it seems to follow from autonomy: if it means anything to be able to legislate for oneself, then it follows that one can choose how to govern one's interpersonal life. This implies, though, that one is free to form a union or similar organization with other people.

3. And, everyone accepts that, politically, humans should be free to request and demand that others respect the above decisions. One more time, it seems to follow from autonomy. From this and the above two points, it follows that humans are politically and morally (because of autonomy) free to withdraw their labour as they choose in order to obtain this respect.

*4. [Aside: I'm not sure if there's an equivocation on "respect" here.]

5. Thus, the existence of unions and the practice of striking is not only consistent with but follows from political liberty and moral autonomy.

6. Of course, there are objections. Let me deal with some popular ones.

7. Objection the first: Don't employers have freedoms and autonomy, too? So, shouldn't we also recognize that employers have the right to hire scabs, try to break unions, and so on?

8. Reply the first: The employers' freedoms are entirely negative, and the employees' freedoms are positive.

9. The distinction between positive and negative freedom, at least in those terms, is made by Isaiah Berlin in "Two Concepts of Liberty" (widely anthologized and reprinted; the easiest place to find it is in Berlin's Four Essays on Liberty (1969); it may also be available in full-text online). But the distinction, as Berlin acknowledges, stretches back much further.

10. Negative liberty is freedom from: the lack of restraint or constraint in one's actions. This, I think, derives from a very Enlightenment view of human action, whereby actions emanate from a singular faculty (will) responsible for directing the body, a faculty at times opposed, at others assisted, by another singular faculty (reason) responsible for directing the mind. If action is no more than the functioning of a single faculty, then it seems to follow that the only sense in which action can be free is in the sense of being unrestrained: as the will can make the body do as it is willed to do, so the person is free.

11. Positive liberty is freedom to: the capacity or ability to do what one wishes to do. This, I think, derives from an ancient (you can find it in Aristotle, and to some extent, IIRC, Epicurus) view of human action, whereby actions emanate from a complex interaction between various functioning parts of the human psyche (usually, "soul", but "animating force or principle" is probably closer). If action is more than the functioning of a single faculty, but actually results from various competing impulses and directives within the mind/self/what have you, then it seems to follow that we do need a more robust sense of freedom of action: the sense of having the ability to do what a greater (e.g., more rational) part of one's nature is encouraging one to do.

*12. [Aside: This is speculative, but I think can be given better grounding.]

13. So, unless we want to accept seriously the Enlightenment conception of action, we need to incorporate positive freedom into our political perspectives. But, as soon as we do that, we must acknowledge that positive freedom is prior to negative freedom. This is because negative freedom is the lack of constraint or restraint; that is, the absence of impediment in doing as one wills. Positive freedom makes the will able to be governed by the (rational) self, rather than, say, prejudice or biological imperative. So, positive freedom creates the will which can then be negatively free or unfree.

14. This applies to the freedoms of employers in the following way. The employees' freedom to choose the terms of their employment, to associate with each other, to request and demand recognition of their associations, and to withdraw their labour are all instances of positive freedom, of the capacity to determine what goals one wishes to pursue, and to govern oneself by (practical) reason. The employers' freedom to employ scabs and break unions is a negative freedom, instances of a lack of restraint. Since positive freedom is primary over negative freedom, it is legitimate (possibly required) to introduce restraint (limit negative freedom) when doing so will ensure the exercise of positive freedom.

*15. [Aside: I'm not sure that's as clear as it could be.]

16. Objection the second: This is not so. Negative freedom is the only reasonable political concept of freedom. As Berlin himself argued, positive freedom leads inexorably to tyranny, as governments will act to create new capacities and abilities through restricting and restraining negative freedom. This is a license for massive increase of government power.

17. Reply the second: Negative freedom is no barrier against government tyranny. Failing to create positive freedoms, through deliberately allowing higher capacities to atrophy and native prejudices to flourish, can also lead to a tyrannical government. Careful management of the natural capacities, rather than the cultivated social capacities, of humans is as sure a mechanism for massive government power as is the management of the cultivated social capacities themselves. In other words, the challenge of a too involved government is met on the other side by the at least equal challenge of the tyranny of the idiotic majority.

18. Fundamentally, the objection is based on a misunderstanding of the role freedom plays in preventing tyrannical government. Freedom is never a bulwark all on its own, either positive or negative. It is the expanse of freedom that prevents tyranny. The freer the people, in both the positive and negative sense, the less able the government is to exert itself in a tyrannical fashion. When faced with a populace that has significant positive freedom -- capacities such as the ability to form their own new associations (this includes not only unions but also political parties and activist groups, and even a new government and state) -- as well as significant negative freedom -- such as constitutional limits on the power of government to impose restraints -- government is kept in service to the needs of the people, rather than people serving the government.

*19. [Aside: I sound almost libertarian here. I've never been entirely comfortable with the "socialist" label; I use it only because it's closest to my view, not because I buy every tenet that has been dubbed "socialism" in the past. "Libertarian socialist" sounds like a contradiction, and also focuses heavily on negative rather than positive freedom. Elitist liberal socialism? At a certain point, names give out and you have to roll up your sleeves and come to terms with the underlying view.]

20. Of course, it's important to note that there is no true proof against tyranny. Plato, in Republic, carefully describes the degeneration of the state: his decomposition goes from enlightened aristocracy to honour-loving military dictatorship to minority-dominated plutocracy to mob-like democracy to ruthless tyranny. We can argue with the details, but the overall lesson is, I think, sound. Everything that is born will end; everything that grows will decay. We shouldn't expect that any society is immune to degradation towards tyranny. What this illustrates, though, is the importance of careful stewardship of a free society to ensure that its tyrannical tendencies are eliminated or turned aside as they develop. (The advantage to social institutions unlike biological ones is that reversing the decay is well within our potential power.)

21. Objection the third: Okay, fine. But employers have a positive freedom, too, don't they? After all, employers are autonomous people and, by your argument to this point, positive freedoms like autonomy should be encouraged.

22. Response the third: This is true, but there is an important omission here. As employers have autonomy, so too do their employees. It must be conceded, then, that the situation we are aiming for is maximal liberty compatible with an equal liberty for all. (This is a slight rephrasing of John Rawls' Liberty Principle.) Anything less than this is settling for a poorer social circumstance than we might otherwise have. Furthermore, any unequal distribution necessarily prefers the freedom of some individuals over the freedom of others; unless an argument is forthcoming as to why some individuals are better (and thus deserve better treatment), then liberty should extend as widely as it can.

23. So, take that on board. Given that, we have to accept that employers' positive freedom, if they have any, must be quite weak. It fails against the needs of children and their positive freedoms: we all accept that children can insist that their needs be provided for even if they are unwilling to labour to satisfy them themselves; indeed, we would think it wrong to force children to labour to satisfy their own needs. Similarly, the positive freedoms of workers associated with health and safety are widely considered to be more important than any freedoms of their employers; we do not allow employers the positive freedom to choose not to provide adequate safety equipment and training. This point can be expanded with more examples, but the idea is, I think, clear: we're already quite willing to say that employers have a limited capacity to exercise their autonomy. (Qua employer, of course.)

24. Furthermore, in my view, employers qua employers don't have positive freedoms. The objection here is founded on a category-mistake.

25. I'm not usually a fan of the notion of a category-mistake. As originally presented by Gilbert Ryle in The Concept of Mind (he may have published it elsewhere, but that's where I first saw it), a category-mistake is committed when one accidentally attributes to terms or concepts of one category properties which really belong to terms or concepts of another category. So, we might say that there is a right glove and a left glove, and the right glove is beside the left glove; or that there is a pair of gloves; but we would be mistaken to say that the pair of gloves is beside the left glove. (Assume there's two gloves, not four.) Ryle argues that category-mistakes litter the philosophy of mind, but I've never been clear exactly where he thinks the categories come from, nor why he thinks that they can't be shifted by argument.

26. That said, I think there's a category-mistake in play here. Employers are organizations that exist to provide employment opportunities for workers. That's their point. If we could come up with another way for people to support themselves within a society, we wouldn't need to have the institution of an employer any more. (Like we don't have the institution of town crier any more; it served a purpose at one point, but we have other means of serving the same purpose now. We may also soon cease to need the institution of mass media, as mass media institutions appear to be dying off, replaced by other entities.) So, the value of employers qua employers is entirely instrumental: it is only to serve the interests of workers (and the general public, but since the general public consists largely of workers, I think I can omit this detail).

27. Given that, employers don't have positive freedoms; they don't have freedom at all. They are an institution which serves an important purpose, but they are just a means to that end. If an alternative were to exist, then employers could safely cease to exist as well.

*28. [Aside: I'm sure some will try to suggest that employers serve some non-instrumental value. I'm not sure what the value would be. Wealth-generation is another instrumental value -- it serves the interests of society at large to have wealth created. So, I take this as a strong, if often unexpressed, claim: there is no point to having employers around except insofar as it makes things better for workers. Consider if employers should exist if they actively harmed workers.]

29. Objection the fourth: But, hang on, all this talk of "employers qua employers" misses something important. Employers are people! And people are supposed to have autonomy and positive freedom; isn't that what you've been arguing all along? So how can you say that employers, as people, don't get positive freedoms?

30. Reply the fourth: As people, employers have the same positive freedoms as employees. They can freely form associations -- corporations, for example -- in order to pursue profits, and can set various kinds of rules in place to generate even more profit. But it doesn't follow from the fact that employers as people have positive freedoms that employers as employers can do anything they like. Again, this looks like a category-mistake.

31. Furthermore, even if it isn't a category-mistake, it certainly overlooks the fact that all liberties and freedoms must exist together: the greatest liberty compatible with an equal liberty for all. If we extend employers as employers' positive freedoms, then we will inevitably be limiting the freedoms of workers as individuals. If we give employers as employers the ability to, say, hire scab workers, then they will be able to restrict the positive freedom of workers to demand that their associations and choices regarding employment be respected. I think examples here can be easily multiplied.

*32. [Aside: This point is empirically weak. I need something broader in terms of evidential support.]

33. Objection the fifth: I think we're overlooking an important group of people here, namely those who are caught within a strike or similar labour disruption, yet aren't the workers exercising their freedom to strike, nor the employers. What about them? Aren't their freedoms limited?

34. Reply the fifth: There is an impact on the freedoms of those caught up in a strike; I don't think that can reasonably be denied. The question is not whether that's justifiable -- it isn't -- but whether it's avoidable. If ought implies can (and it does), then lack of ability (not-can) implies lack of obligation (not-ought). If it's not possible to not harm others' freedoms, then labour cannot be obligated to do so.

35. Let me explain what I mean here. First, when a situation requires a strike, not striking will necessarily impact on freedom. Those who could strike will be limiting themselves, and I'm not persuaded that any such choice is ever legitimate. It's certainly not legitimate to sell oneself into slavery; although a slavery contract may be freely entered into, it is nonetheless not binding, as this is a choice one simply cannot make. (In a Kantian frame, one might argue there was a contradiction here: using freedom to give up the capacity to be free. Similarly, there is a contradiction in not using the freedom to associate in a labour union by not using the association to improve employment conditions.) So, it's not reasonable to expect unions to limit the freedoms of their members. Thus, it's not possible (in a limited sense of "possible") for unions not to strike, when striking is needed.

*36. [Aside: I note I don't say here what it means for a situation to require a strike. That seems to be a weakness.]

37. Second, another way of getting to the same point about what's reasonable ("possible" in a sense). The freedom of the few is equal to the freedom of the many. You can't count noses in order to determine who gets to exercise their freedom and who doesn't; doing so leads to a slave society. So, the size or extent of the impact of a strike is morally irrelevant. There's two reasons here. First, it would clearly be immoral for a majority group within a society to enforce its will on a minority group just because the majority group was bigger. Think of religious persecution here. Second, it would clearly be immoral for a minority group to insist that its will needs to dominate over the majority. After all, they are a minority group here; certain facets of their behaviour shouldn't be restrained, but others they cannot legitimately insist be recognized. Given that we don't think the majority should be able to impose on the minority, nor that the minority should be able to impose on the majority, I think we have to go back to the idea of maximum liberty compatible with equal liberty for all, and leave numbers out of it. Given that, it's not reasonable to expect that we can restrict some people's freedoms because we're worried about even more people.

*38. [Aside: Besides, would it really be okay for a union to strike as long as it was only affecting a minority group? Suppose a union of 7,000 strikes in a town of 9,000. By definition, then, only 2,000 people are caught by the strike who are not part of the union. Is that okay, where it wouldn't be if the town's population was 90,000? That seems like the beginnings of a reductio ad absurdum to my eye.]

39. If we want to blame someone for the plight of those caught in a strike, why don't we just look to whoever created the poor situation which caused the strike in the first place? That is, as we can't limit freedom by counting heads, and we can't reasonably expect people to limit their own freedom (and such self-limitation is probably not a rational choice), there is no blame to assign here except to whoever made the strike necessary. Often, this is government, in failing to ensure that employment conditions are reasonably and/or that the public sector is reasonably funded. Occasionally, it is employers and unions together, whose difficulties in bargaining have produced the problem. Sometimes, it is the ignorance and indifference of the general public, whose often bizarre misunderstandings of a collective bargaining situation allow governments to seriously limit freedom with impunity. (See 17 above.) And sometimes, it's a combination.

40. And sometimes, it's no one. That is, sometimes tragic dilemmas arise -- situations where all possible options are wrong, and yet some option must be chosen. It is a feature of our moral situation that it is inevitably tragic: conflicts will arise and leave us with only wrong options to choose between. Failing to appreciate that is simply naive.

41. Objection the sixth: But, but... there are always right answers!

42. Reply the sixth: In the fullness of time, an institution may work itself pure, and a set of institutions like a society may do so as well, thus asymptotically approaching a state where tragic moral dilemmas -- such as the impact on the public of a strike -- never occur. That is not the actual situation as it stands, though; and, it is only a hope at best.

43. The point generalizes, really. We may never have a Grand Unified Theory in physics, even though we aspire to one. We may never end the debates on free will or the sources of knowledge or the existence of God. This doesn't mean that these endeavours can't improve, just that they will never reach full purity and thus solution. Why should ethical and political questions, with their inherent difficulties, confusions, and complications be expected to work out any better?

44. In sum, everyone has positive and negative freedoms. Unions and employers exist following from those freedoms. (The former is nothing more than the exercise of positive freedoms by its members; the latter is produced by the exercise of positive freedoms of its members.) To prevent tyranny, freedoms should be expanded widely. However, some institutions only have negative freedoms at best (i.e., employers). Tragic conflicts between freedoms are unfortunately inevitable, and we must navigate them as best we can. We should not despair, though, for we can approach the ideal where tragic conflicts do not arise -- although we may never reach it, we can continue to get closer.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Basic distinctions.

  1. The fact that you find it disgusting does not make it wrong. If this is not true, then it is wrong that people are stupid, for stupidity disgusts me. (Similarly, the fact that you find it admirable does not make it right.)
  2. The fact that it is wrong does not make it illegal. Nor does it imply that it should be illegal. It is wrong to lie, cheat at cards, and commit adultery, but there are good reasons not to make any of these illegal (mostly due to problems with enforcement).
  3. Liberty implies that people should be allowed to do things you find disgusting, including produce video games, movies, music, and the like. You can protest, boycott, rage, and otherwise try to resist it, but illegality needs to be reserved for protecting people from actual and demonstrable dangers.
These should be obvious points, but people seem to be turning off their brains about things like this, and it's getting annoying.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Green Party supports modifying Canadian citizenship oath.

Good for them. Still waiting for the NDP to get on board....
PRESS RELEASE

Green Party of Canada supports ending oath to Queen

National convention vote calls for end to requirement for new citizens

Toronto, March 9, 2009 - Canada's republican movement, Citizens for a Canadian Republic, welcomes the Green Party of Canada's new policy resolution calling for an amendment to the Citizenship Act to remove allegiance to "Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors."

The change, established at the national convention on the weekend, keeps the party's policy on the monarchy closer to that of fellow Greens in the Commonwealth. The Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand has supported modernizing their oaths since 2005. Australia has already revised their Citizenship oath in 1993 to delete all reference to the monarchy. The Green Party there goes even further, advocating "Australia should become a republic with an Australian head of state."

In Canada, there have been many unsuccessful attempts to revise the Citizenship Act to accommodate monarchy objectors, by both Conservative and Liberal governments. Most recently, Bill C-203 in 2003.

The swearing of an oath to the Queen as a prerequisite for civil service employment ended with The Public Service Modernization Act in 2005.

● Present Canadian Citizenship Oath - I swear (or affirm) that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors, and that I will
faithfully observe the laws of Canada and fulfill my duties as a Canadian citizen.

● Australian Citizenship Pledge - (Revised in 1993) - As an Australian citizen, I affirm my loyalty to Australia and its people, whose democratic beliefs I share, whose rights and liberties I respect, and whose laws I uphold and obey.

ABOUT CITIZENS FOR A CANADIAN REPUBLIC
Citizens for a Canadian Republic is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization advocating the full Canadianization of the head of state. More information is available at CCR’s website.
MORE INFORMATION
Green Party of Canada - 2009 National Convention - Policy Resolution on Oaths
Green Party of Canada - 2009 National Convention resolutions
Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand - Support for Oaths Modernisation Bill
The Australian Greens - Policy E1: Constitutional Reform and Democracy. Principles: "Australia should become a republic with an Australian head of state."
University of Toronto Faculty of Law Review - The Citizenship Oath, the Charter, and the Conscientious Objector
Republic / Monarchy Opinion Polls in Canada 1993 - 2009

Quotations from other Commonwealth heads of government regarding the monarchy

MEDIA INQUIRIES
Citizens for a Canadian Republic
2100 Bloor Street West, Suite 6 - 146
Toronto, Ontario M6S 5A5
Phone(416)705-5660, Fax(416)532-3792
info@canadian-republic.ca
www.canadian-republic.ca
MEDIA CONTACTS
English
Tom Freda - (416)705-5660 or national.director@canadian-republic.ca
Fran├žais
Pierre Vincent - (780)987-8663 or (780)988-0622 info@republique-canadienne.ca

A member of Common Cause, an alliance of four Commonwealth republican movements

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Andrea Horwath elected Ontario NDP leader.

Happened just now. 60+% of the vote. I'm not entirely thrilled, as Bisson was my first choice. However, she was my second choice and will, I hope, be a strong leader who can rebuild the party.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Friday metal-blogging.

Nightrage - Scathing

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Holy hell....

There are no words.

John Tory concedes?!

Is this for real? Can it be? Is the witch finally dead?

Yes, yes, the Tories may lose their minds and pick douchebag Thornhill MPP Peter Shurman to replace Tory, but let me have this one, shining moment....

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Very cute.

Here. From Reddit, I believe.

Does the Cons' budget violate the Charter?

Read here.

You have got to be kidding me.

There are no words to express how stupid this is. It didn't pass? Seriously?