Happy Blasphemy Day

Atheists and anyone else who supports freedom of speech and the right to satire are encouraged to be blasphemous. The day was chosen in 2009 by the Center For Inquiry because it was on this date in 2005 that satirical cartoons of the Muslim prophet Mohammad were published in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten.

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Insight to remain open

Insight is a unique clinic that’s located in Vancouver BC to provide a safe place for drug users. The clinic provides clean needles, monitoring and health programs for this under served community.

Insight was established as part of Vancouver’s four pillars approach to the social problems of drug use: Prevention, Treatment, Harm Reduction and Enforcement.

The program has been extended several times and is considered an important part of the reduction of the spread of AIDS, overdose related deaths and a lowering of criminal activitiy in the downtown east side. Proponents and critics disagree on the site’s impact, but no matter what the viewpoint, the clinic provides services to people who would otherwise not have access to medical services at all.

Ever since Stephen Harper and his conservative party have been in office, he has tried to shut the clinic down. He was prevented first by the Province of BC, who considers the clinic a success, then Health Canada and now the Supreme Court of BC.

In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled Friday the Conservative government must grant the supervised drug injection site Insite immediate immunity from federal drug laws – and that comes with no deadline attached.

 

To force the site to close “would have been to prevent injection drug users from accessing the health services offered by Insite, threatening the health and indeed the lives of potential clients,” Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin wrote in the ruling.

Harper, who, since taking office has:

  • canceled the Charter Challenge Program;
  • slashed funding to Status of Women, reducing it from 17 offices to 5,  redefined their mandate to remove “equality”, and reduced their ability to provide funding to community groups;
  • passed a law setting elections every four years, but orchestrated an annual non-confidence vote and triggered expensive and needless elections
  • appointed a young earth creationist as minister of Emergency Preparedness
  • appointed anti-science climate deniers to be in charge of approving funding proposals, unsurprisingly, resulting in no funds for the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Science
  • has gagged government scientists from reporting their findings in a variety of environmental and ecological programs
  • has slashed social funding to increase the budgets of police and prison construction
  • cost Canada a seat on the UN security council and Canada was one of four nations to vote against the US declaration of aboriginal rights
  • click to go to “Why Harper sucks
  • more shit Harper has done

Harper has been accused of having a secret agenda since he first ran for PM, but there’s never really been any secret about his agenda – copy America – slash social spending, slash anything that prevents or reduces harms and give the money for enforcement and punishment, and remake Canada into America 2.0.

I have to wonder, if he admires America that much, why not just move to America and live under that system instead of tearing Canada apart.

Harper has constantly expressed paranoid and concerning remarks about the public services, the judges, the very instituations of governement being against him and this lone outsider attitude is very concerning for the person in the big chair to be holding and worse, beleiving.

Harper is an example of why it is critical to not ever place morals above people.

Harper has an ideological agenda that he is seeking to impose on Canadians, whether we agree or not. His extreme control over the conservative party MPs, gagging the public service and limiting contact with the media is concerning, but hasn’t seemed to factor into Canadians really understanding that Harper is dismantling Canada for a makeover, where he claims to be putting high minded rules in that he will immediately ignore if they don’t suit his objectives.

Canada as the opposite problem that the US has.

In America, there’s a democratic president unable to accomplish much because of republican control over the houses; but he benefits from the republican field for potential presidential candidates being very thin, strident with an appeal only to a narrow section of far far right republicans – none of whom will draw voters from the centre, swing and undecideds.

In Canada, we clearly aren’t done punishing the Liberals for the excesses under Jean Cretin and blamed on Paul Martin, but we have to stop cutting off our noses, ears and fingers to spite them by giving Harper back to back minority governments with a small majority in the last outing.

But the liberals aren’t giving us candidates that demonstrate they’ve learned their lesson and are deserving to once again take the big chair, as they have done for most of Canada’s history.

Why we would pull out that big chair for someone who’s even more elitist and authoritarian and apparently drunk with power madness than anyone the Liberals ever fielded, is beyond me. But Canadians are apparently, politically kinky, and perhaps we’re punishing ourselves with Harper as PM, but it’s time to stop.

Without Jack Layton, the NDP has a serious challenge to bring the country back to Canadian values, of the social safety net, of evidence based approaches to scientific problems, of returning the country to Liberal surplus budgets and not Conservative deficit budgets.

But at least, in Vancouver, for a while, the Insight clinic will continue to provide health services to a vulnerable sector of society that the Harper government would rather see in prison than helped to return to functioning citizens.

Which is the real problem of putting moral ideas over people.