The conference itself focused on a range of public policy issues including -- global warming, native/indigenous peoples, terrorism, among others -- covered by a wide variety of speakers from university faculties, political pressure groups, and several authors. I have attended this conference for several years now and have always left impressed with the caliber of the debates.
As for Canada and Halifax specifically I noticed several items in the local news and local venues that were clearly "bloggable" so here is my summary:
- Pier 21 -- described to the conference attendees at the "Ellis Island of Canada" (www.pier21.ca) this was a typical huge warehouse used for processing immigrants to Canada. The renovation of Pier 21 is not completed yet but their banquet hall and historical displays reflect a quality operation. As I learned during our tour -- "from 1928 to 1971, one million people entered Canada via Pier 21...........during the Second World War half a million Canadians passed through the pier."
- Thumb Wresting Federation (TWF)-- Alex Strachan of CanWest News Service published his "Three To See" TV programs for this past weekend which included the TWF Championship Belt with "new characters including Mahi Mahi Mindy, Mr. Extremo, and Face-Off Phil..........." Clearly it is quiet up North if this is one of the three best TV programs on this weekend!! So set your Tivo to record it on Fridays on YTV at 4 pm :-)
- Best of Halifax 2007 Guide -- Perhaps I should have watched the TWF instead but I reviewed this guidebook where I noticed that the "Best Massage Therapist" in Halifax was none other than "Michael Butt" at Fairview Chiropractic and Massage Centre. So ready the next time you visit Halifax but sure to schedule some time for a "Butt Massage."
- War on Drugs -- Front page newspaper headline in Canada, "Mother forced girl, (age) 12, to have sex with men: police". Apparently a 12 year old "developmentally delayed" girl (we would say "mentally handicapped/retarded" in the USA I would guess) was forced by her mother to have sex with at least six men in exchange for money and drugs over several months in a crack house in Rexdale (Toronto). The story went on to name the six men involved and their ages (19 to 55) but never mentioned the mother's name which no doubt was done to protect the identify of the girl. But who the hell is this "mother" who would do such a thing to her own daughter? If this woman needed drugs so badly then it is clearly an example of why the "war on drugs" has failed and has actually created victims like this 12 year old girl. It might sound cold and heartless but I would rather have all drugs legalized (an historic libertarian position) so that "mothers" like this one could have an affordable, ready supply so she would drive herself to an early grave rather than turn her own daughter into a sex slave. Isn't this better for society and this little girl overall? I am certain the foster parent system would provide a better opportunity for this 12 year old. I wish her well.
- Golf Pro -- I read that Steve Dowling, former golf pro at a GOVERNMENT-OWNED golf course in Prince Edward Island (PEI) has filed a job discrimination claim with the PEI's Human Rights Commission seeking a settlement of C$100,000. Mr. Dowling claims that he was fired from his job because he ran for parliament as a Liberal but when the Conservatives won control of parliament they replaced all the golf pros with "golf course supervisors." Let me offer a very simple solution here -- sell all GOVERNMENT-OWNED golf courses in PEI and return the sales proceeds to taxpayers like Mr. Dowling in the form of tax refunds. Governments should only do what the private can't or won't do like providing for national defense of a nation and certainly not running golf courses -- golf courses I said!!!
- Saint Mary's University -- This Canadian university was formed in 1802 (www.smu.ca) and is currently running a print ad featuring an apparent student with a t-shirt on that reads, "I want to make gazillions. Then give it all away." Ah, the youthful idealism of students!! When will a majority of university students call for the abolition of personal income tax as a clear violation of our "right to privacy"? If the US Supreme Court found such a "right to privacy" in its Roe v. Wade" decision regarding the "right" of a woman to have an abortion as an extension of her privacy then let us all claim this same right to privacy when it comes to how much money we earn and how we earn it. Is that too much to ask??
Overall I really enjoyed my brief visit to Halifax, a lovely port city completed with a myriad of pubs and restaurants. I had the pleasure of dining at the "Economy Shoe Company" where I started my meal with the mango and guava salad followed by the crusted halibut covered with lobster meat. A very nice meal with excellent customer service. I would rate them a sold "3" on my 5 point scale.
Take off to the Great White North,