Monday, September 30, 2013



A man cries at the death of his brother at the site of a suicide blast at a church in Peshawar, September 22, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Fayaz Aziz

 Sep 22, 2013

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - A pair of suicide bombers blew themselves up outside a 130-year-old Anglican church in Pakistan after Sunday Mass, killing at least 78 people in the deadliest attack on Christians in the predominantly Muslim country.

Islamist violence has been on the rise in Pakistan in past months, undermining Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's efforts to tame the insurgency by launching peace talks with the Pakistani Taliban.

Within hours of the attack, Sharif toughened his stance considerably but fell short of calling for outright military action against insurgents holed up in tribal areas on the Afghan border - an option supported by Pakistan's all-powerful army.

"Such incidents are not conducive of peace talks," Sharif said in televised remarks. "Unfortunately, because of this, the government is unable to move forward on what it had envisaged, on what it had wished for."

Explosions struck the historic white-stone All Saints Church in the city of Peshawar, near the frontier tribal areas where Islamist militants have their strongholds, as hundreds of parishioners, many of them women and children, streamed out of the building.

"I heard two explosions. People started to run. Human remains were strewn all over the church," said one parishioner, who gave only her first name, Margrette.

Her voice breaking with emotion, she said she had not seen her sister since the explosions ripped through the area around the gate of the church enclosure.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said the death toll of 78 included 34 women and seven children, in remarks televised live from Peshawar. More than 100 people were wounded.

"Who are these terrorists killing women and children?" Nisar said.

The Taliban-linked militant group TTP Jundullah claimed responsibility within hours of the attack.

"They are the enemies of Islam, therefore we target them," said the group's spokesman, Ahmed Marwat. "We will continue our attacks on non-Muslims on Pakistani land."


An assault of such scale and audacity could be a turning point for Sharif after months of inconclusive efforts to engage the Pakistani Taliban in talks, offering him a cue to give in to the tougher approach backed by the military.

The army, which keeps thousands of troops in the tribal belt, an area where insurgents are based, opposes talks with the Pakistani Taliban, saying previous attempts to bring the militants to the negotiating table yielded no results.

Christians make up about 4 percent of Pakistan's population of 180 million, and tend to keep a low profile in a country where Sunni Muslim militants frequently bomb targets they see as heretical, including Christians and Sufi and Shi'ite Muslims.

Attacks on Christian areas occur sporadically around the country but Sunday's assault, in a densely populated Christian residential area in the old walled city in Peshawar, was the most violent in recent history.

In 2009, 40 houses and a church were set ablaze by a mob of 1,000 Muslims in the town of Gojra in Punjab province. At least seven Christians were burnt to death. Seventeen Christians were killed in an attack on a church in Bahawalpur in 2001.

Some residents, enraged at the lack of adequate security at the church, took to the streets immediately after the attack, burning tires and shouting slogans.

Shops were closed in the Kohati Gate area where several other churches are located.

"Terrorists have not spared mosques, temples and churches. Please have mercy on us," one man outside the church, his face distorted by fear and anger, told Pakistan's private Geo television channel.

Protests by Christians were also reported in other cities including Multan and the violent port city of Karachi.

A bomb disposal source said two blasts had been set off by a pair of attackers. More than 600 parishioners were inside the church for the service.

(Writing by Maria Golovnina; Additional reporting by Hameedullah Khan in Peshawar, Syed Raza Hassan in Islamabad, Saud Mehsud in Dera Ismail Khan and Asim Tanveer in Multan; Editing by Andrew Heavens)


Dr. Guy Turcotte
Butchered his children.
If he were not a doctor,
If he was ugly or poor,
Would there be any question ?

Former Quebec doctor Guy Turcotte holds his daughter Anne-Sophie, one of his two children that he stabbed to death. His case is headed back to court Monday for a Crown appeal of a lower court verdict that found him not criminally responsible. (Montreal La Presse)
Former Quebec doctor Guy Turcotte holds his daughter Anne-Sophie, one of his two children that he stabbed to death. His case is headed back to court Monday for a Crown appeal of a lower court verdict that found him not criminally responsible. (Montreal La Presse)

MONTREAL — The case of a Quebec doctor who killed his young children is headed back to court today for a Crown appeal of a lower court verdict that found him not criminally responsible.

Guy Turcotte will appear in Quebec's highest court as the Crown tries to have the judgment annulled and a new trial ordered.

During the highly publicized murder trial, Turcotte admitted to repeatedly stabbing his kids, three-year-old Anne-Sophie and five-year-old Olivier, but denied criminal intent.

He then tried to commit suicide on that night in February 2009.

The not-criminally-responsible verdict meant that Turcotte was unable to know, at the time, that he was doing something wrong.

The case helped spur new federal legislation aimed at making it harder for those found not criminally responsible to gain their freedom.

Turcotte was eventually deemed fit for release from a mental institution, where he'd stayed following a total of 46 months in custody.

The Crown believes the trial judge should never have offered the not-criminally-responsible option.

It also argues that the jury wasn't properly instructed and that the judge did not sufficiently review the evidence with the jury.

The defence has rejected those arguments, contending that the Crown had plenty of time to interject before the jury retired to consider a verdict yet never raised any objections.

The defence says the court should reject the appeal, but if there is to be a new trial, it should be on the far-reduced charge of manslaughter.


Sunday, September 29, 2013

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel speaks during a press conference after the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) defense ministers meeting in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei, Aug. 29, 2013.
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says he is concerned about the possibility of further conflicts resulting from rising tensions in disputed Asian waters.

Hagel's comments appeared in the prepared remarks of a speech given Thursday to a gathering of Asian defense ministers at a Brunei resort overlooking the South China Sea, where several ASEAN members have overlapping claims with China.

The Pentagon chief said actions at sea "to advance territorial claims" are not effective, and "increase the risk of confrontation, undermine regional stability and dim the prospects for diplomacy."

Several ASEAN nations have accused China and its rapidly advancing military of using increasingly aggressive tactics in defending its claims to the energy-rich, strategic area.

The U.S. has said it does not take sides in the disputes, but has strengthened military cooperation with several nations there, most notably Vietnam and the Philippines.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told the ASEAN meeting Thursday that the South China Sea is "stable," and that there should be no concern about freedom of navigation in the area, an issue that has been repeatedly raised by Washington.

The territorial disputes were expected to top the agenda at the two-day ASEAN Defense Ministers' Meeting-Plus, which also brought together top defense officials from Japan, South Korea and other regional powers.

Analysts did not expect a breakthrough on the maritime standoffs, as China has been reluctant to even discuss the issue at such meetings. It instead prefers to deal with each rival claimant separately, a position that gives it a much greater advantage.

A Thursday editorial in the Global Times, China's Communist Party's official mouthpiece, said the ASEAN meeting is not the appropriate place to resolve maritime disputes.

ASEAN foreign ministers have been pushing for China to work towards signing a binding Code of Conduct to help prevent conflict in the territorial disputes. China has shown little interest in doing so, but recently promised to discuss the matter with ASEAN later in the year.

Brunei, the Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam and Malaysia are embroiled in territorial disputes with China over several resource-rich islands in the South China Sea. Japan and China are engaged in a separate dispute in the East China Sea.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations consists of Singapore, Brunei, Cambodia, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Burma, and Laos.

The ADMM-Plus will help lay the groundwork for October's East Asian Summit, which will be attended by world leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama.

Lessons from the Sudetenland

by Benjamin Netanyahu

History teaches us that man learns nothing from history. Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

Their Strategic Barrier

Czechoslovakia was strategically placed in the heart of Europe, and its conquest was central to Hitler's plans for overrunning Europe. Though small, Czechoslovakia could field over 800,000 men (one of the strongest armies in Europe), and it had a highly efficient arms industry.

To complicate matters from Hitler's point of view, it possessed a formidable physical barrier to his designs in the shape of the Sudeten mountains, which bordered Germany and guarded the access to the Czech heartland and the capital city of Prague only miles away.

A system of fortifications and fortresses had been built in the mountains over many years, making passage by force a very costly proposition, perhaps even impossible. We now know from the Nuremberg trials and other sources that Hitler's generals were utterly opposed to an assault on the Czech fortifications.

Worse from Hitler's point of view, the Western powers had promised at Versailles to guarantee the Czech border against any aggressive attack. France, which in 1938 could field one hundred divisions (an army 50% larger than Germany's), had agreed in writing to come to the Czech's defense, and Britain and Russia were committed to joining in if France did so.

Propaganda vs. Reality

Since an outright military victory seemed impossible, Hitler embarked on an unprecedented campaign to politically force the Czechs to give up the land, and with it any hope of being able to defend their capital or their country.

The inhabitants of the Sudetenland, Hitler said, were predominantly German, and these three million Sudeten Germans deserved-what else?-the right of self-determination and a destiny separate from the other seven million inhabitants of Czechoslovakia; this despite the fact that the country was a democracy and that the Sudeten Germans enjoyed economic prosperity and full civil rights.

To buttress his claim, Hitler organized and funded the creation of a new Sudeten political leadership that would do his bidding, which was, in the words of Sudeten leader Konrad Henlein, to "demand so much that we can never be satisfied."2

William Shirer, who was a reporter in Europe at the time, succinctly summarized it:

Thus the plight of the German minority in Czechoslovakia was merely a pretext ... for cooking up a stew in a land he coveted, undermining it, confusing and misleading its friends and concealing his real purpose ... to destroy the Czechoslovak state and grab its territories .... The leaders of France and Great Britain did not grasp this. All through the spring and summer, indeed almost to the end, Prime Minister Chamberlain and Premier Daladier apparently sincerely believed, along with most of the rest of the world, that all Hitler wanted was justice for his kinsfolk in Czechoslovakia.3

In addition, Hitler backed the establishment of a Sudeten liberation movement called the Sudeten Free Corps, and he instigated a series of well-planned and violent uprisings that the Czechs were compelled to quell by force.4 Hitler's propaganda chief, Goebbels, orchestrated a fearful propaganda campaign of fabricated "Czech terror" and oppression of the Sudeten Germans.

The Czech refusal to allow the Sudeten territories to return to their "rightful" German owners, Hitler prattled, was proof that the Czechs were the intransigent obstacle to peace. For what choice would Germany have but to come to the assistance of its oppressed brethren living under intolerable Czech occupation?

Moreover, the Germans reversed causality, claiming that the Czechs were trying to precipitate a European crisis in order to prevent the breakup of their state, that the choice between war and peace in Europe was in Czech hands, and even that "this petty segment of Europe is harassing the human race."5

But there was a simple way to simultaneously avoid war and achieve justice, Hitler said. The Western powers-meaning Britain and France-could force the Czechs to do what was necessary for the sake of peace: Czechoslovakia had to relinquish the "occupied territories."

The Fickle West

And it worked. With astonishing speed, the governments and opinion-makers of the West adopted Hitler's point of view. Throughout 1937 and 1938, mounting pressure was exerted on Czechoslovakia by the leading Western powers "to go to the utmost limit" to meet Sudeten demands.6 Czech leader Edvard Benes was reviled as intransigent.

The Western press published articles lamenting Czech shortsightedness and its total disregard for the cause of peace in Europe, as well as the injustice of not allowing the Sudetenland to be "returned" to Germany (despite the fact that it had never been part of Germany).

The British envoy who was dispatched to investigate the situation even went so far as to demand that Czechoslovakia "so remodel her foreign relations as to give assurances to her neighbors that she will in no circumstances attack them or enter into any aggressive action against them."7

Land For Peace

On September 18, 1938, under the gun of Hitler's September 28 deadline, a meeting was held between the British Cabinet and the French prime minister and foreign minister, in which it was determined that democratic Czechoslovakia must accede to Hitler's demands.

Despite the fact that the West had promised in writing at Versailles to go to war to defend Czechoslovakia's borders, it agreed that the Czechs must give up the Sudetenland for "the maintenance of peace and the safety of Czechoslovakia's vital interests."

In return, the Czechs would receive from Britain and France "an international guarantee of the new boundaries... against unprovoked aggression."8

If the Czechs did not accept the plan and thereby save the peace of Europe, they were informed by the leaders of the free world, they would be left to fight Hitler alone. In Neville Chamberlain's immortal words: "It is up to the Czechs now."9

But in fact it was not even left to the Czechs. Chamberlain realized that if the Czechs were to fight, France and Britain might be forced to fight too. As the Czechs and Germans mobilized, Chamberlain became increasingly hysterical about averting war by buying off Hitler with the Czech defensive wall. He shuttled repeatedly to Germany to try to arrange the pay-off. Finally, minutes before his September 28 deadline, Hitler "agreed" to Chamberlain's proposal for an international peace conference to bring peace to Central Europe.

At Munich, Britain and France pleaded with Hitler for 11 hours to "compromise" and take the Sudetenland peacefully. In the end Hitler agreed.

Having grasped the fact that his supposed democratic allies had allowed themselves to become tools in Hitler's hand, Prime Minister Benes announced Czechoslovakia's capitulation to the demands of the totalitarians. "We have been basely betrayed," he said.10

The Western leaders returned in triumph to London and Paris. In government, in parliament, and in the press, Chamberlain and Daladier were praised, cheered, and thanked for having traded land for peace. "My friends," said Chamberlain, "I believe it is peace in our time."

For when they shall say, 'Peace and safety'; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. -

1 Thessalonians 5:3

Phase Two

On September 30, the Czech army began its withdrawal from the Sudetenland - from the strategic passes, the mountain fortresses, and the major industrial facilities that would have been the backbone of Czechoslovakia's effort to defend itself. But this was only Phase One of Hitler's plan.

The German annexation of the Sudetenland was followed by a renewed list of demands on the Czechs. The Nazis continued to invent incidents of violence and oppression against the ethnic German minority in what was left of the Czech state.

Less than six months later, on March 15, 1939, the Nazi war machine rolled through the rest of Czechoslovakia. Shorn of their defenses in the Sudeten mountains, the Czechs were now powerless to resist. Phase Two had been implemented.

The Western powers again did nothing. Once more, all their assurance proved worthless.

NOTE: An interesting coincidence -

Chuck Hagel in the first article and the quote by Georg Hegel in the second article.



Ted Cruz
Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz pulled an all-nighter as marathon anti-Obamacare speech churned on.  He jumped from children's books to the civil war in his bid to block parts of the bill that would extend health insurance in the US.
At an early stage, he read the Dr Seuss children's classic Green Eggs and Ham, which he billed as a bedtime story to his daughters. While the tactic had charm, some commentators pointed out that the book may not have been the best choice:
"The narrator keeps insisting that he hates green eggs and ham, but he's never had green eggs and ham," wrote Matt Iglesias at Slate. "When he finally tries them – he likes them! The Democrats' bet on the Affordable Care Act is that it's like green eggs and ham – they're convinced the public will like it when they try it.
McCain 7 ways
U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) leaves the Senate chamber after fellow Republican Senator Ted Cruz held a marathon attack on "Obamacare" at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, September 25, 2013.
Senator John McCain lashed out at fellow Republican Ted Cruz on Wednesday over a Nazi appeasement comparison he made during his all-night, anti-Obamacare marathon on the U.S. Senate floor.

Speaking after Cruz had the floor for 21 hours and 19 minutes, McCain said he took umbrage at the Texas senator's efforts to pressure other Republicans to get behind his strategy for fighting President Barack Obama's signature health care law.

Cruz, a leader of the conservative Tea Party movement, has been urging his colleagues to join him in using the threat of a federal government shutdown to block funding for Obamacare.

McCain said he was particularly upset that Cruz had compared those unwilling to embrace his methods to British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and others who were willing to appease Nazi Germany before World War Two.

McCain, a Vietnam veteran and former prisoner of war, said the comparison was inappropriate. He said he had taken Cruz aside privately to tell him, and got a response he did not like: Cruz told him his appeaser reference applied not to distinguished members of the Senate but only media "pundits."

"I resoundingly reject" Cruz's comments, said McCain, a senior Republican and former presidential candidate.

"I think it's wrong and I think it's a disservice to those who stood up and shouted at the top of their lungs that we cannot appease and that we must act," he said.

He said the remarks were a disservice to those, including his father and grandfather, who fought in World War Two.

McCain also objected to the suggestion that Republicans who do not support Cruz's strategy were not fighting hard enough against the law, which most Republicans oppose.


Dan Roberts in Washington
The Guardian, Wednesday 25 September 2013 09.15 EDT

Thursday, September 26, 2013


It is so obvious:
Tie government benefits to
Go to school;
Make a serious effort to learn,
Avoid causing trouble,
Receive government benefits.
Do not go to school;
Fool around;
Cause trouble;
Use street drugs;
Receive NO benefits;
Go to reform school -
Or prison.
Now find a government willing to do it.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


Dawn McSweeney stole
Coins, diamonds, gemstone, gold and silver rings, bracelets, necklaces, brooches,
irreplaceable personal belongings and much, much more.
With the help of a Montreal Police officer.
This ring looks similar to my grandmother's diamond and sapphire dinner ring that Dawn McSweeney stole on October 7, 1996.
I provided the Montreal Police with photos and appraisals for my ring and many other precious items in March. 1997. But the Montreal Police still do nothing.
Detailed reports of these crimes are open to the world at -
She could not have succeeded in her crimes without the help of the Montreal Police.
Phyllis Carter 
Edwardian North to South Dinner Ring Old Euro Diamond Sapphire Solid Platinum
My aged grandmother spent many years as a resident of Providence Villa in Toronto. As she was getting older, she decided to give me her diamond and sapphire dinner ring.
My mother wanted Bobbe Sol to break up the ring and give one diamond to each of her daughters, but my grandmother refused. She wanted me to have her ring - perhaps because I was the eldest daughter; perhaps because she knew me better than the others and I was closest to my father.
So my father and I took the train to Toronto where my grandmother gave me her ring and she made out a little note to prove her intention to give the ring to me for a nominal sum so the transfer of ownership would be legal and no one could take it away from me.
But Dawn McSweeney stole my grandmother's ring along with all my best jewellery and much more - with the help of a Montreal Police officer on October 7, 1996.
The ring was insured along with all my valuables. I made my insurance payments to Prudential "The Rock" Insurance via Thorniley Insurance at Pointe Claire, Montreal for THIRTY years. But when I was robbed  - with the help of a Montreal Police officer - Prudential dropped me like a hot potato.
I told the Prudential agent and Brian Thorniley that I did not want the insurance money, I wanted Prudential to investigate, go to my home at 4995 Prince of Wales, NDG, Montreal - from where the Montreal Police officer had removed me without any legal process or justification - and bring back my belongings. But they refused.
The Prudential agent told me it was because the police waited too long to file a report.
Details at

Saturday, September 21, 2013


Amnesty International: Quebec values charter would limit 'fundamental rights'

Protesters take part in a demonstration opposing the proposed Charter of Quebec Values by the Parti Québécois government in downtown Montreal on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013.

Photograph by: Dario Ayala , The Gazette


MONTREAL - Amnesty International is wading into the debate over Quebec's controversial charter of values, arguing that the plan would limit "fundamental rights" and further stigmatize vulnerable women.

The Canadian branch of the human-rights organization says the Parti Quebecois proposal would violate Canadian and international law for infringing on freedom of expression and religion.

The PQ plan announced earlier this month would prohibit public employees from wearing obvious religious symbols, including the hijab.

Amnesty took particular issue with one of the stated goals of the proposed charter — that it would promote equality between the sexes.

"For people, and particularly for women, who might be coerced into wearing a religious symbol, prohibiting them from wearing it will not solve the problem," the group said in a statement.

"The people who had coerced them will still go unpunished, while the people who have been coerced will be punished in a number of ways, such as losing their jobs and hence their right to work and risking becoming isolated and stigmatized in their communities."

The group has voiced concern over Quebec policies before.

In April 2012, Amnesty International denounced former Premier Jean Charest's government for its handling of the student protests over tuition fees. The group called for a toning down of police measures, which it deemed unnecessarily aggressive.

This time, the group said it supports the PQ's efforts promote equality between men and women, but takes issue with its proposed approach.

"Women must not be forced to wear a scarf or a veil, neither by the government nor by individuals. But it is no more acceptable for a law to prevent them from wearing such garb," said Beatrice Vaugrante, executive director of the Canadian branch's francophone wing.

The minority PQ government is expected to table the charter this fall and has suggested it might negotiate with opposition parties afterward.

For now, Premier Pauline Marois appears content to let the debate rage on.

Quebec remains bitterly divided over the issue, with duelling protests over the charter's merits planned for this weekend.

A march against the charter was planned for Saturday in Quebec City, while a pro-charter march is set for Sunday in Montreal.

Meanwhile, a coalition of community groups and prominent Quebecers, including former Supreme Court Justice Claire l'Heureux Dube, is planning to hold a news conference Tuesday in support of the proposal, according to Montreal's Le Devoir newspaper.

A new poll released Saturday found more than half of those surveyed— 52 per cent — were in favour of the plan. But 56 per cent felt the charter's constitutionality should be tested in court.

The Leger-Marketing survey, conducted for the Montreal Gazette, questioned 1,001 Quebecers for the web panel poll between Sept. 17 and Sept. 19. Results are considered accurate within 2.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.



Friday, September 20, 2013


Josh Freed: ‘Kippaqois’ should be exempt from Quebec charter
Josh Freed

MONTREAL — Call it the tale of the kippah Québécois.

My old friend Tony Bergeron went to last Saturday's march against the Quebec Values Charter — wearing a protest costume that may soon be illegal.

He knew Muslims were organizing the event and he wanted them to see they had sympathy from other people too.

As a Catholic-born atheist Bergeron wasn't comfortable wearing a cross, and he felt wearing a Muslim head scarf would be "gender-bending." So he decided to put on a kippah; after all, he knew several Jews who wanted to attend — but couldn't, since the protest was on Yom Kippur.

He'd be their stand-in.

When Bergeron got to the protest in his kippah, the first reaction he got was from an old francophone friend, a lifelong sovereignist. She works as a lunchtime "educator" at French grade school, where two of her colleagues (and friends) are Muslim women in head scarves.

She was enraged at Premier Pauline Marois for making the women feel ostracized. She'd come to the protest to denounce the PQ — and she loved seeing Bergeron in his kippah.

She was far from alone. As he marched in the protest, many Muslims were thrilled to see Bergeron and waved at him. He was approached a number of times by women in head scarves who rushed over to say how touched they were to have the support of others, especially someone Jewish.

"I know there were actual Jews at the protest going unnoticed," says Bergeron, "but I seemed to be the only person in a kippah, so I got lots of attention."

An older Arab man solemnly approached and wished him "Happy Yom Kippur," then said in French: "Premier Marois is trying to divide us, but instead she is creating a rapprochement among minorities — including Arabs and Jews. Thank you for joining us."

Bergeron also spotted some blond-haired women arriving by métro and debating how to put on some head scarves they were obviously wearing for the same reason as him.

It all makes for a heartwarming story, but perhaps even more — because Bergeron may have found a solution to our religious clothing wars. He lives up in Little Italy and his friends are French, so he couldn't buy or borrow a kippah. Instead he made one — out of a tuque.

"I took an old black tuque with red trim and carefully cut out a small kippa with a red slash, but it looked just like the real thing."

Bergeron has created a kippah Québécois or, if you will, a kippaqois that should obviously be legal under the new charter.

After all, the proposed law exempts religious symbols like the cross in the National Assembly and the prayers before many city council meetings — because according to the PQ government, these are part of our "history" and "patrimoine".

But the kippaqois is clearly part of our province's history and heritage too. The tuque goes back to the 1700s when Quebec's early fur trappers first made them out of socks. Similarly, the Quebec kippah goes back to the 1760s, worn by Aaron Hart, one of Quebec's first Jews.

So the kippaqois should logically be exempt from the new charter too.

Maybe a Quebec company can start churning them out for people who want to demonstrate their religious observance in a legitimate "historical" way. It could also look for similar solutions to accommodate other religious minorities.

I mean, who could object to a Muslim niqab head covering cut from the red, white and blue of a Montreal Canadiens scarf? We'd call it a niq-hab. Imagine a head scarf inspector, tape measure in hand, asking someone to remove the Canadiens colours — there'd be a hockey riot.

The Canadiens go back to 1909 — they're our glorieux who conquered the hockey world in Quebec's name. They're a religious symbol themselves.

Of course, the Sikh turban is a larger garment that requires more material than a hockey scarf, so how about making some out of the giant Quebec flags all over the province? They too are exempt from the new charter as historical symbols — despite their religious crosses and fleur-de-lis.

The same exemption should clearly stand for a turban-de-lys.

Those seeking less ostentatious ways to historically decorate their religious symbols might try covering their turban or kippah in Je me souviens stickers. That's been Quebec's official motto since 1939.

Wearing this motto could also let you send a hidden message, just like our mysterious license plate does.

Other religious symbols could be adorned in other elements of our Quebec historical traditions, maybe even using some tiny version of our anglo patrimoine — like the Guaranteed Milk Bottle.

Think of the possibilities! In fact, how about a kippah, turban, or head scarf covered in the ultimate religious symbol that's protected by the new Quebec charter — dozens of tiny, discreet crosses?

The Gazette




Hundreds of women in Ontario are in marriages against their will, with a quarter of them married when they were just teenagers, according to a three-year study looking into the practice.

The South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario, or SALCO, released its findings today looking at 219 cases of forced marriage that were identified in the province between 2010 and 2012.

The report, titled Who/If/When to Marry: The Incidence of Forced Marriage in Ontario, found that both men and women in the province are coerced into marriage, but 92 per cent of those affected are women. In 25 per cent of the cases, the people involved were just 16 to 18 years old when they were married.

It's the first study to provide a closer look at these non-consensual unions, which are defined as marriages where individuals are forced to wed against their will, under duress or without full, free and informed consent from both parties.

"I think the reality is that number is just a tipping point of all those cases we know are not getting reported," said Shalini Konanur of SALCO.

"And you have to remember our collection was just in Ontario, so the national picture would be much more, I think, bigger."

The study found that the majority of the people affected are Canadian citizens and permanent residents, with people in 31 per cent of cases living in Canada for more than a decade before being forced into marriage.

"This is a Canadian problem," said Konanur," and it does transcend communities, religion and ages."

One woman, who goes by the name Haya and does not want to be identified, had been living in Ontario for several years before her father took her to Pakistan to force her to marry her cousin.

"I thought, 'Yay, we're going to go back home for a vacation,'" Haya told CBC News.

"It turns out my dad ends up taking my passport, telling me I can't go back home to Canada and I'm just going to have to end up getting married," she said.

Haya managed to escape from Pakistan and is now living in Mississauga, Ont., but said she was disowned by her father.

The report lists a variety of reasons people are pressured into marriages — usually by family members, community elders or religious leaders — including upholding cultural tradition, family reputation and honour.

The report says shame and fear are common themes in many of the cases it examined. In some cases, victims were threatened with violence.

"In our society, we are fairly good at understanding issues of violence, particularly violence against women," said Uzma Shakir, a former director at SALCO. "But this is an aspect of that violence that we are not quite familiar with."

The report lists several recommendations on how to deal with forced marriages across the country, including a national public awareness campaign, building a better framework for assessing cases and providing legal and social support for victims of the practice.



Thursday, September 19, 2013



Governments take an interest in crime when power and Big Bucks are involved. But readers in Russia and around the world are showing an interest in the crime and corruption in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, where the police help thieves and abuse crime victims.

More than 113,000 people around the world have now read my reports of corruption in governments in Montreal, Quebec and Canada, at

Phyllis Carter

Cuba, Iran, Belarus and Russia used a United Nations body Thursday to criticize Canada's human rights record, as the Canadian envoy rejected calls to develop a comprehensive national review to end violence against aboriginal women.

Canada was responding Thursday to the UN Human Rights Council, which is conducting its Universal Periodic Review of Canada's rights record, on a wide range of issues from poverty, immigration and the criminal justice system.

Countries have their rights records reviewed every four years by the Geneva-based UN forum, but the Harper government has been skeptical in part because it allows countries with dubious rights records to criticize Canada.

On Thursday, that happened again.

Cuba said it deplored Canada's rejection of one of its human-rights recommendations, while Iran took Canada to task for rejecting four that it had made.

Canada is proud of its human-rights record

Belarus blasted Canada for not doing enough to combat child prostitution, and said it should allow a series of UN special rapporteurs to come to Canada investigate various topics.

Russia said it was "bewildered" that Canada rejected a recommendation related to the "brutal beating" of a Russian national in a Calgary jail cell.

Canada's ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Elissa Golberg, offered a brief rebuttal to Belarus, saying it should allow UN rapporteurs to visit, but did not engage directly with the other countries that criticized Canada.

"Canada is proud of its human-rights record, and our peaceful and diverse society," Golberg told the one-hour session.

While no society is entirely free of discrimination, she noted, Canada has "a strong legal and policy framework for the promotion and protection of human rights, and an independent court system."

Recommendations from those countries were among the 40 of 162 that Canada chose to reject.

That also included a rejection of a series of resolutions calling on Canada to undertake sweeping national reviews of violence against aboriginal women.

Golberg said Canada takes the issue seriously and that provincial and local governments are better suited to getting results on those issues.

In Ottawa, Shawn Atleo, national chief of Canada's Assembly of First Nations, said there is deep concern among aboriginals over the government's refusal to conduct a national review of the problem.

"There is strong support for this action domestically among provincial and territorial leaders and the Canadian public and strong international support, not to mention a multitude of reports and investigations that urge Canada to act," Atleo said in a statement.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian WyldNational Chief of the Assembly of First Nations Shaw Atleo waits to appear before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal hearings Monday February 25, 2013 in Ottawa.

The federal New Democrats also issued a statement calling the government's response "shocking."

In Toronto, Teresa Piruzza, the Ontario minister responsible for women's issues, expressed disappointment, saying it is "really a national issue."

But a statement from Justice Minister Peter MacKay's office said the government is focused on action _ not meetings and studies.

"This includes creating a new National Centre for Missing Persons, improving law enforcement databases and developing community safety plans specifically designed for Aboriginal communities," the statement said.

At the UN, the countries that called for a national review included Switzerland, Norway, Slovenia, Slovakia and New Zealand.

Other countries with poor rights records, including Iran, Cuba and Belarus, also supported the call for an investigation into the disappearances, murder and sexual abuse of aboriginal women in Canada.

In a report tabled Thursday in Geneva, Canada says it is "strongly committed to taking action with aboriginal and non-aboriginal groups to prevent and stop violence against aboriginal women" through a series of federal and provincial initiatives.

"There have been a number of inquiries and resulting proposals for improvements over the years," says the reply.

"In addition, race-based statistics are not recorded in a systematic manner across Canada's criminal justice system due to operational, methodological, legal and privacy concerns."

Canada faced similar calls to better address the concerns of its aboriginal population in 2009, when it faced its last review by the UN body.

Race-based statistics are not recorded in a systematic manner

"Such comments were made by a range of states, some of them close allies, some not. For example, the United Kingdom, Norway and the Netherlands, as well as Cuba and Iran, recommended that Canada better address Aboriginal Peoples' concerns," said an April 2013 Library of Parliament review of the UN review process.

The issue reared its head again in February when the New York-based group Human Rights Watch issued a highly critical report alleging police abuse of aboriginal women in British Columbia.

It too urged the Harper government to strike a national commission of inquiry along with the B.C. provincial government, a measure that was endorsed by the NDP, Liberals, the Green party and the Assembly of First Nations.

James Anaya, the UN special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, is scheduled to visit Canada in October to conduct his own inquiry.

The federal government will get a chance to respond to Anaya's findings before a final report is circulated and presented to the UN rights council.

The Harper government has butted heads in the past with previous UN special rapporteurs.

Conservative cabinet ministers have blasted the UN's right-to-food envoy Olivier De Schutter for saying too many Canadian citizens are going hungry.

It is all part of a periodic war of words between the Harper government and various UN bodies. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has criticized a Quebec law on demonstrations, prompting a quick response from Ottawa.

The UN Committee Against Torture has also accused Ottawa of being "complicit" in human rights violations committed against three Arab-Canadian men held in Syria after 9-11.



Dad of boy starved to death by grandparents says he failed his son

Richard Baldwin, father of Jeffrey Baldwin, leaves an inquest into his son's death in Toronto, Wednesday, Sept.18, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Allison Jones

TORONTO - Before Jeffrey Baldwin was placed in the care of the grandparents who starved him to death he was a happy little boy who tried to fly like his beloved Superman, his father said as he broke down in tears.

But the five-year-old boy himself was the one who needed saving, and his father admitted Thursday that he was one of many adults who failed to rescue Jeffrey as he wasted away.

A coroner's inquest into Jeffrey's death heard for a second day from his father, who lost custody of Jeffrey when he was a toddler. The inquest has heard that the Catholic Children's Aid Society documented various alleged incidents of domestic violence between Jeffrey's parents.

The boy and his three siblings were put into the care of their grandparents, Elva Bottineau and Norman Kidman, first by children's aid societies then permanently by the courts.

Both had previous convictions for abusing Bottineau's children from a previous relationship, but the Catholic Children's Aid Society did not discover those files in their records until after Jeffrey's death in November 2002.

But before Jeffrey was locked in his room, forced to mop up his own urine and feces and so severely starved that at the end of his life he couldn't lift his own head, he was an active boy who always wanted hugs and kisses, his father Richard Baldwin said.

"Jeffrey was my world," he said. "He was my little man. He had beautiful, curly hair."

Jeffrey was once very energetic and loved Superman, Baldwin said.

"He wanted to fly," Baldwin said. "He tried jumping off the chair. We had to make him stop. He dressed up (as Superman) for Halloween one year...He was so excited. I have that picture at home hanging on my wall. He was our little man of steel."

But once Jeffrey was in his grandparents' care, the only hugs he got were probably from his parents, Baldwin said, on the visits they would make whenever Bottineau would deign to give them access.

Baldwin told the inquest Wednesday that the last time he saw his son alive was a couple of months before the boy's death. He didn't look well and was "very small," Baldwin said.

In fact, when Jeffrey died he was severely stunted in height and weighed just 21 pounds — about the same as he did on his first birthday.

Thursday at the inquest, a lawyer representing Jeffrey's surviving siblings pointed Baldwin to a police interview from a few months after Jeffrey's death, in which he said the last time he saw his son alive was actually mere weeks before his death.

Jeffrey looked like one of those "Ethiopian children" that he had seen on TV, Baldwin told police in that 2003 interview.

The siblings' lawyer, Freya Kristjanson, questioned Baldwin about why he didn't call someone, anyone, if he knew how frail the boy was, to the point where both she and Baldwin were crying and the inquest had to take an early lunch break.

"You know, looking at what Jeffrey was like by October, that unless someone did something, Jeffrey would die," Kristjanson asked.

"I didn't think he was going to die," Baldwin said. He asked Bottineau about Jeffrey's health and she told him, "Don't worry, he'll bounce back," Baldwin said. He should have pressed her or called the authorities, for the sake of his son, Baldwin admitted Thursday.

"She said, 'Don't worry, I took him to the doctor. I'm on top of it," he said. In fact, the inquest has heard, Jeffrey hadn't seen a doctor since he was 1 1/2 years old.

"I should have questioned it and that's where I failed," Baldwin said. "I failed my son."

Bottineau and Kidman were convicted in 2006 of second-degree murder in Jeffrey's death and are serving life sentences.

At the time Jeffrey died there were six adults living in Bottineau and Kidman's house. Two of their daughters lived there with their partners.

The inquest heard this week from their daughter Tammy Kidman and her former partner Mike Reitemeier. Kidman said she didn't notice as Jeffrey wasted away because she "didn't pay that much attention." Reitemeier said he noticed Jeffrey's slow decline and was "bugged" by the boy's treatment, but didn't want to "create friction" by reporting it.

The couple's third daughter, Yvonne Kidman, was the mother of Jeffrey and his siblings. She left home as a teenager after throwing hot tea at a sister during an argument, the inquest heard, and gave birth to her first child with Baldwin at age 17.

She is set to testify Monday after Baldwin's testimony concludes.

Baldwin said he didn't want to call the Catholic Children's Aid Society about Jeffrey's treatment because they were the people who had taken his children away from him. As to why he didn't call the police or some other authority, he said, "I don't know. I was scared."

The inquest is expected to determine whether enough changes have been made to the child protection system in the 11 years since Jeffrey died, or if there are more improvements that can be made to ensure no other child suffers his fate.






14 yr old Chinmayee Poses With a Rifle at the Durga Camp Graduation Ceremony. Credit: Storyline Entertainment.

The World Before Her is a fascinating portrait of two women and two Indias. It reveals a world of startling contrasts between urban and rural, jeans and saris, consumer culture and poverty, where rapid economic development fuels a sharpening conflict between tradition and modernity—especially when it touches on women and religion. In focusing on two particularly thoughtful young women—one a militant Hindu nationalist, the other a contestant for Miss India—The World Before Her provides a timely account of a multi-faceted, often confusing clash over values and the future of the world's largest democracy.

In 2011, 20 young women from across India gathered in a modern Bombay hotel to compete in the Miss India pageant. They had been picked from thousands of aspiring beauty queens to vie for a much-coveted crown in a country lately gone mad for beauty contests, even as the pageants have also elicited a conservative backlash. Whatever the controversies, winning the title means instant stardom, a lucrative career path and freedom from the constraints of a patriarchal society. The 20 finalists will spend 30 days before the pageant going through a "beauty boot camp" to optimize their diction, gaits and facial expressions and help them conform to "international" standards of beauty.

Among the finalists is Ruhi Singh, from the "famous pink city" of Jaipur in northern India. The World Before Her reveals Ruhi to be anything but a dewy-eyed victim of the beauty boot camp or of pageants in general. A veteran of such contests, she submits to the beauty regime, including skin lightening, with a determination to win. Her motives certainly include making her supportive parents proud and earning lots of money. But what the crown, pride and money ultimately mean to Ruhi is this: "I think of myself as a very modern young girl and I want freedom." For women in Ruhi's world, a beauty pageant is a road to liberation.

Little more than 200 miles away from Bombay, in the city of Aurangabad, thousands of girls attend annual camps run by Durga Vahini, the women's wing of the largest Hindu nationalist group in India. Durga Vahini is part of a rising militant fundamentalist movement that preaches resistance to Islam, Christianity and Western culture. The group has become a potent force in Indian life, and it does not shy away from embracing violence in the name of defending Hindus and Hindu values. At its camps for girls, to which the crew of The World Before Her gained first-time access, its young charges are taught an unusual combination of proper Hindu femininity and fighting skills.

One of the instructors at these camps is the highly committed Prachi Trivedi, a girl from a modest economic background who is at a turning point in her life. "I am a Hindu and I'll proudly say I'm a Hindu," she says. "We are trying to save ourselves. That is the only thing I want. . . . The Hindu movement is life for me." She swears she is ready to die and kill in the defense of Hinduism, at the same time that camp preachers portray other religions as the work of demons. In fact, Prachi seems to prefer the fighting side of instruction and admits, "I don't like those girlish-type girls."

This is where the very intensity of her commitment to Hinduism brings her into conflict with tradition. "I'm different from girls. I'm different from boys," she ruminates. "My life is not to get married, to produce children. I have the feeling I've not been made by God for these things." Her traditionalist father will have none of this. "I don't know what she wants or doesn't want and it's not important," he says. "Marriage is her duty. She has to get married and she will." Prachi protests, but the tough-talking woman of the Durga Vahini camps seems unable to marshal the will or resources to go her own way.

In one of the film's remarkable twists, Prachi's deference to her father turns out to be more than a matter of traditional Hindu values.

( Note: Her father admits that he beats her, that he burned her foot for lying.  P.C. )

In a country that so prefers baby boys that 750,000 girls are electively aborted every year and an unknown number are killed at birth, Prachi's father had chosen to save her and raise her as his only child.

In The World Before Her, this history comes out in the context of sensational media revelations that Miss India of 2009, now a star, had been saved from infanticide only because her mother had walked out on her husband. This existential reality is shared by girls and women on both sides of the seeming divide between tradition and modernity.

One thing is for sure, as Prachi's mother observes: "It's a new culture; they're not going to follow our old ways. Each generation chooses its own path." Moving between two extremes—the modern, Westernized pursuit of beauty and fundamentalist Hindu religious values—The World Before Her creates a lively, provocative portrait of the world's largest democracy at a critical transitional moment. It creates an equally compelling portrait of two women who hope to shape that country's future.


Do you believe because you believe ?
Do you believe because
Someone is programming you to obey?
What are they leading you to?
Heaven or Hell on Earth ?
Indian massacre of 1622, depicted in a 1628 woodcut by Matthäus Merian out of Theodore de Bry's workshop.

Many of the settlers who came over on the initial three ships were not well-equipped for the life they found in Jamestown. A number of the original settlers were upper-class gentlemen who were not accustomed to manual labor; the group included very few farmers or skilled laborers.[5] The climate, location, and makeup of the settlement resulted in many settlers dying of disease and starvation....

The reaction to the Powhatan uprising was retaliation, and the English set to with a vengeance. A year later, Captain William Tucker and Dr. John Rolfes worked out a supposed-truce with the Powhatans and proposed a toast using liquor laced with poison. 200 Virginia Indians were killed by the poison and 50 more were slaughtered by the colonists. For over a decade, the English settlers killed Powhatan men and women, captured children and systematically razed villages, seizing or destroying crops.

A letter by Richard Frethorne, written in 1623, reports, "we live in fear of the enemy every hour."[27]


A forensic facial reconstruction of the 14-year-old victim of cannibalism at Jamestown during the winter of 1609.

Photograph courtesy Don Hurlbert, Smithsonian; art by StudioEIS

A chopped skull.

Shallow chops, top, on the victim's skull. Photograph courtesy Don Hurlbert, Smithsonian

Paula Neely

for National Geographic News

Published May 1, 2013

Archaeologists have discovered the first physical evidence of cannibalism by desperate English colonists driven by hunger during the Starving Time of 1609-1610 at Jamestown, Virginia (map)—the first permanent English settlement in the New World.

The announcement was made by a team of researchers from the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, Historic Jamestowne, and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation at a press conference May 1 in Washington, D.C.

There are five historical accounts written by or about Jamestown colonists that reference cannibalism, but this is the first time it's been proven, said William Kelso, director of archeology at Historic Jamestowne.

"This is a very rare find," said James Horn, vice president of research for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. "It is the only artifactual evidence of cannibalism by Europeans at any European colony—Spanish, French, English, or Dutch—throughout the colonial period from about 1500 to 1800."

Sharon, Martin and Christa Amos

In the early evening of November 18, at the Temple's headquarters in Georgetown, Temple member Sharon Amos received a radio communication from Jonestown instructing the members at the headquarters to take revenge on the Temple's enemies and then commit revolutionary suicide.[164] Later, after police arrived at the Temple headquarters, Sharon Amos escorted her children, Liane (21), Christa (11) and Martin (10), into a bathroom.[165] Wielding a kitchen knife, Sharon first killed Christa and then Martin.[165] Then Liane assisted Sharon in killing herself with the knife, after which Liane killed herself with the knife.[165]

The Peoples Temple

Founded in 1956 by Jim Jones, the Peoples Temple was a racially integrated church that focused on helping people in need. Jones originally established the Peoples Temple in Indianapolis, Indiana, but then moved it to Redwood Valley, California in 1966.

Jones had a vision of a communist community, one in which everyone lived together in harmony and worked for the common good. He was able to establish this in a small way while in California but he dreamed of establishing a compound outside of the United States.

This compound would be fully under his control, allow Peoples Temple members to help others in the area, and be far away from any influence of the United States government.

Jonestown: The Settlement in Guyana

Jones found a remote location in the South American country of Guyana that fit his needs. In 1973, he leased some land the Guyanese government and had workers begin clearing it of jungle.

Since all building supplies needed to be shipped in to the Jonestown Agricultural Settlement, construction of the site was slow. In early 1977, there were only about 50 people living in the compound and Jones was still in the U.S.

However, that all changed when Jones received word that an exposé was about to be printed about him. The exposé article included interviews with ex-members. The night before the article was to be printed, Jim Jones and several hundred Peoples Temple members flew to Guyana and moved into the Jonestown compound.

Things Go Wrong in Jonestown

Jonestown was meant to be a utopia. However, when members arrived at Jonestown, things were not as they expected. Since there weren't enough cabins built to house people, each cabin was filled with bunk beds and overcrowded. The cabins were also segregated by gender, so married couples were forced to live apart.

The heat and humidity in Jonestown was stifling and caused a number of members to get sick. Members were also required to work long work days in the heat, often up to 11 hours a day.

Throughout the compound, members could hear Jones's voice broadcast through a loudspeaker. Unfortunately, Jones often would talk endlessly on the loudspeaker, even through the night. Exhausted from a long day's work, members did their best to sleep through it.

Although some members did love living in Jonestown, others wanted out. Since the compound was surrounded by miles and miles of jungle and encircled by armed guards, members needed Jones's permission to leave. And Jones didn't want anyone to leave.

Congressman Ryan Visits Jonestown

U.S. Representative Leo Ryan from San Mateo, California heard reports of bad things happening in Jonestown and thus decided to go to Jonestown and find out for himself what was going on. He took along his adviser, an NBC film crew, and a group of concerned relatives of Peoples Temple members.

At first, everything looked fine to Ryan and his group. However, that evening, during a big dinner and dance in the pavilion, someone secretly passed a note with the names of a few people who wanted to leave to one of the men from NBC. It then became clear that some people were being held against their will in Jonestown.

The following day, November 18, 1978, Ryan announced that he was willing to take anyone who wished to leave back to the United States. Worried about Jones's reaction, only a few people accepted Ryan's offer.

The Attack at the Airport

When it was time to leave, the Peoples Temple members who had stated they wanted out of Jonestown scrambled on board a truck with Ryan's entourage. Before the truck got far, Ryan, who had decided to stay behind to ensure that there was no one else who wanted to leave, was attacked by a Peoples Temple member.

The assailant failed to cut Ryan's throat, but the incident made it obvious that Ryan and the others were in danger. Ryan then joined the truck and left the compound.

The truck made it safely to the airport, but the planes weren't ready to leave when the group arrived. As they waited, a tractor and trailer pulled up near them. From the trailer, Peoples Temple members popped up and started shooting at Ryan's group.

On the tarmac, five people were killed, including Congressman Ryan. Many others were severely wounded.

Mass Suicide at Jonestown: Drinking Poisoned Punch

Back in Jonestown, Jones ordered everyone to assemble at the pavilion. Once everyone was assembled, Jones spoke to his congregation. He was in a panic and seemed agitated. He was upset that some of his members had left. He acted like things had to happen in a hurry.

He told the congregation that there was to be an attack on Ryan's group. He also told them that because of the attack, Jonestown wasn't safe. Jones was sure that the U.S. government would react strongly to the attack on Ryan's group. "[W]hen they start parachuting out of the air, they'll shoot some of our innocent babies," Jones told them.

Jones told his congregation that the only way out was to commit the "revolutionary act" of suicide. One woman spoke up against the idea, but after Jones offered reasons why there was no hope in other options, the crowd spoke out against her.

When it was announced that Ryan was dead, Jones became more urgent and more heated. Jones urged the congregation to commit suicide by saying, "If these people land out here, they'll torture some of our children here. They'll torture our people, they'll torture our seniors. We cannot have this."

Jones told everyone to hurry. Large kettles filled with grape flavored Flavor-Aid (not Kool-Aid), cyanide, and Valium were placed in the open-sided pavilion.

Babies and children were brought up first. Syringes were used to pour the poisoned juice into their mouths. Mothers then drank some of the poisoned punch.

Next went other members. Some members were already dead before others got their drinks. If anyone wasn't cooperative, there were guards with guns and crossbows to encourage them. It took approximately five minutes for each person to die.

On that day, November 18, 1978, 912 people died from drinking the poison, 276 of whom were children. Jones died from a single gunshot wound to the head, but it is unclear whether or not he did this himself.

Only a handful or so people survived, either by escaping into the jungle or hiding somewhere in the compound. In total 918 people died, either at the airport or at the Jonestown compound.