This week

This week.

THIS WEEK.

Not fun.

And it’s only Thursday, give me a break.

Because of that and because I’m listening to my music playlist that’s actually named ‘Eclectic Stuff’ and I’m not in the least bit tired, I’m going to blog 100 things  (originally it was 50 but hey, we all need a bit of cheering up, right?) that are still great.

Here goes.

  1. Paper Cranes
  2. Tossing an apple back and forth in your hands
  3. Painting
  4. Listening to music
  5. Particularly this song
  6. Watching your favourite TV shows on TV (so much better than on a computer, right?)
  7. Yelling at friends about your favourite TV shows
  8. Travelling
  9. Even travelling to the next city
  10. Or house
  11. Walking
  12. Driving
  13. Any mode of transportation, really
  14. Teleportation is alright as well
  15. When you wake up after being sick and you aren’t sick anymore
  16. Coming to brilliant conclusions, even if it seems like everyone else already knew it
  17. When you find a place that’s really comfortable and nice
  18. Drinking something warm on a cold day
  19. Drinking something cool on a hot day
  20. Grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup
  21. When your favourite song comes on (via radio or autoplay)
  22. Rain
  23. Sun
  24. When you get into the bath/shower and it’s just the right temperature
  25. Doing something right the first time
  26. Finally succeeding at doing something right after trying a bunch of times
  27. Flowers that smell good
  28. People drawing things for you
  29. Free stuff
  30. Books
  31. Writing
  32. Doing something you’re really proud of
  33. Having people praise you for something you’re really proud of
  34. Really comfortable clothes after a long day of uncomfortable ones
  35. Space heaters on cold days
  36. Campfires
  37. Marshmallows
  38. Going on a mad ‘clean everything’ spree and just sitting down afterwards and enjoying how nice things look
  39. Messing everything up after you’ve cleaned it all
  40. Lego
  41. Really old video games
  42. Really new video games
  43. Staying home and watching horrible movies
  44. Staying home
  45. Eating food after you’ve been really hungry
  46. Chipotle mayonnaise
  47. Blankets
  48. Deja Vu
  49. Nice wallpaper designs
  50. Those books you really love reading that you just re-read over and over and over
  51. Mixing colours on a paint palate
  52. Getting something stuck between your teeth out
  53. Sleeping
  54. Waking up really early to go somewhere and that weird between feeling that you get from not having enough sleep but not caring
  55. Wandering around Ikea
  56. Those really random and pointless topics that you know a lot about [Bonus: when people bring them up as a topic]
  57. Really nice photographs
  58. Really nice paintings
  59. POETRY
  60. *inspired by Christina Zhang* The new car smell
  61. Wandering around cities without a map
  62. That one song that just makes you feel better no matter what [This is mine, by the way]
  63. Buskers with strange instruments
  64. Old stuff [typewriters, fountain pens, keys, everything] [[okay, maybe not everything but you get it]]
  65. Making food that tastes good
  66. Guitars
  67. Movie Soundtracks
  68. Those flashes of inspiration at the same time that you have a total lack of procrastination
  69. Trees
  70. When you notice something interesting that nobody else saw
  71. Space [as in the universe, but open spaces are really cool too]
  72. Hummingbirds
  73. Birds singing in general
  74. ANIMALS WITH STRANGE COLOURS [Have you seen mantis shrimps]
  75. Timbits
  76. When you fix things that are broken
  77. Colouring books
  78. Crayons
  79. Magic illusions
  80. Sushi
  81. Candles
  82. Bowties
  83. Cameras
  84. Paperclips. Just take a moment and contemplate how terrible stuff would be if you didn’t have paperclips
  85. Pencils, too
  86. ALL STATIONERY IS REALLY COOL
  87. Playlists of music
  88. Genuinely nice people
  89. Beaches
  90. Singing along to songs
  91. Picnics
  92. *brought to you by Jeff Gao* Puppies
  93. *brought to you by Jeff Gao* Bacon
  94. Bagels
  95. Paint splatters
  96. Clouds
  97. Newspapers
  98. Cinematography
  99. *brought to you by Jeff Gao* Drawing on fogged up windows
  100. This

AAAAAAAAAAAnd done! I realise that I self-projected some of my own things onto this and really, how many people think that cinematography makes the world a better place (me) but oh well.

So let’s try and make it to the end of the week. At least.

– Jess

Northwest Territories to “devolve” relations with Ottawa

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lOcZh52PZFM&w=560&h=315]
In what Prime Minister Stephen Harper called a “historic” agreement,

“Negotiators have reached a consensus on the terms of a final devolution agreement,” Harper said.

The final agreement, as it stands, gives the Northwest Territories more control over its natural resources — it stands to get half the money collected from oil, minerals and diamonds. Based on last year’s numbers, that would have added about $69 million to the territory’s budget.

Five of the territory’s seven aboriginal groups signed a consensus document, including Nellie Cournoyea, a former N.W.T. premier and the current chair of the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation.

“Being part of the agreement, then we’re able to ensure we can work together with what we received in our land claims agreement. So it gives us a parity with the territorial government,” she said.

What to do about the Senate?

The Canadian Senate

As was mentioned in class last week, there has been much discussion in Ottawa (and across the country) about the state of affairs in Canada’s Senate to the point that this week the NDP has tabled a bill which proposes abolishing the Red Chamber altogether.

But before we get to all of that, a little background (courtesy of Wikipedia):

The Senate of Canada (French: Sénat du Canada) is a component of the Parliament of Canada, along with the House of Commons, and the monarch (represented by the governor general). The Senate is modelled after the House of Lords and consists of 105 members appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister. Seats are assigned on a regional basis, with each of the four major regions receiving 24 seats, and the remainder of the available seats being assigned to smaller regions. The four major regions are Ontario, Quebec, the Maritime provinces, and the Western provinces. The seats for Newfoundland and Labrador, the Northwest Territories, Yukon, and Nunavut are assigned apart from these regional divisions. Senators may serve until they reach the age of 75.

The Senate is the upper house of Parliament, and the House of Commons is the lower house. This does not, however, imply that the Senate is more powerful than the House of Commons, merely that its members and officers outrank the members and officers of the House of Commons in the order of precedence for the purposes of protocol. Indeed, as a matter of practice and custom, the Commons is by far the dominant chamber. Although the approval of both houses is necessary for legislation, the Senate rarely rejects bills passed by the directly elected Commons. Moreover, the government is responsible solely to the House of Commons; the Prime Minister of Canada and Cabinet stay in office only while they retain the confidence of the Commons. The Senate does not exercise any such control. Although legislation can normally be introduced in either house, the majority of government bills originate in the House of Commons. Under the Constitution, money bills must always originate in the House of Commons.

So what to make of the discussion of the Senate in recent weeks? (See the links below to get a clearer picture of the situation.) 

Despite Senate reform being part of Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party platform during their minority governments, the recent controversy began surrounding several Senators’ places of residence, and whether they were eligible to claim travel benefits and living expenses from the government (one of these Senators, Conservative appointee Patrick Brazeau, was also arrested for assault related to a domestic disturbance in one of his homes).

Suffice it to say that the above flurry of relevant current events has sparked much legal debate about how Senators’ expense reports are documented and overseen by the Parliamentary Budget Officer (who the Toronto Star recently hailed as a “National Hero“), and even prompted the Senate to seek out a way to have Kevin Page drop his legal challenge against the federal government for failing to disclose its data.

BC has introduced in its own legislature a bill to elect its own Senators, following reforms in Saskatchewan and Alberta, and Conservatives in the House of Commons await advice from the Supreme Court as to whether Stephen Harper can begin reforming the Senate without approval from the provinces.

Not only that, in a bold play that some of the linked headlines might make slightly more feasible, the NDP has tabled bills in the House of Commons that – among other things – propose “immediate steps towards abolishing” the upper chamber.

It is indeed an exciting time to be engaged with our Federal politics, as these to gentlemen may agree:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NBycHDhNxuk]

Further Reading:

Quebec’s Senate appeal proceeds ahead of Supreme Court case

House votes to keep Senate

Canadian Supreme Court upholds part of Saskatchewan Anti-Hate Speech laws

The Supreme Court of Canada

Even while we’re not conducting Socials at the moment, I want to use some of my prep time while you are studying Short Stories and sentence structure to share some of the goings on in our nation’s capital with the hope that it will give us a running start when we return to Canadian history and politics after spring break.

Yesterday’s Supreme Court decision may spark some ethical TALONS debates. From CBC:

The Supreme Court of Canada has upheld key provisions against hate speech in the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code, but struck down some of the code’s wording in a case prompted by flyers handed out by a religious anti-gay activist, Bill Whatcott.

The court found that most of the pertinent section of the code is constitutional. Although the legislation infringes the rights to free expression and free religion, the court is allowing most of it as reasonable limits.

The article goes on to pull quotes from either side of the case, with Bill Whatcott saying that the decision marks, “A day for Canada,” and the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commissioner translating the unanimous court decision to “basically [say that] under no circumstances should hate speech be tolerated.”

To help you find some of your own middle ground between these two extremes, I’ve rounded up some of the editorializing on the case and decision. See if you can identify the values and logical premises that lead to either interpretation below.

The right to free speech is something that citizens in every western democracy cherish (or are taught to cherish) about their history and governments. But deciding as a society where to draw lines (around hate speech, around political rhetoric, and the nature of truth in such speech) is a difficult and ongoing conversation that the Supreme Court continued yesterday.

As many of these upcoming Current Events related posts will conclude, I want to pose the main democratic question to you: what do you think? Did the court go to far in outlawing certain forms of political or religious speech? Or is it the role of government to limit such expressions to protect individuals who may suffer from them?