Canadian Fedwatch! News Across the Nation

A Change of Pace

I know, I know, I normally complain about everything in these columns. I moan about too much this, too little that, a lack of vision, an abundance of short-sightedness, politicians saying one thing and government doing the opposite. What can I say, truly good news seems rare, and it’s rarely interesting in any event.

Sometimes you need to break out of the rut, though.

A report was on CBC late last night about the variety of firsts that are occurring in our Parliament this session. We have our first quadriplegic MP, Steven Fletcher (who, incidentally, has his own blog (http://www.stevenfletcher.com/). Although looking at it, it’s more of a personal press release vehicle), our first female Sikh MP, Dr. Ruby Dhalla (http://www.electruby.ca/rubyinnews.htm), our first African member, Maka Kotto (http://www.crtv.cm/actualite_det.php?code=1355), our first married couple both serving as MPs in Nina and Gurmant Grewal (http://www.cbc.ca/story/election/national/2004/06/29/married_mp040629.html), and our first Muslim woman member, Yasmin Ratansi (http://www.yasminratansi.com/about.html). In addition to that, we’ve also had two more Supreme Court Justices appointed (http://www.cbc.ca/story/canada/national/2004/10/04/justiceceremony_041004.html), both of them women, bringing the total number of women on the Supreme court to 4 out of 9, almost achieving parity with our population.

When you stop to think about it, it seems that Canadians are slowly embracing the idea of multiculturalism and gender equality, and are putting it into practice with our choices at the voting booth. Yes, the majority of our government is still comprised of old white men, but we’re getting better.

I’m feeling rather proud of being a Canadian today. We have a minority government that looks like it’s going to do its best to work together, if only for a while. We have a parliament that is becoming more racially and culturally diverse. We have a Supreme Court that is nearly gender equal. When you compare all of this with the nastiness and rhetoric that is spewing up from the elections down south, I think as Canadians we have a right to be proud.

Okay, so we can’t keep a fire from breaking out underwater (http://www.cbc.ca/story/canada/national/2004/10/05/cansub041005.html), but at least we’re not afraid to call for help when it does. We’ve maintained a budget surplus at the federal level and a positive balance of trade for quite a while now, and we’re looked on as role-models when it comes to peace-keeping and negotiations.

That’s not a bad legacy.

Have your Say for Post-Secondary in Ontario

Bob Rae is running a series of town hall meetings (http://ogov.newswire.ca/ontario/GPOE/2004/10/01/c6254.html?lmatch=&lang=_e.html) to help him get a handle on what Ontario thinks should be done about post-secondary education. If you’ve got ideas (and since you’re probably a post-secondary student, I expect that you do) this would be a great time to get them to a place where they can make a difference.

This would be a great time for AU students in Ontario to share your experiences and how distance education works for you. If Ontario students could convince the Ontario government to pay for the provincial fee differential, or even provide cheaper access to exam invigilation, that would be a definite win for all Ontario students.

And who knows, maybe you’ll even meet another AU student while you’re there.

A native Calgarian, Karl is perpetually nearing the completion of his Bachelor of Arts with a Major in Information Studies. He also works for the Computer Sciences Virtual Helpdesk for Athabasca University and plans to eventually go on to tutor and obtain his Master’s Degree.

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