Stumbled across this article in the Vancouver Sun last week and couldn't beleive what I was reading. Just look at the headline "Vancouver's homicide rate on pace for record low due to anti-gang efforts." Note that due to in there? You mean, the enforcement of laws and punishment of criminals may actually reduce crime and recidivism? Who would have ever thought, eh? What I propose going forward is we try to apply this novel concept to drug dealers, murderers and thieves too. Maybe if our "justice" system--and nothing deserves those quotations more than "justice" in Canada--actually punished the people who steal our cars, shoot up on our streets and murder our neighbours, we might see even less of these crimes and people might begin to have more confidence in our legal system.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
A gambling addict in BC has filed a lawsuit against the BC Lottery Corp. because it didn't do enough to stop her from losing over $331,000 in its casinos. Joyce May Ross says she couldn't help herself from gambling and even though she signed up for the self-exclusion program, she was allowed to continue gambling. The self-exclusion program involves the gambling company putting your name on an exclusion list, taking your photograph and having you sign a contract agreeing to not enter a BC casino for 6 months, with penalties up to $5000 in fines available for those who go anyways. Sounds like a reasonable program to me. But Ms.Ross just couldn't help herself, and even though she had signed up for the program, sh went back to the casinos, over and over and over until she had lost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Now she's blaming the government and wants it to pay her back the money she lost. Can I get in on that? I dropped 60 bucks in a Wheel of Fortune machine and all I got was a smile from a digital Pat Sajak. There was no digital Vanna, or it was so waif-like that I missed it. But regardless, could I get reimbursed now too, now that I've had time to think about it and knowing that it didn't end with bells and whistles? I wonder if this lawsuit would still be waged if after Ms. Ross snuck back into the casino she had struck proverbial gold. I bet not and that's the safest wager around.
The NDP has predictably come a-running, backing this lawsuit with vigour. "She's a victim," they cry. "Oh horrors," they scream. "The government should have helped her," gaming critic Shane Simpson wails. Well, what about personal choice and responsibility? This woman chose to gamble. She made that choice besides not having the money for it, besides having been self-excluded, besides being told not to come back. She put the quarter in the machine, and she made the choice again, and again, and again and each time she sent the slots spinning, she made the choice again.
Is another government program really what we need here? More educational commercials? More money coming from hard-working taxpayers to fund some bureaucratic project to help people who don't even help themselves? Clearly, what is instead needed is an emphasis on personal responsibility. I know that in today's world, an especially in the Vancouver part of the BC part of the Canada part of today's world, personal responsibility is largely unheard of. We give hand-outs to everyone, treatments for everything, we are ordered to feel sympathy and understanding for all sorts of bizarre behaviour. But nonetheless, personal responsibility is what we need here and that is what Ms. Ross needed too. While it is easier to look to government to blame, to blame society, to blame addiction, to blame someone, anyone, other than yourself, the buck stops with you. And in this case, if Joyce May Ross had made the buck stop with her, she'd have at least one more buck than she has now.
Monday, July 5, 2010
Thank heavens there are some politicians who have their head screwed on straight and aren't steeped in political correctness. Today, Treasury Board President, MP Stockwell Day announced that the federal government would not be entertaining the idea of renaming the gem of Vancouver, Stanley Park, to Xwayxway Park. I must admit, if i wasn't the one who just wrote it, I would never have believed that last sentence. What kind of harebrained scheme was this anyways? What benefit would there be to changing a world-renowned name that is steeped in heritage and history. In fact, native leaders should be ashamed of themselves for doing so, as it betrays their own people. Aboriginals in Canada face myriad hardships and their communities are often plagued by problems. Whereas native leaders should be working on building up their communities, investing in their young people, and forging cultural and economic ties with other communities, they are instead spending their efforts thinking up red-herrings like this. All the name changes in the world, whether to Salish Sea, or Hadai Gwaii or XwayXway, won't solve the problems facing today's aboriginal and appeasement of this kind, where we try to symbolically make up for the past, accomplishes very little. The Conservative government lived up to its namesake today, and thankfully refused to throw away a century of history and tradition to score cheap political points.