Episode #3: Ontario’s Trump Card

Our third episode comes at a time when literally any topic could have been discussed. There was so much going on in the world that we actually changed our topics more times than we care to tell you. Seriously though, President Trump has literally fired three high-profile officials since our last episode, and scored a face-to-face meeting with North Korea’s leader.

If you haven’t listened to the show yet, you can find it here. 

The Show Notes

We wouldn’t ordinarily include the show’s opening segment in the Show Notes, but since is likely going to be the most controversial, debate-sparking segment, we thought we’d include it here. It’s kind of a throwback to our last episode, where we made a call for people to use their local libraries.

On the day Episode #2 was released, a public consultation took place at the Richmond Public Library. The community discussion revolved around the city’s plan to introduce modular housing to house the homeless. During the event, a 30-something year-old man of Chinese origin kicked an elderly woman in the gut, before running off. This act of violence was so disgusting it made headlines. It has since dropped from the media’s radar and police claim to have identified and located the suspect, but it remains unclear what they have done with him.

Patrick describes this as an act of cowardice of the worst kind, arguing that while enlightened folks in an ideal world would resolve their difference by communication and other non-violent means, bullies such as these will only respond to one thing: being beat at their own game.

“I hope he gets the beating his mother should have given him. I hope he gets hurt… badly hurt. Then I hope he gets caught,” Patrick says in the opening segment of the show.

He also called out those on social media who employ mental illness as a possible explanation in this case.

To all the Facebook psychologists I remind you that a mental illness implies a form of irrational behaviour and a loss of ability to determine right from wrong. The fact that this guy ran away like he did demonstrates an awareness of the consequences of his actions — a rational fear of the punishment to come, which is inconsistent with an episode of acute psychosis.

Police have since confirmed that while this had nothing to do with the housing consultation, there was a commotion prior to the incident in which a table was flipped. Reports suggest that roughly ten seconds had elapsed between the table being flipped and the librarian, a woman in her 60s, being kicked.

Ford Nation Invades the Ontario Progressive Conservative party

Image Credit: Bruce Reeve (Flickr)

Doug Ford is now the leader of Ontario’s Progressive Conservative party, and has the best chance of coming out as premier after the June election. He has a substantial lead in the polls in the lead up to the election.

According to all of the polls, the PCs have a double-digit lead over the governing Liberals and incumbent premier Kathleen Wynne. The poll we cite in the show was a Campaign Research poll done on March 14th, 2018 which shows

43% for the Progressive Conservatives (Doug Ford)
27% for the Liberal Party of Ontario (Kathleen Wynne)
23% for the New Democratic Party of Ontario (Andrea Horwath)
5% for the Green Party of Ontario (Mike Schreiner)

It will be an interesting dynamic, the clashing of Ford Nation and Trudeaumania. With Ford’s opposition to any carbon tax, how will the federal government respond to a Doug Ford premiership. Only time will tell.

Doug Ford is the elder brother of former Toronto mayor Rob Ford, who died in 2016. His leadership over the city of Toronto was the butt of many jokes all over the world. It was a gift that kept on giving in many ways, with the former mayor admitting to using crack while in office. For a refresher, here’s a short video of Rob Ford’s chaotic time at Toronto City Hall.

Privacy in the Social Media Era

Many of you would not have heard of a company called Cambridge Analytica before last week. The UK-based data research firm is alleged to have accessed the data of 50 million Facebook users and consulted with the successful 2016 Trump presidential campaign, providing the Trump team with information to micro-target groups based on information flushed out from social media profiles.

Many in the media has referred to this as a data breach. It isn’t, though it is an unsavoury use of personal information. The information was collected by making available certain questionnaires to Facebook users at a time when 3rd party apps were also able to access the information of a user’s Facebook friends. This story is now the centrepiece in a push to see governments start regulating social media.

It seems hypocritical, especially in the United States, that there is a push to regulate based on an argument to protect personal information. The United States government has been caught employing surveillance programs on its own citizens, and US law enforcement routinely asks for assistance from tech companies to provide them with mobile data stored on devices owned by those under surveillance. If there is a push to regulate, what’s to protect individuals from the regulator?

The last word on Stephen Hawking

Image Credit: NASA HQ (Flickr)

The final piece of the episode is a brief tribute to Stephen Hawking, arguably the greatest scientific mind of the last century. Professor Hawking had a wit that made people laugh and a genius that knew no limits.

It is reported that he was generous with his time, and in true scientific fashion, engaged in debate and argument on a wide-range of issues. No question or topic was off-limits to the theoretical physicist.

It is widely said (jokingly) that Dr. Hawking’s breakthrough work, A Brief History of Time, was the greatest book that no one ever read. Selling over 10-million copies worldwide, many found the read too complex to understand.

At the age of 21, Hawking received a medical diagnosis which, at that time, expected to cut his life short. He was diagnosed with a rare, slow-progressing form of motor neurone disease (commonly known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease) and was given a life expectancy of 2 years. He would live an additional 55 years.

His life is a remarkable story of resilience and mental fortitude. It’s for that reason that hearing of his death was a bit of a surprise for us.

He died peacefully at his home in Cambridge, England at 76. He is slated to be buried at Westminster Abbey alongside Charles Darwin and Sir Issac Newton.

Quotable, from the show

We’ve always had a kind of political/economic segregatetion of powers, where Bay Street does its thing behind the scenes and the career politicians take their money and vomit out whatever the powerful social interests want into bills that get Royal Assent. Now we’re seeing a political climate where that segregatetion no longer exists. It seems that the powerful special interests groups have collectively decided that power in the hands of puppets is too dangerous to their interests. After all, if you want something done right, one must do it themselves.