Unbalanced political coverage
As a supporter of the Conservative party in the upcoming election, I was disturbed to see the imbalance in space given to the Liberal and Conservative candidates, respectively Susan Kadis and Peter Kent, in the article “Economy, health care concerns in Thornhill riding” (CJN, Sept 25). I would have thought that, given the sensitivity and interest of your subscribers and readers to partisan issues that separate the political parties in the upcoming election, or any election for that matter, that a fair balance of space and treatment would have been given to all parties. To the contrary, significantly more space was devoted to discussing Kadis’ positions than Kent’s.
This issue is all the more important in light of the obvious favouritism that is shown toward the federal Liberal party by some of the so-called “Jewish establishment” institutions operating in Canada. I would expect these organizations to be impartial and non-partisan vis-à-vis the various political parties and to not support any one party.
I am a writer. It is my job, just like some people are teachers, auto workers, cashiers or doctors. I feel blessed to be able to do what I love, but I never considered myself special until recently, when I read that Prime Minister Stephen Harper said that ordinary people don’t care about arts cuts. I guess that makes me out of the ordinary.
I was also pleasantly surprised to learn that the prime minister thinks that I am rich. Remind me to mention that to Revenue Canada when I do my taxes in April. They may be quite surprised, given my income last year.
If ordinary people, by the prime minister’s standards, are those who go to work, pay taxes and care about how our government spends those taxes, then please count me in. But let me add this: I am one ordinary person who has had the privilege to live and work outside of this country. I have seen first-hand how widely our artists and writers are received elsewhere in this world and what a wonderful job they do as ambassadors from our country. I am an ordinary person who had her first novel published a year and a half ago and am now thrilled that it is being read and enjoyed by many other ordinary people. I am an ordinary person trying to make a living doing something I love.
When I hit the ballot box, I’ll be sure to give my vote to a party that not only thinks I’m special, but treats me that way.
B’nai Brith disciplinary committee
The trite adage, “What goes around, comes around,” may have found validity in “B’nai Brith faces human rights complaint” (CJN, Sept. 11).
B’nai Brith Canada’s disciplinary committee cited a number of its members for “conduct unbecoming a member… and contrary to the best interests of the organization.” The members were informed they would be able to make a submission in person at a hearing.
How did that hearing compare with B’nai Brith Canada’s complaints about the Manitoba Human Rights Commission?
Counsel for the members accused by B’nai Brith Canada requested the following:
(a) information as to who authored the complaints – denied (b) identification of the executive committee that authored the accusatory resolution – denied
(c) production of documents given to the discipline committee, but not to defence counsel – produced near the end of proceedings
(d) adjournment to provide defence counsel an opportunity to examine those documents – denied
(e) submissions from members represented by counsel – never happened
Which brings us to that other trite adage, “The pot calling the kettle black.”
Seniors’ discount for community events
Every year, our Jewish organizations present world-renowned speakers as part of their fundraising events. Those of us who live on pensions would love to hear these speakers. May I suggest the following: ask your speaker if he/she would donate their time to talk to us oldies or the poorer folk in the community. I think a nominal fee of between $5 and $10 would be acceptable to most of us, and I think you would still fill a hall, as well as it being a mitzvah to give us oldies and some younger people the chance to hear some of these wonderful speakers.
Fraser Institute’s school ratings
Beth Rivkah gives a superb program for our students, despite the Fraser’s Institute’s low rating of the school (“English Herzliah Snowdon tops rankings of Jewish schools,” CJN, Oct. 2). All regular students pass with very good grades.
Beth Rivkah’s policy is to provide a Jewish education for every Jewish child. This includes immigrants and children with learning difficulties. These children are provided with a great amount of support and help by specialized Resource Room and Class D’accueil teachers. This is done outside the regular classroom, and the standard of the regular classroom is not affected by these students.
Notwithstanding their tremendous achievements, some of these students do not receive a passing grade on their matriculation exams. For example, a student arriving from Israel, the former Soviet Union or the United States, with absolutely no knowledge of French, and in one year receives a 48 per cent on a uniform matriculation exam given in French throughout the province to students whose mother tongue is French, that is truly an achievement to be proud of. But by government standards, it is considered a failure!
It is simple for a high school to accept only students who have attained a 95 per cent average or higher in Grade 5 and a 90 per cent average or higher in Grade 6. No surprise: they all pass the exams, and the school is rated No. 1 by the Fraser Institute.
What happens to the “rejected” students? If all schools adopted this policy (as many schools already have), there would be additional thousands of “dropouts,” or more accurately “cast outs,” directly caused by the very same institutions that are meant to provide education!
The Fraser Institute must take all factors into account when producing an evaluation, which is easily misinterpreted. It is not sufficient to just make a disclaimer and give a “valeur ajoutée.”
Rabbi Yosef Minkowitz
Beth Rivkah Academy