Jon Lajoie – Song for the Students

Montreal born and raised comedian/musician Jon Lajoie wrote and shared a song in support of the student protesters. He has also tweeted permission to upload and share it. Although he hasn’t specified the license, I’m going to assume Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. If you are Jon, or if you know Jon and he doesn’t like this, please let me know. You can down load the mp3 version by right-clicking on the link below and selecting ‘Save link as…’ (or something like that, it depends on your browser): Download: Jon Lajoie – Song for the Students You can also listen to the song on SoundCloud here, or watch the YouTube video below. Thanks so much for this Jon!... Read More

Why I Love Québec Culture

There are actually many reasons why I love Québec culture (including the music, which is an amazing mixture of French Troubadour and Irish Trad), however this photo highlights one aspect of Québecois culture that I really appreciate: This photo was taken by David Champagne, and is on his blog here. Here’s a video of the events leading up to that photo: What this image reminds me of is the sense of humour and joie de vivre that permeates Québec culture. While there was chaos and violence (on the part of protesters and police) there was someone willing to poke fun at it all and have a laugh. All in a completely non-violent, non-provocative way. This is why I love living here.... Read More

Extreme Over-Reaction by Montreal Police (SPVM)

Last night, things got way out of hand during the 26th consecutive nightly protest – which were given new momentum thanks to Jean Charest’s government passing the draconian and over-reaching Law 78. There was a lot to be ashamed of on both sides of the issue (especially these idiots). However, while we do expect citizens to behave within the law (when the law is just), we have an even greater expectation (and a greater need) for the people who enforce the law to respect it. One of the worst incidents that happened last night was the opposite of that – “Montreal’s Finest”™ did something shameful. It was bad enough that the police let things get out of hand (even worse that it’s essentially the government who fanned the flames of this one), but what happened at Bar St-Bock deserves special investigation and possible disciplinary measures if not criminal charges. You […]... Read More

Montreal under siege (video)

An uprising against law 78, a law that requires protesters submit their protest plans 8 hours in advance to the authorities. A law that is considered by many to be draconian (French only) and over reaching (including the Quebec Bar Association and the Canadian Association of University Teachers). A couple of things were painfully obvious here: the police were not in control of this situation a small group of troublemakers were responsible for most of the violence the crowd (wrongly in my view) allowed these troublemakers to take control of the situation although this was clearly a very difficult and dangerous situation for them, the police behaved very unprofessionally. They were overly aggressive and were taunting and mocking the protesters, further instigating violence. This is sowing disrespect for authority and the law. The people hired to protect us are becoming the enemy, which is toxic to the fabric of a […]... Read More

Montreal under siege

Last night, things got way out of control. There was a small group of trouble makers who were doing everything they could to get the police’s attention – they succeeded. To make matters worse, the crowd was supporting the instigators rather than denouncing it. The regular police force arrived first, and had to deal with barricades of pylons and road signs left by the students to block emergency vehicles. These police tried to get things under control, and failed miserably. They were out numbered and had no support from anyone – their presence was not welcome, despite the fact that some of the instigators set a pile of pylons on fire. Behind me, I heard the sound of someone pounding on a car. It was another instigator smashing the windows of what appeared at first glance to be the car of a civilian. This was unusual, since the protesters seemed […]... Read More

A Modest Proposal to Cover Tuition Costs

Introduction With the student protests in Québec now approaching their fourth month, it seems that there have been very few reasonable proposals from either side as to how to address this issue in a way that would satisfy the economic concerns of the administration and the social concerns of the protesters (although, this isn’t to say that there aren’t any at all, here is one I quite like). I think I have come up with a solution that does just that, in a way that’s economically sound and socially just. Much of the debate has been people yelling past each other – with students and prominent social activists talking about social justice and equity issues and the supporters of the government heavily focused on economic issues. From the pundits, there is plenty of rhetoric with some foolishly refusing to denounce violence (translation here) countered by poorly written Horatian satire (Kay […]... Read More

Bruce Schneier schools Sam Harris

Unlike some readers, I wouldn’t call Sam Harris a ‘racist’ (religions or ideologies aren’t races) or even a bigot. He thinks he’s actually got a good argument when he calls for profiling by the TSA. On face value, his arguments might seem sound, perhaps even nearly convincing – even though there’s a nagging feeling that what he’s saying just isn’t right. One of the problems is that it’s sometimes hard to tell if that nagging feeling is simply an emotional reaction to something due to our need to be politically correct (which I would argue is rarely a good reason to make these sorts of decisions) or if it’s because his argument is inherently flawed. Fortunately, Bruce Schneier makes it very clear that it’s the latter, and that profiling is A Bad Idea™. Security in general (computer or otherwise), is often a more difficult problem than most people will admit. […]... Read More