Canadian Politics from Canada's Centre

Monday, October 02, 2006

Political Questions: Bullying, Suicide, Smoking, Liberal Leadership

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Politics is never far from my mind, and the last little while has given me ample opportunity to reflect and it's got me asking some questions.

Question 1) When will our politicians give bullying in schools the tough treatment it deserves? Shootings in schools and the countless suicides that aren't reported in the media (to avoid copycats) are often authored by victims of bullying. Teachers and school staff currently don't have the means or the will to deal with this fact of daily life in school which plagues so many people's lives. I know I had my own very dark period in grade school due to severe bullying... Any of you readers been there too?

If I can say anything to people who're experiencing bullying or their own serious difficulties, it's that there's always a tomorrow, and that a better day will come. I know that sounds cheesy, but having learnt that, I've found I can persevere through tough times knowing things will be better eventually.

If it's urgent, I encourage you to go to

Question 2) Why don't we just ban smoking outright? Smoking is unhealthy, hurts children, burdens our health care system, stresses relationships, and provides absolutely no benefit that couldn't be replaced by more worthwhile alternatives. I don't mean just getting rid of cigarretes in our province, but all sorts of tobacco.
On a related note, the town of Pueblo in Colorado, USA has seen a 25% reduction in the number of heart attacks since banning smoking outright. The study was covered in La Presse.

Question 3) Who's better for the Liberal leadership? Michael Ignatieff, Bob Rae or Stephane Dion?

I was talking with friends from university (one of whom was an organizer for Ignatieff up until school began). The consensus seemed to be that while Rae might be the front-runner, Ignatieff might be more likely to beat Harper in an election. Then, Dion is most likely to be able to revive the party in Quebec where it sorely needs it, and Rae would likely cause further losses to the CPC in Ontario.

Of course, Ignatieff's stance in favour of fighting terror in Afghanistan isn't so popular with the Liberal rank-and-file, where a vociferous element seems to prefer cutting and running, leaving the broken country behind. Rae is most likely to promise to leave Afghanistan just like NDP leader Jack Layton would. Dion might offer a free vote but he'd more than likely be swayed by his party's general opposition to the war.

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At 11:09 p.m., Canadian Politico Blogger Olaf said:

First of all,

I'm not sure that anti-bullying campaigns will do much to prevent school shootings (if this is even what you're implying). How many people who are actually bullied, end up being murderers because of it? What evidence is there (and there may be some that I don't know of) that Kimveer and the recent 38 year old murderer in Pennsylvania, for example, were victims of bullying, or that this drove their suicidal/homicidal tendencies? I heard that Kimveer was not subjected to bullying of any kind because of his size... Not to advocate bullying obviously, but I'm not sure that there's a reasonable connection between the recent shootings and bullying.

Secondly, why shouldn't we ban smoking altogether? For the same reason we shouldn't ban alcohal and adultery, because it could never work, and just would create another drug for dealers to benefit from.

Unfortunately, I have no opinion on the final question.


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