We’re All Greek Now
Putting Families First
To-day is budget day in British Columbia. This is exciting stuff as the government gets set to NOT spend your money. In yesterday’s CBC Radio report one of the pundits said of the 11 budgets the BC Liberals have presented, 6 of them have been deficits. Today Finance Minister Kevin Falcon said the last 5 budgets have been balanced. But both statements could be true. There is no certainty here. Mr. Falcon, says no new shoes for him because we are so cash-strapped. Even the Federal government, says it cannot balance the Canadian budget because of problems outside of Canada, like the American and European Debt Crisis. But no one mentions, the debt crisis of children and their fathers. In fact, one of the budget plans is to help unemployed men move north to find work. If you know anything about fathers and divorce, you will know that our mobility laws are just one of many ways to cut fathers out of their children’s lives, creating fatherlessness. John Cummings called it an NDP budget. Mary Turpel Lafond called it a grim budget, saying we families have had no report cards because of the teachers’ strike, so when we find out we now need summer school we will have to pay for that too. Adrian Montanee from First Call, said the original target for vulnerable children has been increased because the funds to help three and four year olds have never materialized. To sum up, union leaders are outraged, business leaders love the budget, although it may even increase business taxes, if we are still in this economic swamp in 2014.
Rafe Mair said on CBC Radio yesterday morning that this would be a typical political budget and it had better be good because the government is going to be judged on it at next year’s election. All three commentators: Rafe, Susan Anton, and Moe Sihota said we need to keep our economy strong, provide long-term goals in our budget, preventing an on-going deficit for our children.
Technology in Education
Teachers say they’re worried about how we will ever find enough education funds to buy every student a laptop. But there will be 1.4 mobile devices for every human on earth by 2016 according to CBC Radio Monday morning. By next year there will be more mobile information devices on earth than people, which proves how dependent we are on this technology. In Africa and Haiti, doctors and nurses use cell phones to provide targeted health promotion for the illnesses and outbreaks of a specific region. It seems people may now be more likely to read a text than listen to the radio.
I have my ham radio licence. A cell phone is a networked ham radio. There are so many hardware lessons about radio science that one could learn from these devices, like how to send text through an audio channel, or how to build a coffee-can antennae to send and receive video (television) broadcasts. Or software lessons, like learning how the World Health Organization uses text messaging to teach populations about their health, or how to use Facebook and Twitter over basic (G1) cell phones. Teachers and parents are going to need to learn more, before we can teach young people useful lessons about technology. Maybe we can ask our children to teach us.
The utilization and integration of mobile devices, or more generally ubiquitous computing, has yet to mature – but the platforms for experimentation and demonstration are now common and the general public is becoming more comfortable with at least the understanding of location-contextual relevance – Andrew Turner from his blog, High Earth Orbit, and his Stanford Lecture On Location Data and Mobile Devices.
Technology in Law
First I want to correct a detail in the Vic Toews Cyber-law which I called Bill 12. There is a Bill 12, 30, and 32. But the reason the hackers called their anti-Toews website Vikileaks30, is because they’re focused on the privacy attack of Bill 30. I have said that the general public doesn’t know what the heck is going on in Abbotsford politics because of municipal government secrecy. But when Vic Toews said he didn’t know the details of his own law, reporters said it could be because it has been changed and he may not have been updated. Which is worse: an uninformed government or a secret government?
Internet GPS Tracking Services in the United States are refusing to co-operate with Canadian police, when Canadians complain about finding tracking devices on their vehicles. The tracking box costs $400 at any Canadian spy store, and they’re flying off the shelves, some to employers tracking employees, but mostly to spouses who want to track the other spouse. The same Canadian government that says perhaps it should not track an IP address without a warrant, is allowing the illegal tracking of vehicles without a warrant, to encourage parental conflict. If parents had as many constitutional rights as criminals this would not be happening.
Today is the first Twitter law case. Law students are trying to conduct a mock trial at 140 characters per statement. Grammar counts. The CBC news reported a twitter rule: if you search a twitter handle you will see all the participants in a discussion; but if you search a hashtag, you will see a much larger group – everyone reading and then talking about the discussion. Social media is affecting every part of our lives – including the law.
School Board News
The School Board held a public meeting last night and does so every three weeks. Board chair, John Sutherland, started the meeting by explaining their new electronic voting system records all votes. Here is an email from the Victoria Labour Council calling the need for recorded votes at the Victoria School Board as a cornerstone of democracy. If the minutes of board meetings are published on the web, these should be a source of votes as well for all school boards. There were three interesting Abbotsford delegations.
1. Heidi Vinois, a local school parent, gave an eloquent request for the board to review systemic problems involving the reduction of funding for Special Needs Programs in Abbotsford.
2. Laura Yake, an executive from the Center for Epilepsy, presented copies of their book for Kindergarten to Grade 2 students to help them be familiar with epilepsy and know some basic steps to help a friend or classmate during a seizure.
3. Brian Gross, from Abbotsford Youth Health Center, spoke for a rather impressive delegation from the Ministry of Children and Family Development, Fraser Health, and our own wonderful Dr. Elizabeth Watts, whom I have written about before in my blogs. The group presented the powerful statistics about the work they do with Abbotsford youth and the obvious need for this to continue.
Family Violence in Abbotsford
I feel the need to continue to gently confront the Fraser Valley Women’s Resource Center because they are such powerful opponents of making Abbotsford a parental alienation aware city and directly discourage something as hounourable as the Bubbles of Love Day. Women’s Resources says that physical and emotional abuse is a common experience for women in Canada. Many of my female readers would agree with that statement, but they’re still struggling with parental alienation. First if violence were all-pervasive, wouldn’t reducing parental conflict help? Second if we had the type of family violence depicted in the video below, wouldn’t Abbotsford be making these videos too? Third, it doesn’t make much sense that male children are required to leave transition houses when they turn 16 years old. Surely we can all agree male children have no more history of violence than their sisters? Fourth, when we mislead our entire community by suggesting that all men over 16 years are violent, we prevent other violence reduction strategies, like the ones used in Surrey, BC. If the Women’s Resource Center used the Surrey or Montreal strategies to decrease Abbotsford family violence, they might be out of business. Groups that demonize boys and men are not helping women reduce violence. They prevent lesbian couples from getting help with same-sex domestic violence. They prevent girls from getting the help and warning they need to resist gang involvement. They prevent women from getting the help and information they need to stand up to parental alienation attacks. Women’s Resources could stand with fathers, to start making Abbotsford a parental alienation aware city, and to live up to their high mission.