This past week, three separate tales of a world evidently gone mad.
Exhibit 1: What’s Sauce for the Goose is Sauce for the Gander
Male-dominated Republican state legislatures in the U.S., primarily in the mid-west and south, have been passing draconian laws essentially denying women access to abortions under any circumstances. The aim of these laws is to force a legal challenge all the way to the Supreme Court in the belief that, given the new conservative majority on the court, Roe vs Wade (1973) will be overturned. This made abortion legal in the U.S..
For Canadians this seems a bit bizarre since we long ago allowed such medical procedures. In Canada, it is up to a woman alone, in consultation with the healthcare provider of her choice, to decide whether or not to terminate an unwanted or abnormal pregnancy. But in the U.S., men — particularly evangelical men —seem to believe they have every right to determine what women can and cannot do with their bodies.
This seems one-sided and unfair. If the anti-abortionists were reasonable and balanced in their approach, denying abortions for any reason would be complemented by empowering the women involved to make decisions for the men.
For example, a woman pregnant because of rape or incest might determine that the guilty party be castrated, thereby ensuring he will not offend again. This may sound extreme, but might be a more effective deterrent than simply outlawing abortions.
Moreover, if the woman impregnated because of rape or incest is below the age of 17, the guilty party should also be sentenced to imprisonment for a lengthy period with no chance of parole for child abuse.
Finally, all those aging men voting for restrictive abortion legislation should each be required to contribute $100 per month to the welfare of any child in his state born of rape or incest until he or she reaches the age of 21. That would create a fund to offset the disadvantages associated with their birth.
Exhibit 2: Friends in High Places
Lord Black of Crossharbour has been granted a presidential pardon by his friend, Donald J. Trump. This does not mean, as Lord Black claims, that his conviction has been reversed. It simply means that the consequence of that conviction, the record of his felony, is no longer a deterrent to his entering the United States from Canada where he presently lives and writes flattering pieces about Trump.
Canadians should be grateful. Why?
Well if Lord Black goes to the United States and then desires to return to Canada, any citizen can protest his re-entry. Though pardoned, he is still a convicted felon and years ago renounced his Canadian citizenship; therefore he can be barred from entering the country. If enough people protest, I cannot imagine that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada will permit his re-entry.
Not that this will degrade Lord Black’s lifestyle noticeably. Since he seems so entranced with Trump, he would undoubtedly prefer to live in the U.S. rather than endure a leftist hotbed such as Canada.
3. Opportunity Knocks — Anyone Home?
Alberta needs to eliminate its coal-powered electric-generating plants. They are major polluters and costly to operate. The new premier, Jason Kenney, also needs to diversify the provincial economy and one way to do that would be to encourage the development of thorium-salt nuclear reactors. Compared to the heavy water plants in Ontario and nuclear reactors in the United States, they are less costly to build and generate much smaller amounts of waste. Further, they can be built to serve small communities without breaking the bank for the addition of costly long-distance transmission lines.
Taking the lead would soon make Alberta a force to be reckoned with in alternative energy economy. They might even be able to sell some of this clean energy into other jurisdictions. Of course, such a strategy would run counter to Kenney’s allegiance to oil producers so the chance of his taking such a visionary step approach zero.
David Bond is a retired bank economist who live in Kelowna.