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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The "Race" Is On

How foolish can people be? Do the nay sayers in Newfoundland and Labrador have their heads screwed on straight or are they so backward that they'll latch onto anything they see as improper. It sure seems that way.

The Tory Blue Book, in an attempt to encourage population growth, outlines several incentives for families that might be considering having children. With our population dwindling the PC's have decided that they want to make it a little easier for parents to make the decision of having and raising a child.

The plan includes capping classroom sizes at 25 students to ensure a reasonable student/teacher ratio, increasing child care spaces by 30%, increasing the provincial top up on EI maternity leave by $100, increasing the child care suppliment to low income families by 30% and issuing a one time payment to new parents for $1000.00.

In any other jurisdiction with the population problems we have these steps would be seen as a good thing, but not around these parts.

Already some people are up in arms about this new so called "baby bonus" or as one radio announcer put it, "Cash or Kids". The mainstream media hasn't helped much by reporting primarily on the $1000 payment and all but ignoring the other key incentives. I guess its a matter of whatever makes the best sound bite or headline.

On a personal level I doubt that a one time cheque would convince me to have a child, but taken in conjunction with the increase in child care spaces, improved maternity payments and so on the idea starts to sound much better.

In addition to the BS making the rounds about the plan itself, or more accurately around the one time payment, some individuals are taking issue with a comment the Premier made during the press conference announcing his party's position on the issue.

At the announcement Williams said that the incentives would be put in place to prevent us from becoming a "dying race". It's the word "race" that has some people up in arms. Apparently they don't believe we are a race of people. My question is why?

There are many definitions of race including the following as they relate to the people here.

Race –noun

A group of persons related by common descent or heredity; a population so related;

A human population partially isolated reproductively from other populations, whose members share a greater degree of physical and genetic similarity with one another than with other humans;

Any people united by common history, language, cultural traits, etc.;

Any group, class, or kind, esp. of persons.

That sure sounds a lot like the majority of the population here doesn't it.

So what's the problem?

Recently I wrote a commentary on the need for improved education in Newfoundland and Labrador relating to our shared history and culture. This reaction to the Premier's comment is a perfect example of exactly why this type of education is so badly needed.

Anyone who is offended by terming the majority of people here a "race" certainly needs to be educated on their culture and history.

Some have gone so far as to say the statement makes us sound like we have no respect for immigrants of varying race. In the previous sentence I was going to say, "immigrants of other races", but since the folks I'm referring to don't consider us a race I was forced to modify the wording, which makes me even more pissed off at this crap. Listen folks, if any place welcomes new citizens with open arms any more than we do I'd love for someone to tell me about it.

When you compare Newfoundland and Labrador's acceptance of others to the sort of mis-trust and the intolerance displayed in places like Quebec that fact becomes much clearer. Remember that Quebec is a place where improperly displaying english on a shop sign can get you arrested. Where some races have been officially told they are not allowed to burn their wives (like they couldn't have figured that out on their own) and where the wearing of traditional veils during an election has led to a national flap. In that light Newfoundland and Labrador looks like nirvana.

Yes folks, whether some people want to admit it or not, we are a race of people. That doesn't mean we don't respect and welcome people from other places or other races, we do, but doing so doesn't have to mean we can't celebrate our own race, or at the very least recognize its existance.


Anonymous said...

The question for me is when did the people in this province become such a sensitive, tight-arsed lot that can't have anything said in their presence without a "politically correct" backlash reaction. Too much American and Canadian tv has convinced us we have the same problems that the historically racially divided US has - we've become foolish enough to appropriate other people's cultural experiences and forget ourselves.

We are a nation, a people, a race. The kind of fools around here that think otherwise are also probably the same lot that think Canadian multiculturalism includes and promotes rural, traditional economies and cultures like ours.

Anonymous said...

I didn't see this whole thing anywhere.

Can immigrants get this money you said is there to protect our race?

Anonymous said...

you've lost it this time man.

Patriot said...

To the anon who asked if the money would be available to immigrants, I assume the answer is, if they are citizens then yes.

The point being to raise population. Granted the Premier made a comment that we were becoming a dying race, but the object here seems to be to build population, period.

The other concern, on my part, is the BS from some people, like the previous Anon talking about my losing it. The people here are indeed a race, or can't the previous anon read the definition of race presented in the article?

Anonymous said...

Thank you for answering.

I am not sure how you can say the money is to protect our race and yet immigrants will be able to get the money as well.

Patriot said...

I'm not saying the money is to protect our race. Williams made a comment to that effect but I didn't.

My article identifes the various plans being put in place to build up the population (regardless of race) and I do believe some of them may have an effect taken as a whole.

My issue has nothing to do with protecting our race through this plan it is about the BS people are getting on with when they deny that we are a race of people. Clearly we are.

Two different things entirely. Williams mixed the two things together, that's his mistake, but it doesn't take away from the fact that we are a race.

You might want to re-read the article to get a better understanding of my words. It seems you are misunderstanding me.

Anonymous said...

Like I said before, I missed the BS. Where is it?

I read your article again. You agree with the race comment but now you said it was a mistake to mix race and the population growth thing together.

Why was it a mistake?

Patriot said...

Boy, this is getting tiresome. If you have comprehension problems perhaps you should work harder at understanding what people say. There isn't much else I can do for you.

Anonymous said...

I would say that Williams probably meant "people" and obviously immigrants are included in that when they choose to settle here.

I'd say the Quebec style "pur laine" discussion is a separate issue from this one. In this case the government wants population stability and growth in this province. Don't forget that Williams and his government have been big on attracting new immigrants and have been working on an immigration policy to this end. I think he has the population as a whole in mind.