Monday, September 12, 2005

Arbitration Act and Government Miracles

I am astounded. Premier McGuinty gathered up his courage -- or maybe just got fed-up -- and did the right thing. He reversed the introduction of religion into state matters and has banned all faith-based arbitration. He has focussed on what matters: one law for all Ontarians, including all women, not just non-Orthodox European women. Now we shall see if he amends the Arbitration Act immediately or have it die on the order table. Somehow I think he means business.

However, one problem remains:
"He is misguided and will alienate many people of faith in this province," said Mohammed Elmasry, head of the Canadian Islamic Congress. "Not only will it cost him in the polls...the problem won't go away....Arbitration will continue anyway, because it is part of our social fabric." Toronto Star, 12 September 2005.
How will McGuinty ensure family disputes arising out of divorce and division of property will not be dealt with clandestinely as a way to get around the law and its support for women's rights?

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In other acts of government miracles, I saw a water street-cleaning truck today with its water jets on, thoroughly hosing down the streets. It was not the first time this summer. In fact, I think this is the 4th or 5th time since July. I'm floored.

These kinds of street cleaning trucks were a regular sight when I was growing up, but they had disappeared altogether in the last many years. If I saw one all summer with its jets off, I was lucky. I only ever saw the sweeping type of cleaning vehicles.

Keeping a city clean isn't just picking up the litter, it also includes making it smell clean and that means hosing down the streets, particularly after leaking garbage trucks have gone by. For years in the 90s we had to hose down our street on garbage day, the stench was so bad, until finally the city got tired of listening to my complaints and decided to send only clean garbage trucks into my neighbourhood (they insisted their trucks were cleaned regularly; I told them my nose told me otherwise). It is nice to see that Miller has taken at least one effective step in cleaning up our city and taken these water trucks out of their mothballs -- or are they new because they're yellow now, not the familiar white. I hope this is a permanent change and not because it was a particularly hot summer.

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