Recognition by the Jewish community of the important accomplishments of leaders whose selfless contributions to the wellbeing of the community have enhanced the lives of all Canadians, the Words & Deeds Leadership Award is presented at a gala Dinner with 800-1000 guests – community leaders from business and academia and from religious, cultural and volunteer sectors joining politicians at local, regional, and federal levels. The inaugural Words & Deeds Dinner was hailed in the national media as ‘the business event of the year.’ It is a national award that recognizes leaders whose contribution to humanitarian causes and to tolerance, inclusion and civil discourse in Canadian society is truly outstanding. Recipients of the award are those who demonstrate – by their words and deeds – that the efforts of one can lead to the benefit of many.
On June 22, 2015, UJA and CIJA are delighted to present the Words & Deeds Leadership Award to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne at a gala dinner at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel.
THE SEASTEADING INSTITUTE was the toast of tech entrepreneurs when it received financial backing from venture capitalist Peter Thiel in 2008. Its mission was to build a manmade island nation where inventors could work free of heavy-handed government interference. One early rendering shows an island raised on concrete stilts in eerily calm waters. The buildings atop the platform resemble nothing so much as the swanky tech campus of an entrepreneur’s ultimate dream: No sign of land or civilization in sight. The island, despite appearing strapped for square footage, has room for a full-size swimming pool with deck lounges.
It's an enticing idea though hardly an uplifting one, a pricer version of the escapist Free State Project. Yet the underlying rationale behind those fleeing to New Hampshire, or trying to establish civilization in the middle of the ocean is the same: We've lost the battle for freedom at home.
This defeatist mentality is common among refugees. It is also understandable among those whose countries have fallen into dictatorship and civil strife. America is neither a dictatorship nor on the verge of a second civil war. Adam Smith observed that there is a great deal of ruin in a nation. It will take more than eight years of Barack Obama to fell the most powerful nation on earth.
There's a strange irony with projects like Seasteading and the Free Staters. The type of people naturally attracted to these movements are hardly weak willed or easily deterred. A list of advocates for setting up some small piece of libertarian paradise reads like a Who's Who of Silicon Valley. Men and women who feel confident enough to creatively destroy entire industries but, somehow, feel incapable of winning a political argument against those often less intelligent and accomplished than themselves. There is more than a whiff of nerds being intimidated by the cool kids.
The dream of running away and creating a perfect society, or at least a better one, is hardly new. It must have been in the minds those early colonists who spread across the Mediterranean in the wake of the Greek Dark Age. It was, of course, the impetus for British settlers to establish their colonies in North America and the Antipodes. There are times when the only sensible thing to do is leave.
The cost, however, is enormous. Creating a new society, even while carrying the best of Western Civilization, is a dangerous and incredibly complex undertaking. It took the thirteen American colonies more than a century and half to reach anything like a critical economic and political mass. This is the basic flaw in Seasteading, even leaving aside the enormous cost of building the infrastructure. Societies are not computer software, they cannot be programmed or adjusted at will. They must evolve organically over time if they are to survive. This is why many Seasteading proposals come off as pitches for high-end hotels and conference centers. The social element is missing.
The Free State Project, which proposes to encourage 20,000 liberty minded people to move to New Hampshire, has the merit of being more immediately practical than Seasteading. However it still runs up against the problem of trying to re-create a society. While the good people of New Hampshire are known for their ornery libertarianism, the economy beyond the narrow strip bordering Massachusetts is slim pickings. Even 100,000 libertarians are unlikely to swing the politics of the state all that much, assuming the new arrivals could get jobs or start businesses.
Leaving aside the impracticality of either approach it's the hopeless attitude I dislike most. We can't change things here so let's go somewhere else. There is a moment for that. This isn't that moment. As the son of immigrants I understand the urge, believe me I do, but a time and a place for everything.
One of the great values of studying history is that it gives the attentive student perspective alongue durée. The challenges that face modern America are formidable, they are however no more formidable that those that faced the Founding Fathers, the Abolitionists, the settlers of the West or those who fought World War Two and built the post-war economy. It's been much, much worse and we have far less right to complain than we often suppose.
Take a step back. This isn't the time to run. That time may come. It ain't here yet. There is plenty of chance to stand and fight.
The inspiring stories of those who give their time and money to help the Liberal cause:
As a young Canadian, I believe our government must do a much better job at addressing issues that will effect our collective future. Climate change is something that can and should not be left to my children and grandchildren to deal with, when it may be way too late. I am a firm believer in the society Pierre Trudeau sought to create despite being born 10 years after he left elected office. I know Justin cares and wants the best for Canada. We need to be build a country that works for all Canadians, not just the rich or this faction or that faction, but for everyone and I believe the Liberal Party of Canada is the party that will create the best Canada for all. I believe in giving back to my country and creating a better future together and this is why I decided to get involved. My local candidate, Katie Omstead, in Chatham-Kent–Leamington has shown that it is not all about getting elected, but showing that you truly care and giving politics a different name and this has been immensely inspiring. Despite being incredibly busy entering my fourth year in University and working hard to build a future for myself, I have given my time and money as best I can to help create the future that we all deserve.
The thing about the gravy train is you need to join early. This bright young fellow has done exactly that. Peering through the clouds of eternity I glimpse a Senate appointment.
A story that ran late last month in the National Post shows how the Occupy Wall Street crowd is turning its eyes to Canadian politics:
“Lately, a lot of people have phoned me up and said, ‘Hey Kalle, what the f— are you doing? You never do anything in Canada,'” he said from his home in Vancouver. “So we decided … we’re also going to try to swing this election in autumn.”
“He is like a side dish for us to eat.”
That was Kalle Lasn founder of Adbusters, a Vancouver based anti-capitalist magazine. Lasn was widely credited with inspiring the Occupy Wall Street movement in late 2011. Now he wants to defeat the Harper government with what he calls a "mind bomb". The group is currently soliciting donations to help "continue to wage the meme war".
As part of that "war" earlier this week Adbusters launched an anti-Harper attack ad. A crowd sourcing campaign scrapped together $35,000 to have the ad played on the CBC during an NHL playoff game. The rather amateurish sixteen second spot features two oil drenched sunbathers emerging from the sea, while in the background a radio announcer declares that "the Harper government has proclaimed all of our beaches clean again".
This not so subtle line of attack has earned Lasn and his group a fair amount of coverage in the mainstream media with articles in the National Post, The Globe and Mail and Canada.com. Nor was this week the first time that Kalle Lasn has been featured on the CBC. Back in 2012 Canada's state broadcaster gave a rather sympathetic interview to the Adbusters co-founder.
Culture jamming is heavily influenced by the Situationist International and the tactic of détournement. The goal is to interrupt the normal consumerist experience in order to reveal the underlying ideology of an advertisement, media message, or consumer artifact. Adbusters believe large corporations control mainstream media and the flow of information, and culture jamming aims to challenge this as a form of protest. The term "jam" contains more than one meaning, including improvising, by re-situating an image or idea already in existence, and interrupting, by attempting to stop the workings of a machine.
In other words they're attempting to stop capitalism by being mildly obnoxious. Their tactics, at least until Occupy Wall Street took off, consisted mostly of slightly imaginative parodies of popular ad campaigns and common symbols. Their degree of cleverness can be gaged by this version of the American flag where the stars have been replaced by corporate logos. These are Stephen Harper's new mortal enemies.
The interesting aspect isn't that some silly and otherwise unemployable people don't like the Conservative government. That's par for the course. What's interesting is that a movement which is supported by only a tiny segment of the population, Adbusters claims a circulation of about 60,000, gets so much media coverage. When was the last time a pro-Life magazine or rally attracted this much positive ink and broadcast time?
Pvt. William Lake and the rest of the Wild West Division trained at Camp Lewis, near Tacoma, Wash., he told me, for nine months before they boarded trains for Camp Merritt, N.J., whence they would head up to New York and ship out for France. According to the unnamed author of The Story of the 91st Division, published in 1919, the land portion of the trek took about six days. It was early summer; they traveled through a lot of areas that were probably quite hot at the time, and I doubt there were showers on those trains.