Tag Archives: canada

How to write a good history essay

Pat is taking a course in Canadian history and has to hand in a final essay. She has read all the textbook and all the reference papers, but she still have no clue how to write a good essay. She summarized all points from different historians, but she could not figure out how to meet the essay requirement, assess and contrasts the points from those historians.

I think writing an history essay is just like writing a philosophy paper, probably all undergrad level academic papers come from the same mold. For a history essay, first you give a brief summary of the historical event, what had happened and what is the result. Then you quote different historians to offer different explanations on why it happened and what is the consequences of the result. Usually the easy way out is pick the perspective from the historian you like, cite some minor events to backup his theory, and cite some other minor events to go against other theories. At the end of the essay, you conclude by saying historian A is right, historian B and C are wrong, and that’s it. I know nothing about the Riel Revolution, but after reading just Pat’s summary, I manage to BS an outline for an A grade essay (I think).

The historical event in the essay is about some European and native Indian mix-blood decedents rebel against the Canadian federal government seizing their land and the Hudson Bay Company (HBC) has a monopoly in fur trade. At the end the federal government gave in and respect their properties rights. Historian A uses Marxism theory, the revolution is a typical class struggle. The government and the HBC are capitalist exploiting poor rural farmers and hunters. Historian B claims there are two groups of mix-blood decedents, those mixed with English and those mixed with French. The revolution is just the extension of the England-France war with the French mix-blood rebel against government while the English mix-blood wants to assimilate with the government. Historian C gives a toned down version of Historian A’s view, instead of claiming class different is the problem, he claims cultural different causes the problem. Historian D does not offer any theory, he just record some anecdote of certain English mix-blood family. It really does not matter which theory you choose to defense, I am sure you can find reference in D’s material to support or against any of A,B,C’s view points.

I think besides becoming a philosopher, I also have the potential to become a historian. Writing history essay seems pretty easy, it’s like ordering fast food, combo A + B + C. First pick a historical event, then pick a social theory and link them up by citing minor events. You just need to claim your theory is better than any other theory in explaining why the event happened and twist some facts to make them fit your theory.

Another stupid and useless law

Canadian government is proposing a new legislation against internet child porn. The new law requires service provider report offending website. I believe the government make the law out of good intention, but the law itself is plain stupid and totally not enforceable. The law make it a criminal offense if an ISP fail to report child porn sites to the police, if and only if the ISP happen to come across it or someone notify them.

The law does not require the ISP actively scan their hosting website for child porn and they are not responsible for hosting contents. The law only comes in effective if they happen to come across child porn they are hosting. Since no ISP would actively scan their hosting website, first it is against customer’s privacy and second scanning cost a lot computer power hence money, it is almost pretty sure ISP won’t come across any child porn. Even they come across it in regular maintenance, there is not record to prove they really come across it. The first clause in new law is toothless.

The second part of the law require the ISP report to the police if someone notify there are child porn sites in their server. It would be too time consuming for the ISP to verify every complain. The most cost efficient approach is simply forward the report to the police and let the police determine whether the complained site hosts child porn. Since their is no punishment for sending false-positive report the police, there is no harm forward every single complains to the police and let them deal with it. If the ISP acts as a forwarder, why don’t the complainer send email to the police in the first place?

The new law does not cause any harm per se, it only gives us a false sense of security. The government makes lots of noise and the media think they did a good job fighting child porn, but at the end it just a show which won’t have much effect. I rather the government spend their effort wisely else where to protect our children than making a stupid and useless law. I suggest we tighten up the law to give those child molesters the one punishment they truly deserves, castration. For serious offenders, we should castrate them with no pain killer.

News clip From the Vancouver Sun

The federal government plans to introduce new legislation Tuesday forcing Internet providers to alert police if they encounter any host sites linked to child pornography, The Vancouver Sun has learned.

The federal government plans to introduce new legislation Tuesday forcing Internet providers to alert police if they encounter any host sites linked to child pornography, The Vancouver Sun has learned.
Photograph by: Nicky Loh, REUTERS

The federal government plans to introduce new legislation Tuesday forcing Internet providers to alert police if they encounter any host sites linked to child pornography, The Vancouver Sun has learned.

The Internet companies would also be forced to safeguard evidence if they believe a child-pornography offence has been committed using a server they provide, a senior government official confirmed Sunday.

The new bill also makes it mandatory that any tip received by Internet companies about potential child-porn sites be reported to a designated agency.

The legislation allows for fines to Internet providers who do not comply of up to $100,000 for corporations, and up to $10,000 and six months in jail for companies owned by a sole proprietor.

At present, Internet providers are not obligated by law to pass on information to law enforcement agencies, though many do so voluntarily.

Three provinces — Ontario, Manitoba and Nova Scotia — have made it mandatory under child protection laws for Internet companies to call police if they suspect or have knowledge of online child porn.

The proposed law comes just days after the release of a study that found Canada is one of the leading countries in the world for hosting child-porn sites.

The report, released by Cybertip.ca, examined more than 15,000 child-porn websites worldwide and found Canada ranked second behind the U.S. in terms of the number of commercial porn sites featuring children.

Canada was found to host eight per cent of the sites — far behind the U.S., which hosts 65 per cent of the commercial child-porn sites worldwide.

“As strong as our laws are within Canada, no country is really free from this type of material existing on websites,” Cybertip director Signy Arnason said. “We have 60 countries . . . that were hosting child-sexual abuse content.”

The report also details how child-pornography websites cover their tracks. In one 48-hour period, Cybertip.ca watched a website cycle through 212 unique IP addresses in 16 different countries — making the specific location of the information very difficult for law enforcement to track.

And a recent report by the federal ombudsman for victims titled Every Image, Every Child, said the number of Internet images of “serious child abuse” quadrupled between 2003 and 2007 and that the images are getting more violent and depicting younger and younger children.

The new bill – called “An Act respecting the mandatory reporting of Internet child pornography by persons who provide an Internet service” — is considered to be complementary to two other bills. Those bills — C-46 and C-47 — were introduced last June and are still at the committee stage.

Bill C-46 — the Investigative Powers for the 21st Century Act — provides police with additional tools to obtain information from Internet providers related to any criminal investigation. The tools include preservation orders to freeze data for up to 21 days, production orders compelling a company to provide a customer’s e-mail or IP address, and tracking orders to require a cellphone company to use its network to assist police in finding a particular cellphone or BlackBerry user.

Bill C-47 — the Technical Assistance for Law Enforcement in the 21st Century Act — allows police to obtain information about clients from Internet providers and forces those companies to have the technical ability to allow police to intercept information.

BC election

Today I fulfilled my duty as a citizen, I cast my vote to elect the BC provincial government. The candidate I voted for in my riding lost, but the party I voted for won the election. The Liberal party is able to formed a majority government winning 47 out of 85 seats in the parliament. The best of all is the outcome of the referendum on the election system. The good old simple majority vote scheme defeated the new multiple transferable vote scheme that is so complex that no one really understand how it works.

I was away taking a vacation last week and I did not follow the election news closely. Actually I don’t have to get news to decide my vote. I hardly know the candidate I vote for and I just found out his name on my drive to the voting station. I don’t vote for the person, I vote for the party. I am not really a support of the Liberal, in fact I think they are far from a good government. My concern is the alternative is far much worse. The NDP is a left leaning party. If they win the election, it is guarantee they will raise tax and screw up the economy. The Green Party is even worse, their are policy is so extreme that you start to question their sanity.

It is quite interesting to see a few odd parties shows up in the ballot. There are the libertarian, the communist party, the conservatives and some party support BC independent. Too bad the race in my riding is very tight between Liberal and NDP, I can’t afford to waste my vote. If the Liberal is leading a comfort margin, I may give my vote to the communist party. Communist party of Canada, that’s cool!

The two extreme of children

I read two news article about children today. One talks about children in Canada, the other talks about children in India. One talks about the problem of having too much, the other talks about the problem of having next to nothing. The article on Globe and Mail is about Why are children starving in a booming India?. The article on National Post is about The Perfect Child. It is quite unsettling to read the extreme contrast to the fate of children in two places.

The problem for Canadian parent is how to raise a perfect children. The dilemma is having the life of the child too well planned so he cannot learn from trail and error or his own mistake. On the other side of the world, the Indian children are struggling to stay alive. Children malnutrition in India is twice worse than in Africa and five times worse than in China. The problem of teaching children to read and write in China seems like a piece of cake.

The news presents a typical poor Indian family with malnourished child. The dad in the family makes merely US$5 a month, but he spent half of what he earn in cigarette instead of buying food for the children. The family income cannot support a big family but they are having six children. Babies are not breastfeed once he is born, the mother ask the astrologer to pick an auspicious day to start breastfeeding, sometimes the baby is not fed for days or even weeks. Foreign aids agency wants to provide vitamin pills to the poor children, but the Hindu fundamentalist protest the capsule is made of gelatin, a product made of cows.

I feel sorry for the children in India, but their misfortune cannot blame anyone but their own stupid culture. If a culture don’t treasure their next generation, this culture has no future. If a culture treasure cows more than the life of their children, this culture should simply go extinct. It can go extinct naturally with its population die slowly and painfully. Alteratively we can help the culture extinct sooner and better by liberating its people. We should help them move on to a more enlightened culture, even we have to force the liberation. People with a stupid culture has no rights to cling on their culture.