While pondering the genius or idiocy behind the passing of Bill 26: Traffic Safety Amendment Act, 2011 (Danyluk) in Alberta, it struck me, the Alberta government could learn something from Jewish law and the origin of gezeirah (גְּזֵרַת), or fence laws.
In order to follow my logic, and understand, a little better, my thought processes on this topic, a crash course on Jewish law is in order. Jewish law is broken down into categories and sub-categories. The two most obvious categories are, and I will try to stick to English here, The Written Law, and the Oral Law. The Written Law, Mitzvot d’Oraita, refers to the laws written down by Moses at the command of YHWH, or the laws contained in the Torah, better known as the Pentatuch, or the first five books of the Old Testament of the Bible or the Tanukh. The Oral Law, Mitzvot D’Rabbananon, on the other hand, are the laws passed orally, through the generations of Pharisees and their modern day counterparts, the Rabbis. These laws were finally written down in volumes known today as the Talmud, starting in about the 3rd century C.E. (Common Era).
Since Bill 26: Traffic Safety Amendment Act 2011 adds to the penalties for driving with a blood alcohol level over 0.08% imposed under federal law, and goes so far as to add penalties for the non-criminal act of driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.05% to 0.08%, we can draw a similarity to Rabbis expanding laws around G-d’s law. Hopefully I will show how these fence laws are more of an hindrance than a benefit to society.
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Just when we thought we had heard it all, Bill 44, from the provincial PC party in Alberta, the federal party (CPC) comes along, and with the help of the liberals, passes yet another unthought out, vote driven piece of legislation, Bill C-15: An Act to amend the Controlled
Drugs and Substances Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts
Mandatory Sentencing for people convicted of “drug offences” is just that, bad law. The same experiment was already tried in the U.S. and it has failed. Drug trafficking has increased almost as steadily as the prison population has exploded. Today, 3.2% of the U.S. population is either incarcerated or on some sort of probation or parole. The vast majority of these offenders are serving time for small time drug possession charges. Is it just me, or does this prove mandatory sentencing is not the answer to the drug problem?
“There is no question that putting violent and chronic offenders behind bars lowers the crime rate and provides punishment that is well deserved,” said Gelb, who as director of the Center’s Public Safety Performance Project advises states on developing alternatives to incarceration. “On the other hand, there are large numbers of people behind bars who could be supervised in the community safely and effectively at a much lower cost — while also paying taxes, paying restitution to their victims and paying child support.”
New High In U.S. Prison Numbers Growth Attributed To More Stringent Sentencing Laws
The net result of mandatory sentencing is going to be extreme overcrowding of federal and provincial jails, as well as overcrowding of remand centres on a scale never seen before. With complaints to the Corrections Ombudsman, the courts, and reaching as far as the U.N. regarding over crowding in remand centres and prisons, is now a good time to be creating law which will only serve to stretch the walls of these prisons?
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Nobody is more aware of the dangers and perils facing education in Alberta more than the Alberta Teachers Association. Bill 44, in an effort to support citizenship, multiculturalism and inclusiveness in Alberta, is also opening the education system to a pandora’s box second to none in history.
At the heart of the debate is Section 11.1:
Notice to parent or guardian
11.1(1) A board as defined in the School Act shall provide
notice to a parent or guardian of a student where courses of
study, educational programs or instructional materials, or
instruction or exercises, prescribed under that Act include
subject-matter that deals explicitly with religion, sexuality or
(2) Where a teacher or other person providing instruction,
teaching a course of study or educational program or using the
instructional materials referred to in subsection (1) receives a
written request signed by a parent or guardian of a student that
the student be excluded from the instruction, course of study,
educational program or use of instructional materials, the
teacher or other person shall in accordance with the request of
the parent or guardian and without academic penalty permit the
(a) to leave the classroom or place where the instruction,
course of study or educational program is taking place or
the instructional materials are being used for the duration
of the part of the instruction, course of study or
educational program, or the use of the instructional
materials, that includes the subject-matter referred to in
subsection (1), or
(b) to remain in the classroom or place without taking part
in the instruction, course of study or educational
program or using the instructional materials.
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