Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Charity Overkill

It seems that there is a charity event for every conceivable cause imaginable. The argument is that there is no public money and so they have events like runs, or golf games and solicit funds over the telephone. They are not small like a local church bazaar or bake sale, many of these events are large and professionally run.

I wonder if some of these are not make work projects for those involved. Take the millions of dollars raised for breast cancer. It cost a considerable amount of money to raise that money. Recently the Weekend to End Women's Cancer, which charged its participants $1500.00 in fundraising (they had to raise that) disclosed to me that it cost them around $500.00 per person. That is outrageous..the event is cancelled for next year.

I am sure this is not atypical of charities. Where they may have started out as well meaning and the money would go to those who needed it, I think that many of them have lost their vision and are simply profit making companies with CEOS etc.

Should we support these businesses? Should they have CEOS who are paid considerable sums of money? Why can we not direct more public funds to assist those where the need is greatest? By diverting charity from the public to the private sector, are we not allowing our government to abdicate its responsibility to the poor and disenfranchised of our country?

The charities that cry the loudest for funds, appear to have plenty of money to spend on advertising, free Christmas cards, pens and stickers.

I believe that charities should return to their more humble roots and realize that they can help many more people if they divest themselves of costly administration, CEO's and cultivate a larger volunteer base. I believe the time is coming when the charities will say "Please sir I want some more" and the collective answer will be no.

Suppertime Snipers!!!

As I glance at the clock, I see it is 5pm. I live in a middle class suburb but....5pm is when the suppertime snipers come out. You all know them. They start a barrage of phone calls. "You helped us once before...can you increase your donation?" " I am calling on behalf of..." "Hi, how are you can I speak to Mr. or Mrs. Benson?" "5 million people a day are dying of starvation" and on and on it goes.

At my home 5pm to 7pm seem to be the prime time for these snipers. It does not seem to matter if they are on a no call list, or if you hang up them. If you have ever had the misfortune to donate to any one of these charities..you are doomed to get these annoying phone calls for ever.

The argument goes, if they don't solicit they wont get the funds they need. Do they need the funds? In my opinion there are far too many charities...there is a charity for everything. There are more charity runs and lotteries and golf tournaments in Ottawa than anywhere else. There are so many in fact that at times the routes interfere with each other. It is charity overkill!

As for the suppertime snipers...I just put my phone off the hook and enjoy a peaceful dinner.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Since when is free speech free

Margaret Wente of the Globe and Mail believes that there should be no sanctions on free speech and that we should stop trying to legislate or attempt to control it. Let everyone speak their mind!

What is missing in her article, is the notion that when you live in a society, freedom has to be tempered with responsibility. Of course you are free to think irresponsible and hurtful thoughts, but once you live in a society you must consider the effect of your speech on others.

It seems to me many people use the pretext of free speech to hurt other people and push their agenda. When is it 'hate?' When it singles out a group or a person unfairly and targets them. Hence comments like all gays are sinful, all Jews are greedy, all Moslems are terrorists can be seen as hate as they target unfairly a group of people.

If we try to target an individual in this way, our 'free speech' about them usually ends up in a defamation lawsuit and rightly so.

To target groups of individuals and say hurtful and hateful things against them claiming that it is free speech, is not only irresponsible, it is just plain wrong. Free speech is never free! Society has a responsibility to act as a watchdog for those who are vulnerable and targeted unfairly.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Voting at 43%

We just had our provincial election and the voter turnout was about 43 or 44%. This is appalling. If it were a board meeting there would not be a quorum but such a low turnout is enough to elect our provincial government.

When does the process stop? What if 30% turned out, or 10%..would this be considered sufficient?

At what percentage level do we decide that the process as we understand it does not work?

I have heard it said that the 60% exercised their right not to vote. Voting is a right but it is also a privilege. The same people who decided not to vote also enjoy the benefits of living in Ontario. They collect pensions, or UI, use our hospitals, enjoy our parks and drive on our roads. How can you in good conscience enjoy the benefits without participating in the process?

At a time when many countries are struggling with democracy and many countries simply do not allow their citizens to vote, people who do not vote, whether by apathy or ignorance should be ashamed of themselves.

Karine's Blog

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