Friday, May 27, 2022

How to Improve Healthcare in Canada

I have been thinking of how people's lives in Canada can be easier. This is my take on healthcare.

1) Every hospital should also have a 24 hour walk in clinic, staffed by 2 doctors. So all non-emergency cases go there instead of crowding the emergency.

2) Emergency receptionist nurse should have authority to order x-rays or exams when you check in. I broke my leg playing badminton, had to wait 3 hours to see a doctor who said go get x-ray, another 1 hour for x-ray, came back to see the doctor who said yes, it's broken. Here's crutches and some Tylenol.

3) After hour access to test, x-ray etc. So you don't wait 3 months for MRI but 3 days. Rather than spend millions in Ukraine, give every hospital in Canada 3 MRIs .

Monday, May 09, 2022

How as Premier Doug Ford Affected Your Personal Life?

 How has Premier Ford of Ontario impacted you? This is how his government has impacted me:

  • saved me $120/year on license sticker renewal
  • cancelled tolls on 412 and 418, giving me more choices
  • cut Toronto's city council in half, thus reducing the number of useless politicians
  • rolled back 2015 sex ed curriculum which had lessons addressing same-sex relationships, gender identity and masturbation
  • cancelled Cap and Trade, and Energy Green Act, which is saving me tax on gas I pay at the pump
  • halted opening of safe injection sites, which means there won't be junkies loitering in my neighborhood
  • lowered the hydro rate for me, which meant my utility bills are lower
  • rolled back Pharmacare (OHIP+), which meant my kids' medicines were no longer free, but I get most of it paid through my work insurance; if I didn't have that it would continue to be free
  • Scrapped the Drive Clean Program so I don't have to take my car to a useless emissions test that has nothing to do with the environment anyways
  • Froze hiring in public sector and limited the wage raise to 1%, which affects my profession in a time of global record inflation

Wednesday, May 04, 2022

The Difference between Christian and Muslim Stances on Abortion

Since there appears to be a lot of discussion on abortion in recently, in light of the leak of US Supreme Court opinion on overturning Roe v Wade, a lot of people are saying the US is going to be a "sharia law" country. Comedians such as Trevor Noah made this joke, while a lot of Muslims are posting links to Ben Shapiro and using the same arguments that the Republican right uses in USA. What I wanted to emphasize is that US pro-life arguments come from their understanding of Christianity, which is different from the Muslim point of view, so using some of the Republican arguments is a non-starter.

  1. Christianity believes life begins at conception. Thus their stance on abortion is tied to this belief. Abortion in Christianity is murder, plain and simple. If you are a believing Christian, you cannot reconcile support for abortion on a theological level, because you ARE killing a life.

  2. Muslims believe by and large that the soul enters the fetus at 120 days after conception (majority opinion). Some minority scholars believe in 40 days. So almost unanimously, before 120 days the fetus is just a growing body of cells and tissue. Yes, it has the potential of becoming a living thing, but it is not LIFE yet.

  3. Regardless, the Muslim stance on abortion is NOT based on when life begins, unlike Christianity (which is what Ben Shapiro, who coincidentally is a Jew, believes).

  4. Can you terminate a pregnancy AFTER the first trimester (i.e. after 120 days, when it is now a living soul)? The unanimous verdict is that without a valid reason, NO. This is different from Christianity, which is a NO regardless of reason. In Islam, the life of the mother is held to be more valuable than the life of the fetus. Hence if the life of the mother is at risk, abortion at ANY MOMENT can be justified. The greater the concrete reason, the more lenient the verdict. It should be noted that nowadays, with modern science, you do not have to abort as we have lots of success with premature births.

  5. What about before 120 days (i.e. the first trimester)? There is a valid difference of opinion. Some Hanafi scholars are very lenient, saying you don't need ANY valid reason. Other scholars from other madhabs are split on this. You can read more about it in the sources I will provide at the end of this article. Again, this is vastly different from Christianity, which is NO ABORTION AT ALL UNDER ANY CONDITIONS because it is MURDER. It is important to understand this distinction.
So if you are speaking from an Islamic point of view, and someone asks you what is the correct summary of Islamic position on abortion, this would be the correct answer:

  1. In Islam, life begins at some point AFTER conception (120 days).

  2. There is valid difference of opinion on the permissibility of abortion in the first trimester if done WITHOUT ANY VALID REASON.

  3. There is unanimous consent that abortion is NOT ALLOWED after the first trimester UNLESS there is compelling valid reasons tied to the health of the mother.

  4. At any point, the life of the mother is superior to the life of the fetus.

  5. As a general point of note, abortion is not something that is the recommended option. Exceptional circumstances require specific judgements.
Thus you can see that the Shariah is actually more flexible, and more accommodating to concerns of society, the woman, the man, the family, the marital unit, the future child and keeps a good balance overall.

What about "my body, my choice" ?

In Islam, we are slaves of Allah. We submit to Him (hence the name Muslim). We do what He has commanded. We have the choice not to follow His rules, but then we will answer for it.

What about "only a woman should speak on abortion" ?

That is not the Islamic point of view. 

I hope this post can shed a light on some of the discussion where many people are bringing religious perspectives. Even if as a Muslim you believe in the strictest option in the first trimester, know that valid scholarly difference of opinion on this exists.


Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Why Ford is Going to Win the Ontario Election

Why Ford is going to win the Ontario election

Ontario's Premier Doug Ford is one of the best from all retail politicians in Canada. Remember how he used his own car and shovel to help dig out drivers caught during the snowstorm? It made the news, and got all the attention. It played to Ford's image - a man of the people. Liberals hate him, but he knows how to do politics. Here are four reasons why he should handily win the election:

1. Justin Trudeau is the Prime Minister of Canada

Ontario is a smart province. The people of this province want different parties in power in Ottawa and Queen's Park. With the Liberals winning federally, Ontario would want a Conservative in charge of their province. Besides, if Pierre Poilievre succeeds in winning the leadership of the federal Conservatives, and turns hard right, this just plays into Ford's image as a centrist (which he is). Ontario loves their moderates.

2. The NDP and the Liberals are fighting for second place

Ford's opponents are acting as if he has already won. Do you even know the leader of Ontario's Liberals? Or recognize his face? And the leader of NDP has lost more elections than she can count. Their ideas seem all over the place as well. Liberals blamed Ford for not shutting down the province early on during the pandemic, and then held a rally. NDP, despite being on the left, supported the people not getting vaccinated as a "Charter right". Their criticism was seen as criticism for criticism's sake, and not as valid opposition. When you are seeing "doing politics as usual" you are going to lose.

3. The pandemic handling

Ford has certainly done some mistakes (I have called him out on this many times). He famously told people in March 2020 to go for Spring break and "have a good time". He was late in getting the province ready for the vaccination drive. He was late in many of the restrictions that would come into play. Yet, despite those mistakes, which every government made, he generally handled the pandemic well. Almost 90% of the province is vaccinated. Ontario had strict lockdowns, and strict vaccine mandates. Ontario kept the mask mandates the longest. Ford generally listened to the science and to the experts, even if it went against his own instincts. 

The right was angry at him for the restrictions and lockdowns, and left angry at the lockdowns and restrictions not coming down fast enough. When both extremes are mad at you, you are probably doing something right. Ford also rightly called out Justin Trudeau and the federal government for their lax security and screening (or rather, NO SECURITY and SCREENING) at the border. The 2021 autumn wave of the virus was purely due to open borders - a federal fault - that Ford rightly called out. His government, despite being Conservative, handled the pandemic with smartness and caution.

4. Keeping his promises

Ford kept most of his promises. He got shovels in the ground on Ontario's notorious on again off again public transit projects. The Crosstown is going to open soon, the Ontario Line and the Scarborough extension is well on their way, along with LRTs in other cities. He has removed the tolls on highways 412 and 418. He kept his promises to reform the education curriculum, be it sex ed or Maths. He has kept public spending in check (too much, in fact). In his battle against the teachers, the people generally support him. 

All in all, everything looks rosy for Ford. Yet, he has challenges in his second term. Healthcare in this province is at a breaking point. It is almost non-functional, except the bare basics. Education is going to be a rocky battle, as he has to take care of bigger classes, lower tax base, and a teachers' union that is in the mood for a fight. Other public unions are coming up for negotiations. Ontario is facing a housing crisis - with buyers facing high house prices, rising interest rates and higher mortgages, not to mention higher property taxes and utility costs. All these add up in higher rents, which harm renters. And the LTB is a pure disaster.

So... much fun awaits. For now, all roads lead to Ford.