Social Studies 11

Dossier on Finances of Vancouver

The City of Vancouver is the largest city in the province of British Columbia. It serves as a ‘downtown’ to approximately 2.8 million people living in the broader region, including the 610,000 (2016) population in the City itself.  [1]Vancouver is relatively safe, has economic activity and has great diversity, all with the backdrop of the beauty of mountains and oceans. Yet, Vancouver also faces serious challenges related to a visible drug trade, a significant homeless population, and, mental health and addictions issues, all made worse by lack of affordable housing. These issues plus providing regular City services, present financial challenges. The City of Vancouver Budget 2018 and Financial Plan, maps Vancouver’s way forward.

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Great Depression Commentary

The pressure is agonizing. Grimy, displeased, malcontent men fill my cabins without the consent of my conductor. They complain about their unemployment and their hopes of obtaining work by travelling to other areas of the country. It’s excruciating to have to transport this parade of disenchantment. They are disdainful of the government’s actions to combat the problem. Yet in actuality they are to blame. They elected to invest their savings in the market, well aware that if it failed they would be destitute. This coupled with the Dust Bowl has provided a breeding ground for poverty. As I cross the country I observe people dying from starvation in shantytowns, unable to anything but beg for a small meal. Now they are here with me, transecting the country hoping against pervasive hopelessness, for a light in the darkness. Perhaps there is none to be found.

Digg this … in the world this week (October 14-18, 2013)

Image: Young Ukrainian ultra-nationalists hold flares and shout slogans during a march in Kiev on October 14, 2013, to mark the 71st anniversary of the formation of the UPA (

Young Ukrainian ultra-nationalists hold flares and shout slogans during a march in Kiev on October 14, 2013, to mark the 71st anniversary of the formation of the UPA (“Ukrayinska Povstanska Armiya”), an armed nationalist group …. scary!

Image: Bangladeshi commuters ride on a train as they rush home to be with their families in remote villages, ahead of the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha, in Dhaka on October 15, 2013.

And you thought the commute across the Lions Gate bridge over the Thanksgiving week-end was a problem? Check this out … Bangladeshi commuters ride on a train as they rush home to be with their families in remote villages, ahead of the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha, in Dhaka on October 15, 2013.


The corruption of Democracy

As we have seen in our studies over the past few weeks (see posts below), ‘democracy’ is only as good as it is at the point of delivery … namely, how it impacts upon the ordinary people at grass roots level; at home and abroad, especially the poor and the destitute. We have seen how ambition and greed have been the reasons for so much suffering, and this interview now looks at how “big money” corrupts the democratic process.

Many thanks to Mr Mark Renneson for this contribution.

Ctrl+Alt+Del, America shuts down


Amazing as it may seem, it actually happened.   After months and weeks of haggling, and then a final, frantic day of brinksmanship on Capitol Hill, Congress last night failed to pass a bill to fund the U.S. government’s operations, shutting it down. In fact, it happened 17 years ago as well …

So, although this sounds like a script for an apocalyptic novel or film, this is real …

At the heart of the disagreement between Democrats and Republicans was Obamacare, a law that survived Republicans taking control of the House, a presidential election and a Supreme Court challenge. Attaching it to a deal to fund the government was the Republican Party’s last chance to block its rollout which begins Tuesday, October 1.

What is this all about, and what do you think about this? Write a critical analysis of the situation:

  1. After completing your research on the internet (Start your research here),
  2. write a short essay that includes an introduction, body and a conclusion (no headings in your essay),
  3. in which you mention your findings and explain your thoughts (for example, what does “brinkmanship” mean?).
  4. Then provide your essay with an interesting title and,
  5. after proofreading your work carefully,
  6. publish your essay in a post on Chameleon Corp.

Democracy is the polar opposite of Totalitarianism OR IS IT?

Do you think that Democracy is the total opposite of Totalitarianism? Some people think that it is totally a different topic but others think they are the same ideas. In my opinion democracy and totalitarianism are two different topics in the government system. Democracy is basically government by the people, also human rights and they have the right to vote to the freedom of speech. Totalitarianism the country is ruled mostly by a very tiny group of elite citizens, mostly military generals. Also in a totalitarianism the government will try to control the lives of its citizens as much as possible. After this essay you can decide whether Democracy is the opposite of Totalitarianism with the information given below.

What is democracy? How does democracy affect society today? Do people have rights? What is the rule of law? Democracy is defined as the government by people. This means that every single human being should have the right to talk in one way or another in everything that affects their lives. There is also a term called “Representative Democracies” where the people are represented by a group of people in government.It is when people can vote usually only once every four or five years, they do not vote on any issues. They can just elect for their representatives; until the next elections they have no right by law to base their decisions. Democracy affects our society today by allowing people to make their own choice instead of the government making their own decision. Today many people have rights and some democratic rights are Right of Thought, Opinion, and Expression, Freedom of Association, The right of Assembly, Freedom of movement, and Rights of Equality. A quick reflection on the movie that we watched, where the setting was in Cambodia, none of the people had rights it was all in the hands of the government and the rebels.

What is totalitarianism? How does totalitarianism affect society today? Do people have rights? What is the rule of law? Totalitarianism is listed in four different topics; Communism, Fascism, Nazism, and Dictatorship. These four different government systems have different meanings. Communism is an economic system that is based on community ownership of all property and also the means of production. Basically this means that individuals and companies are not free to continue business in any way. Fascism comes from a Latin term, it refers to a bundle of rods that are tied up firmly together with an axe coming out of the center. Fascism is also political violence, war, and imperialism. They also assert that stronger nations have the right to obtain land and resources by displacing weaker nations. The meaning of Fascism is an authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organization. Nazism is also called National Socialism. It is a form of socialism featuring racism, expansionism, and obedience to a strong leader. Dictatorship is a government which is ruled by either an individual, a dictator, or an authoritarian party. Dictatorship is defined by a form of government in which absolute power is concentrated in a dictator or a small group. Dictatorship can be classified in four ways; Military dictatorship, Single party state, personalists, and Hybrids.
Constitution, Human Rights, and Civil Rights are an important part of our community and world. Firstly constitution is a set of fundamental principles, the rules together make up a Constitute. There are two different constitutions; written constitution and codified constitution. Written constitution is when principles are written down into a single document or set of legal documents. Codified constitution is if they are written down in a single comprehensive document. Secondly human rights are rights including all human beings, nationality, place of residence, sex, national, colour, religion, and language. All human rights are indivisible whether they are civil or political rights; such as the rights to work,  social security and education. Thirdly civil rights are the rights of a citizen the same as human rights which are the rights of human beings. There are many civil rights some of them are the right to vote, equality under the law, the right to go to a public school, the right for police and fire protection, religion, accent, sexuality, the right to shop at any store, the right to get a passport and travel, etc.

Many genocides in the world are Democratic and Totalitarianistic. The Cambodian genocide is a very important one which goes back to the movie “The Killing Fields”. Cambodia is a country in Southeast Asia, less than half the size of California and twice the size of Scotland. Cambodia’s neighbours to the east of Vietnam, which had also fought against the French to gain independence. When the French were defeated in 1954, Vietnam was divided into two lands: communist North Vietnam and pro- Western South Vietnam. Civil war immediately broke out. Cambodia had preserved peace during the Vietnamese civil war by giving a little to both sides. Vietnamese communist were allowed to use a Cambodian port ship for supplies, USA were allowed to bomb secretly. Cambodia had become part of the Vietnam battlefield. During the next four years American B-52 bombers were using napalm and dart cluster-bombs, it killed up to 750,000 Cambodians.

In conclusion my point of view on democracy in practice is that I think democracy is a very great idea; because the world and countries won’t have war but they will have peace. Peace is a whole different title than War; Canada is worldwide and internationally a peace keeper with other countries and they help countries like Africa with food and shelter. Countries need to create a balanced society for every citizen or else it won’t be a fair community. There are many roles and responsibilities as a citizen in the world. American citizens have responsibilities which are voting, holding office, and helping candidates. Some roles and duties for a citizen is that they have to obey the laws, to pay one’s taxes, and serve as a conscript on a jury or in the military if called.

Democracy is the polar opposite of totalitarianism … or is it?

Democracy is the same as totalitarianism in my opinion. The government makes you believe you have a say in what’s going on and whose elected into government, but those people are just public figures that make you believe that you matter and everyone is equal. For example: the United States is run by, “Obama” and that “he’s the leader”, all his speeches that he makes are written by someone else. Nobody knows who except a few people in the world, they are so good at hiding that you never know they’re there.

They fund terrorism like al Qaeda and blame the Muslim religion even though Bin Laden was a CIA tactician for their own benefit, they fix elections and embezzle taxpayer’s money. The reality is that rich corporate officials run the country and call all the shots that the country makes. I believe that there was no such thing as the moon landing nor was there ever a ‘terrorist’ Osama Bin Laden. The government had been spending billions on trying to find him, or was it going towards something else and it’s not even their money it’s your hard earned money.

                       The American government takes 90% of your tax money that you give to them to provide you with a safe clean wholesome environment for you and your family, and instead of using it to help you and your family, they use it to build better weapons to kill people all over the world in the name of freedom.

They call it things like “the war on terror” and “Homeland security” But in all actuality it’s nothing more than warmongering, and bullying the weak. Have you ever see those long lines of vapor in the sky that planes make? Well, those are chemtrails. Our government passed a law in the seventies making it okay for them to do all kinds of tests on us and our weather and atmosphere whether you like it or not, so breathe it all in people I bet it’s good for you. If you ever try to expose the government for what they do and who they really are they will take you out.

The United States government records all of your phone calls, and runs it threw a sound program that the CIA invented. They listen for key words like terrorism or bombs, things like that, and they look further into you without you knowing and if they don’t find anything they forget about you. If you think this is a free country, YOU ARE WRONG! The people living in third world countries are free. They don’t have passports, they aren’t just numbers to their government. In the United States and Canada we all have to have passports (numbers) so the government can keep an eye on you, to know where you are at all times. Have you ever thought why you have had to have a passport to get out of the country? That is why, you are just another number to them.

The government takes thing that we have built and make it their own. We build houses and buildings, put all that hard work in and they expect you to pay “taxes” on it. The government is pretty much putting a price on the universe. That’s how they keep you in there loop, They make jobs for you and they made this thing called “money” and you have to work in their jobs to make this money so that you can pay for your mortgage that you have to pay to the government. It’s an endless loop.  In order to see what this looks like in reality, we need to understand what the different forms of governments are.

Democracy is a form of government in which all eligible citizens participate equally—either directly or through elected representatives—in the proposal, development, and creation of laws. It encompasses social, economic and cultural conditions that enable the free and equal practice of political self-determination.

Communism is a revolutionary socialist movement to create a classless, moneyless and stateless social order structured upon common ownership of the means of production, as well as a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of this social order. Karl Marx was the father of communism. He was certainly not the first communist, but he deserves this reputation because he was the first to unify the whole package of ideas that represent communism.

Socialism in what once were communist countries is an economic system characterised by social ownership of the means of production and co-operative management of the economy. “Social ownership” may refer to cooperative enterprises, common ownership, state ownership, citizen ownership of equity, or any combination of these. There are many varieties of socialism and there is no single definition encapsulating all of them. They differ in the type of social ownership they advocate, the degree to which they rely on markets or planning, how management is to be organised within productive institutions, and the role of the state in constructing socialism.

Fascism is a belief that the purpose of the individual is to serve the state, and that obedience and service are the ultimate duties of the citizens. In a democracy this relationship between the individual and the state is reserved, where at least in theory the state is to serve the individual.

Democracy is the polar opposite of totalitarianism….Or is it?

Democracy is represented as the total freedom of any society. Democracy is a form of government in which people choose the leaders by voting. The term democracy translated from latin is literally “rule, by the people”. Democracy is generally thought upon as a positive attribute to any government or large organization throughout Western civilisation. (Canada, USA) If democracy is known as the hero, who is the villain? What could be a sort of government that gives no power towards its people. A government that controls everything. Totalitarianism is a form of government that leaves all authority and power with the government. Communism, fascism, dictatorship, theocracy, monarchy, are all put under the category of totalitarianism. From definitions these two terms would sound as polar opposites but in practice, in the real world, both these terms have completely different effects.

The nazi era was run by a totalitarian form of government. The government was a fascist run government. The nazi party led germany to one of its most horrific times in history with the killings of over 6 million jewish citizens. Nazi germany was the kick starter to world war II leading to the deaths of many more innocent people. Monarchy on the other hand has been known as benign version of a fascism. Specific individuals rule the country and government but are kept in line by the people. The royals of the monarchy use their status to their advantage but again have to demand needs of the people in order to be respected. Many 1st world countries today are run through a monarchy system. (England, Netherlands, Sweden, Spain) All these examples of monarchy countries fall under a totalitarianism form of government and are not considered as terrible as they are perceived.

Democracy is the famous word used in all politics in the Western world. People are always reminded of their rights and freedoms by the media. Democracy originated in ancient greece allowing the “power to the people”.  In Western civilisation Democracy isn’t used for the right reasons. The United States has been notorious for using democracy/freedom as an excuse for committing terrible, immoral, unjust actions throughout the world. Does this make democracy the villain? For example the government of the United States claims they live with a democratic run society. They vote for practically everything. Do their votes even count? Who looks at their votes? Who is the perfect individual with many good morals, absolutely no bias, enjoys not fighting about anything, keeps strong ties with every religion known to mankind while also being an atheist, is not bribable and… Is within the government but does not listen at any of the governments commands, who is that “specific person” who counts the votes and makes the decisions. The truth is that there is no ”specific person” and there never will be. Democracy in the Western world is a scam and an abused term used in order to allow the majority of the population to believe they have power when they do not. The United states is a perfect example. They have participated in many wars worldwide that has never included the votes of their people.  Even the Canadian government when not supported to participating in both world wars by its own people, they still chose to go and fight. US congress, Canadian executive branch. Its always a group or party, in the government that makes the final decision. What happened to the power to the people?

In conclusion the term democracy is compared to totalitarianism as polar opposites but in reality they are very similar. In my opinion totalitarianism allows the people to know they do not have much power while democracy hides it from its people. Democracy does allow its people with many benefits (capitalism, free speech, non bias legal system) compared to totalitarianism.  The controversy that arises between both forms of government is when it comes down to the large decisions, its always the government that will step in. Within Western Civilisation the people are brainwashed by the media that democracy is being used in the right way. In final words. When both democracy and totalitarianism are compared as terms they are opposites. When both democracy and totalitarianism are compared in real life results, they are the same. In reality we live with a totalitarianism run government with a democratic face.


Grade 11 Social Studies: Democracy is the polar opposite of totalitarianism … or is it?

Key Points to consider:

  1. Introduction:
    1. Your view on the title of the essay
  2. Background:
    1. Define ‘democracy’ and ‘totalitarianism’
      1. Democracy:
        1. Constitution
          1. Multi-party elections that are free and fair
          2. Republic (res + publica)
          3. Canada: Federalism
        2. Human rights:
          1. Basic human liberties/freedoms:
            1. Freedom of speech
            2. Freedom of the press
            3. Freedom of religion
        3. Civil Rights and Liberties
            1. The right to vote
            2. Equality
            3. Canada: Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
      2. Totalitarianism:
        1. Communism (not in theory, but in practice)
          1. Nationalism
          2. Capitalism vs communism
        2. Facism and Nazism
          1. Power
          2. Extreme nationalism
          3. Propaganda
          4. Individual’s duties to the state
          5. Government spending – military, government
        3. Dictatorship
        4. Theocracy:
          1. A government run by religious leaders based on a certain state-driven religion. That religion becomes the basis of law. (For example: The Supreme Leader in Iran)
        5. Monarchy:
          1. King/Queen, Sultan, Sheik,Shah
        6. Constitutional monarchy:
          1. Monarchs shares power with an ‘elected legislature’ (see ‘democracy above’); for example: Great Britain
  3. Case study:
    1. Genocides: Germany (WW2), Armenia, Cambodia, Rwanda, other …
    2. The power of democratic forces / imbalance of power
    3. Impact on the people at grass-roots level
    4. Power – money and influence/politics
  4. Conclusion:
    1. Your conclusion on democracy in practice – peace vs war
    2. Creating a balanced society – locally and internationally
      1. Social conscience
      2. Socialisism
      3. Roles and responsibilities as a citizen of the world.

Canada’s role in the Second World War

As a Canadian citizen, I feel that Canada should only play a role in the war if things get way out of hand. I personally think Nazi Germany is a huge threat to the very existence of Western civilization, as well as to Europe and rest of the human population. Although we no longer have any colonial ties with Britain, I feel like the alliances will need help in the near future; for there will be much bloodshed. For Canada’s size, I think we should be able to come out with as many troops as the German opposition. We have kind of been in the thick of war since the first World War; mainly in the air though. The only thing that scares me about the whole decision to go to war is all the young men who will have to be separated from their families and loved ones. I personally do not have anything holding me back from going into the war because I live a lonesome, unemployed lifestyle and I might as well try and fight for the survival of not only my country, but all of humanity. Yet, most of Canada will not have the same mindset as I do. Most will fear the very thought of conscription; who knows how long we’ll be stuck overseas.