More than ever, we need to embrace diversity

There’s no superior culture in the world

More than ever, we need to embrace diversityWe live in a very diverse world. Not only is each individual unique but, as people from different parts of the world have come into contact, it has become clear that each culture has different priorities. Do we have anything in common? I was very fortunate to have been brought up in a multicultural and…

Why the Calls to Action should be Canada’s guidebook

Canada is facing a pivotal moment. We can choose to keep the truth buried or we can choose to heal

Why the Calls to Action should be Canada’s guidebookCanada Day 2021 was like none other in our history. The unmarked gravesites of children who died at residential schools seemed to be on everyone’s mind. Efforts to “kill the Indian in the child” in residential schools did tremendous damage to our country. Today, Indigenous people are disproportionately represented in our prison system, their high…

It’s too easy to blame Christianity for residential school deaths

Just like any human institution, religions are in a constant state of evolution. Just like any human, religious leaders make mistakes

It’s too easy to blame Christianity for residential school deathsArticle 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship…

Longshore workers stand firm for justice

A profound bond is growing between Palestinians and colonialized and oppressed peoples around the world

Longshore workers stand firm for justiceAn incredible act of courage and international solidarity took place recently at the Port of Prince Rupert. Ninety-four members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) refused to unload a ship of the Israeli corporation ZIM. This same ship was prevented from unloading in Oakland, Calif., as part of the Block the Boat movement.…

There are only two “races” of people: the decent and the indecent

Good people and bad people can be found in every group

There are only two “races” of people: the decent and the indecentWe’re all influenced by the environment we grow up in and our life experiences. We thus adopt paradigms in our effort to make sense of the world around us. Sometimes these perspectives serve us well but other times our core beliefs prevent us from seeing the truth. Yet there’s perhaps nothing more life-giving than experiencing…

What the Germans can teach us about reconciliation

They’re not guilty of the crimes of their ancestors but they are responsible for building a more peaceful and tolerant country

What the Germans can teach us about reconciliationWhen Germany talked about reuniting as one country after the fall of the Berlin Wall in late 1989, many world leaders were quite concerned, especially British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and French President François Mitterrand. But Germany wasn’t the same country it was in the first half of the 20th century, and today it isn’t…

Diseases don’t care about our nationality or wealth

If we continue to value Canadian lives more than we value Congolese or Yemini lives, we put our well-being at risk

Diseases don’t care about our nationality or wealthIt’s certainly a relief to see COVID-19 restrictions eased and life returning to normal as more and more Canadians get vaccinated. The vaccines we have won’t provide 100 per cent immunity but should be sufficient to prevent further outbreaks. We’re told that soon travel restrictions and social distancing will be a thing of the past.…

We must discover the truth, no matter how horrible

We must find out the truth about residential schools if we are to heal from the wounds caused by our cruelty

We must discover the truth, no matter how horribleThe recent discovery of the bodies of 215 children at the Kamloops Indian Residential School is tragic but not at all surprising. In 1907, federal medical inspector Dr. Peter Bryce provided a report to the Department of Indian Affairs regarding the horrendous health conditions at residential schools across Canada. Those conditions resulted in up to…

We can buy weapons or educate children all over the world

The choice should seem obvious, yet around the globe governments still spend astonishing amounts of our money building military might

We can buy weapons or educate children all over the worldWhen discussing global issues, there’s a proverbial, weaponized elephant in the room. The topic is central to human suffering yet we seem unwilling to discuss it: the military-industrial complex. There’s a myth that there are good guys and bad guys and if we blow up the bad guys, the world will be safer. But the…

Are perspectives shifting on the Israel/Palestine conflict?

Regardless of how we’re told to hate, we will find a way to peace

Are perspectives shifting on the Israel/Palestine conflict?George Floyd has changed the world. His tragic death created a bond of international solidarity that no force can stop, no matter how they try. As a person of Middle Eastern descent living in the diaspora, I’ve always taken an interest in the situation in Israel/Palestine. Palestinians I met would tell me they were from…

Expose tainted heroes by finding new ones to honour

Roberto Alomar was a great baseball player but there’s more to being a human than athleticism. The real hero is the woman who reported him

Expose tainted heroes by finding new ones to honourPublic opinion is fickle. We love to sing the praises of individuals and put them on pedestals, but we’re just as apt to demonize these same people in the court of public opinion. Is this type of thinking getting us anywhere? Aren’t we all simply humans with the capacity to do good or bad things?…

Quebec, France poised to reject diversity, pluralism

Freedom of religious expression is a human right

Quebec, France poised to reject diversity, pluralismAccording to the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practise, worship…

Canada’s human rights record marred by hypocrisy

We continue to sell military equipment to Saudi Arabia, which is responsible for much of the suffering in Yemen

Canada’s human rights record marred by hypocrisyDuring the Cold War, we were told that our allies did nothing wrong and our enemies did nothing right. In the late 1970s, the Cambodian genocide was very well reported in the Western media. That was a good thing because Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge were horrendous war criminals. Yet, at almost the exact…

Democracy may not always be the best form of government

We’ve been taught in the West that democracy is the ideal form of government. But is it?

Democracy may not always be the best form of governmentLooking at the world through the lens of the media, it’s difficult to gain a clear perspective on what type of government works and what doesn’t, who’s a good leader and who’s bad, and where people are happy and where they’re not. We’ve been taught in the West that democracy is the ideal form of…

Covid-19 an educational catastrophe for disadvantaged kids

200,000 young people have lost complete touch with their schools

Covid-19 an educational catastrophe for disadvantaged kidsThere are fewer students at my school this year. There are also fewer disciplinary issues, but it has become even more difficult to establish and maintain contact with our at-risk students and their families. I didn’t realize until recently, however, that this is a global issue. There’s no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted…

Time to make Britain answer for its colonial wrongdoings

Time to make Britain answer for its colonial wrongdoingsI’ve been teaching about Canada’s 2008 apology for residential schools for some time. In discussing the topic, I point out that this isn’t only a Canadian issue. Australia has apologized to its Indigenous peoples, and New Zealand continues to make progress in its reconciliation process. Quite often, I hear these questions from my students: “What…

We minimize, revise and ignore history at our own peril

Confronting the horrors of our past and trying to make things right isn’t an easy task but a peace comes from doing the right thing

We minimize, revise and ignore history at our own perilIt seems that everywhere we turn we find a new scandal, some memory from the past that haunts us. Though virtually every state and institution has something to hide, there’s something liberating in speaking the truth. While his tenure hasn’t been without controversy, many around the world have been relieved to see the openness and…

Is being the better person enough to combat racism?

Basketball player Jeremy Lin believes you can be the bigger person and still tell someone that their words and actions are unacceptable

Is being the better person enough to combat racism?Jeremy Lin is probably best known to basketball fans for “Linsanity,” the amazing streak of clutch and dramatic moments he had with the New York Knicks in 2012. Many Canadians know Lin for the spark he brought to the court when the Toronto Raptors won the National Basketball Association (NBA) championship in 2019. Lin recently…

Is being the better person enough to combat racism?

Basketball player Jeremy Lin believes you can be the bigger person and still tell someone that their words and actions are unacceptable

Is being the better person enough to combat racism?Jeremy Lin is probably best known to basketball fans for “Linsanity,” the amazing streak of clutch and dramatic moments he had with the New York Knicks in 2012. Many Canadians know Lin for the spark he brought to the court when the Toronto Raptors won the National Basketball Association (NBA) championship in 2019. Lin recently…

Money isn’t the root of all evil. Greed is

How can a Christian support politics and economics that result in a world where over 700 million people live on less than $2 a day?

Money isn’t the root of all evil. Greed isLarry Richards is a friend of mine from high school who has become a very popular speaker among conservative Catholics in North America. I watched one of his social media posts recently and he made a point that few would disagree with, but it’s a message many may not like. Larry pointed out that according…

Poverty often at the root of racism, hate

Teaching critical thinking skills is vital in promoting honest and respectful dialogue. Yet schools are underfunded

Poverty often at the root of racism, hateEarly-20th-century electrical engineer Charles Proteus Steinmetz said, “There are no foolish questions and no man becomes a fool until he stops asking questions.” Steinmetz is right. Asking questions is vital in seeking truth and finding wisdom. Many things are happening in the world where the narrative perpetrated simply doesn’t make sense. We’re told, for example,…

This is Canada’s moment to change the world

Declaring what China is doing to Uighurs genocide is a good first step. But will Canada follow through?

This is Canada’s moment to change the worldCanadian Parliament recently took a stand on a human rights issue as courageous as Joe Clark and Brian Mulroney’s opposition to South African apartheid in the 1980s and Stephen Harper’s apology for residential schools in 2008. On Feb. 22, by a vote of 266 to zero, the House of Commons voted to recognize China’s treatment…

Baseball showed how racism can be overcome

Racism is pointless and will inevitably fail, as it did in baseball. But it is part of our history

Baseball showed how racism can be overcomeMy earliest memories of baseball revolve around the 1969 Chicago Cubs. Enthusiasm just resonated off Wrigley Field as the great Ernie Banks chimed, “Let’s play two!” Regardless of the disastrous finish to that season for the Cubbies, a love for the game was planted in my soul as a seven-year-old. These heroes were larger than…

Only respect for diversity will defeat extremism

Imagine what the Nazis would have done if they had access to today’s social media platforms

Only respect for diversity will defeat extremismI recently showed Steven Spielberg’s classic film about the Holocaust, Schindler’s List, to a group of students. Watching Nazi soldiers terrorizing and murdering Jewish people, I thought to myself that on some level they had to have known that what they were doing was wrong. Yet they seemed to be unaffected. Were they impacted at…

One step at a time toward a better self, a better world

Choosing to walk instead of drive is good for your body and mind, benefits the environment and ultimately helps the economy

One step at a time toward a better self, a better worldI’ve asked myself this question every day for much of my adult life, and I now realize it’s one of the keys to my happiness and good health: Do I really need to drive to work today? I first began asking myself this question almost out of necessity when living in an overcrowded tropical city…

Integrity and accountability are key to democracy

Failure to accept responsibility, especially by those in government, will create polarization and resentment

Integrity and accountability are key to democracyWhile most people agree that those who attacked the American Capitol buildings on Jan. 6 should be arrested and charged for their crimes, some say the politicians who may have been behind the attack shouldn’t even be investigated. Their argument is that there’s already enough polarization in the United States and this would make the…

What Marx and Jesus have in common

Movements always endure if they embrace equality, justice, pursuit of truth, and a deep respect for each person with no exceptions

What Marx and Jesus have in commonMy favourite textbook in university was entitled Marxism, an American Christian Perspective. Other students would hear me talk about it and ask, “Aren’t those two perspectives diametrically opposed? Didn’t Marx call religion ‘the opiate of the people’? Aren’t the Christian churches opposed to Marxism?” The most fundamental disagreement between the two schools of thought is…

Trump is a case study in bad leadership

Good leaders respect themselves and others, listen, celebrate differences of opinion and understand that winning means creating circumstances where everyone benefits

Trump is a case study in bad leadershipMany people have criticized Donald Trump’s actions in recent months, yet he still received more votes than any losing presidential candidate in American history. Many clearly think he’s a great leader. Perhaps Trump is the Vince Lombardi of presidents. The legendary football coach is known for having said, “Winning isn’t everything. It’s the only thing.”…

To protect democracy, we must protect local media

Our 21st-century reliance on tech giants to supply us with information has resulted in fake news, clickbait and polarized societies

To protect democracy, we must protect local mediaIt’s not news to say that our consumption of media has changed dramatically in the 21st century. Perhaps it’s time to take a step back and look objectively at the impact of these changes and begin thinking about how our media can be improved. For most of the 20th century, the media was controlled by…
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