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…

Compassion and reform, not walls, will halt the flood of refugees

The only way to stop people from fleeing their countries is to hold their governments' culpable for their citizen's suffering

Compassion and reform, not walls, will halt the flood of refugeesEven when boundaries define arbitrary lines between territories, they embody deeper symbolic, cultural, historical and religious meaning that’s often contested for legitimacy. Our belief that borders are indisputable has at times led to remarkable efforts to establish permanent barriers as statements of sovereignty and against foreign intrusion. The Great Wall of China, built for defence…

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…

When will Canada start to stand up to China?

Follow Australia's example and take a stand against China’s bullying and human rights violations

When will Canada start to stand up to China?By Andrew Pickford and Jeffrey Collins Macdonald-Laurier Institute Last week, U.S. President Joe Biden joined his Japanese, Indian, and Australian counterparts at the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (or Quad) summit. This informal grouping remains the most powerful collection of countries focused on confronting the security, economic, and geostrategic challenges posed by China. Canada may not have…

Troubling trends for human rights in China and India

Genocide is the outcome of nationalistic, populist movements that tolerate hate speech and discrimination and incite violence

Troubling trends for human rights in China and IndiaIf left unaddressed, the rising extremism and persecutions in China and India will undermine the well-being of millions of people. These acts will also set a precedent the international community will regret for generations, both in terms of the human cost and the undermining of many gains made in human rights over the past several…

Uyghur no-show symbolic of Trudeau’s hypocrisy, incompetence

His response to the Uyghur genocide motion stands out simply because it put all his hypocrisy on display at once

Uyghur no-show symbolic of Trudeau’s hypocrisy, incompetencePolitical failures usually come in one of two flavours. The first are acts that expose a gap between reality and the stories politicians tell about themselves. Sometimes this occurs when a politician’s criminality is exposed. But much more often, it is the banal things that display glaring hypocrisy and enrage voters. Remember Bev Oda? I…

Suspect COVID-19 test upended human rights around the world

Portuguese court finds that the test, in itself, is unable to determine, beyond a reasonable doubt, that a person is infected

Suspect COVID-19 test upended human rights around the worldEvery day, the news tells us about new COVID-19 positive test results. But are they reliable? Kary Mullis, the late inventor of the diagnostic test for SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind COVID-19, explained how his test could be misused. So did a Portuguese court that ruled a positive test is an insufficient basis to isolate or…

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…

Attacking activists doesn’t make them wrong

Life doesn't always go well for those who challenge the powerful

Attacking activists doesn’t make them wrongAmerican intellectual and longtime social activist Noam Chomsky has been described by a term that’s deeply offensive: a self-hating Jew. There’s nothing hateful about Chomsky. He’s a sojourner of truth and a voice of reason. In a recent interview, Chomsky talked about the roots of his activism. He was brought up in an educated Jewish…

Lose sight of justice and society starves

Trump poured gasoline on the flames of misogyny and racism and put the lives of millions of people at risk

Lose sight of justice and society starvesAmer Zahr, a teacher of Islamic law, points out that while eating pork is forbidden, it’s allowed out of necessity in cases of extreme hunger. Zahr is also a Palestinian-American comedian, and in a recent monologue, he stated that in the 2020 presidential election he chose ham over starvation. He has a point. Much of…

Shedding the destructive legacy of the baby boomers

Someone said, ‘Greed is good’ and we repeated it. But the only thing that matters when you die is your legacy

Shedding the destructive legacy of the baby boomersI have to apologize to the youth of the world for the state we find ourselves in. Yes, great things have happened in my lifetime. We watched the fall of the Berlin Wall and we have taken some steps in the progress of human rights. But the legacy of the baby boomer generation leaves little…

Lockdown hysteria defies COVID-19 reality

Given that infections don’t by a long shot equal hospitalizations, civil libertarians are rightly sounding warning bells

Lockdown hysteria defies COVID-19 realityOn Sept. 18, Israel became the first developed country to launch a second COVID-19 lockdown. It came four months after the first lockdown – instituted in March – ended. How Israeli citizens have reacted to the unsustainable nature of renewed lockdowns is instructive for the Canadian jurisdictions that have increased a rhetoric of fear about…

It’s time we all stood up for Julian Assange

What message do we send dictators and the people who live under their tyranny if we don’t have the courage to live up to our own ideals?

It’s time we all stood up for Julian AssangeIt’s very rare to hear Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson and scholar Noam Chomsky agree on anything but a largely underreported topic brings both ends of the political spectrum together: the Julian Assange affair. In a recent interview, Carlson’s guest Glenn Greenwald pointed out that efforts to silence Assange go back to the administration of…

Finding the truth when the media has an agenda

Finding the truth when the media has an agendaDeception and dishonesty aren’t new. When sending his disciples out into the world 2,000 years ago, Jesus gave the following advice: “I am sending you like sheep among wolves; therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” People have always told lies to promote their agendas and to protect their economic interests.…

Canada must stand up to China: O’Toole

Canada needs an eyes-wide-open approach to China to see the country as it is and not how corporate lobbyists would like it to be

Canada must stand up to China: O’TooleWhen campaigning to become prime minister in 2015, Justin Trudeau was asked what country he most admired in the world. The people in attendance looked on in disbelief when he stated that he most admired China. His reason? Trudeau believed China’s “basic dictatorship” allowed their government to move swiftly to implement their agenda. Trudeau’s obsession…

Canadian Museum for Human Rights must rediscover its mission

In order to promote respect for others, and to encourage reflection and dialogue, the museum needs to clean up its own house

Canadian Museum for Human Rights must rediscover its missionThe Canadian Museum for Human Rights has made news around the world for all the wrong reasons. It has been derelict in its mission and mandate. The museum has been accused of maintaining a poisoned work environment that practices racism, discrimination, a lack of gender equity and inclusion. In November 2007, I was selected by…

Do we let race define us or do we look for common ground?

No prime minister in Canadian history has used identity politics more than Justin Trudeau

Do we let race define us or do we look for common ground?In a famous 60 Minutes interview in 2012, Mike Wallace asked actor Morgan Freeman how to get rid of racism. Freeman instantly responds by saying it’s easy: stop referring to him as a Black man and he will stop referring to Wallace as a white man. Freeman says only by removing racist labels will we…

Is it time to walk away from trade with China?

If China wants to keep trading with the West, it needs to do something about the living standards of its working people

Is it time to walk away from trade with China?The idea that our entire civilization could depend on millions of foreign slaves that we pretend don’t exist is like something out of a dystopian novel. But it’s the world in which we’ve lived for decades. COVID-19 is proving to be the wake-up call we needed. With cheap goods comes cheap labour, and with cheap…

Olivia de Havilland was more than an actress

She played two off-screen roles that took courage and independence. She was, to put it simply, a woman of genuine substance.

Olivia de Havilland was more than an actressOlivia de Havilland died last weekend at the age of 104. She was often described as the last survivor of Hollywood’s golden age. Making theatrical movies from the mid-1930s to the late-1970s and continuing in television until 1988, de Havilland earned five Academy Award nominations and won Best Actress twice. Not bad going by anyone’s…

How to put the legacy of John Lewis to good use

Seven simple words help to understand the strength of a great man: humility, honesty, respect, courage, truth, wisdom, love

How to put the legacy of John Lewis to good useThe world recently said goodbye to lifetime civil rights activist and long-serving member of the United States House of Representatives, John Lewis. In one of his most famous quotes, Lewis stated, “When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have to speak up. You have to do something.” Lewis lived…

Canada’s foreign policy needs a course correction

We can’t simply watch global events unfold. We have a valuable contribution to make and we’re up to the challenge

Canada’s foreign policy needs a course correctionCanada’s foreign policy has strayed from its traditional path, losing the traction it once had on the world stage. Canada’s last two attempts to secure a seat as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council failed. Our international standing as a neutral middle power and an honest broker has lost its shine. Our…

Secret audio file answers Trudeau’s 21-second mystery

There are people behind the scenes working hard to provide answers to hard questions, even if they’re hard to unravel

Secret audio file answers Trudeau’s 21-second mysteryThere’s been a lot of chatter over what was behind Justin Trudeau’s pregnant pause during a news briefing on June 2. Now, stopping to think before answering is not something politicians are known for. But in this case, it wasn’t a bad idea. After all, the prime minister had just been asked a very tricky…

Hang on to your compassionate ideals

Doing good is not only vital to humanity and to the planet, it’s one of the key ingredients to living a happy and fulfilling life

Hang on to your compassionate idealsBecause there are no sports on television right now, my favourite movie, Field of Dreams, has been getting a lot of airtime. Near the end of the film, the main character meets his father as a young man and comments on his appearance, saying, “My God, I only saw him years later when he was…

We need closer oversight on high-tech police practices

Understanding and safeguarding personal freedom and civil rights is more critical than ever. So who is policing the police?

We need closer oversight on high-tech police practicesPolicing is the only authority sanctioned to use force against its citizens. So democratic systems institute safeguards to ensure police impartiality and accountability, often with multiple and overlapping oversight. But who’s keeping an eye on the growing use of technology in policing? The police services board is one prevalent form of oversight responsible for ensuring…

Three generations of courage and commitment

When you search the name Henry Morgenthau, you find remarkable legacies left by three men of one extraordinary family

Three generations of courage and commitmentAs I examined the history of human rights in America, one name kept coming up: Henry Morgenthau. It turns out I was actually learning about three men: Henry Morgenthau Sr., Henry Morgenthau Jr. and Henry Morgenthau III, father, son and grandson. All of them spoke with courage and together advanced the cause of human rights…

Can Canada lead a global push to eradicate poverty?

First we need to deal with our own problems, starting with the huge inequities among our Indigenous peoples

Can Canada lead a global push to eradicate poverty?Despite our best efforts towards eliminating poverty and inequality, large segments of society remain left behind. Problems seem to outpace rhetoric. Worse, governments face huge challenges in meeting their obligations and commitments. We face two tragedies: our domestic challenge with poverty and inequality, and the estimated 828 million people globally living in slums (expected to…

Just do the right thing – no matter what

You may never know the outcome of your actions. But you can know with certainty the results of doing nothing

Just do the right thing – no matter whatIn studying the history of social change, I’m moved by the number of great people who died never knowing the full extent of their contribution to a better world. Three examples from the 20th century are Raphael Lemkin, Peter Bryce and Viola Desmond. Lemkin was a brilliant lawyer and professor. He was also a Polish…
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