To end racial inequality, Canada must embrace equal rights and obligations

Canadian elites accepted the old-world model of political and social organization based on identification with racial groups

To end racial inequality, Canada must embrace equal rights and obligationsColumnist and author Richard Gwyn wrote that the 1950s was a time “when Canadians came to realize and believe that a ‘new nationality’ could be political rather than ethnic, or composed of  values and attitudes, rather than races.” Gwyn, author of Nation Maker – Sir John A. Macdonald: His Life, Our Times, a biography of Canada’s first prime…

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…

Covid-19 shattered our assumptions about freedom and individualism

Our First World sensitivities were not prepared for the consequences

Covid-19 shattered our assumptions about freedom and individualismLast year was one of shaken realities. The news from Wuhan, China was of an unknown virus claiming lives in unprecedented numbers. But China is across the world so the West continued the reality of our usual daily tasks of work, school, activities. Meanwhile, a virus was infiltrating the globe, silently leaping from one person…

Violence in the name of social good carries risks

Violence in the name of social good carries risksBy Thomas York Research Associate Frontier Centre for Public Policy In light of the mainstream media coverage of riots and protests in the U.S. in recent months and the questionable claim by some in the media that the riots were “mostly peaceful protests,” the distinction between violent and peaceful protest is worthy of examination. In…

Covid-19 and our forgotten freedoms of assembly and association

It is in emergencies that we see whether our deepest societal values mean anything

Covid-19 and our forgotten freedoms of assembly and associationBy Nnaemeka Ezeani and Dwight Newman Macdonald-Laurier Institute Government restrictions on various forms of gathering have bothered many Canadians throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. While freedoms are subject to limits for appropriate policies to protect life and health, there is a lingering sense that some of these policies have gone astray. But many find it hard…

The truth has a way of making you feel better

There’s a correlation between social activism and happiness. But which comes first?

The truth has a way of making you feel betterAmerican educator and philosopher Cornel West said, “If you are always trying to do something for a cause bigger than you – connected with serving others – then it’s hard to be guilty.” I can’t listen to West without feeling inspired and joyful, yet he’s not a man who compromises the truth when he speaks.…

Thankfully 2020 is over, but we’re not out of the woods yet

There's that little matter of actually rolling out the vaccines on a much wider scale in Canada

Thankfully 2020 is over, but we’re not out of the woods yetSad to see 2020 go? You’re in the minority … of one. Everyone else was quite ecstatic to roll out the welcome mat for 2021. The biggest issue we faced in 2020 was obviously the coronavirus pandemic. More than 85 million people have tested positive for COVID-19 worldwide, leading to nearly 1.85 million deaths as…

We’re too quick to condemn policing and its officers

We’re too quick to condemn policing and its officersThere has been a tremendous scrutiny and criticism of policing in recent months. Policing has been the lightning rod for widespread protests. The scrutiny has provided a window into the failings of policing, specifically the systemic processes and structures that have sustained marginalization. It has also highlighted the incompetence and misconduct of a few, which…

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…

Think about the common good: wear a mask

The pandemic gives us a golden opportunity to be altruistic or egoistic

“Stay the blazes home,” was Premier Stephen McNeil’s frustrated plea to the citizens of Nova Scotia in April of this year. The plea resonated across the province; it captured the imagination and gave rise to a humorous bout of creativity. People could buy Stay the Blazes Home beer, T-shirts and other memorabilia while chanting a…

Combatting the rising tide of hostility

Simple courtesy has taken a giant nosedive

Combatting the rising tide of hostilityFaith Wood knows how to resolve conflict. Her years in front-line law enforcement taught her how to effectively de-escalate any situation to a successful conclusion. Faith uses her knowledge of conflict management to guide you through the oft-times stressful experiences you may encounter in your personal or professional life. Her Conflict Coach column appears every…

Freedom and responsibility two sides of same coin

Freedom and responsibility two sides of same coinPsychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl made many trips to the United States. He appreciated the sense of freedom experienced by Americans, but added, “I recommend that the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast be supplemented by a Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast.” Freedom and responsibility seem to mean different things to…

COVID-19 vaccine opponents will be heard

Politicians are avoiding talking about what to do if some people turn a thumbs down to being forced to vaccinate

COVID-19 vaccine opponents will be heardWill there be a vaccine for COVID-19? Pharmaceutical companies have been working around the clock to find either a cure or a preventive measure. The medical community has been hopeful in some instances and cautious in others when discussing this possibility. Many people around the world have waited with anticipation for even the smallest glimmer…

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…

The common – and elusive – humanity of wearing a mask

It’s a common religious philosophy. The secular world calls it the ethic of reciprocity. It’s the ultimate social no-brainer

The common – and elusive – humanity of wearing a maskThe go-to car radio station for people of my demographic profile in Regina is Rawlco Radio, home of the John Gormley Show, The Hour of Rage and, on Sundays, replays of Montreal’s popular Roy Green Show. This is red meat programming for grumpy old guys. You know – men who look like me and who,…

The overblown panic of COVID-19

We trampled, in fear, over memory and institutions, obsessively protective and morally dismissive of dignity and human life

The overblown panic of COVID-19The schizophrenic aspects of Canadian culture and their influence on governments’ behaviour are increasingly evident. The most palpable example lies in how we trampled, in fear, over memory and institutions, obsessively protective and morally dismissive of dignity and human life simultaneously. The COVID-19 lockdown has been a strange time for people who are struggling to…

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…

How did we become so untrusting?

A look at the last 50 years shows a great deal of social change – and a great deal we should have misgivings about

How did we become so untrusting?I’ve been challenged by the content on social media (and televised news) of late. Several friends and colleagues are recoiling from it as well. It all feels so dramatic, so polarizing, so one-sided. How did we get here? How did we become those people? Did we stop trusting everyone suddenly or did the feeling creep…

How police departments can root out violent members

U of A sociologist recommends training, screening, higher education, more accountability and better gender balance

How police departments can root out violent membersThe global condemnation of the death of George Floyd, one of the latest in a constellation of officer-involved deaths of unarmed civilians, has grown into a worldwide social movement for disbanding or defunding police. At the far end of the debate, there are those calling for abolishing the police altogether. On the other hand, there are…

Rockies’ Murphy signing speaks to organization’s faulty values

Colorado chose to give millions of dollars to someone who denigrates gays. We should all be offended

Rockies’ Murphy signing speaks to organization’s faulty valuesThe Colorado Rockies recently signed free agent Daniel Murphy to a two-year, $24-million contract. On the surface, from a baseball perspective, it looked like a good move. Murphy has had some great seasons in recent years for the New York Mets and Washington Nationals, including finishing second in MVP voting following the 2016 Major League…

Legislation to ensure pay equity for work of equal value falls flat

Only a free market will balance out pay inequities. If a company fails to compensate fairly, employees will simply move on

Legislation to ensure pay equity for work of equal value falls flatFrom conception to implementation, pay equity is a sham. It’s obscured in double speak, packaged in seemingly laudable goals and promises great results. However, it can’t deliver them because it’s based on false premises. Any good that comes of it is far outweighed by the harm. That’s why Canadians should be wary of any legislation…

One sentencing standard for all offenders

Terri-Lynne McClintic shouldn't have been sent to a healing lodge. In fact, the very nature of such institutions defies fair practise

One sentencing standard for all offendersTerri-Lynne McClintic, convicted of the 2009 abduction, rape and murder of eight-year-old Tory Stanford, was recently moved from federal prison to a healing lodge. Canadians were surprised – to say the least – that the transfer of a convicted child murderer to a healing lodge was not something new but had being going on since…

Invest in education to ensure a strong democracy

The correlation between an educated populace and a vibrant society is clear. But B.C.’s education system is losing ground

Invest in education to ensure a strong democracyFormer American president Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard for democracy, therefore, is education.” I cherish democracy and the democratic process. I value the opinions of others, even when I disagree with them, and see respectful dialogue as vital to…

Revoking birthright citizenship affects everyone

Stateless persons have difficulty accessing education, employment, health care, social services and freedom of movement

Revoking birthright citizenship affects everyoneThere’s been a lot of talk about getting rid of birthright citizenship. U.S. President Donald Trump announced he will issue an executive order that would do away with automatic citizenship for babies born in the U.S. Conservative Party of Canada members passed a motion that would end birthright citizenship unless one parent is a citizen…

The strangling nature of Canada’s ‘duty to consult’ the Indigenous

A recent Supreme Court decision seems to have loosened the constraints, but will new legislation push such matters to the UN?

The strangling nature of Canada’s ‘duty to consult’ the IndigenousThe Supreme Court of Canada’s Mikisew decision, delivered on Oct. 11, 2018, marks what could be a very significant development in Canadian law – possibly ushering in a more reasonable era, where courts intervene less in matters that properly belong to the people’s elected representatives. Let me explain: Section 35 was written into Canada’s brand…