Religious freedom benefits everyone

But hard secularism and the marginalization of some Canadians are reducing our deep pluralism and chipping away at our freedoms

Religious freedom benefits everyoneIt’s a safe bet that Asia Bibi – a Christian woman recently acquitted of blasphemy charges in Pakistan but still facing mob violence – would say religious freedom makes Canada a better country. Indeed, it’s because Canada enjoys religious freedom that this country may even grant her asylum. Chances are that Muslim Rohingyas fleeing Burma or…

Excluding irregular migrants from health care violates international law

People with irregular legal status generally receive no health benefits whatsoever and must pay out of pocket or rely on charity to cover their health needs

Excluding irregular migrants from health care violates international lawShould migrants living in Canada without legal authorization be entitled to health care? The answer according to a decision issued by the United Nations Human Rights Committee in August was clearly yes, especially if lack of health care threatens migrants’ lives. Sadly, the government of Canada has yet to respond. People living in Canada with…

Reckless rhetoric is no way to debate public policy

The basic presumption of democracy requires us to try to understand one another rather than calling opponents murderers

Reckless rhetoric is no way to debate public policyDennis Raphael, a professor of health policy and management at York University in Toronto, recently penned an opinion piece that represents a low point for discourse about public policy in Canada. Raphael describes the policies of the new Conservative government in Ontario, and specifically the decision not to increase the minimum wage next year, as “social…

Social media is fully weaponized, open discourse be damned

The Eden-like public square was swiftly overrun by a cacophonic rabble dedicated to crushing ideas to which they’re opposed

Social media is fully weaponized, open discourse be damnedThe Internet may very well be the innovation that liberated access to ideas, but the social media it spawned is swiftly evolving into the jackboot that suppresses them. To put what’s happening today to an increasing number of editors into perspective – Ian Buruma of the New York Review of Books is just the latest…

Hubert Humphrey’s futile dash for Presidential power

Humphrey tried and tried again but, ambition notwithstanding, he was never meant for the job

Hubert Humphrey’s futile dash for Presidential powerOn Sept. 30, 1968, an American vice-president made a dash for political independence. Speaking in Salt Lake City, Hubert Humphrey began the process of trying to separate his floundering presidential campaign from the spectre of his boss, President Lyndon Johnson. Humphrey’s initiative was to call for a change in America’s prosecution of the Vietnam War.…

A lawsuit targeting Winnipeg entrepreneurs is bad for everyone

A legal win for the plaintiff would mean money for lawyers and a marginal payout for drivers. And it could cripple the business

A lawsuit targeting Winnipeg entrepreneurs is bad for everyoneSkipTheDishes driver Charleen Pokorik wants a different job. More precisely, she wants to do the same job but for the company to cover everything. Its founders left jobs like that to form the company, but she won’t do the same to be paid in the manner she wants. The result is a class action lawsuit…

Has feminism rejected fairness, truth and justice?

The feminist war against men isn't only against bad men. It’s a war is against all men

Has feminism rejected fairness, truth and justice?It’s become a regular experience in Canada and the United States for a man to be accused of sexual misconduct and for an almost immediate pile-on of haters adding every accusation the mind can imagine. Contemporary feminists have done a brilliant job in their war against men. Unsubstantiated accusations are treated as proven guilt. Due…

Whitewashing history fails to serve the common good

Beware the arrogance of the new age. Attempting to cleanse history is a fool’s or, worse, a tyrant’s errand

Whitewashing history fails to serve the common goodIn the interest of righting a genuine and grave historic wrong – the suffering of our Indigenous peoples – the historical hubris of our present Canadian age is distorting history yet again. Enter the City of Victoria and Sir John A. Macdonald. In removing his statue from in front of Victoria City Hall, the denizens…

Jumping on to the class action lawsuit gravy train

And the federal government should stop playing fast and loose with the hard-earned money of overtaxed taxpayers

Jumping on to the class action lawsuit gravy trainThe RCMP is facing another billion-dollar class action suit. Initiated by two former officers, it has the potential to reach back decades and involve tens of thousands of former officers, civilian employees and volunteers. The suit alleges harassment and bullying. As an example, one officer alleges that he was made to sleep in a horse…

Denying TWU’s bid for a law school was the right decision

But why were so many provincial law societies silent in the face of clear LGBTQ discrimination?

Denying TWU’s bid for a law school was the right decisionIn a society that prizes the rights and freedoms guaranteed to us by our Constitution, sorting through what to do when rights collide can be challenging. The Supreme Court of Canada recently dealt with that very issue. The Supreme Court protected the dignity of LGBTQ people in Canada and the integrity of the legal profession…

Compelled speech compromises basic rights

If the Canada Summer Jobs precedent holds, soon other government agencies will mix public funds and political preferences

Compelled speech compromises basic rightsIn a crucial free speech ruling recently, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed that the constitution in that country prohibits forcing people to say what they don’t believe. Here in Canada, a young Ottawa lawyer upped the ante recently by filing a Federal Court lawsuit arguing that our Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects the right…

Night hunting has no place in the modern world

Why would a responsible government not immediately issue a total ban on something that’s so explicitly dangerous?

Night hunting has no place in the modern worldNight hunting is an incredibly dangerous practice involving high-powered rifles capable of killing over a distance measured in kilometres. People have been killed as a result of this reckless activity and livestock slaughtered. It’s also responsible for an alarming decline in moose in Manitoba. It should not be allowed under any circumstances. The Manitoba government…

Indigenous rights are not absolute

Public policy discourse needs to move away from where Indigenous issues are paramount to where they’re one set among many

Indigenous rights are not absoluteIndigenous people too often seem to think that their rights are absolute or act as if their rights trump everything else. This attitude was seen clearly in a reaction from the Saskatchewan-based Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) after the Saskatchewan government changed the policy regarding when people can hunt on summer pasture lands. All…

Why Roseanne shouldn’t have been cancelled

Pulling the plug on a successful product to curry favour in a politically correct environment is all too common today

Why Roseanne shouldn’t have been cancelledDid ABC make a mistake last month in cancelling Roseanne? Few people would disagree that lead star/co-executive producer Roseanne Barr’s May 29 tweet about former White House adviser Valerie Jarrett (“Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby = vj”) was incredibly offensive. Yet many don’t understand why the show’s entire cast and…

Television’s telling trend to female cops

On fictional program after fictional program, women dominate. Now universities reflect that trend in reality. Will the job market follow?

Television’s telling trend to female copsIn contemporary British and Canadian television programs, women are portrayed as the prominent police officers, with men of colour as their main complements, and white men presented in demeaning ways or absent altogether. Scott and Bailey (British) is both produced and directed by women. It features two white female detectives, both constables at first, then…

Different rights for different groups of Canadians?

The assertion that we are on treaty land should not allow anyone to impose expectations or rights beyond the societal standard

Different rights for different groups of Canadians?CBC Radio recently aired a story about an Indigenous woman who complained that a security officer, and then a City of Winnipeg police officer, treated her improperly while she was attending a Winnipeg Jets-related “Whiteout” event. The woman, who described herself as an elder and a grandmother, says she was standing in a place that…

The hollow gestures of an overreaching government

The Trudeau government’s aspirations to mandate equality, diversity and inclusion must be open for discussion, not just blindly accepted

The hollow gestures of an overreaching governmentI seem to have a penchant for seeking out protests – not necessarily to participate but to observe, to soak in the screams, the worn-out chants, the always amusing soundbite slogans. This particular demonstration, while not well attended, took place in front of the Supreme Court of Canada. The “anti-capitalist” rally and march in support…

Treaty land admission is just the thin edge of the wedge

The treaty land acknowledgment is part of a very sophisticated strategy to soften Canadians up for a new and radical campaign to rewrite treaties

Treaty land admission is just the thin edge of the wedgeThe governing body of the Ontario Medical Association recently voted down a motion to open its meetings with the currently fashionable acknowledgment that “you are on treaty land.” They were roundly criticized for their effrontery by Indigenous spokespeople. Andre Picard wrote an article in The Globe and Mail thoroughly scolding them and saying that the…

The great pipeline debate has degenerated

We need a way to drill down to the science and legality related to Trans Mountain. We need to replace cacophony with compromise

The great pipeline debate has degeneratedThe last few months have illustrated how we now argue in public in Canada and the picture is not encouraging. I’m referring to what many think of as the great pipeline debate: the pros and cons of the Kinder Morgan diluted bitumen Trans Mountain pipeline expansion from the Alberta oilsands to tidewater in Vancouver. We…

Manitoba Hydro’s ‘persuasion money’ symptom of a greater problem

It has become commonplace to seek large monetary settlements to allow resource development to proceed

Manitoba Hydro’s ‘persuasion money’ symptom of a greater problemEvery member of the Manitoba Hydro board, except Conservative MLA Cliff Graydon, resigned on March 21, 2018, over a dispute with Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister. According to Pallister, the board resigned because the province won’t agree to pay $67.5-million to the Manitoba Metis Federation to smooth the process for the Minnesota-Manitoba transmission line. The outgoing…

Entertainment as diversity propaganda

Television has taken it upon itself to correct social wrongs. But it doesn't fairly represent the mosaic of our society

Entertainment as diversity propagandaTelevision programs not only entertain, they also influence our ideas about society and culture. These messages aren’t meant to solely and accurately reflect social reality – they’re also meant to shape that reality. People and their actions and opinions are presented as if they’re typical and to be emulated. These programs offer a view of…

No-go zones around abortion clinics are unconstitutional

Free societies don’t dictate the correct answers to difficult questions, nor protect people from discomfort over their choices

No-go zones around abortion clinics are unconstitutionalAlberta Health Minister Sarah Hoffman recently claimed that banning peaceful anti-abortion protests near abortion clinics is not about freedom of expression. Yet she has also expressed confidence that her new law would withstand a constitutional challenge. By speaking of a constitutional challenge, it seems that she knows that this new law tramples on free expression…

Intemperance and intolerance in campus culture clashes

Students of the snowflake generation feel empowered to videotape, confront and swarm professors with whom they disagree

Intemperance and intolerance in campus culture clashesI must confess to a crime. Many years ago, when I was still in my 20s, I was enjoying a late-night non-alcoholic beverage with an old friend from my high school days. Our talk turned to the teachers in our adolescence, some of whom we revered, some of whom we despised. The memory of one…

The modern quest for equality sacrifices freedom

In societies where economic equality exists, individual liberty is highly restricted. Communism is the perfect example

The modern quest for equality sacrifices freedomEquality is one of the hallowed values of the post-Enlightenment west. It's celebrated in the French revolutionary slogan, “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity,” and in the American Declaration of Independence, which asserts that it is “self-evident” that “all men are created equal,” as well as that all men have “inalienable Rights” such as “Liberty.” The Canadian Charter of…

Canada needs another Diefenbaker

In the hyper-sensitive world of modern politics, opposition politicians aren't brave enough to talk about critical issues

Canada needs another DiefenbakerIn recent years, we’ve seen the children of former strong Canadian leaders enter politics. They don’t have to start at the bottom because of the reputations their fathers forged through the hot steel of Canadian issues such as separatism and free trade. Justin Trudeau and Caroline Mulroney are examples of two politicians following in their…

Law Society of Ontario’s unprincipled “Statement of Principles”

The Law Society of Ontario is asking divisive, intrusive and shameful questions of its members. It needs to stop

Law Society of Ontario’s unprincipled “Statement of Principles”Lawyers in Ontario (of which I am one) have until March 31 to file our annual reports for 2017 with the law society. This usually routine procedure has become controversial because we’re now required to tick a box declaring whether we abide by a “Statement of Principles” (which we’re required to draft) incorporating an obligation…