True confession time, people.
I commit sociology.
And not just as a one-off.
You might say—all right, I will say it—that I’m a repeat offender. In fact, I’m practically addicted. Scarcely a minute can go by without my synapses looking for their next fix.
That might not be a politically correct admission. After all, this is tough-on-crime Canada, where such wanton disregard for Father-Knows-Best-ology and doing the “right” thing (and not in that perilously-close-to-committing-sociology Spike Lee kind of way) seems almost, well, unpatriotic. ...Read more
By Seth Klein and Shannon Daub
[Note: Samara Canada has been gathering ideas for reforming Parliament. All the ideas they have collected are being posted on their blog, which you can find here. What follows is our contribution.]
Here’s the big dilemma: Whatever reforms are made to Parliamentary practice and conduct, the simple truth is that, for now, citizens have lost faith in politicians. However, they trust their fellow citizens, and just as they do with juries, are prepared to delegate important decisions to them. ...Read more
Tags: Democracy·Parliamentary reform
“As an ordinary Canadian I feel deeply that this wonderful country is at a crucial, and very fragile, juncture in its history. One of the major reasons for this fragility is the deep sense of alienation and frustration felt by, I believe, the vast majority of Canadian Indians, Inuit and Métis. Accordingly, any process of change or reform in Canada — whether constitutional, economic or social — should not proceed, and cannot succeed, without aboriginal issues being an important part of the agenda.”
The Right Honourable Brian Dickson
Report of the Special Representative
respecting the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (1991) ...Read more
Tags: Aboriginal Issues·Democracy·Human Rights·Poverty and Income Inequality
A new report on the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) concludes that the agreement’s benefits for Nova Scotia are being oversold, while its costs and consequences are minimized or even ignored.
Indeed, EU officials are in Halifax right now selling the benefits of the CETA for Nova Scotia. Media report the officials as reassuring Nova Scotia that our fisheries industry will benefit, and that Halifax will benefit from extra port traffic. As for the costs, media report that Nova Scotia shouldn’t worry too much about the patent term extension for brand name drugs, or about removing municipalities’ ability to consider local benefits in procurement contracts. The evidence to support why Nova Scotia shouldn’t worry was not reported in the media nor, in fact, has it ever been reported anywhere else. ...Read more
Tags: Democracy·International Trade and Investment·Nova Scotia
A variation of this blog post was published in the weekend Huffington Post as part of PEN Canada’s blog series examining freedom of expression for Non-Speak Week.
While you’re reading this, about two million employees are busy trying to make our world a little bit better through their work at Canada’s 80,000+ registered charitable organizations.
Some of these charitable organizations are giants among goodwill agencies. When natural disaster strikes, for instance, Canadians turn to charitable organizations such as the Canadian Red Cross, CARE, Oxfam, or UNICEF. ...Read more
Tags: charitable organizations·Democracy·PEN Canada
The scientific community is sad to report the death of evidence, which passed away June 18th, 2012, after an over six year battle with Harper government policies. Objective and honest, evidence was heavily involved in all aspects of Canadian prosperity and will be sorely missed by all Canadians, whether they currently realize it or not.
[From an invitation circulated by organizers of the Death of Evidence rally]
They filed down busy Wellington Street to Parliament Hill in the noon sunshine. More than a thousand people, many carrying signs and wearing white lab coats, escorted a black coffin and the Grim Reaper to mark the Death of Evidence. ...Read more
Tags: Democracy·Economy & Economic Indicators·Federal Budget
It’s difficult to overstate the significance of the Quebec student strike (the longest in North American history) and resultant public backlash against the provincial government’s Orwellian response.
Not that you’d know it. According to mainstream (predominantly) English media, Montreal is being held hostage by a handful of scruffy, possibly naked, hooky-playing slack-tivists who got distracted on the way to a door-crasher sale at the Apple store and decided to stop traffic while demanding their constitutional right to free lattes. Or something. ...Read more
Tags: Democracy·Economy & Economic Indicators·Education·Poverty and Income Inequality·Student strike·Taxes and Tax Cuts
I went to McGill in the late 80s and early 90s when tuition fees were less than $1,200 a year, so with summer jobs and some parental help I graduated from my first degree debt-free. For my MA, which I took in Ontario, I worked part-time and graduated after one year with a debt of $10,000.
By way of comparison: my partner went to university in Ontario after grants were eliminated, and when the first round of tuition fee hikes were implemented. He completed a BA and then an MA, and graduated with a debt load (and compound interest) requiring monthly payments of close to $650 for 10 years. ...Read more
Tags: Democracy·Education·quebec·Student strike·Youth
The following is another excerpt from Dr. Ryan Meili’s new book, A Healthy Society: How a Focus on Health Can Revive Canadian Democracy, which fellow blogger Greg Fingas has been discussing.
The road to Tevele is red sand and sloppy in the rainy season. The pick- up truck bounces in and out of ruts as we head thirty-some kilometres from Massinga to this out-of-the-way rural community, located between the ocean and Mozambique’s national highway. I am travelling with Dr. Gerri Dickson, director of the Centre for Continuing Education in Health, and two teachers from that institution: Cipriano and Flávia, both of whom studied in Saskatoon as part of their teacher training. ...Read more
Tags: Democracy·Health Care·Poverty and Income Inequality·Saskatchewan·What We're Reading
Haven’t you heard? Canada’s in deep trouble.
No, it’s not rising inequality. Or stagnant incomes. (That growing gap between the rich and the rest of us is so last week.)
The environment? Whatever.
A decimated workforce? Aboriginal poverty? Public sector layoffs? The attack on worker rights? Not even close.
Do none of you read the papers? The real issue—the one we need to spend acres of newsprint agonizing over—is the sorry state of our youth (just ask Margaret Wente or Bill Morrison). ...Read more