Where’s the outcry over Quebec’s restrictive Bill 21?

The relatively low value Canadians assign to religious freedom and the tepid opposition to secularism laws are worrisome

Where’s the outcry over Quebec’s restrictive Bill 21?Have we lost all sense of proportion when it comes to our fundamental rights in Canada? Two recent cases suggest we have. Both cases involve the notwithstanding clause in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which allows legislatures to temporarily bypass certain constitutionally-protected rights. Two premiers have sought to invoke the much-discussed clause recently. Yet…

Reasoned skepticism about climate change is healthy

Let’s not deal with the grim science of cynical political marketing and hyperbole. Instead, we should rigorously adjudicate all belief

Reasoned skepticism about climate change is healthySpotting headlines about the recent United Nations report prophesying imminent global extinction of a million species, I immediately wondered at the media response should Donald Trump ever claim to have eaten a million ice-cream cones. Instinct tells me swarms of media fact-checkers would have been at every Baskin-Robbins or Ben & Jerry’s in the United…

Quebec bill shows a deep desire to push people around

Banning the wearing of religious clothing robs public servants of the right to make their own choices

Quebec bill shows a deep desire to push people aroundLegislative hearings on outlawing the wearing of religious clothing or symbols by specific Quebec public servants could easily be dismissed as proverbial lipstick on a pig.  In fact, they’re worse, much worse, than a skin-deep brush with porcine cosmetology. They are part of a calculated exploitation of the deep human spiritual need to push other…

The echoing calls for reconciliation and sound social architecture

In Ireland, in South Africa, in Canada the desire for stability, resolution and trust runs deep

The echoing calls for reconciliation and sound social architectureRose Conway-Walsh identifies as a confidently progressive left-of-centre leader of Sinn Féin in the Irish Senate. She’s equally confident, however, that many of Ireland’s pressing, implacable existential problems could be resolved by turning the clock back to April 24, 1916. “Everything is rooted in the Proclamation. If we only had fulfilled the ideals laid out…

Ontario offers a new direction in child-care funding

It will make care more affordable, recognize that parents have a right to choose and be relatively cost-effective

Ontario offers a new direction in child-care fundingThe tug of war over child-care funding in Canada is entering a new chapter, thanks largely to Ontario’s latest provincial budget. The province announced new tax rebates for child-care costs – almost irrespective of the type of care chosen. While the policy may not be perfect, its implementation will signify an important shift in the…

SNC-Lavalin affair strikes at the heart of legal integrity

Democracy can’t survive when equality before the law becomes a cynical joke

SNC-Lavalin affair strikes at the heart of legal integrityAndrew Scheer contributed significantly to Canadian political life by saying recently that the SNC-Lavalin affair isn’t just about choosing between Justin Trudeau and Scheer. The Conservative leader did further good by making clear that the SNC-Lavalin mess isn’t even just about an abstraction called the rule of law. It is, he spelled out for those…

Why we should respond to the lure of wedding bells

There are sharp differences in family life satisfaction and perceived relationship stability between married and cohabiting parents

Why we should respond to the lure of wedding bellsAs surely as spring arrives this month, wedding season won’t be far behind. But the peal of wedding bells signifies more than just the formalization of a relationship, according to new data from the Global Family and Gender Survey (GFGS). Statistics Canada numbers also shed light on the issue. In short, there are sharp differences in…

Jody Wilson-Raybould’s deeply Canadian courage

The former minister has demonstrated quality we should all be proud of. And the system shows it can deal with such honesty

Jody Wilson-Raybould’s deeply Canadian courageI can’t remember feeling more proud to be Canadian than I have since Jody Wilson-Raybould began speaking to the House of Commons justice committee on Wednesday afternoon. As a little kid at Nov. 11 cenotaph ceremonies, I might have been as proud in the misty half-understood way of childhood. When Paul Henderson scored the immortal…

We can’t afford to turn a blind eye to corruption

The SNC-Lavalin affair shows us how pernicious behaviour can seep into the deep spaces of our institutions

We can’t afford to turn a blind eye to corruptionA key thing that makes the SNC-Lavalin quarrel such a showcase for corruption is its utter confusion about who did what to whom. Since the uproar erupted two weeks ago as a major Globe and Mail scoop, it has become a comedy of compounding curiosities. On Monday, it cost the prime minister’s principal secretary his…

Child-care quality doesn’t depend on arbitrary numbers

Ontario's new standards have raised the hackles of activists. They should look hard at the systems they mistakenly believe are better

Child-care quality doesn’t depend on arbitrary numbersIt's been called shocking and disgusting. The Ontario government is moving to change how many children independent child-care providers can care for. The new rules allow three children under two instead of two (not counting the provider’s own children over age four). An independent care provider can look after no more than five children at…

Temper your confidence in the science that runs your life

Trust requires consistency and transparency. It must be understandable. And we need regulations that protect the public

Temper your confidence in the science that runs your lifeThe big success stories of our time have scaled at exponential rates – Facebook, Amazon, Apple and the other ‘super bigs’ relentlessly enlarge themselves. When something scales, however, the mix of characteristics, benefits, and costs of a business or organization may scale with it. In contemporary life, the tools that business, research and social interaction…

A close shave: marketing and politics indistinguishable

Gillette has stepped boldly into the socio-political minefields of #MeToo, bullying, spousal abuse and male self-absorption

A close shave: marketing and politics indistinguishableIt’s tempting to take the recent’s ‘controversy’ over the Gillette shaving company’s new advertising campaign at something less than face value. For starters, controversy itself is no longer the conversational cutting edge it once was. In this era of fake-versus-false news, universal short attention spans and ludicrous overstatement as the entry price for even being…

There’s a place for religion in common and public life

At a time of heightened social divisions and isolation, not to mention divisive politics, religious illiteracy is costly

There’s a place for religion in common and public lifeChristmas often brings out the best in Canadians. We dig into our pockets for charity a little more. We volunteer more. And we make more time for friends and family than at other times of the year. But the holiday sometimes brings out our weirder side, too – especially when it comes to Canadian hang-ups…

Shop local: the value of an enriched human nudge

To make shopping local the norm, we need to think less about transaction efficiency and more about enjoyment

Shop local: the value of an enriched human nudgeChances are you’ve seen or heard some sort of promotion about the value of shopping local – especially with so many of us in gift-buying mode now. Business improvement areas, chambers of commerce and other organizations tell us when we buy from shops near home, we’re voting for our community. The logic is generally sound…

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…
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