Public school monopoly is a disservice to education

A modern, diverse system that meets the needs of a pluralistic society can deliver education in different ways

Public school monopoly is a disservice to educationThe Liberals are making support for public education a litmus test in the federal election campaign. The Liberals aren’t satisfied that Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has dropped the promised he made during the Tory leadership race in 2017 to provide tax credits to parents for costs of non-government-provided education. Various Liberals have spoken out. Katie…

China’s crackdown in Hong Kong an ominous sign of the times

Populism some call it, but the consequence in many regions around the world has been a slippage into autocracy

China’s crackdown in Hong Kong an ominous sign of the timesIn 1972, Mitchell Sharp, Canadian secretary of state for external affairs, famously penned his Third Option doctrine. It was not exactly anti-American but it was American-anxious. The idea was to reduce Canada’s vulnerability to swings in mood and trade from the United States by diversifying our economic, cultural and political relations, especially toward rising powers…

Child benefit program pays dividends but presents hurdles

Governments need to be careful that benefits don’t discourage social institutions that strengthen families and communities

Child benefit program pays dividends but presents hurdlesParents will receive an increase in the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) this month. The program has been widely credited with reducing child poverty, yet the benefit is not without challenges. The cost-of-living adjustment boosts the maximum compensation for a child under age six to $6,639 annually and maximum compensation for children between the ages of…

Chateau Laurier to be defaced because leaders wouldn’t lead

What no one wants will now be built on some of the most historic land in the country, in an architectural environment in Ottawa that ought to receive heightened protection, not less

Chateau Laurier to be defaced because leaders wouldn’t leadThe Château Laurier fight is over. The hideous extension will be built and Major’s Hill Park in Ottawa will be despoiled as it will now dwell in the shadow of an enormous shipping container. It’s astonishing that the only ones who defended the hotel’s extension on the merits themselves were those being paid. What no…

Chateau Laurier addition is an affront to property’s heritage

The proposed addition looks like a giant air conditioner or shipping container. It's ugly and entirely out of place

Chateau Laurier addition is an affront to property’s heritageArchitecture, even of privately-held buildings, is never entirely a private affair. What's built affects not only those who live and work in the buildings, but passersby from the neighbourhood and, in the case of downtown Ottawa, from across the country. Even more is it the case with Ottawa’s grand dame of Wellington Street – the…

Investing in family and faith to minimize social isolation

Too many of us struggle with being disconnected. New studies show that social institutions help lower loneliness

Investing in family and faith to minimize social isolationSocial isolation and loneliness are among the most important challenges of our times, and governments alone can’t fix them. Frankly, these problems are too big for the politicians. Consider some basic findings from a new Angus Reid Institute study, conducted in partnership with Cardus: Almost one-quarter of Canadians struggle with extreme social isolation and loneliness.…

Canadians have become habituated to howling for political effect

There’s still time to lower our voices, choose our words and stop talking long enough to listen to our neighbours

Canadians have become habituated to howling for political effectIt might be going a tad far to say overstatement is killing our democracy. Hyperbole in politics has been around since the world’s second oldest profession followed the world’s oldest profession into existence. U.S. President Donald Trump is hardly the first to have gained high office through gifted manipulation of the fibber’s foghorn. Yet we…

Onslaught against conscience gaining momentum

Every Canadian has the fundamental right to think and believe freely. But an Ontario court has sided with the suppression of the individual

Onslaught against conscience gaining momentumImagine being a feminist physician unshakable in your conviction that girls and women must be protected from patriarchal oppression. Now picture being asked to assist with a sex-selection abortion because daddy doesn’t want a female child and mother consents to his wishes. Up until May 15, reasonable Canadians would concur that you had every right…

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…
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