Hang on to your compassionate ideals

Doing good is not only vital to humanity and to the planet, it’s one of the key ingredients to living a happy and fulfilling life

Hang on to your compassionate idealsBecause there are no sports on television right now, my favourite movie, Field of Dreams, has been getting a lot of airtime. Near the end of the film, the main character meets his father as a young man and comments on his appearance, saying, “My God, I only saw him years later when he was…

We need closer oversight on high-tech police practices

Understanding and safeguarding personal freedom and civil rights is more critical than ever. So who is policing the police?

We need closer oversight on high-tech police practicesPolicing is the only authority sanctioned to use force against its citizens. So democratic systems institute safeguards to ensure police impartiality and accountability, often with multiple and overlapping oversight. But who’s keeping an eye on the growing use of technology in policing? The police services board is one prevalent form of oversight responsible for ensuring…

Three generations of courage and commitment

When you search the name Henry Morgenthau, you find remarkable legacies left by three men of one extraordinary family

Three generations of courage and commitmentAs I examined the history of human rights in America, one name kept coming up: Henry Morgenthau. It turns out I was actually learning about three men: Henry Morgenthau Sr., Henry Morgenthau Jr. and Henry Morgenthau III, father, son and grandson. All of them spoke with courage and together advanced the cause of human rights…

Can Canada lead a global push to eradicate poverty?

First we need to deal with our own problems, starting with the huge inequities among our Indigenous peoples

Can Canada lead a global push to eradicate poverty?Despite our best efforts towards eliminating poverty and inequality, large segments of society remain left behind. Problems seem to outpace rhetoric. Worse, governments face huge challenges in meeting their obligations and commitments. We face two tragedies: our domestic challenge with poverty and inequality, and the estimated 828 million people globally living in slums (expected to…

Just do the right thing – no matter what

You may never know the outcome of your actions. But you can know with certainty the results of doing nothing

Just do the right thing – no matter whatIn studying the history of social change, I’m moved by the number of great people who died never knowing the full extent of their contribution to a better world. Three examples from the 20th century are Raphael Lemkin, Peter Bryce and Viola Desmond. Lemkin was a brilliant lawyer and professor. He was also a Polish…

Making a commitment to common humanity

We may have different opinions, alliances, ideals, languages, skin colours, gender preferences. These are simply characteristics that add variety to life

Making a commitment to common humanityGroundbreaking American anthropologist Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” In many ways, this is a call to action for all of us, regardless of our political or economic perspectives. We have the power to change the…

Democracy can’t afford to stifle dissent and discussion

Protesters have silenced free speech through a combination of media pressure, inflated security costs claims, boycotts, riots and violence

Democracy can’t afford to stifle dissent and discussionThe Cancel Culture has claimed another victim. Renowned poet George Elliott Clarke has backed out of giving the University of Regina’s Woodrow Lloyd Lecture over accusations from Indigenous activists that he associates with another poet with a criminal background. His talk was to have been titled ‘Truth and Reconciliation;’ versus the ‘Murdered and Missing’: Examining…

UNDRIP is the slow drip eroding Canadians’ rights

There are good reasons why other countries and previous Canadian governments have consistently refused to fully implement the UN declaration on Indigenous rights

UNDRIP is the slow drip eroding Canadians’ rightsBritish Columbia has become the first province to adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). And except for the opposition of a determined group of Conservative senators, the federal government would have adopted UNDRIP as actionable law before last fall’s federal election. Re-elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has already announced…

Intolerance is the new tolerance

New tolerance demands that we accept either the most popular view or the view of the most vocal group or shut up

Intolerance is the new tolerance“I am intolerant of intolerance” has become something of a mantra for suppressing unpopular opinions. Today’s “new tolerance”, as it is called in academic circles, is redefining our understanding of tolerance and shaping our behaviour in public spaces, but it is no friend to the exercise of conscience and freedom of speech. In the past,…

We’re all equal but this doesn’t mean we’re all the same

May we always have the freedom to ask the difficult questions and the courage to seek the difficult answers

We’re all equal but this doesn’t mean we’re all the sameOver the years, I’ve found that being authentic is one of the most important qualities I need to display with my students. From time to time, this requires me to admit that I’m wrong. I once corrected a student who was putting on a stereotypical Indigenous accent. His reply was, “I’m part Indigenous, this is…

Thank you, Mr. Trump, for rousing us

Trump has inadvertently mobilized the American public and people around the world who believe in the rights of the common citizen

Thank you, Mr. Trump, for rousing usOur news feeds have been overwhelmed in recent weeks with the impeachment hearings of American President Donald Trump. Trump is charged with violating American laws, primarily the U.S. constitution. With regard to many of the accusations, Trump supporters point out that he’s not doing anything recent Democrat and Republican presidents haven’t also done. For the…

Canadians among the few privileged to vote

Be grateful you live in a nation in which you are free to raise your voice without fear of retribution or persecution

Canadians among the few privileged to voteWhen an election rolls around, I get emails, Facebook messages, phone calls, and the occasional text message or two. Questions range from a forthright “Who should I vote for?” to “Where can I even go to get information?” My personal favourite communiques are ones like a four-letter, “HELP!” We live in an age of information…

Silver lining: NBA boss shows how to handle China

By supporting cherished freedom of expression, Silver may have cost the league billions of dollars. It's a rare and welcome example of standing true to your principles

Silver lining: NBA boss shows how to handle ChinaWhat more do people want from National Basketball Association commissioner Adam Silver? It seems nearly everyone – from the far right of the political spectrum to the far left – is upset with the NBA’s response to China’s hissy fit over Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey's support of Hong Kong protesters. Just days before…

Motorists most consistently persecuted group in Canada

I ride a bicycle as often as I can, but that doesn’t mean I feel compelled to paint myself silver, wear funny clothes, and block traffic

Motorists most consistently persecuted group in CanadaNo one can argue that bicycles are increasingly becoming a major part of the urban landscape. I like bikes: I own two and consider the Tour de France to be one of the greatest athletic events of all time. But did you know that riding in a pack like they do in the Tour de…
1 2 3