• politics

    Terrorist Activities Sanctions Act – or how to pick a fight with Trudeau and put Ontario health care at risk?

    All citizens and permanent residents in Canada are entitled to health care, as set out by the Canada Health Care Act. Now the Conservative Provincial government in Ontario wants to pick a fight with Trudeau by having a bill tabled that would strip such rights away from the least desirable people – returning terrorists. In case people don’t realize this doesn’t really have to do with terrorists but rather with party politics and a hatred of Trudeau, the bill’s sponsor is quoted in all the media as saying: “Since the Federal Government doesn’t seem to take this seriously, I felt obligated to take action and send a message that there…

  • politics

    Thoughts on Terri-Lynne McClintic being transfered to a healing lodge

    There is a fair amount in the news these days about human trafficking, and how it doesn’t always look like someone being grabbed on the street and handcuffed. Most of the time there is grooming involved, where vulnerable women get seduced by older men and then pressured into bad actions. I can’t help thinking about the descriptions of trafficking and grooming when I read the stories right now about Terri-Lynne McClintic. Terri-Lynn McClintic helped kidnap and murder a child. She’s in the news right now because she is being transferred to a healing lodge. People are upset that someone who helped torture and murder a child is being moved into…

  • politics

    A Slap in the Face

    Brett Kavanaugh was right in saying that the whole investigation into him is a national disgrace. He’s wrong about why it is a national disgrace. It is a national disgrace that they didn’t abandon him long ago and find someone else. Surely there are other judges with similar political views they could have pushed instead. Surely there are other possibilities that don’t involve pushing a serial abuser onto the Supreme Court. This feels like a slap in the face of all women. People say “why didn’t she report earlier?” and then they demonstrate what happens when women report. Women get disbelieved. Their concerns get minimized. People say “oh, it was nothing”…

  • history,  politics,  religion,  the ethical life

    Nellie McClung and the challenge of history

    Up until a few weeks ago, if I was asked my impression of Nellie McClung I probably would have said “oh, she was that suffragette, right? The one people say was racist and supported eugenics?” I started reading about Nellie McClung this past few weeks. I’ll still a newcomer to McClung’s story and I’ve already read bits that do suggest the darker parts of her beliefs. But what has amazed me is realizing how beautiful some of her thoughts and ideas were too. She wrote novels that promoted the idea that we are all called to serve community, love one another and by doing so to change the world. She…

  • how do we know what we know is true,  politics

    more reflections on free speech

    I’m still slowly reading a big book about 17th century arguments for and against religious tolerance. It is called John Locke, Toleration and Early Enlightenment Culture by John Marshall. I’m really not used to being stuck in the middle of one book for this long, but it seems like the kids are still always talking to me or climbing on me, and this book requires some concentration to be able to follow it. The book is worth reading though. I’m enjoying learning about the different arguments. I’m enjoying reflecting on it in light of questions about free speech. Arguments for toleration often exist in response to specific arguments against toleration.…

  • activism,  politics

    free speech and fair play

    I’ve been fascinated by discussions of free speech recently. Now even a right-wing American group has decided to uninvite a horrid right-wing troll from speaking at their event. The topic of his speech was supposed free speech and how the left is trying to curtail it, but apparently since it has come out that he advocates pedophilia even the right wing want to limit his freedom of speech – or at least, not to host his speech. So apparently there are standards, after which a person is disgusting enough they should be no-platformed. Dru Oja Jay said it wonderfully: “The fall of Milo is heartening, in that it shows that…

  • politics

    recognizing racism in Northern Ontario

    So there’s a story around here about a company promoting ice huts that said in their ad: “Please no status card users! You are not welcome in our huts. Equality for all or you will not get the time of day from us and will lose any deposit paid to us.” Since the uproar over it the owner has tried to claim he was just saying that everyone (including natives) has to abide by fishing regulations at his huts (even though legally those fishing regulations don’t apply to natives). I‘m watching on the local news as commenters try to defend the guy, claiming that the owner wasn’t racist he just…

  • politics

    December 6th – day of mourning for victims of men’s violence against women.

    Today is December 6th. In Canada we remember the women killed this year in a massacre at École Polytechnique. Women were killed because they were women seeking training and jobs in a field that a deranged man considered to be the territory of men. I think about when I was a young child, how I dreamed of being a doctor and a lawyer. I was suprised in grade five by a school assignment where we had to research a field of employment traditionally employed by the opposite gender. It surprised me to find that those two careers were seen (at least by my teacher) as being traditionally mens. I thought,…

  • politics

    responding to those who voted for Trump

    I’ve been thinking a lot about the questions of what it means to vote for Trump and who the Trump supporters are. I’ve seen lots of posts about how Trump won because he spoke to the working class, and the working class wants change and human dignity. There are some who say that making this about race and homophobia is a mistake… that it is an attempt to tarnish the good people who voted for Trump, to write them off as “deplorables” rather than to hear their legitimate concerns. On the other hand, we now have Christian supremists and probably white surpremists working in the white house. Can we really…

  • activism,  history,  politics,  the ethical life

    Optimism vs Hope

    I’m thinking about the difference between optimism and hope. One can be optimistic because one believes things will go well. In some cases optimism is good and natural. However optimism can also be due to a lack of information about the potential problems or because one deliberately rejects the facts that disagrees with one. Therefore optimism itself is not a virtue. We should not be trying to “choose optimism” when the situation does not warrant it. I picture NASA scientists preparing for a rocket launch. We want them to be optimistic because all the tests, models and simulations suggest they will be suc…cessful. We would not want them to “choose optimism”…