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…

Which unprincipled party will you be voting for?

Even overlooking the personal smears, record fudging, or repressing the truth, the parties are filled with contradictions of the things they stand for

Which unprincipled party will you be voting for?If there were any idealism left regarding the virtues of Canadian politics, the current federal election campaign is almost certain to have smashed it. Good governance and the common good were not the winners in last week’s English language debate. Thursday's French language debate was a slight improvement, but a one-off exception hardly undoes the…

School board attaches non-compete clause to building sale

Public board in Ontario refused to sell a school it closed to a private school to curtail competition for students

School board attaches non-compete clause to building saleWho does the government compete with? Is a public school a sacred building? A recent surplus building sale raises those questions. Near Brockville, Ont., the local public school board has sold the Wolford elementary school that it closed in 2018. The building was surplus, no other government had a use for it, so the school…

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…
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