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.…

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…

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…

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…

Make room for religious diversity in the workplace

Banning Quebec frontline civil servants from wearing religious symbols would show obstinate and dangerous secularism

Banning Quebec frontline civil servants from wearing religious symbols, as premier-designate François Legault intends to do, would be socially regressive. Imposing this kind of flinty and obstinate secularism squashes the very diversity most politicians claim to value and support. It’s also out of step with the growing awareness among the business community that religious diversity…

A commitment to diversity must include room for faith

Religious and faith communities are among the most racially and ethnically diverse parts of Canadian society

A commitment to diversity must include room for faithDepending on political preference, most Canadians would likely agree that diversity is our strength or is a product of our strength. Regardless of the preferred permutation, those views recognize diversity as a central feature of Canadian society. That’s all well and good, but what does that commitment to diversity really mean? A quick scan of…

It’s the religious who tend most to favour diversity

Non-believers overwhelmingly believe every religious community in Canada, especially Muslims and evangelical Christians, hurt the country

It’s the religious who tend most to favour diversityThroughout autumn, the soup of our multicultural society has almost boiled over with questions about secularism and religion – of what is and isn’t allowed in contemporary public and common Canadian life. Efforts to relegate religious expression and thought to the margins have been ramped up. Those efforts, however, are out of step with broader…

Federal budget is short on innovation or social value

It assumes government is the agent of change and social stability for the middle class – the same philosophy that’s wrongly guided most spending for decades

Federal budget is short on innovation or social valueIt seems what’s old is new again in Budget 2017, presented to the House of Commons last week. The big federal budget deficits of the 1970s and ’80s? They seem to have taken up permanent residency again in Canada. Federal finances will be in the red for the foreseeable future while annual spending jumps from…

The party’s over: without ideology, we lack leadership

Elections are no longer contests of ideas but rather competing marketing campaigns to see who gets to control the state’s levers of coercion

The party’s over: without ideology, we lack leadershipThe bedrock of traditional party politics is crumbling. The end result could be devastating to western society. For political junkies, presidential nominating conventions are destination television. It’s ritualistic theatre as, almost without exception in living memory, the presumptive nominee has been confirmed. Officially winning warrants breaking news alerts but the conventions are more about marketing…

Euphemisms obscure truth about assisted suicide

We need to take extraordinary care in defining the terms of medically-assisted death in Canada

Euphemisms obscure truth about assisted suicideIn a debate as significant to the nation as that about medically-assisted death, every word matters. Bill C-14, introduced in the House of Commons on April 14, is titled “An Act to amend the Criminal Code and make related amendments to other Acts (medical assistance in dying).” The phrase “medical assistance in dying” is used…