A respectful Canada has room for disagreement

Closing politics and public life to those who are religious leaves us with a less tolerant society that brings fundamental freedoms into question

A respectful Canada has room for disagreementDisagreement is normal, if not necessary, in a healthy democracy. Being intolerant and disrespectful toward those with whom we disagree, however, is fatal to that democracy. Historically, Canadians have had the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (and the Bill of Rights before it) for protection. That’s especially important for racial, religious, political or sexual minorities,…

Have babies, because people are not just economic units

Children bind, deepen a commitment and give purpose. Love is the point, the key ingredient

Have babies, because people are not just economic unitsThe title ‘philosopher,’ like ‘poet,’ carries prestige that’s usually unearned. I say unearned because many poets, who are supposed to understand beauty, write beauty-free verse, and plenty of philosophers, who are supposed to be wise, counsel unethical foolishness to the world. This sad fact – that so much contemporary philosophy is not merely unwise but…

Constraining pain medication will only worsen drug problem

Limiting access to alcohol led to chaos during the Prohibition. Will constraining opioids do the same?

Constraining pain medication will only worsen drug problemThere are so many reasons to be very glad that we live in Canada – one of the main is that we’re governed by the rule of law. Laws and the rules and regulations that underpin them are enacted by democratically-elected governments. They’re enforced and upheld by police and courts that are amazingly upright and…

Pro-life, pro-choice? Prove it

It’s time for advocates on both sides of the abortion divide to be true to their preferred monikers

Pro-life, pro-choice? Prove itThere’s perhaps no more contentious topic of discussion in Canada than abortion. Even Canadian lawmakers are hesitant to debate the subject. As a high school teacher of a class called Social Justice 12, I can’t ignore the topic. And my code of ethics requires that I facilitate legitimate research and respectful discussion, all the while…

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…

Ont. court to doctors: choose your conscience, or your career

An Ontario court decision reveals a vision that’s equal, equitable and a la carte – and defies doctors freedom of conscience

Ont. court to doctors: choose your conscience, or your careerThis is one of those times I’m glad I’m not a family doctor. Or, more specifically, a family doctor (any medical doctor, really) who objects to certain procedures based on my conscience. Because if I was, and if I was working in Ontario, I’d find myself choosing between my career, and all I’ve worked for,…

Are 23 million missing female births enough to raise concerns?

These parents didn’t want daughters. It’s misogyny in one of its most explicit forms

Are 23 million missing female births enough to raise concerns?One topic you should never argue about in polite company is abortion. The politics are volatile, the emotions fraught. With the conversation climate the way it is (stormy), the only people who can talk about the issue are either diehard abortionists or martyrdom-craving anti-abortionists. Anybody else who speaks on the issue will find themselves banished…

The corrosion of social norms puts us all at risk

Insisting on righteous victory at any cost is the greasy slope to violence

The corrosion of social norms puts us all at riskOn the afternoon of May 22, 1856, Preston Brooks, a plantation owner and pro-slavery congressman from South Carolina, strode into the nearly deserted U.S. Senate chamber. There he accosted Charles Sumner of Massachusetts, who had been making a series of fiery abolitionist speeches. Brooks announced that Sumner had used insulting language toward his relative and…

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…

Compelled speech compromises basic rights

If the Canada Summer Jobs precedent holds, soon other government agencies will mix public funds and political preferences

Compelled speech compromises basic rightsIn a crucial free speech ruling recently, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed that the constitution in that country prohibits forcing people to say what they don’t believe. Here in Canada, a young Ottawa lawyer upped the ante recently by filing a Federal Court lawsuit arguing that our Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects the right…