Changing attitudes, changing platitudes

We’re rather smug in our belief that our modern take on things reflects a perfect and compassionate view for all time

Changing attitudes, changing platitudesThe federal government recently announced it will compensate people who lost their jobs or were otherwise persecuted a generation ago simply because their sexual orientation didn’t fit the accepted norm of the day. This perfectly reflects modern thinking, and the government should be applauded for the decision to compensate members of the military and other…

Don’t be so quick to take offense

A bad joke or inappropriate comment is often just that: a bad joke or inappropriate comment. Calm down, and carry on

Don’t be so quick to take offenseMy old friend and colleague, Postmedia columnist Lorrie Goldstein, recently tweeted out, “The ‘new racism’? Apparently it’s something called ‘microaggressions.’” More specifically, it relates to “racial microaggressions,” a term coined by psychiatrist Chester M. Pierce in the 1970s. It was reintroduced by Columbia University psychologist Derald Wing Sue several years ago, after he and an…

When a kiss is just a kiss

Fairy tales impart pro-social values and are full of lessons for the young. We do our children no favours when we read lust and sexual assault into them

When a kiss is just a kissIn Casablanca, the greatest movie ever made, Dooley Wilson (as Sam) sings: “You must remember this/ A kiss is just a kiss/ A sigh is just a sigh.” Sarah Hall of North Shields, England, would disagree. For her, a kiss, such as that bestowed by the handsome prince on Sleeping Beauty, teaches impressionable youngsters that…

When speech isn’t free, society pays a high price

A recent incident at the University provides a glimpse of what the future may hold for Canadian post-secondary education – and it ain’t pretty

When speech isn’t free, society pays a high priceAt one time, universities respected free speech and the exchange of different ideas. Intellectual discourse and thought-provoking debates were viewed as healthy, vibrant and treasured. Unfortunately, speech isn’t nearly as free on today’s university campuses. Intolerance of opposing philosophies, and hurt feelings among the hordes of special interest groups, have come to define modern institutions…

Gender diversity doesn’t guarantee higher returns

While gender diversity is a good idea, management should remain focused on how to adapt to new opportunities or potential hazards

Gender diversity doesn’t guarantee higher returnsA few months ago, State Street Global Advisors (SSGA), the self-described "third largest asset advisor in the world," celebrated the first anniversary of its creation of a new specialty exchange traded fund. Its name is a mouthful: the SPDR SSGA Gender Diversity Index ETF (SHE). An exchange traded fund, or ETF, is a basket of…

Women facing the ‘baby bounce’ have legal options

A pregnant woman facing termination or a mom coming off maternity leave who learns she won’t be rehired may have grounds for a human rights complaint

Women facing the ‘baby bounce’ have legal optionsWorking women constituted 47 per cent of the Canadian workforce in 2014, according to Statistics Canada. Women productively contribute to the economy as labourers and cabbies, business owners and engineers, and in countless other ways. So one should think all employers would regard their workplace contributions as important enough to retain them when they become…

Don’t keep parents in the dark about their child’s transgenderism

A handful of Ontario school boards have decided that parents shouldn't be told if their child has adopted a transgender identity

Don’t keep parents in the dark about their child’s transgenderismA handful of Ontario school boards have implemented policies that allow children from junior kindergarten to Grade 12 who have adopted a transgender identity to keep it from their parents. It’s a presumption that the choice may not be as readily accepted in the household, and that schools and educators will provide a safer environment.…

Laws can reduce bullying and Bill C-16 is needed now

Canada needs laws to protect vulnerable transgender youth, who experience bullying at much higher rates than their peers

Laws can reduce bullying and Bill C-16 is needed nowConservative Sen. Donald Plett recently said, “I don't think there's any law in the world that will prevent children from bullying.” With all due respect, the Manitoba senator is wrong. He made the comment last week during discussion in the Senate about Bill C-16, which is designed to protect gender identity and gender expression in…

Trans rights are women’s rights

Transgender women face high rates of physical, sexual and fatal violence. To combat that, human rights must be at the heart of contemporary Canadian feminism

Trans rights are women’s rightsBy Kimberley Ens Manning Concordia University and Julie Temple Newhook Memorial University Earlier this month, Sophie Labelle, a Montreal-based, internationally-renowned transgender author and activist, was subject to a violent cyber attack, including death threats and hate speech. The attackers not only temporarily destroyed her popular website, they also published personal details – including her home address. Labelle is now…

A reminder of the value of an inclusive education system

Malala Yousafzai brings to the House of Commons a much-needed perspective on issues of inclusion in education

A reminder of the value of an inclusive education systemMalala Yousafzai's speech to the House of Commons brought much-needed perspective to issues of inclusion in education. Across the country, provincial governments and school boards face a variety of challenges. They struggle with low enrolment and public backlash over school closures. Controversy accompanies post-secondary tuition, and the status of provincial education funding. But it seems inclusion is…