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Peter Stockland  |  September 28, 2016  |  Government, Journalism, Politics

Viewers of this week’s presidential debate might well have wondered where the voters went. For 90 minutes, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump engaged the world from video split screen boxes. They were impeded, it appeared, from seeing each other much less encountering anything resembling an electorate. Indeed, the “studio audience” present as off screen props were sternly admonished to keep their agreement to remain silent. It was the best visual metaphor I’ve yet encountered for virtually all that bedevils contemporary North American political life. Even those who discern Beelzebub himself in the mug of The Donald might want to consider it as a much deeper source of the anti-democratic evils … MORE »

Robert Joustra  |  September 12, 2016  |  Faith, Pluralism, Public Life, Religion, Secularism

Hardly the sun sets in the West these days without some new attempt at what Jean Jacques Rousseau might have mistily called “forcing folks to be free.” Doug Saunders in the weekend’s Globe and Mail calls for public prejudice for the greater good, but the idea isn’t new with him, and we’ll see a lot more of it in the days ahead. The reasons aren’t … MORE »

Ray Pennings  |  August 12, 2016  |  Government, Politics

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. Yes, officially winning a nomination warrants “Breaking News Alerts,” but the conventions are more about marketing than decision-making. The 2016 conventions had a different sort of intrigue because the two nominees are as much distinguished by their unpopularity as their … MORE »

David Cole makes a convincing case, worth bearing in mind as the presidential race erupts, that American gun violence is at heart a function of democracy at its best. “The NRA may advocate for an individual right, but its influence derives precisely from collective democratic action,” Cole writes in a recent New York Review of Books. “The NRA has achieved its victories not by threats … MORE »

Peter Stockland  |  July 21, 2016  |  Government, Injustice, Politics

In the media cacophony over Donald Trump’s wife’s possible apocalyptic pilfering of pensées from Michelle Obama, you might have missed word about the gay vegetarian mayor of Hayange, France. Any pretext to toss folderol in front of the Trump juggernaut is understandable. Still, the accusations of “plagiarism” being leveled at Melania Trump hardly hold a candle to the doings of Monsieur Fabian Engelmann. Mr. Trump, … MORE »

We’ve become habituated to associating loss of freedom with decisive, often violent, acts. It’s worth, though, heeding the emerging voices warning us that freedom’s loss is as much, perhaps even more, a function of shifts in language almost too subtle for timely detection. Reflecting in the last while on commentary from Andrew Bennett, Albertos Polizogopoulos and David Anderson, I’ve begun to wonder whether the bold … MORE »

Last week, Ian Millhiser of ThinkProgress, a far-left publication, wrote a piece titled “The Stunning, Hilarious Hypocrisy of The Christian Right’s Top Legal Team.” In it Millhiser discusses two American organizations, the Heritage Foundation and the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), and how these organizations have, in his words, had an “abrupt shift in position on one of the most contentious issues in American constitutional law.” … MORE »

Dear Mr. Quinn, My name is Brian Harskamp and I am one of the kids who benefited from the annual $358 million “subsidy” for private schools you mentioned in your recent Globe and Mail column “Vancouver public schools face closure, yet we fund private school education.” I thought I would tell you a little bit about myself. I come from Surrey, not West Vancouver or … MORE »

Virtually no one in Canada can drive to the cottage or campsite without coming across a sign like this: It’s cliché to say that Canada has two seasons: winter and construction. But Montreal this summer seems to have taken this truism to a whole new level. Based on a picture tweeted by Toula Drimonis this morning, there’s an almost 100% chance that you’ll see the … MORE »

Faye Sonier  |  June 28, 2016  |  Death, Ethics, Health, Policy

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in Carter vs. Canada that euthanasia and assisted suicide needed to be decriminalized in some circumstances. The Liberal government responded to this decision by introducing Bill C-14, which put some guidelines around the administration of these procedures. Now that Bill C-14 has passed, what can Canadians expect in a post-Carter world? For a glimpse into our future we can … MORE »