Doug Sikkema  |  June 20, 2014  |  Culture, Environment, Nature

Why shirk off millennia of cultural progress to run around in the woods and sleep in something that separates us from a prowling black bear by only the thinnest layer of nylon? It’s ridiculous.  Perhaps it’s out of some basic primal urge to reconnect with the wild and some lost hunter-gatherer past. But last summer, as I sat under our plastic tarp, finished one of … MORE »

Ray Pennings  |  June 19, 2014  |  Education, Institutions, Justice, Law, Religion

If our freedom of religion and our freedom to associate mean anything all, surely they allow those who disagree to coexist, without coercing each other. Surely it is possible, within a liberal democracy, that we can, without bloodshed, lay bare some deep rifts between value systems. But we’re only fooling ourselves—playing with house money—if we don’t constantly scrutinize and re-evaluate the “why” questions beneath our … MORE »

Doug Sikkema  |  June 16, 2014  |  Books, Culture, Death, Literature

In a recent piece at The American Scene, Matt Feenan was one among many trying to make sense of another senseless shooting that left another community reeling in its wake. Canadians haven’t been immune from this either, as the recent tragedy in Moncton so sadly attests.  Feenan’s point was that the rise of these Nietzschean supermen (ubermenschen) are using social media—and, well, guns—to extend their … MORE »

Ray Pennings  |  June 13, 2014  |  Leadership, Politics

As an Alberta resident, I could watch yesterday’s Ontario election with a certain degree of distance. But as a Canadian, I watched it with concern, knowing that what happens in Canada’s largest province impacts the whole country. Yes, Ontario is just one of ten provinces, and its politics aren’t Canada’s politics. Still, Ontario is home to many of the nation’s economic, cultural, and media influencers, … MORE »

Don Hutchinson  |  June 12, 2014  |  Justice, Law

Most Canadians know little about prostitution, but still feel strongly about it. Few see prostitution as a healthy thing for Canadian women, children, men, or communities. Even those who do, generally don’t want the women (and it’s overwhelmingly women) walking their street. And as Canada’s laws on prostitution were challenged in the courts, more Canadians became aware that upward of 90 percent of those marketed … MORE »

Ray Pennings  |  June 11, 2014  |  Economy, Environment, Institutions, Policy

By June 17th, Canada’s federal cabinet is required to decide whether the controversial Northern Gateway pipeline can proceed. From an institutional perspective, this marks the conclusion of a lengthy process. There was a day when all sides engaged in arguing socially contentious issues would acquiesce at the conclusion of such processes, but these days, institutions don’t command that sort of respect anymore.  It’s hardly a … MORE »

Janet Epp Buckingham  |  June 9, 2014  |  Death, Politics, Religion

I could not be more disappointed with the Quebec Liberal Party. What political party wins an election and then adopts all the previous government’s most offensive policies? The Parti Quebecois under Pauline Marois was roundly condemned for a bill purportedly legalizing euthanasia and for the so-called secular charter. It was assumed that when the Marois government was defeated in March, the new Liberal government would … MORE »

Doug Sikkema  |  June 6, 2014  |  Books, Philosophy

In a not-so-recent, cage-rattling post for The New York Review of Books, Tim Parks ruffled some literati feathers, I’m sure, with his unequivocal argument that the world does not need stories. And he’s not just talking Tolstoy or Trollope. If he were, it would be a lot easier to relegate this piece to the resting place for tired arguments, that place where dead horses are … MORE »

Peter Stockland  |  June 4, 2014  |  Death, Justice, Nature, Policy

Outside our back door there is a tree and in the overlap of its coniferous branches is a small, obscured, protected space where a robin has built a nest. In the nest, two chicks have hatched, and the robin spends her days as a kind of avian FedEx courier bringing worms and grubs and dropping them into tiny beaks that never seem to close with … MORE »

Tonight, the three major parties in Ontario will debate one another in an attempt to persuade voters that their parties should form the next provincial government. The two leading campaigns are a case study in how politics in Ontario have developed. The choice offered is one side which suggests that government is the key player for “good” in Ontario, while the other side suggest that … MORE »