Progressive politics, ideas & culture



Gender Block: Canadian universities and sexual violence

Why do universities have such a laid-back approach to sexual violence on campus? Plus, CBC's documentary School of Secrets

Hillary Di Menna

On Monday night, CBC’s The Fifth Estate streamed the episode School of Secrets (still online). The episode featured Mandi Gray of Toronto’s York University and Glynnis Kirchmeier of the University of British Columbia. Both women have filed human rights complaints against their schools for not responding to reports of sexual assault by alumni. Since her […] More »
November-December 2015

What kind of citizen?

Today’s test-focused, results-based education system discourages critical thinking and puts democracy at risk. Why it’s time to start teaching dissent

Joel WestheimerWebsite@joelwestheimer

If students from a totalitarian nation were secretly transported to a Canadian classroom to continue their lessons with new teachers and a new curriculum, would they be able to tell the difference? I do not ask this question facetiously. It seems plausible that a good lesson in multiplication, chemistry, or a foreign language might seem […] More »
November-December 2015

In their shoes

Nearly 20 years ago, Mary Gordon created a program to bring moms and babies into school classrooms. How empathy can create kinder kids, better adults, and a more equitable society

Blair MlotekWebsite@blairmlo

Mary Gordon believes in the power of empathy. It can, she says, stop patterns of abuse, draw the curtain on generational cruelty, and create kinder, better worlds—especially if we instill its importance at a young age. That’s why, in 1996, the former teacher, as well as creator of the first Toronto District School Board daycare […] More »
September-October 2015

When the cure is worse

Canada’s so-called Indian hospitals were depressing places that segregated, abused and even experimented on aboriginal patients. Gary Geddes speaks to those who were there about their long and painful legacy

Gary Geddes

  The first image: a small child in striped pyjamas, three years old, peering through the bars of a crib, directly into the lens of the camera. There’s intelligence in her eyes, but no indication of pleasure or recognition. Just a quiet, cautious curiosity. She’s holding a naked, hairless, rubber doll. Behind her, off-kilter on […] More »
September-October 2015

Tories in review: Immigration

And last in our Tories in Review series, Nathaniel Basen examines immigration policies, the closing of Canada's borders and the removal of basic rights

Nathaniel Basen

IT’S FROM BEHIND THE PLEXIGLAS BARRIER of the visitor’s cubicle that I wait for Glory Anawa. I’m at the Immigration Holding Centre in Toronto—or, as Anawa and her two-year-old son Alpha have called it since February 2013, home. In front of me, etched in the glass separating visitor and prisoner, is that same word, HOME, […] More »
September-October 2015

Tories in review: aboriginal rights

Ninth in our Tories in Review series, we look at Stephen Harper's track record on Aboriginal rights

This Magazine Staff

IN 2007, after just over one year in power, Stephen Harper’s federal Conservatives dealt a major blow to Canada’s aboriginals—the first of many. That year, the United Nations adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, a non-binding international agreement designed to define worldwide human rights standards for Indigenous peoples. Canada, along with the […] More »
September-October 2015

Tories in review: women’s rights

Gender Block columnist Hillary Di Menna investigates how women's rights & issues have fared under the Conservatives

Hillary Di Menna

THE SUN HITS the back of my neck as I kneel over my poster board. It’s a hot summer afternoon in June and I’m colouring with markers, shared with the hands of girls decades my junior, helping with childcare at a sex worker solidarity rally. We’re at Toronto’s Allan Gardens, the day’s setting for lunch, […] More »
September-October 2015

Tories in review: LGBTQ rights

Today in our Tories in Review series, Larkin Schmiedl looks at nine years of attacks on LGBTQ rights in Canada

Larkin Schmiedl

OVER THE PAST SIX YEARS, Stephen Harper’s Conservative government has—surprisingly—become an outspoken champion of gay rights worldwide. In 2009, Harper arranged a private meeting with Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni to urge him to drop a controversial law that would imprison homosexuals for life. In 2011, Immigration Minister John Baird not only launched a pilot program […] More »
September-October 2015

Tories in review: disabilities

We examine Stephen Harper and friends' track record on disability rights. Hint: It's not great

This Magazine Staff

IN 2007, the federal government signed the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Ratified in the House of Commons several years later in 2010, the convention recognizes the rights, dignity, and worth of those with disabilities, while providing a framework for a high-quality, equitable life. This is all great stuff—and yet, the […] More »
September-October 2015

Tories in review: environment

Larkin Schmiedl examines Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party's dismal environmental track record, full of broken promises and missed opportunities for a greener Canada

Larkin Schmiedl

WHEN IT COMES TO THE ENVIRONMENT, Stephen Harper doesn’t have a hidden agenda—he’s always been upfront about his healthy-industry-over-healthy-Earth policies. In 2006, for instance, in his first speech outside Canada after he was elected as prime minister, he called Canada an “emerging energy superpower,” suggesting his intention to expand oil sands production. “And that has […] More »
September-October 2015

Tories in review: Information and transparency

Sam Juric examines the Conservative's battle to curb Canadians' access to information and the scary fight to create a transparency-free government

Sam Juric

HERE ARE JUST A FEW of the things that keep James Turk up at night: Unapologetic fear mongering; trampling over fundamental civil rights; limiting access to information; an invasive gaze cast over Canadians protesting in public, leading to their arrest; an iron fist that limits Canadians’ ability to move freely across borders; the introduction of […] More »