Entries by Marni Soupcoff from 01/2013

The Week in Review: Tweets from Space and Pitbull Problems

| Posted 01.05.2013 | Canada

This week, Huff Post Canada's own Rebecca Zamon put the reading habits of mere mortals to shame by sharing the 52 (yes, I did say 52) books she read in 2012. And we're not talking coffee-table photo collections, here. Meanwhile, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield gave us a sense of perspective with a set of photos Tweeted from space. And back on Earth, a series of pitbull attacks in Calgary reignited the ongoing debate about the efficacy and wisdom of dog-breed bans. Are all pitbulls just too inherently dangerous to trust ? And if so, is legally outlawing an entire breed the way to handle the problem?

Can Counselling "Cure" Animal Killer Kayla Bourque?

| Posted 01.08.2013 | Canada

Since the Sandy Hook shootings, there seems to be a popular mantra that we need better and easier access to quality mental-health care.This is probably a true statement, yet it seems to me we may be avoiding a difficult truth: There are limits to what mental-health treatment can do. The recent story about disturbing violent offender Kayla Bourque, and the court's requirement for her to receive counselling as part of her release from jail, brings this to the fore. The idea that someone with problems as deep-seated as Bourque's can be "cured" by dropping in for sessions at a clinic for a few years is pretty far-fetched.

The Week in Review: What to Make of Theresa Spence's No-Show?

| Posted 01.13.2013 | Canada

This week Prime Minister Stephen Harper granted Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence's wish and met with First Nations Chiefs. But the still-hunger-striking Spence was one of many chiefs who chose to boycott the three-hour talks, in part because the Governor General would not be in attendance. So what to make of a leader who's willing to forego solid food for weeks to further her goal of meeting with the nation's leadership -- but who doesn't consider a conversation with merely the PM good enough? Apparently she's not an incrementalist.

Should Gay Men Be Allowed to Donate Blood?

| Posted 01.15.2013 | Canada

I would respect Canadian Blood Services more if it took a stronger position on gay blood donations. Either stick with the lifelong ban and admit that it's a super-cautious approach to try to mitigate against potential infections we don't yet understand, based on the deadly mistakes made in the past with HIV. Or focus on the bloodborne diseases we do know about, and adjust the ban accordingly to six-months or one-year, as would be consistent with the current science of detection. Either one of these approaches would be a more defensible posture than the arbitrary five-year ban Canadian Blood Services has chosen to champion.

Drunk Drivers? Put Them Away, But Don't Take Their Truck

| Posted 01.17.2013 | Canada

It's dangerous to treat drunk drivers too lightly. But it's equally dangerous to entrench a legal precedent that offers an incentive for government prosecution in the form of a valuable prize that the government gets to keep if it wins.

The Week in Review: Everything I Need to Know About Weight Loss I Learned From a Cat

| Posted 01.19.2013 | Canada

This week, with the New Year in full swing, attention focused on that familiar January preoccupation: losing weight. Shedding excess pounds can certainly be healthy. The trouble is, in our zeal for fighting obesity, we sometimes end up taking a punitive stand that does more to marginalize and harm people who are overweight than it does to actually help them get healthier. How about taking our cues from Tiny, the formerly obese New Brunswick cat, and keeping the weight loss theme focused on small consistent steps that lead to big results?

Why You Shouldn't Blame America for Gun Violence

| Posted 01.22.2013 | Canada

For many Canadians, the apparent U.S. preoccupation with the right to bear arms -- and with arms in general -- seems just plain perverse, especially when it's juxtaposed with a horrific high-profile gun crime. But news Tuesday of a deadly shooting in a courtroom the Philippines (allegedly perpetrated by a Canadian, no less) may be a timely reminder that gun violence is neither a uniquely American scourge, nor a problem whose solution is only blocked by the 2nd Amendment. Casting gun violence as an American problem or an American phenomenon is a cop out.

You May Hate Rob Ford, But He Won Fair and Square

| Posted 01.25.2013 | Canada Politics

I've been told that it's impolite to say "I told you so," so I won't say that exactly. But given today's divisional court ruling overturning Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's removal from office, I will say this: "The lawyer I quoted told you so." That lawyer had warned that the lower court judge was wrong to interpret the law as empowering council to force Mayor Ford to pay out over $3,000 for a code of conduct violation. And today the divisional agreed. Do you think Rob Ford is unfit to lead Toronto? Then begin a campaign for a better candidate for 2014. But don't use the legal system to undo a decision of Toronto's voters.

The Week in Review: Can't We All Just Get Along (And Stop Calling Each Other Assholes on Twitter)?

| Posted 01.26.2013 | Canada

This week, a tweet sent from Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence's account lashed out at Senator Patrick Brazeau, calling him "a typical colonized indian asshole." A spokesperson for Chief Spence told Global News that the inflammatory "asshole" comment neither came from Spence, nor was it "something she would ever say." However, I don't think it's a stretch to imagine that relations between Brazeau and Spence can probably be described as chilly. Then again, who wasn't feeling a little frosty what with the frigid weather across the country.

I Hate Valentine's Day

| Posted 01.30.2013 | Canada Living

Valentine's Day is so saturated with images and notions of "ideal" love (true and pure and unquestioned) that it's just too hard for the real-life instances of love (complicated and exhausting and ebbing and flowing) to measure up.