Militias set fire to homes with families still inside. From her safe refuge here in Canada, Dahlia heard the horrific reports and knew she had to get her family out of Syria. But to sponsor them as refugees in Canada would take an agonizing 18 months of bureaucracy and cost tens of thousands of dollars. Dahlia's ordeal raises the question, Are the demands of sponsorship too great for Canadians to bear?
I stayed away from my country for 11 years, raising my three daughters in the calm and safety of Canada. I decided I could not let everything my husband tried to achieve be forgotten or destroyed. When I landed back in Mogadishu, I was amazed by what I saw. And what shocked me most was what had happened to women.
Canada's environment appears to be taking the brunt of NAFTA-enabled corporate attacks. And when NAFTA environmental-protection provisions do kick in, the government often rejects them. According to a study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, more than 70 per cent of NAFTA claims since 2005 have been against Canada, with nine active cases totalling $6 billion outstanding.
This past holiday season, food banks all across Ontario benefited from the generosity of their communities. Ontarians came together to donate food and financial support, both of which will make an enormous difference in the lives of people who struggle to make ends meet. Yet as the holiday lights and warmth fade and we head back into everyday life, we must not forget that this is not enough. In Ontario alone, it is estimated that 770,000 people visit food banks annually, and 20 per cent of food banks run out of supplies at least once every year. In a province that has more than enough food for everyone, why is this happening?
We know from our daily lives that gender-based violence remains rampant. The facts support this conclusion: half of women in Canada have suffered physical or sexual violence. Exactly when did we, as a society, become accustomed to violence? We must ensure access to coordinated services that keep women and children safe.
This may seem surprising to us in Canada, but California has a lot of extra wind and solar power being produced at times when it is not needed, so storing that energy and saving it for peak periods of the day helps avoid the need for new power plants.
For two decades, the Screen Actors Guild has been highlighting its members' best performances. The annual gala isn't as white as the 2015 Oscar nominees, but it's pretty close. Some say the lack of meaningful roles or developed character arcs -- especially for Asians, Latinos and African Americans -- contributed to their perpetual absence in the winners' circle. Others point to audiences' intolerance for non-white central characters. At the 2015 SAG awards, Viola Davis became the third actor of colour to ever take home the award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a TV Drama.
The Mental Health Commission of Canada has just released the first of two reports on indicators showing how poorly we treat those with mental illness in Canada. I really have to ask why, as this is something we already know.
The common raven is part of a pattern of rewilding migrations to southern Canada that have occurred over the last century. Bald eagles, fishers and beavers have similar homecomings. These species originally occurred in southern Canada, but retracted their ranges to northern, wilder homes.
Paul Cranidge lives in an urban "food desert" in the north of Halifax. Programs like Nova Scotia's loan guarantees and CEDIFs are examples of a growing trend known as "impact investing" that treats an initiative for social good as an investment opportunity.
What if everyone reading this post helped just one person impacted by Target layoffs find a job? What if each of us reached out to one Target Canada employee that we knew and successfully completed a five minute favour?
No question from my oldest daughter has torn more at my heart. A discussion about never taking rides with strangers unexpectedly morphed into a talk about sexual assault. "Mom," she whispered tentatively. "Do you mean that someone can just sneak up and do THAT to me?" My heart lurched into my throat. Until that moment, my bright-eyed daughter lived blissfully unaware of the fact that women can be raped. I was rendered momentarily speechless.
With super busy lives and abundant brain noise, being present and living in the moment can be a challenge. But when we are present, we can focus. We are in our power. And we get stuff done.
With every action you take, you change the world, too -- for better or for worse -- whether or not you even realize it. Changing the world for the better, in my view, is an achievable goal for every single Canadian. And it's much like achieving any other goal in that all you need to do is start working on forming habits that contribute toward the change you want to see.
Mayor Ted Clugston of Medicine Hat, Alberta has become the reluctant spokesperson for a controversial approach to reducing homelessness. Reluctant because just a few years ago, he opposed the initiative. Sometime in 2015, Medicine Hat will become the first municipality in Canada to eradicate homelessness.
2015 promises to be a transformative year on the international development front and is therefore an appropriate time to reflect on a noteworthy milestone. The United Nations enters its 70th year -- and like some 70-year-olds, the beleaguered UN has found new vigour and relevance in people's lives, with Canada playing a role in some noteworthy accomplishments.