Advocacy

35 Years On

The housing crisis in Toronto brings into stark relief a fundamental quandary. As house prices skyrocket, we have hit a new low with news that, after years of neglect, 1,000 social housing units will...
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Helping Others Helped Me Admit To My Own Eating Disorder

As a mental health advocate, I was addicted to appearing to be recovered. I was afraid to admit that I am living with an eating disorder. Afraid that it meant the messages I was telling people about recovery being possible wasn't true. That living with an eating disorder, while being highlighted as recovered, meant I was a fraud.
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Canada Needs to Reaffirm Its Commitment to Children

It's been nearly 25 years since Canada signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, agreeing to protect and ensure the rights of our youngest citizens. Yet there is still no formal mechanism to hold the government accountable for the way it treats its youngest citizens. Every day, Canadian children experience poverty, abuse, neglect, preventable diseases, and unequal access to quality health services and education. At the root of many of these problems is public policy that does not put the needs of children first.
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A Guide to Effective Animal Advocacy

A number of people have commented to me over my years of involvement within the vegan community that they are often overwhelmed by all of the suffering that animals endure, leaving them unsure how to advocate for them effectively. It's a feeling of helplessness to which many can surely relate.

Don't Let Speaking Out Be a Taboo

How is it that we live in a culture where speaking out is still taboo? A culture where so many blame victims for their own abuse. Where women are afraid to report or seek assistance because they worry that they will not be believed? But today and every day, I choose not to be heartbroken.

Mental Health: There Should Be No Such Thing as a Free Spech

I am writing this blog on behalf of plenty of other people with life experience who want to share their story but can't afford to. Life experience is invaluable in order for the mental health agenda to move forward in this country organizations need to hear firsthand from us. People with lived experience are experts and nobody should expect us to work or always provide our services for free.
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When It Comes to the Environment, We're All Hypocrites

We live in a society where it is impossible to live a functional lifestyle and not consume products made from petro-chemicals every single day. As such, the notion that environmentalists -- such as Neil Young for example -- have no right to criticize oil sands developments, pipelines or fracking because they "choose" to heat their homes and drive cars is downright nonsensical.
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The Travel Writer's Dilemma

Several large media organizations won't publish articles if a travel writer received assistance from a tourism board, or they will put a disclosure at the end of the article saying the trip was sponsored. This is a blatant double standard, and it stands to hurt and limit the importance of travel journalism.
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Watching the Watchdog: Canada's Prostitution Laws at the Supreme Court

Right now the Supreme Court of Canada is tackling the obvious contradictions implicit in it being against the law to "communicate for the purposes of prostitution," "operate a bawdy house," or "live off the avails of prostitution." In effect, the court is trying to decide whether brothels and their pimps/managers/bookkeepers/cleaning staff/bodyguards/chauffeurs etc. should be legalized.
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Is Big Brother Threatening Our Charities?

Last week, Canadian Mennonite magazine revealed that it had been threatened by the government. A Canada Revenue audit team the magazine that it could lose its charitable status because of what it published. CRA found some 2011 articles to be in violation of the Income Tax Act which forbids "the direct or indirect support of, or opposition to, any political party or candidate for public office." Where is this taking Canada? Will we be a nation without dissent, without criticism, without discourse? A nation where even the most well-meaning and well-respected charities must keep silent on everything or risk the wrath of government?

Actress Sarena Parmar Gives Back to Girls Everywhere [VIDEO]

Canadian actress and emerging playwright, Sarena Parmar, has performed in film, television and on the stage. In this in-depth interview on Extraordinary Women TV with Shannon Skinner, Parmar discusses her rapid rise in her acting career, how her South Asian background has influenced her work, her interest in human rights and advocacy, and also her involvement with Plan Canada's "I Am A Girl" campaign.
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No Dogs and Jews Allowed

In cottage country, and even on Toronto's beaches up to the mid 1950s, it was common to see signs that read "No Dogs or Jews Allowed." Though we, as a nation, have made great strides in the name of human rights for all, we cannot be complacent. There cannot be justice for Jews if there is not justice for everyone.