So when the traditional North American holidays roll around, don't expect me to sanitize them. I don't expect my brother-in-law to dial down Hannukah thinking I'd find it offensive. I don't expect my mayor to skip Eid because I don't celebrate it. I look forward to the Chinese New Year parade and so do my kids. They shouldn't stop it because I'm not Chinese.
The potential destruction of terrorism is infinitesimally smaller than the damage done to our rights by a disproportionate attempt to prevent it. Please. Please remember this. It's even more important now, when that fact is so easily forgotten in the wake of the attack on our Parliament and the tragic deaths of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and Cpl. Nathan Cirillo. We cannot allow the extreme actions of a few to strip us of the freedoms those soldiers worked so hard to protect. But the Canadian government continues to roll back our rights in the name of "security."
The Canada-Israel relationship is often only viewed through the lens of politics, which unfortunately obscures the remarkable bonds being formed between Canadians and Israelis at the institutional and grassroots levels. As the admirable work of the AUCC has shown, there is much we can learn from one another.
The extent of the infection of the public mindset inevitably rises towards the apex of a full-blown panic. At this point, the reaction is given a name as if it has become its own threat. In this case, the word was an almost too perfect mix of the reaction and the cause: Fearbola. But as seen in the last week, once the apex has been reached, there is no other direction to go than down back towards calm.
The events in Ottawa on October 22, 2014 shook me and I will always remember the details of when I heard the news. I was standing outside the preschool waiting for my son's teacher to open the door when another parent said, "Oh, it's going to be a bad day..." My gaze rested on the top of my son's head. And then I turned to his Chinese friend, and then his Indian friend, and over to his Caucasian friend. From child to child, my eyes moved, and filled with tears. Please let them always be like this, oblivious to their "differences." Please let this not get ugly for them.
The past week has been a horrific one for Canada. As targets of two separate fatal terrorist attacks, two Canadian soldiers -- Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and Corporal Nathan Cirillo -- are unfortunately no longer with their family, friends and nation as a whole. Canadians, and anyone who is a friend of Canada, can show their support by making a donation to the Stand On Guard Fund.
Twitter exploded with comments by people wondering how Michael Zehaf-Bibeau could get a gun in Canada. The myth is that private citizens can't own guns. While the country doesn't have something along the lines of a Second Amendment to the Constitution, citizens can own guns. That's because the Canadian system is more about licensing and registration than restriction. And even that's been watered down in the last few years.
As the 25th anniversary of the Montreal Massacre approaches, it is interesting to reflect upon the evolution of gun control and the government's approach to questions of gun violence and misuse. However, ensuring a safer environment for women -- and for society in general -- requires more than official recognition of sexism or any other so-called justification as an invalid reason for violence.
This past week, the Supreme Court of Canada has been hearing an appeal by the BC Civil Liberties Association that could grant terminally ill Canadians the right to assisted suicide. The Court faces a daunting task. Palliative care cannot eliminate every facet of end-of life suffering. Preserving dignity for patients at the end of life requires a steadfast commitment to non-abandonment, meticulous management of suffering and a tone of care marked by kindness. In response to this dignity conserving approach, the former head of the Hemlock Society conceded that "if most individuals with a terminal illness were treated this way, the incentive to end their lives would be greatly reduced."
Recently, Canada's military has come under deliberate, sustained attack. In fact, our Forces may already have been vanquished. Not by an enemy, but by the nation it defends. Faith in Canada's support is the one thing our Forces absolutely, positively must have to be effective. But that was taken away last year, bringing the days of selflessly charging into danger to a crashing halt.
Like so many others across our country, I was - am - so upset about these tragic events. I am upset that a reservist guarding our nation's war memorial was murdered so callously. I am upset that the building where the legislation that shapes our country has been discussed and debated and passed into law was violated in such a visceral way. I am upset that schools in the area had to put their lockdown skills to good use.
So lying at work is not necessarily as cut-and-dried as people think. While there is a lot of "creativity" around the truth, the irony is that in today's wired society, the consequences of being caught in a lie have never been more severe. The "little white lie" on the résumé has derailed many high-profile careers as professionals and amateurs work to "out" such untruths.
Confronted with the senselessness of this tragedy, and given how many details have yet to emerge, understanding the implications of this horrific act is difficult. But it seems clear that this is more than merely an issue of national security -- it is an issue of national identity. Rarely have Canadians so acutely felt a sense of collective loss. The easy thing to do is to respond to this tragedy with anger, rashness, and xenophobia. Already, some pundits have found a way to politicize these events -- to call for a barricading of public spaces, a reform of the gun registry, and a military presence on the Hill. All of these things may indeed be sorely needed. But they are beside the point.
Millions around the world rejoiced when Malala Yousafzai won the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize. Today, Canada will embrace Malala by granting her an honourary citizenship to recognize and celebrate her efforts to educate the girls in Pakistan. Today, we must also expose and confront the distorted narratives of those in Pakistan who systematically misconstrue facts and figures to discredit her.
Disaster management is the preparation for, mitigation of, response to, and recovery from adverse events that transcend 'regular' emergencies while political philosophy asks the 'big' questions about power in society -- who gets what, and why? And when a fatal disease without a known cure moves rapidly from human to human it's not just about food supplies and First Aid Kits -- the question of who gets what, and why, becomes central.
My point is simply this: Many want change in Toronto politics, but unless we start changing the way that media covers local council races, the same style of candidates will continue to be elected, we can no longer be allergic to the potential of something better, unlikely or fear something different in such a diverse city.
In September, I was granted my request for an emergency debate in the House of Commons to address the Ebola crisis. Unfortunately the Canadian government's response to date has been scattered and slow. Only a fraction of the protective equipment donation announced a month ago has actually made it to Africa, while health workers there are at risk because they have run out of face masks and gloves. What was heralded as a promising Ebola vaccine developed in Canada has taken too long to get to clinical trials and it will be months before it is available in affected communities.
Beyond Quebec, despite the endorsement of the public health and policy community, a Health in All Policies approach has not found the political will necessary for meaningful change. But the past year offers signs of hope, with governments in Canada from across the political spectrum beginning to see the potential.