CIVIC ENGAGEMENT

Strip Searching a Quebec Student Violated Her Rights

Last week, a teenage girl who was suspected of harboring drugs while in her Quebec school was taken by her female principal and vice-principal to a room where she was ordered to remove ALL of her clothing, including her underwear. I am continually struck by the notion entertained by certain people, including rather a lot of school administrators, that young people are not rights-holders.

Teaching Newcomers How to Complain

I heard a story this week about a civics lesson. It did not take place in a high school. It was a lesson both learned and taught by some elderly newcomers who were participants in a civic awareness project. Along with learning to speak English and finding out about the systems and the laws of Canada, these folks are being challenged to engage with their new communities.
Global screengrab/CP

More Canadians Should Act Like the Shirtless Jogger

When the shirtless jogger encountered Rob Ford at the Canada Day parade he took the opportunity to do something the media had been forbidden to do the day before: He asked the mayor questions. Like it or not, our elected leaders should expect to be asked hard questions -- and they should be ready to answer those questions, because in a democracy, we expect accountability. And we should be relieved that teachers like Mr. Killoran are demonstrating the courage it takes to stand up and hold politicians accountable.

Community Consultation Must be Addressed in October Elections

Many issues will come up when the civic elections happen in October. One important issue that should take a seat front and centre in the campaigns is whether the City cares about public engagement when it comes to new developments that are due to appear right next door to your home. If the cases of the Stadium Centre and Shawnee-Evergreen developments are of any indication, Calgarians should expect a rude awakening when plans are put in place to reshape communities.
Mike Klassen

Philip Owen: There Are No Shortcuts When Running a City

These days Vancouver city hall is twisting itself into pretzels trying to figure out why citizens have stopped engaging with the political process. In my view, Philip Owen was the last mayor to really make a personal effort to get to know the city he led. He wasn't in a bubble created by political aides -- his staff was tiny in comparison to those in office today. Often regarded as a "mayor's mayor," he made himself available to citizens, media, and through a primetime cable TV call-in show.