The West, and especially the English-speaking West, has wrongly taken sides in the present conflict in Ukraine. Instead of making empty promises or threats, our message should be clear and decisive: "What is happening in Ukraine is a matter that its population has to sort out for itself. But, if asked, we will work with all interested parties to mediate a speedy and peaceful resolution." No more, no less.
Poet, Anatole France, once observed that, "it is the certainty that they possess the truth that makes men cruel." He could just as easily be commenting on two recent actions of our present federal government that fly directly in the face of what is supposed to be good politics: giving the people what they want. How else to explain the undue harshness against this country's veterans, or the outright attack and manipulation in the Harper government's attempts to revamp Elections Canada to its own purposes? What makes both of these instances so remarkable is the sheer arrogance of a government acting against the best interests of its own people.
I like to call us resolutionaries. We are the people who have the best intentions and make great plans for the year to come. We will quit our bad habits and develop new and healthy ones. Today, we are sending our children back to school for the first week of 2014. Let's make a resolution to help them develop healthy habits -- and stick to those new habits.
Bob Cratchit comes out as the true hero of Dicken's novel A Christmas Carol -- a worker, a family man, a believer in the goodness of people. London, Ontario just witnessed a similar example yesterday, as Kellogg's employees, despite the devastating news of the impending shutdown, raised $10,000 and purchased quality foodstuffs for the local food bank. If we are ever to find a reason for believing in Christmas, this is it.
Imagine your child's favourite teacher. This teacher is known to provide her students with an enriched classroom. Now imagine that this exemplary teacher is a person who subscribes to a religious faith for which she dresses in a particular fashion. Should she remove the outward signs of her faith so that she can keep teaching?
For most South Africans, that long walk to freedom Mandela wrote about is on a much longer, stonier and more dangerous road than they ever expected. And it's taking far more time than their well wishers around the world ever predicted. Considering what's happening to his dream of a new, democratic and rainbow nation, maybe it's best that Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela has gone.
Every year, political corruption kills as many as 140,000 children worldwide, by depriving them of medical care, food, and water. Yet, far too often, the perpetrators of the most outrageous acts of corruption are able to use their illicit wealth and power to pervert the very laws and institutions that should call them to account.
Has your child ever seen a picket line? If you plan to shop at a Walmart in the U.S. you and your child may well see one this weekend. If your children ask what is happening, how will you explain it? The Canadian Civil Liberties Education Trust and TVO Parents can help you make the most of that "teachable moment" with a discussion about rights and freedoms.
When Justin Trudeau said last week that he had a "level of admiration" for China's "basic dictatorship," the understandable knee-jerk reaction from some politicians and pundits was to kick the federal Liberal leader. But while that gaffe was reprehensible, it was hardly incomprehensible and perhaps entirely understandable given the structure of our own political system, the parties within it and how some Canadians feel about dictatorships.
My views of China are too conflicted for me to name it as the country I most admire. However, I remain grateful that Justin Trudeau had the intellectual courage to encourage Canadians to learn from China. If we want healthy political discourse in our country, we must listen and learn when politicians answer questions with responses that are honest rather than poll tested. If our politicians are not willing to study and learn from China, Canada is not benefiting from the political leadership we need.
The most revealing moment of Russell Brand's Newsnight interview is when Paxman asks what his revolution will be like. Brand begins his response: "Well I'll tell you what it won't be like." This response, which knows not what it wants and only what it doesn't want, is indicative of what I've come to think of as Che Activism.
New democracy is more about citizen activism than backroom shenanigans and pressing for transparency than secret dealings. It ultimately opts for cooperation over contention, public policy over punishing partisanship, and a sense of the integration of power over its ideology. So, can someone send the Old Boys' Club a memo?
Conservatives have cobbled together a strange world view. They do not, largely, believe in biological evolution but they do believe in 'social Darwinism' (which Darwin himself did not). At a very basic level, the problem with 'survival of the fittest', as an ideology, is that it directly contradicts the basic principles that modern, western democracy was founded on.
Many people in Myanmar commemorated the 25th anniversary this September of one of the bloodiest crackdowns in the country's history. Western business should be encouraged to bring more socially responsible practices to Myanmar but should take critical measures to ensure that they not become part of the democracy-hindering problem rather than the solution.