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This year's theme for International Women's Day was "Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity: Picture it!" Picture it... Picture it, because despite all the efforts that have been made in Canada and around the world, despite all the progress, there is still (too) much that remains to be done.
I write at an important moment of remembrance and reminder, of bearing witness, and of action. I write also in the immediate aftermath of anti-Semitic terror and killing in France, and in the midst of ongoing mass atrocities by Boko Haram in Nigeria, ethnic cleansing in Darfur and South Sudan, and killing fields in Syria and elsewhere. And so, at this important historical moment, we should ask ourselves: What have we learned in the last 70 years, and more importantly, what must we do?
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In Monday's question period, much of the back-and-forth concerned the insinuations from the Prime Minister's Office of wrongdoing on the part of the Chief Justice in striking down Justice Nadon's appointment to the Supreme Court. What follows are eight questions that arise from this whole affair.
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Thus, as the world prepares to gather in Russia in the Olympic spirit of unity and fellowship, those Russians who have been and still are victimized and persecuted by their own government must be front-of-mind. Indeed, their cause -- and that of Sergei Magnitksy -- must continue to burn brightly even after the extinguishing of Sochi's Olympic flame.
In his response to an article in which I am quoted about the victims' surcharge, Peter MacKay's unfounded -- if not preposterous -- assertion that I would rather see money in the hands of criminals than victims ignores the merits of the debate, let alone what I actually said.
The nomination of Judge Marc Nadon has raised important questions about the process used to select justices for the Supreme Court of Canada. Indeed, his appointment has led to charges of the politicization of the judiciary in the media, with some Canadians, rightly, wondering how our nomination process works.
On Wednesday, June 12th, York University will confer an honourary Doctor of Laws degree on Nasrin Sotoudeh, the imprisoned Iranian human rights lawyer now in her third year of imprisonment -- much of which has been spent in solitary confinement in the notorious Evin prison.
In 2004, an Abu Dhabi court tried Dr. Karabus in absentia and convicted him of both fraud and manslaughter, but he was never notified of the trial or of the judgment. When he landed in Dubai last year he was jailed. This case is not just about this doctor, but any country whose citizens work or travel in the U.A.E.
As opposed to viewing the Charter as a hindrance to its legislative agenda, the government should embrace the Charter -- as have lawyers, judges, academics, and even the majority of Canadians according to public opinion polls. We should be promoting and protecting those values the document enshrines.
With Xi Jinping assuming the Presidency of China, some have expressed hope that his tenure will bring reform and change, particularly in the promotion and protection of human rights. At the same time, China's most recent Nobel Peace Prize winter -- Liu Xiaobo -- languishes in prison, and has yet to receive the prize awarded to him two years ago. If Canada's relationship with China focuses primarily on ensuring an economic upside -- indeed, if we ignore the Chinese government's gross violations of human rights for economic "net benefit" -- we thereby acquiesce to the imprisonment of Liu Xiaobo, Liu Xia, and others who have sacrificed not just their livelihood, but their freedom, for the sake of human rights.