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Earth's oceans, lakes, rivers and streams are its circulatory system, providing life's essentials for people, animals and ecosystems. Canada has one-fifth of the world's freshwater, a quarter of its remaining wetlands and its longest coastline. With this abundance, it's easy to take water for granted. Many of our daily rituals require its life-giving force. Yet do we recognize our good fortune in having clean, safe water at the turn of a tap?
We ask you to resist the false alarm that your Zionist friends sound when they cry "anti-Semitism!" as the proverbial boy might cry "wolf!" For those who do so are robbing a horrendous historic episode of its gravity, confusing legitimate dissent with genocide. Criticism is not Kristallnacht; challenges to the occupation are not the gas chambers. The distinction is crucial.
Every year, thousands of people are placed in segregation in jails and penitentiaries across the country. Systemic data about the use of segregation in both provincial and federal contexts indicates that segregation is being overused on -- and causing particular harm for -- vulnerable groups, such as black and indigenous prisoners, women, and those with mental health disabilities.
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"He's just a child, he's done nothing wrong."
There is a complete blind spot on indigenous human/civil rights. Every time I mention First Nation mascots, I am told to get over it, that they are honouring us. Many native people even sing the Canadian cultural tune. I am unable to turn a blind eye to it, though. I can suck it up, I just choose not to. Why should any First Nation person learn to deal with abuse to survive?
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Dion is in Geneva on Monday as the Human Rights Council convenes to mark its 10th anniversary, a milestone that some critics say is shrouded in ignominy.
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As Martin Luther King Jr. saw it, to those living on the margins of our communities, acts of charity and compassion should be our very first response to meet the need. But then there is the next stage. What caused it? Who is responsible? How can we change things at their source so that acts of charity are not as required as those where we help those who begin to find their footing?
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We have every right to ignore the BDS campaign -- as most of us do. But if we are not going to help Palestinians, the least we can do is allow for peaceful protest and grassroots organisation. We must break from the all too common policy of protecting the strong while denigrating the weak.
Since the $15-billion Saudi arms deal was announced on Valentine's Day 2014, there have been numerous occasions when Ottawa should have explained to Canadians how this contract is compatible with the human rights safeguards of Canadian export controls. Yet two years on, we are still waiting for an explanation.
If an event, program, or institution is created to support a specific group of people, who determines the membership in and the rules to be followed by that group? Does it matter whether the group identifies itself as disadvantaged? What if others see the group as privileged?
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Whether it's Internet access or affordable housing -- the same problem presents itself. Government interference drives up prices while constraining the problem solving power of a free market. Consumer advocacy groups should be fighting for less interference, fewer regulations, and a less powerful bureaucracy. The solution is never more government. It's less.
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We know that LGBTQ students still face a difficult situation in schools and there's ample evidence to back this up. Recent research shows that 64 per cent of LGBTQ students in Canada don't feel safe at school and 70 per cent of all students say they hear anti-gay slurs and remarks EVERY SINGLE DAY.
While premier Wynne and her 72-person delegation meet with India's heads of state to talk trade and visit the country's picturesque backdrops for photo-ops, they do so while simultaneously ignoring India's abysmal track record on human rights, systemic inequity and institutional racism.
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Like most people that call this city home, I am deeply troubled by Sunday's shooting deaths in Toronto's Chinatown and the eight other gun-related deaths the city saw in January. This is obviously unacceptable, and police must be supported in their efforts to investigate and prosecute those responsible for these horrific crimes. That being said, most people would be hesitant to draw any clear conclusions about why we have seen a high number of gun crimes over the past month. Mike McCormack, president of the Toronto Police Association, the union that represents police officers, feels differently.
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Rather than close the Global Affairs Canada's Office of Religious Freedom, Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion should seize the opportunity to transform it into a real force for change for all excluded minorities in developing countries.
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It's become clear that the way countries evaluate their drug policies dictates the kinds of outcomes that governments are seeking to highlight. Simply put, reform begins with taking a hard look at what governments themselves are prioritizing in their drug policy evaluations.
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I am often reminded of Martin Luther King, who uniquely demonstrated that eloquence trumps bigotry, when researching Canada's earliest LGBT activists. They, like King, were at the forefront of a dramatic civil rights movement, making powerful and persuasive arguments for social justice in the face of sometimes brutal suppression.
Ontario's Human Rights Code protects people from discrimination based on characteristics like race, age, gender identity, and sex in situations like the provision of services, housing, and employment. People are also protected from discrimination based on their creed. The term "creed" isn't defined in the legislation, but until recently, it was thought to mean the same thing as religion. That is, until now.
Dion said the executions could "further inflame" tensions in the Middle East.
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"He’s basically being carded for being Muslim.”
I hope the New Year will be a prosperous one where mankind will once again rediscover its sense of humanity and try to resolve its issues with rationale and dialogue instead of the barrel of the gun and spilling more blood.
It seems that far too often the government and people here at home are more willing to rally around civil and political rights violations. Bill C-51, for example, drew waves of protest across the country. Compare that to how Canadians responded to the squalid conditions faced by 4.9 million people living in poverty. But rights are so important to the way that we understand poverty in Canada. Rights put people at the centre of policy decisions that affect them -- they bring dignity and humanity back to the conversation.
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Most Canadians believe that religious discrimination is no longer a problem in contemporary society. Yet, after the terrorist attacks in Paris last month, we have seen a marked spike in hate crimes against Muslims. Less extreme, but likely more pervasive than overt attacks are new stereotypes that view all religious people as inherently backward, less tolerant, less informed, or closed-minded. This is a different form of prejudice that appears to be socially acceptable in our more secular society, and among many otherwise "progressive" or "liberal" individuals.
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Incarcerating mothers is commonly associated with depression, anger, poor school performance and environmental disruptions among their families, especially for their children. We are impacting entire communities spanning generations.
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December 10 is celebrated internationally as Human Rights Day. It is therefore an ideal time to reflect on how Canada's LGBT were once so feared and loathed that -- until surprisingly recently -- discriminating against them was both common and legal.
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Is Justin Trudeau prepared to defy Canada's powerful mining industry and adopt legislation to constrain their abuses abroad or will he continue to place the full power of Canadian foreign-policy behind this controversial industry?
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It has become clear that climate change will disproportionately impact the world's most vulnerable because they are heavily dependent on resources that will be affected by climatic change. Whether by virtue of socio-economic status, conflict, gender or geography, certain groups are more liable than others to be negatively impacted by climate change, which directly implicates the question of human rights. How will this differentially influence people's lives, living conditions and livelihoods, and who are the most vulnerable?
After years of rarely hearing the P-word uttered by government -- or even media -- the undertaking to develop a national poverty plan sets a new tone for the federal government's assumption of accountability. Trudeau's letter recognizes that people living in poverty can no longer be sidelined.
Such is the nature of our hyper-connected planet that events seemingly worlds away from our day-to-day lives can reverberate in our neighbourhood. That is the power and promise of social media - it makes the world smaller. The flip side, however, is that faraway events, like those in Paris, Beirut, Nigeria and Egypt, can embolden otherwise-marginal, hateful forces here at home.
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The human rights landscape has changed dramatically since 1962, when the Ontario Human Rights Commission was created. There are now parallel human right institutions federally and in every province and territory, and numerous international human rights treaties to which Canada is a party. In Ontario, most people are ambivalent or simply don't know about the OHRC, its role, and its work. This is ironic because some of the issues that have captivated Ontarians in recent years clearly fall within the OHRC's jurisdiction and are issues on which the Commission has been actively engaged.
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Canada is selling ultra-modern fighting machines, routinely fitted with large-calibre guns, cannons and mortars -- unequivocally covered by Canada's military export control policy. If the deal proceeds, let us not forget that it did so with full prior knowledge of export safeguards and of the end user's abysmal human rights record.
Less than two months before Ottawa announced a $14.8-billion military export contract with Saudi Arabia Canada provided substantial input concerning the Saudi human rights situation at the United Nations Human Rights Council. And while progress has been utterly lacking in relation to every single recommendation made by Canada, it is now all but certain that the deal with the autocratic Kingdom will proceed.