Executive Director, Canadian Constitution Foundation
Marni Soupcoff is Executive Director of the Canadian Constitution Foundation. Her writing appears in the National Post and here at the Huffington Post Canada. She is also a regular contributor to Regulation magazine. Her work has previously appeared in the Washington Post, the New York Post, the Stanford Journal of International Law and other publications. <br> <br> Marni is a fourth generation Torontonian, but spent nine years in the United States, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the Johns Hopkins University in 1997 and received her law degree from Stanford University in 2000. Before moving back to Toronto, Marni worked as a lawyer with the Institute for Justice, where she litigated economic liberty and property rights cases. She has been a member of the District of Columbia bar since 2000.
This week we learned of the case of an RCMP officer who has a prescription for medical marijuana to treat his PTSD. The RCMP says he can't smoke his medicinal pot while in uniform or in public, but he says he has a right to do so. It's a legal and legitimate medical treatment, after all. (Though try explaining that to a pot-grower who gets sent to prison after being raided by a Mountie with a joint hanging out of his mouth.) The RCMP and this officer could probably compromise, perhaps by having the officer ingest his pot in benign-looking baked goods. But our inconsistent and hypocritical approach to marijuana is not so easily solved.
You can hurt your body doing yoga. But that damage pales in comparison to the damage that you can do to both your mind and body if you don't do yoga -- or some other activity that allows you to "connect" or "tune in" to the quiet beneath the chaos. If I can't convince you to try yoga, then at least do this: Experiment to find your own way of stretching your body and soul. Don't let the spectre of potential ill effects keep you inert and brittle. Because everything can hurt you. We humans just have to weigh the options. And then we have to choose the path that offers the best chance of suppleness and grace at a level of risk we can stand.
11/27/2013 02:51 EST
This week, Bitcoin got a (rocket) boost when Sir Richard Branson announced that his company Virgin Galactic will accept the digital currency as payment for space flights. "While the world of travel is rapidly advancing, the world of payments is changing fast too," Branson wrote in a blog post Friday. "Sometime in the future, innovative payment models such as Square, Clinkle and Bitcoin will become serious challengers to traditional banks, which will spur more competition and give customers even more options." More and more businesses are coming to the same conclusion as Branson.
11/24/2013 07:41 EST
Nigel Wright's problems, which we now know include RCMP allegations that he has committed bribery, fraud and breaches of trust, are entirely separate from Rob Ford's issues. But with every unnecessary television appearance Rob Ford makes -- with every fight he picks and every aspersion he casts on others to deflect blame from himself -- the Toronto mayor highlights just how much more dignity Nigel Wright has shown in the face of serious allegations of wrongdoing. The two are a study in opposites. Here's what I wish Rob Ford had learned from Nigel Wright.
11/20/2013 05:16 EST
Anyone concerned with human rights would have to consider China's announced reforms good news (though I hope, for Justin Trudeau's sake, that they won't impede China's ability to go green fast and invest in solar). However, it's still wise to remember how far from a free country China remains. The government is still coercively dictating family size and reproductive choices -- and punishing those who don't comply. Reports of forced abortions and sterilization continue. And the government is amping up talk about the threats posed by social media, suggesting that further crackdowns and censorship of online speech could be in the works.
11/17/2013 01:43 EST
Don't ever admit to liking school or daycare. Your parents are going to send you to these places whether you like them or not, so you might as well earn some guilt-treats by pretending to despise them. Try to maintain a high-pitched wail until at least until 45 seconds after drop-off.
11/13/2013 02:34 EST
In an interview with Bloomberg TV on Tuesday, Lululemon founder Chip Wilson explained that when the company's pants become see-through or start to pill, the problem may have more to do with the shape and size of the woman wearing the garment than the garment itself. "Some women's bodies just actually don't work for [the pants]," Wilson said. "...it's really about the rubbing through the thighs, how much pressure is there over a period of time and how much they use it." In other words, don't blame the "In the Flow" crops. They can't help it if your legs are just too flabby for proper athletic-wear functioning.
11/10/2013 01:06 EST
Rob Ford has proven himself to be unpolished, undignified, inarticulate, petulant and impulsive. This displeases many people for obvious reasons, but it particularly disgusts politicians and reporters, who operate in a sphere where the opposite characteristics are considered emblematic of virtue. Yet for many voters, the more relevant questions when a judging a politician are: Is he a greedy bastard and has he tried to screw me over? So far, despite all the disastrous things that have happened, the answer to those questions as they pertain to Rob Ford remains no.
11/06/2013 01:03 EST
People could probably get over the idea of the mayor of the country's largest city doing illegal drugs. The more significant problem is Ford's reaction when the story broke: He didn't come clean. What Ford's boosters have always valued about him is that what you see is what you get. He doesn't posture or spin or obfuscate like a typical politician. He tells it like it is, plain and simple. But he has not told it like it is when it comes to the video, even when the city -- at times it even felt like the entire Western world -- was asking for answers. It's that choice of attempted self-preservation over forthright honesty that will be the mayor's undoing.
11/03/2013 01:26 EDT
On his way to school every day, my son has taken to counting the number of styrofoam faux tombstones adorning each lawn, and the average is four -- that we can see. Store-bought spider webs and half-buried skeletons are probably blocking more featherweight grave markers from sight. Surely this is unnecessary. Surely we can find a way to enjoy Halloween without spending $97.01 on an animated gravekeeper. Why not drop the pageantry and return to the wholesome old-fashioned elements of the holiday: transfat-laden treats and polyester suits that smell like chemicals. Therein lies the true spirit of Halloween.
10/27/2013 11:08 EDT
Whether we're talking bloody tales of yore featuring the Hatfields vs. the McCoys or contemporary Twitter nastiness between Nicki Minaj and Stephen Tyler, acrimony can be amazingly fun to watch. But these fights are only as interesting as the players are genuinely passionate, which is perhaps why the ongoing feud between the Harper Conservatives and the media has got to be one of the dullest prolonged quarrels ever. The assaults being launched and the injuries being claimed in this vendetta are just too weak and inconsequential for anyone not living in the Parliament Hill bubble to give a hoot about.
10/20/2013 07:18 EDT
Last week, the FBI successfully shut down Silk Road, an online illegal-drug marketplace that used Bitcoin as a method of payment. Calls to go after Bitcoin have followed, but they don't make sense. The evil and avarice that live in people's hearts will not be eliminated by stamping out any particular currency.
10/09/2013 02:26 EDT
This was a big week for hockey fans with the NHL season opener ringing in a brand new set of Stanley Cup hopes and dreams. But no sooner had the fun begun than Montreal Canadiens enforcer George Parros got into a fight that ended with him bashing his face straight into the ice and being carried off on a stretcher. Fortunately, Parros was in good enough shape to be discharged from hospital the next day. However, the concussion he suffered means he is out "indefinitely" (the Canadiens' word), and the whole question of whether the NHL should crack down on fighting has been raised afresh.
10/06/2013 09:45 EDT
For all the raised eyebrows about India's billion-dollar surrogacy industry, that system still seems preferable to our own. At least there, a woman who undergoes the substantial physical and mental rigours of a surrogate pregnancy is clearly and openly compensated for her efforts.
10/03/2013 02:45 EDT
This week Elections Canada announced that it was laying four charges against former Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro. If Del Mastro is guilty, he deserves to be punished. There's no excuse for a politician violating election laws. But we need to also consider whether we're well served by the current rules -- rules that require burdensome accounting and auditing to enforce. Rules that are too complex for a citizen to assess whether his MP has complied or not. And rules that encourage the expenditure of excessive energy (and lawyers) on finding ways to gain value without surpassing arbitrary spending and contribution limits.
09/29/2013 06:30 EDT
Outdoor smoking bans like the one being proposed for Toronto are in large part one big finger-wag at smokers for daring to defy the public health establishment's exhortations and advice. They're not so much safety measures as payback for being recalcitrant.
09/25/2013 01:30 EDT
While there was undoubtedly something less than consistent about his "Stop being so preoccupied with abortion!/Let's talk about abortion!" chain of commentary this week, the Pope still deserves credit. His actions and words have been constant in their focus on delivering people help, love and protection, rather than on condemning people for their choices or natures. Even Pope Francis's anti-abortion comments to Catholic gynecologists on Friday seemed to centre on the dignity of life, rather than on the sin of those who would take it.
09/22/2013 01:32 EDT
Elementary-level math involves failure. It has to. You can have kids show their work all you like; there are still going to be right and wrong answers. Which is fine. Unless you happen to be raising a generation of young people who are so unused to being told they've erred that the prospect of being wrong stresses them out completely.
09/19/2013 02:26 EDT
This week saw Vladimir Putin become a polished <em>New York Times</em> op-ed writer and U.S. President Barack Obama lose what little credibility he had left as a leader on the Syria question. The outcome of all this is not bad in the short term: Those much hyped U.S. military strikes (which the President insisted were kinda crucial but kinda not) are now on the back burner as we wait to see what can be made of the framework reached Saturday by Russia and the U.S. for Syria to turn over its chemical weapons. But this is not a workable long-term solution. Dismantling Assad's entire chemical weapons arsenal will be next to impossible.
09/15/2013 01:16 EDT
<img alt="2013-08-12-blog_spotlight_on_tiff_v01.jpg" src="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2013-08-12-blog_spotlight_on_tiff_v01.jpg" width="300" height="70" /><em>Hi-Ho Mistahey!</em> is not the joyless catalogue of wrongs I feared. For every grievance the film portrays, it offers equal evidence of inspiring First Nations youth working proactively to improve their situation. Still, while It would be nice if the fix for education in Attawapiskat and other reserves were as straightforward as a better building and more money, the solution is very unlikely to be that easy. The engaging movie would have more impact if it recognized more explicitly that securing more government funding for on-reserve schools is just one piece in a much larger, and more complex, puzzle.
09/09/2013 04:41 EDT
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