• Campus culture wars: Universities need to rediscover the radical middle ground

    In the classroom, university teachers must lecture competently; they do not have a license to use their podiums in order to propagandize, speak in habitually ill-informed ways, or lie. Free speech allows citizens to do this on street corners or blogs, but universities have loftier goals. Academic freedom and freedom of speech are not the same thing; they are different forms of expression, both vital, in a democratic society.

  • The Lion’s Share: Pension deficits and shareholder payments among Canada’s largest companies

    … 39 companies oversaw a $10.8 billion deficit in their pension plans in 2016, while increasing shareholder payouts from $31.9 billion in 2011 to $46.9 billion last year. This paper, co-published by the CCPA and the Canadian Labour Congress, details the extent to which DB pension plans among S&P/TSX 60 companies are underfunded, provides the cost to shareholders that eliminating the pension deficits would pose, and offers a series of recommendations for ensuring the security of retirees’ benefits.

  • The problem with trying to protect pronouns

    What is slightly lost in this affair is the question of whether or not someone can in fact be sanctioned by the state for refusing to use someone’s preferred pronoun… The OHRC says, unhelpfully, that “the law is unsettled” about whether or not a person can insist on their own particular pronoun, or must settle for a generic compromise, such as “they.” … The OHRC also acknowledges that universities and the media have great leeway when addressing the issue as part of a public debate

  • Neither Wilfrid Laurier University’s methods nor teaching assistant’s debate helped trans people

    The considerable opposition to attempts to carve out a space to define people left out by a language founded on rigidly held ideas of two genders is indicative of the scope of oppression facing trans people… Perhaps this debate cut too close to the bone, making it not just an intellectual exercise on the finer points of grammar, but an intensely personal existential discussion… The best societies seek to protect their vulnerable, even when their people bumble their way through a new awareness of how to do things right.

  • What the Wilfrid Laurier professors got wrong about Bill C-16 and gender identity discrimination

    C-16 added gender identity and expression as grounds for discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act, but this applies to people employed by or receiving services from federally-regulated industries, such as banks or the public service… Universities instead fall under provincial codes — but the Ontario Human Rights Code has included gender identity and expression for five years now, long before Peterson gained fame for his arguments.

  • Formerly homeless, they’re now advising doctors drafting Canada’s street health guidelines

    … the most important issue for the 84 health-care workers and homeless advocates as well as the 76 people who are or have been homeless was housing… “If you think about it, if somebody’s homeless and you’re trying to fix everything else but the housing it doesn’t make sense.” … The guidelines could recommend that doctors refer homeless patients to programs that provide housing vouchers or accommodation that is not contingent on them staying clean and sober so that they can focus on recovering without worrying about where they’ll sleep at night.

  • Apology to LGBTQ community first step toward healing

    To be effective, apologies must acknowledge the offence and harms done. They must express remorse. They must undertake to learn from the experience and not repeat offensive behaviours. And they must make reparation… “All queer Canadians deserve truth and reconciliation for the historical misuses of state power that eroded their human dignity.” … Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s apology on behalf of Canadians… will be a welcome step toward a more just society.

  • Stop debating age and actually teach us about consent

    We need to learn that consent can be affected by power dynamics, the influence of substances and perceived safety. In order for us to feel safe and empowered in our decisions, conversations must be constant and reflective of our experience. Education has to start young, acknowledging that consent is not only mandatory for sex but also for any kind of healthy relationship… So, we have to keep talking about it, a thousand times over, until things start to change.

  • Let’s hope Canadian courts see the true meaning of the niqab

    The higher value of “social cohesion” has twice guided rulings against challenges to niqab bans by the European Court of Human Rights, which noted that the religious duty for women to cover was “hard to reconcile” with the principle of gender equality. Let us hope that our judiciary agrees and rules accordingly.

  • What’s so scary about free speech on campus?

    The concept of words as weapons that can inflict damage on people’s equality rights is a staple of feminist legal thought. It is also widespread on campuses today… For all their talk about diversity and inclusion, universities have become monocultures of thought, where unpopular ideas are often regarded as downright toxic… “Universities are no longer places where ideas may freely circulate… if you even bring up the ‘wrong’ ideas, you are labelled as some sort of public enemy.”