Civil Rights

The Song of the Environmental Watchdog

English

Emma McIntosh’s article in the Toronto Star (27/10/2017) demands attention for two cases of longstanding pollution on Indigenous reserves identified by Dianne Saxe, the environmental commissioner of Ontario, as extreme examples of government inertia.

Should that pipeline really be there?

English

CBC News author Margo McDiarmid highlights errors in the current environmental assessment process in Canada, while providing suggestions for better policy implementation in Short timelines for environmental assessments not working, says expert panel. An example used is how pipeline development can occur, even with clear opposition – in this instance, a pipeline could be negatively affecting water quality. McDiarmid refers to Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, Enbridge, Indigenous communities, and Nature Canada’s Stephen Hazell to help stress the importance of the issue.

Is the bill that bad?

English
“The federal government can’t Standby when minority rights are being trampled” is the name of Andrew Coyne article published on Montreal Gazette.  Quebec’s bill 62 is widely shamed, by all and contradictory. This law promotes “neutrality,” but it targets one religion, Muslims. It bans them from wearing their traditional religious symbols, like the niqab and burka that Muslim women wear. For the law to not be discriminatory, it spreads to other face-covering, like sunglasses, which are not related to any religion. The law implies anyone using public services.

Anglos give up

English

The Anglophones are exhausted, says an article in the Montreal Gazette. Gary D. Shapiro the author of “Forty Years After Bill 101, Anglophones are Tired, Apathetic” says that the OQLA (Office Québécois de la langue anglaise) was established in 1996 because the English language in Quebec was disappearing. In 2017, the OQLA is closing its doors, and the reason is lack of empathy. The author argues that it is important to show the injustice and abuse by the OQLF (Office Québécois de la langue française).

The Canadian Euthanasia Debate

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This article discusses about before the Bill legalizing physician assisted suicide became legal in Canada. As an undergraduate medical student back in the 1970's, the author mentions that doctors were very uncomfortable with the idea of euthanasia. Ethical reasons were implied and when specialists had no choice but to ''pull the plug'' when the patient had no hope of survival, also worried specialists since it wasn't officially legal. The author brang in the term ''indirect euthanasia'', that was used before ''passive euthanasia'', which was concluded to be an ''appropriate care''.

Anthem Kneeling to Fight for Racial Equality

English
In the past few months, a discussion has risen in the United States and internationally regarding athletes, especially football players, kneeling during the American national anthem. Clark Mindock, an American journalist, discusses and explains the debate around this controversial topic in an article for The Telegraph. 
 

The Catalan Crisis

English

The Catalan people have a distinct identity, which dates far back even before Spain formed, from that of Spaniards. They are one of the most distinct peoples in Spain, which led them, after the Franco dictatorial regime where its autonomy was suspended, to be one of the most self-governing regions of Spain, alongside with the Basque Country. On October 1st of 2017, another referendum, this time binding, was held by the Catalans, again with Spanish constitutional court opposition because steps toward independence are unconstitutional to an “indissoluble unit” Spain.

Kirpan in Quebec Schools

English

The supreme court of Canada, after much discussion, ruled in 2006 to allow kirpans in Quebec schools. The vote was a unanimous 8-0 in favor of allowing this ceremonial dagger to be worn in schools by members of the Sikh religion. It was established, by the court, that the kirpan was never intended to be used as a weapon by the boy (Gurbaj Singh) and that it was an integral part of his religion and faith. This issue arose half a decade ago (2001) when the boy was playing in the school yard and his kirpan fell from his clothes.

U.S. Military Transgender Controversy

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After Trump’s policy that aimed to ban transgenders from military services, U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly said that the transgender service members who sued the government were likely to win and that there was no valid argument on why there should be a ban, therefore, she advocated for the return to the initial situation. Trump had ordered that all who were found to be transgender should be discharged, countering Obama’s policy allowing them to serve.   

Quebec's Bill 62

English

In Quebec, women wearing niqabs will be required to uncover their face when receiving public services. Bill 62 was introduced by the Liberal government to end a long debate over religious minorities accommodation.