About a year ago, my 18-year-old sister decided to learn American Sign Language on a whim. Just to be clear, she was not losing her hearing, and no one in our family is going deaf. Being incredibly gifted, she is now capable of having full conversations in ASL. Other than having achieved something amazing and extremely useful, my sister gained an enormous amount of knowledge about the deaf community by attending ASL classes at the Bob Rumball Center for the Deaf (just north of Glendon on Bayview).
This lengthy strike has given me ample time to ruminate over the dreadful uncertainty of my future. As someone with anxiety, I understand how unsettling it can be to even begin thinking about “what’s next” when it’s time to leave our cozy institutional nest. To top it off, having to face debt from student loans isn’t exactly tea and biscuits. Thankfully, my incessant contemplations have propelled me to improve my financial literacy and I’d like to share my findings with you to spread the financial awareness!
We all know at least a few of the levy organizations on campus, take Pro Tem or Lunik for example, but perhaps you’re not acquainted with one of Glendon’s lesser known levy orgs: WUSC. The World University Service of Canada-Glendon is our local college chapter of WUSC/L’EUMC, a Canadian organization dedicated to showing how education can change the world by helping to provide educational opportunities to the people who need it the most: refugees. Sadly, the fact is that educational barriers are pervasive.
“The Future is Female,” “Pray For —,” “I Stand with Immigrants,” and several other trendy messages of empowerment or acknowledgments of societal injustices have now become a form of slacktivism. All one has to do is repost the latest GIF, add some buzzwords and you’re on your way to being the next figurehead of the movement — all in 140 characters or less. And while these small acts might help bolster your social media following, this growing trend of lackluster activism is failing those who need our help, to the benefit of those who don’t deserve it.
As a server in downtown Toronto, I’ve experienced my fair share of nightmare-ish interactions with customers who don’t seem to understand that I am actually a human being with some degree of self-respect still intact. So, after nearly four years in the service industry, I’ve come to a couple realizations about some things we tend to take for granted: 1) common knowledge is never shared; 2) common courtesy no longer exists, and 3) common sense is not that common. Go ahead and call me a bitter old pessimist — you wouldn’t be the first — but for anyone who’s worked with people on a daily basis, I’m sure you see the kernel of truth in each of those statements. And for those of you who have only ever stood on one side of the counter, please read between my passive-aggressive grumblings and take the moment to re-evaluate your own preconceived notions about what’s truly common.
It’s undeniable that today, human beings have more access to information than ever before. Whether this is coming through 24-hour news channels, social media or other internet sites, information is constantly flowing and waiting to be consumed by avid observers. People then go about their daily lives, having formed opinions about political, economic, environmental and social issues defined by their particular media diet. Yet one thing we often fail to address is the quality of this information. I won’t spend time explaining the drawbacks of information emanating from social media or television, because most people are already aware of these deficiencies, especially given the recent revelations about Russian agents influencing the American election.
Animal testing dates back several centuries; tests using animals like rabbits, dogs and mice was the norm from Dolly the Sheep to the millions of rodents used for toxicology tests. In 2018, one might assume that we have attained a greater consideration for the lives of animals, but that assumption would be fallacious. Perhaps the insignificance of animal lives could have stemmed from Kant and his beliefs that non-human lives contained no value. In Kantian ethics, there would be nothing wrong with this practice, as he believed that an animal’s life is meaningless if the animal in question fails to bring you pleasure. While this might have been a traditional view at the time, it does not excuse the brutal conditions under which animals are treated. No animal deserves to be treated in this way, regardless of how fast they reproduce.
Another day, another mass shooting on United States soil. In 2017, the U.S. saw a total of 346 mass shootings — nearly one mass shooting for each day of the year. 2018 is keeping pace with these figures, with 30 mass shooting as of February 14th, the day of the heartbreaking Douglas High shooting. With 17 dead and dozens injured, the Douglas High shooting is the worst of 2018 — and these Florida kids are fed up.
Day by day, the state of our environment worsens. In an increasingly plastic-based and pollution-emitting world, being environmentally conscious is becoming more and more difficult. As we make our way through the first few months of 2018, many begin to break New Year’s resolutions regarding efforts to help fight climate change. Like most resolutions, these are quickly abandoned in the first few weeks of the new year.
Traditionally, there have been three topics of conversation to avoid when talking to strangers, or people outside your immediate family: money, politics, and religion. Up until the 1960s, talking publicly about sex was so unthinkable that the authors of etiquette guides would only add this fourth category to their repertoire in the decades that followed. But today, one of these topics stands out among the rest. The election of Donald Trump has definitely stoked the miasma of watercooler debate, but political discussion (often leading to friendly debates, and not-so-friendly arguments) has increased significantly over the past few years, matching the growing amount of partisanship and polarization. This is happening in Canada and Europe as well. Alt-right groups are less afraid to openly parade their racist and distorted ideologies in the streets (see: Charlottesville), and radical leftists are willing to circumvent freedom of speech/expression and even the criminal code to counter their political enemies (see: “punch a Nazi”).
En tant que belge, au sein de l’Union Européenne, nous sommes souvent considérés comme les habitants du pays du surréalisme! En effet, la Belgique, par sa complexité institutionnelle et linguistique, est souvent moquée par ses voisins. Je pensais donc être préparé aux structures de gouvernements lourdes et complexes dues à un fédéralisme centrifuge mal organisé. Et pourtant, au Canada, j’ai découvert un sérieux concurrent à notre casse-tête chinois belge! En étudiant des cours axés sur les politiques locales canadiennes, je me suis aperçu que le Canada était un concurrent de taille face à la Belgique en ce qui concerne la complication de son système politique! Comment arrivez-vous à vous retrouvez avec autant de gouvernements et de niveaux de pouvoir différents? Je crois qu’il faudrait passer un vie entière à essayer de comprendre qui gère réellement les transports en commun à Toronto…
Glendon jouit d’un mélange tout à fait hétérogène d’étudiants et de membres du personnel anglophones, francophones, hispanophones, et venant des quatre coins du monde. Situé au sein d’une métropole, d’une province et d’un pays vastement anglophone, Glendon se démarque de par son emphase sur le bilinguisme et sur la francophonie. Cette dernière y est mise en valeur, perçue à juste titre comme un avantage pour les étudiants et non pas comme un fardeau. Mais au-delà des murs de ce havre, le concept malgré tout complexe de la « francophonie » canadienne et mondiale demeure flou, mystérieux, et ce pour de nombreuses personnes non seulement non-francophones, mais également pour celles venant de France et du Québec. En effet, plusieurs québécois et français perçoivent les canadiens francophones venant d’autres parties du Canada de manière limitée et erronée.
I woke up this morning to hear that the President of the United States believes that I come from a “shithole” country. Delightful. Despite his subsequent denials, Trump criticised immigration to his country from El Salvador, Haiti, and the African continent, by calling them all "shithole countries" at a meeting with members of Congress at the White House on January 11th. Instead, he called for more immigrants from places like Norway, a predominantly white population that modern white supremacists still look to as a model of racial purity. Typical.
When you first heard about the Ontario Liberal Party's idea to increase minimum wage back in 2014, your first reaction was probably to be ecstatic. I know mine was — then I realized what a horrible misfortune it would really be for this legislation to pass, which it ultimately did. On January 1st, the minimum wage in Ontario increased to $14 an hour. But what about people not earning minimum wage? Did their salaries also increase $2.40 an hour? The answer is absolutely not, and that is a major issue.
Invité au Collège Glendon de l’université York en 1990 à Toronto, Roger Garaudy nous annonçait, avec grand enthousiasme, que l’avenir appartenait à l’Islam. Je lui avais donné tort à l'issue d'un petit débat qui s’en était suivi. Avait-il raison?
#MeToo began as a tool of healing, a lever of agency traditionally withheld from women, but the hashtag quickly forged a heavy hammer of indictment in the world of celebrity. As women (and men) shared their experiences of sexual violence by the dozen, Hollywood untouchables were nailed via public condemnation and a groundswell of anger erupted into a desire to take action. “Time’s Up” is the latest extension of this effort — a coordinated endeavour by women in entertainment to tackle sexual misconduct and inequity in the workplace. But as the campaign debuted at the 2018 Golden Globes and thrust the cause into the hands of society’s rich and famous, dangerous patterns of elitism threaten to derail the movement’s progress.
Governments can have a major effect on the way its citizens use the internet. China is notorious for its pervasive legislation on internet censorship, so much so that its system has been popularly dubbed the ‘Great Firewall of China’. This system blocks foreign websites including Google, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and many other online platforms popular in the West. In addition to the websites themselves, a large amount of online content is blocked every day by the Chinese government, ranging from sensitive material, such as pornography, to articles stating political opinions. According to the watchdog organization, Freedom House, China was ranked the worst nation for promoting Internet freedoms between 2015 and 2016. This lack of internet freedom in China serves as an important reminder to Westerners of how important it is to monitor any efforts to curb or control our own freedoms — whether perpetrated by governments or companies.
OHIP+, the Liberals’ appropriately named expansion of Ontario healthcare, came into effect on January 1st. The new program allows anyone under 25 in Ontario already covered by OHIP to access more than 4400 common prescription drugs for free. Parents and students couldn’t be happier, and the polls show high support for the initiative. Sounds great, right?
From evil computers such as HAL 9000 in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), to romantic creations like Samantha in Spike Jonze’s film Her (2013), artificial intelligence has gained popularity in today’s film and entertainment industry. With developments in modern cybernetics — the understanding of how information signals and messages work within systematic boundaries — society’s fear of domination by machines has grown significantly. Many people are concerned about how much influence computers and artificial intelligence will have on future society, as our current levels of reliance are growing exponentially.
In the 2015 Canadian federal election, 57.1% of persons between the ages of 18 and 24 fulfilled their civic duty to vote - a dramatic increase from 38.8% in the 2011 election. This increased participation in the electoral process suggests that youth are becoming more civically engaged in the political sphere of Canadian society. Now the question must be asked: is it worth revisiting the debate regarding lowering the voting age? Earlier this year, the New Democratic Party (NDP) announced their stance on lowering the voting age to 16, which was met with plenty of controversy. Many argue that the maturity of 16-year-olds falls short of that which is required to participate in the voting process, and that opening the door to younger voters would fail to engage an already apathetic subset of society.
In the Spring of 2017, Agriculture and Agrifood Canada (AAFC) Minister Lawrence MacAulay announced that the federal government will introduce legislation to create the first ever Food Policy for Canada. This sparked an intensive summer of consultations with various stakeholders scrambling to offer their input on what such a food policy should resemble when it is tabled in the Spring of 2018. However, it remains unclear if these consultations have provided the necessary conditions for designing and implementing a national-level food policy which can foster just and sustainable food systems–or whether such national policy is desirable at all!
#MeToo was a collective unearthing, understanding, and uprising – the after-effects of which continue to reverberate. In early October, actress Alyssa Milano tweeted, “If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too.’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.” Survivor stories soon flooded social media, spawning a number of firings and criminal investigations of high-profile men. Most importantly, #MeToo shook loose accounts of abuse that women have long kept secret out of shame, fear, or disillusionment and reinvigorated an ongoing conversation about sexual violence. But especially as feminism has become en vogue, it is important to beware of how such discourse is constructed.
Earlier this month, 26 young girls — some of whom were pregnant — drowned in the Mediterranean Sea, crossing over from Libya on their way to Italy. The girls (who started their journey in Nigeria) were between the ages of 14 and 18. They sought ‘a better life’ and believed that the best way to achieve this goal was through migration. Although the exact circumstances of their journey are not known, officials speculate that the girls were being trafficked.
Un Islamique (Islamiste) roule au volant d’une camionnette sur des piétons, ce 31 octobre à New York, faisant huit morts et plusieurs blessés, en soutien à l’État islamique, déclare-t-il fièrement. Un autre avait fait de même au mois de mai, dans cette ville. Le 15 septembre, c’était à Londres, cinquième tentative d’assassinat collectif depuis le début de l’année rien qu’en Angleterre. Le 17 août, c’était en plein coeur de Barcelone, écrasant, une fois de plus, l’humanité au nom d’Allah.
York University, like many other post-secondary institutions, works to promote a diverse and inclusive environment for students to safely learn and grow. However, in our pursuit for environments free from stigma and aggressions, we often don’t realize the insidious byproduct that manifests itself in the process. When these “safe spaces” are developed, we must ask ourselves: who are they made to protect? Indeed, these areas are places in which students are safe from homophobic, transphobic, islamophobic, fat-phobic, and a plethora of other “phobic” language that could potentially cause students emotional distress. The issue here is that this blanket-protection against what some deem as “problematic” speech, or even “hate speech”, has begun to smother intellectual debate. It is becoming increasingly hard to express one’s opinion without the accusation of being something-phobic or violating another student’s emotional safety.
When it comes to the issue of homelessness, and more specifically the contemporary topic of hidden homelessness, not much light is shed on it. This in turn leads to more confusion and misunderstanding regarding this sensitive and pressing societal issue.
On January 13, 2014, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) expropriated the Syrian city of Raqqa. The organization would maintain effective control of the city for a further two and a half years. This era was marked by numerous atrocities including ethnic cleansing, public executions, and torture of the civilian population belonging to this once influential city. This ISIL stronghold quickly became a priority target for opposing forces as the city provided numerous tactical, defensive and strategic advantages.
The recent mass shooting in Las Vegas by lone gunman, Stephen Paddock, has once again raised the controversial issue of gun control in the United States. On Sunday, October 1st at the “Life is Beautiful” country music festival, 58 attendees lost their lives and another 500 people were wounded, in what is being described as the worst mass shooting in modern US history. There are substantive lessons regarding gun control to be learned from such a high-profile attack, but the partisan nature of American politics will likely have a negligible impact on the prevention of future acts of mass murder.
Last month, Glendon’s School of Public and International Affairs was honoured to host Canada’s signature two-day conference on Constitutional and Governmental Challenges After 150 Years of Confederation. Many noteworthy guests and keynote speakers were in attendance: the Honourable Louis LeBel (Former Supreme Court Justice), the Honourable Jean-Marc Fournier (Former Interim Provincial Party Leader of Quebec, and Former Minister of Revenue, Education, Municipal Affairs, as well as Attorney General and Government House Leader under the government of Jean Charest), and Dr. Peter Russell (Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Toronto). Several other distinguished professors, legal scholars and journalists took part in the conference.
The announcement by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in June that the referendum for Iraqi-Kurdistan independence would take place on September 25, 2017 didn’t garner much international attention. However, for the Kurdish community, both in the region and across the globe, this was incredible. The referendum, which has repeatedly been cancelled due to international pressure and domestic conflict, was finally going to occur. The six-year long Syrian Civil War and the overflow of conflict across its borders have created both tribulation and opportunity for the Kurdish people. Although financially taxing on Iraqi-Kurdistan, the successes of the Peshmerga (the KRG’s regional militia) and their subsequent occupation of previously Iraqi-held territory, have emboldened the Kurds. The referendum was the culmination of centuries of oppression and resistance in the quest for statehood. Despite this, the celebration following the overwhelmingly positive 92% vote in favor didn’t feel like the celebration it should have been.