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.
Ever since I can remember, whenever anyone asked me how I self-identified, I would answer Canadian and Jewish. The Canadian part was easy for me to understand: I've lived here since I was two, I went through the Ontario curriculum, English is my mother tongue, and western values dictate my moral code. To explain my Jewish side, I would answer that I was born in Israel. And that was it. It ended there.
Cette année, j’effectue un échange à Bordeaux, une ville située dans la partie sud-ouest de la France, dans la région de la Nouvelle Aquitaine. Arrivée au début du mois de septembre, j’ai déjà eu l’occasion de découvrir certains des trésors cachés de la région, soit la dune du Pilat et les villes de Saint-Émilion et Bergerac.
We are living in a golden age of education. As of this September, the poorest youth in Ontario finally have access to post-secondary education thanks to a revamped OSAP that now includes ‘free’ tuition. At least, that’s what the provincial government would have you believe. As a matter of fact, the so-called “free tuition” is anything but. The revamped OSAP program has many flaws seldom mentioned by the government.
Over the summer break, I helped a family friend move some boxes from a storage locker into his apartment. He’s a reasonable, intelligent, highly educated man who happens to be a tenured professor at a reputable Canadian university. He is also a survivalist. In his apartment, he has enough freeze-dried food to last 10 years, along with cooking fuel and other equipment, and half a dozen legally obtained firearms. To most of us, this over-preparedness in anticipation for a post-apocalyptic scenario seems silly, verging on absurd. However, the recent series of hurricanes battering the southern United States turned my past skepticism about survivalism into a new-found curiosity. Why do most of us feel like nothing bad is ever going to happen, and why are we so unprepared when it inevitably does?
During my academic exchange abroad in Geneva, Switzerland, I had to take an oral exam for one of my courses. The course dealt with significant historical events and how they shaped literature. At the start of the exam, the students taking the oral exam received an extract of a text written in medieval French. One hour was allotted for us to read the text and make notes. Then, we each had a 30-minute session with the professor to describe how the extract related to the historic events we had studied and other literary extracts read in class. The professor assured us that it wasn't the level of our spoken French that interested him but whether or not we could comment on the text in an educated way. Sounds like an easy exam, right?
When we think about social media, most people in our generation see it as a force of good in the world. In the last decade, Facebook has allowed society at large to witness the documentation of police brutality, criminal activity, and acts of heroism alike. The creation of crowdfunding initiatives for individuals faced with insurmountable burdens is commonplace. Large corporations are now under the surveillance of their customers, and an inconsequential public relations misstep can easily spiral into a multi-billion dollar loss of equity. Twitter was especially instrumental in the mobilization efforts of protesters during the Arab Spring in 2010-2012. At its worst, social media can often seem to be a monumental waste of time, but that’s usually the extent of the criticism for our beloved social media platforms.
Ce matin, avez-vous paniqué en pensant à ce que vous vouliez porter ? Les magasins mettent en vente de nouveaux vêtements chaque semaine ; ce n’est donc pas surprenant qu’une famille normale aux États-Unis dépense 1700$ en vêtements chaque année, selon le bureau américain des statistiques du travail. Les gens achètent plusieurs vêtements dont ils n’ont pas vraiment besoin et cela cause un grand problème, étant donné que dans les pays en voie de développement, plusieurs personnes n’ont même pas les moyens de se payer une quantité suffisante de vêtements.
Everyone has a story. The story of a professor includes being organized, on time and marking assignments. The story of a student is to get good grades, go to class, be responsible, and get a job. For the most part, we as students are stuck in this story. Is it not bizarre that our stories are so similar, seeing as we are all such different people? The problem is that this story is not ours. It is, in fact, written by society. Can someone truly live the way they want if they are, in reality, living a life that is being written by someone else?
In 2015, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) announced a new strategy to combat sexual assault called ‘Operation HONOUR’. They acknowledged that statistics regarding sexual assault in the military are too high to go unnoticed. Operation HONOUR was the CAF’s way of informing soldiers and the rest of Canada that they would not take this problem lightly and that they intended to reduce violence against women within their institution. However, shortly after Operation HONOUR was announced, major news outlets such as the National Post began reporting instances where service people were mocking the initiative and belittling the issue at hand.
“Go to school. Get a job. Go to work. Get married. Have kids. Watch TV. Obey the law. Now, repeat after me: I am free.” You might have seen this line on your socialist friend’s Facebook feed. We know, however, the truth is more complex– especially when it comes to education. School and the ways in which we approach it can be a dynamic and consequential pursuit.
I read a quote recently that asked this: Would you treat your daughter the same way you treat yourself? Try to be kinder to yourself. Self-love is more than just a buzzword. It is the lifelong process of unlearning all the ways that women are told to look and act.
On September 10, 1939, Canada entered World War II, and in an effort to aid the Second Sino-Japanese War, Chinese Canadians enlisted in the Canadian Forces. The Chinese Benevolent Association also suggested boycotting Japanese goods and purchasing Chinese and Canadian war bonds. Chinese Canadians in the Canadian Forces were specially deployed as spies to resist Japanese forces. The results of this war caused a substantial change in Canadian government policy. The Chinese Exclusion Act, which violated the United Nations Charter, was quickly repealed in 1947, and during the same year, Chinese were given the right to full citizenship.
Comme à chaque année, le mois de février est le Mois de l’histoire des Noirs. Ce mois-ci est entièrement dédié à la célébration des réussites des Noirs non seulement au Canada, mais aussi aux États-Unis. Cette commémoration de la communauté noire et de la place qu’elle occupe au sein de nos pays nous rappelle encore une fois l’égalité qui existe parmi les êtres humains. Toronto, une ville riche en cultures et en traditions diverses, est engagée à promouvoir la diversité. Ce n’est pas difficile de trouver d’intéressantes façons de se renseigner, de participer à la culture qu’offre ce mois, et d’en apprendre plus au sujet de l’histoire des Noirs tout au long du mois.
The world of diplomacy is a volatile bubble. Foreign policy walks a fine line between the cordial and combative, and it must strike a delicate balance between a nation’s strategic interests and its assumed values, which more often than not conflict. U.S. President Donald Trump and all his tact have unquestionably aggravated this existing minefield. But while government heads around the globe have been doing an awkward dance, trying to appropriately position themselves in front of a temperamental administration and the rest of the world, the Canadian government has fallen into a comfortable rhythm. Their foolproof scheme for dealing with Trump? Blast the bigotry without blasting the bigot. It’s as diplomatic as diplomacy can get, and it’s an unconscionably reckless charade.
In our society, where wealth is surreptitiously correlated to political significance, legislators have deliberately blinded themselves to homelessness. A 2016 investigation by the Toronto Star uncovered as much: Toronto only possesses records of homeless deaths that have occurred in shelters. The result of this is a city unaware of the true scope of these tragedies and unequipped to address their underlying poverty-related issues. However, this is set to change with a new data collection program by Toronto Public Health. Starting January 1, health and social service agencies will be able to officially document statistics concerning homeless deaths like age, gender, Indigenous heritage, and cause. While a much-needed endeavour, the belatedness of its formation accents our woefully lacking response toward Toronto’s roughly 5000 homeless people.
En 2015, une des promesses de la campagne du Parti libéral était qu’ils prendraient en considération les effets d’une réforme électorale sur un système plus proportionnel. Après l’élection, un comité a été créé avec le mandat de faire des recherches sur des changements qui pourraient être créés. Lorsque le comité a proposé de soumettre la question de la réforme à un référendum, Maryam Monsef, la ministre de la réforme démocratique à l’époque, a critiqué le comité. Les recommandations faites par des membres du Parti libéral à l’intérieur du comité ont déclaré qu’il ne fallait pas trop se précipiter vers une réforme électorale.
I’ve always loved tattoos; whether a simple phrase or an elaborate sleeve, I find them to be incredible and unique works of art. Ever since I was a young teenager, I’ve thought and rethought of a million different designs that I’d want to put on my body, including pawprints, mandalas, and even characters from movies or books. Several years ago, my mother got my brother and my names placed on her wrists with a butterfly and a dragonfly, and my father opted for a half sleeve of a tiger. This only increased my curiosity and admiration, creating an itch that could only be scratched by a tattoo gun. It led to a booking with the oldest running tattoo artist in Thunder Bay, Dean Bruno of Living Colour. I was going to get a bold, yet simple triangle placed a few inches above my left heel.
As we grow older and become more interested in having a place to call our own, it is important to know exactly what you we committing to. CIBC defines a mortgage as, “a loan to a property owner, often to buy property, in which the borrower gives the lender a lien on the property to guarantee repayment. Though it may sound overwhelming, with proper preparation and commitment to making payments toward the loan, mortgages can be the key to owning your dream home.