From census to wireless, a lesson in intransigence – The Globe and Mail

Jeffrey Simpson on the Census. Perhaps the best or worst example of a decision driven by ideology.

From census to wireless, a lesson in intransigence – The Globe and Mail.

Unholier than thou? Gracious in victory, atheists – The Globe and Mail

Good piece by Elizabeth Renzetti on the need for tolerance and acceptance of those of faith by atheists. Extreme atheists are just another form of fundamentalists, with the same certainty, blindness to the other, and arrogance that there is only one way to live.

Perhaps what we’re seeing is a schism in the atheist church between the crushers and the appeasers. Prof. Dawkins loathes my own brand of happy-clappy, can’t-we-all-just-get-along atheism, which sees room in the world for the believer and the non-believer alike. “These vicarious second-order believers,” he writes in The God Delusion, “… their zeal pumped up by ingratiating broad-mindedness.” If you want to infuriate him, just say, “I’m an atheist, but …”

The thing is, if the crushers want to draw people to a life based on reason and not faith, you’d think they would learn from religion’s mistakes – contempt and recrimination are not great seduction techniques.

Unholier than thou? Gracious in victory, atheists – The Globe and Mail.

Why it’s been a good year for religion – The Globe and Mail

An opinion piece by Yoni Goldstein in the Globe on some of the developments towards more inclusive faith-based approaches in Judaism, Christianity, and, while evidence is mixed, Islam. Change is slow and gradual, but some of the examples within Judaism, and the comments of the new Pope, are worth noting. All religions have a range of opinions and approaches, and it is good to see these examples highlighted, as they reinforce our common humanity.

Why it’s been a good year for religion – The Globe and Mail.

Quebec seeks singular identity in a polyglot world – The Globe and Mail

Another commentary on long-standing identity issues in Quebec by Jeffrey Simpson of the Globe. Quote:

There is something deeply French, in the widest sense of the term, in this proposed charter. The approach springs from civil law, Catholic and even Cartesian inspirations: that there are abstract values and universalistic rules to which the complexity of the human experience must be adapted – in contrast to the common-law approach, whereby the law emerges from real-life situations and evolves over time.

Fitting reality to concept, rather than the other way around, has contributed over the past 50 years to the existential debates over Quebec’s identity – debates that have also played out in federal politics with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and vocabulary such as “distinct society” pushed by Quebec politicians.

Quebec seeks singular identity in a polyglot world – The Globe and Mail.

Who, exactly, is being unified by Quebec’s Charter of values? – The Globe and Mail

Good opinion piece by Antonia Maioni of McGill, contrasting Bill 101, which was justified on a number of levels, and the proposed Charter, which is not.

And she implies, correctly I think, a certain colonial adaptation of the debates in France, rather than looking at integration issues from the perspective of Quebec’s own history of welcoming many immigrants.

Who, exactly, is being unified by Quebec’s Charter of values? – The Globe and Mail.

Monarchy’s role in government: Most Canadians want fixes, but how? – The Globe and Mail

Good discussion of some of the issues around the monarchy and suggestions for more written clarity regarding the power of the prime minister in relation to the legislature. Other governments have done so without undermining the role of the monarchy; and the article also lists a number of other options that could go further.

Not likely to happen given any debate would be divisive but good to have a range of options laid out and discussed.

Monarchy’s role in government: Most Canadians want fixes, but how? – The Globe and Mail.

Sorry, republicans, the monarchy is here to stay – The Globe and Mail

Good overview of the embedded nature of the Crown and Monarchy in Canada.

Sorry, republicans, the monarchy is here to stay – The Globe and Mail.

Jason Kenney to have greater say over controversial foreign-workers program – The Globe and Mail

Formal cabinet shuffles and where the real influence lies.

Jason Kenney to have greater say over controversial foreign-workers program – The Globe and Mail.

Not a place to divide enemies and friends – The Globe and Mail

In the ongoing saga of the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels,  the ‘friends and enemies’ list continues to attract comment.

My forthcoming book, Resetting Citizenship and Multiculturalism, recounts my experience. It was not without challenges but the bureaucracy needed to be challenged as it was overly comfortable with existing stakeholders, as well as and acknowledging the different and often valid perspective of the political level. The inverse also applied. Tone makes a difference, and finding the balance between being clear and direct, or being blunt and dismissive, remains a challenge.

Not a place to divide enemies and friends – The Globe and Mail.

Malala spoke. Muslims, please listen – The Globe and Mail

Another good piece by Sheema Khan, this time on the importance and universality of Malala’s messages to Muslim and non-Muslim alike.

Malala spoke. Muslims, please listen – The Globe and Mail.