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Stripping youth rights

Is it time for a second look at laws that empower Canada’s school authorities the right to break the rules guaranteed under our Charter of Rights and Freedoms?

The recent strip search of a 15-year-old female student in Quebec City who was suspected of selling or carrying pot has raised the question. READ

Speaking truth gives youth great power

When she was just 12-years-old, my daughter Severn gave a speech at the 1992 UN Earth Summit in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. She spoke with such conviction that delegates were moved to tears. It was one of my proudest moments as a father. READ

A tax hike by any name

Back in 2009, then-premier Ed Stelmach made good on an election promise to kill the Alberta health-care premium. When he did it, the savings to Albertans was the equivalent of a 12 per cent cut in income taxes. READ

Just what is terrorism?

If we’re determined to ramp up our effort to fight terror, can we please first define it? Not the narrow Criminal Code definition, but the way it is defined by our politicians. READ

Digital eavesdroppers

Our weekend news feeds were supposed to be distracted by other things: how to find love on Valentine’s Day; how people in eastern North America were supposed to find their neighbours buried under two metres of snow; how to spend quality time with family on the long weekend, with our February snow melting all around us. Instead, we were instructed to watch what we say in front of the television. READ

Iraq mission changing

Military flexibility has many tactical advantages, but none greater than as cover for political obfuscation. Americans got a dose of that last week from their commander-in-chief. Our next round is soon at hand. READ

Bees matter, so restricting neonics is right thing to do

No matter how you feel about Ontario’s proposal to restrict use of neonicotinoid insecticides on corn and soybean crops, we can all agree: bees matter. READ

Ready for the inevitable

Of course, I have no insider’s access and I do not know what is said in cabinet meetings, but I suspect the Harper government already has a team of civil servants drafting a law to allow suffering and dying patients to request the help of a doctor to ease and aid their death. READ

Baird’s mystery departure

John Baird has had only one job in his life and as a lifelong politician who chewed on politics every waking hour, he could certainly do electoral math. And if Baird could not see another Conservative majority for Stephen Harper, neither could he see a renewal of his self-described “dream job” as foreign affairs minister, either in the more confining world of a minority government or under a new leader, or certainly, in opposition. Maybe. READ

Not enough food for all

Peak oil is so last year. Now we can worry about peak everything: peak food, peak soil, peak fertilizer, even peak bees. Let’s start small. We depend on bees to pollinate plants that account for about one-third of the world’s food supply. But since 2006, bee colonies in the United States have been dying off at an unprecedented rate. More recently, the same “colony collapse disorder” has appeared in China, Egypt and Japan. READ

Dangerous omissions in anti-terror legislation

Stephen Harper, in word and deed, has told Canadians that his war on terror is a never-ending race between a government which will become ever more intrusive in the name of protecting the population and terrorists who will forever be searching for new means of evading detection. READ

Punishment fits crime

The case of self-admitted “arrogant pissant” Justin Bourque signals a new era for Canada’s criminal justice system, which now has the power to lock up killers and throw away the keys. READ

Tories defy democracy

There was little doubt the federal government would approve the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline project, regardless of public opposition or evidence presented against it. READ

A transit system travesty

The Advocate article on Tuesday said Red Deer is the largest city in Alberta that has no program for a lower-cost transit pass for low-income and disabled people. While that is true as far as it goes, the reality behind this is actually worse. READ

The time to act on climate change is now

Because we enjoy relatively pure air, clean water and healthy food systems, Canadians sometimes take the environment for granted. Many scarcely blink if oil from a pipeline spills into a river, a forest is cleared for tar sands operations or agricultural land is fracked for gas. If Arctic ice melts and part of the Antarctic ice sheet collapses, well… they’re far away. READ

Waiting on another coup in Thailand

If you are trying to get rid of the legitimately elected government of your country, it helps to have the Constitutional Court, the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) and the Election Commission on your side. And Thailand’s Constitutional Court has come through for the opposition once again: it has just ousted Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and nine of her cabinet ministers for improperly removing a civil servant from office. READ

Who will take charge of climate change?

It’s fitting that the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report was released during Earth Month. After all, the third chapter of its Fifth Assessment focuses on ways to keep our planet healthy and livable by warding off extreme climatic shifts and weather events caused by escalating atmospheric carbon. READ

Profitable pot revolution

When actors Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper hit the road on their choppers in the counterculture film Easy Rider, they cruised onto the big screen at the heart of the rise of recreational drug use, with marijuana at its epicentre. READ

Retirement concerns are exaggerated in Canada

With talks to expand the Canada Pension Plan having stalled, the Ontario government has pledged to roll out its own provincial version. READ

Canadian workers first

Almost 30 years at her job apparently wasn’t enough to prevent Sandy Nelson from being replaced by the Harper government’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program. READ

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