an opinion + to write

August 27, 2014

Rob Ford rehab stint a campaign ploy?

Still from a video showing Rob Ford holding what appears to be a crack pipe.

In a move which is perhaps long overdue, Toronto’s very own Rob Ford is heading to rehab. The news comes in light of new photos released on Wednesday of another alleged crack-smoking video, showing Ford to be holding what appears to be a crack pipe. An audio recording was also released, which featured Ford speaking obscenely about fellow mayoral candidate Karen Stintz. It’s a conflicting turn of events. On the one hand, it’s commendable to see someone which such deep personal troubles finally getting the help they appear to so deseperately need. The timing, however, appears to be a last-ditch …continue reading

Ring of Fire: Asia could torch the Trans-Pacific Partnership

frack-2

As US President Barack Obama comes off his tour of Asia, the future of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal appears more precarious than ever. Following negotiations with potential signees Japan, Malaysia and South Korea, Obama has failed to achieve a consensus. There remains resistance in Asia to the threat of the TPP undermining economic and political sovereignty. Their concerns are not without merit. Economically, the TPP would further remove barriers to free-trade. Most notable in the case of the Japanese are the removal of protections of domestic beef and automobile industries. Under the TPP, the Japanese would be subjected to a …continue reading

Let People Vote! Fighting the Fair Elections Act

Stephen Harper

The Government of Canada, under direction from Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Minister of State Pierre Poilievre, has tabled the Fair Elections Act, designed to improve Canada’s electoral sytem. It is instead an affront to Canadian democracy. Similar to new state voitng laws in the United States, which have introduced more stringent identification requirements, the Fair Elections Act is designed to limit who is able to cast a ballot in federal election. The bill will remove the ability for a Canadian to prove their identity through the vouching system. This system, involving a neighbour with ID taking an oath to verify one’s …continue reading

Solid evidence for the existence of climate change?

Changes in average world temperatures in 2012

Here’s one to show the climate change deniers! This map highlights changes in average temperatures worldwide, from 1884 until 2008. There’s a definite increase in temperatures beginning in the 1930s, and a dramatic exponential change come the 1970s and 1980s. What do you think? Is this “solid” evidence of a changing climate? Does it make sense that exponential industrial growth in the post-war period correlates strongly with rise in average temperatures?

Interrogating Queer African Identities

Colonial Africa Queer Identity

The twenty-first century has seen great attention being paid to the emergent discourse surrounding the identities of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) Africans. As this discourse develops, it becomes apparent that every African country has its own unique set of challenges and sources of hope. And yet, there is a distinctly pan-African quality uniting all of their struggles. This raises the question: What transnational forces have shaped the queer identity in Africa? Furthermore, how have these forces both fostered opposition to LGBTI communities and at the same time supported queer liberation movements? Confronting these questions soon reveals how …continue reading

Is Stephen Harper’s doomsday ideology guiding Canada’s foreign policy in Israel?

an Lochner, The Last Judgement

Stephen Harper is on a divine mission this week. There’s little doubt Harper’s trip to the Middle East, Israel in particular,  is both a diplomatic mission and a sacred pilgrimage. As a member of the evangelical Christian and Missionary Alliance, Harper’s relations with Israel is clouded by dogma. During his recent speech to the Israeli Knesset, Canada’s Prime Minister said, “Through fire and water, Canada will stand with you.” In other words, come the day of reckoning Canada will be on the side of Israel. Therein lies the problem with electing fundamentalists to government. They no longer govern for the citizenry. …continue reading

On the Sochi Winter Olympics and nationalism

Olympics_in_Berlin_1936

As the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics descend on the Russian city of Sochi, the world will witness the grandest displays of nationalism in the modern world. It’s a time of celebratory unity and collective disappointments. The construct of the nation-state and its latent functions is a notion easily taken for granted. While most view the nation-state as simply bureaucracy writ large, it also performs a profound symbolic purpose. Few realize how at the dusk of religious supremacy the nation-state provided what Benedict Anderson has described as a “secular transformation of fatality into continuity, contingency into meaning”. This afforded citizens a …continue reading