There’s a rise in intolerant language and behaviour

Ever since the election of Donald Trump last November and the Brexit vote last June we have seen a rise in intolerant rhetoric, language and behaviour that wants to see the world divided between the good and the bad. This simplistic view which divides us into us and them, invokes a nostalgic view of a past that never actually existed. Those on the right who celebrate the triumph of Brexit, Trump, xenophobia and Islamophobia in Europe and people like Kelly Leitch in Canada simply want to turn back the clock.

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Will President Trump serve as a lesson to students?

After one of the most divisive political campaigns in American history Donald Trump became President Elect on Nov. 8. Pundits have been trying to understand how someone who appealed to the worst in our society; who invoked racism, sexism, misogyny, xenophobia and homophobia came to win the election.

Like the Brexit vote in Great Britain, Trump voters were not voting so much for his policies (which changed day to day) but against those of the current government. It was a vote of no confidence for the existing system rather than a vote of confidence for Trump. Fuelled by hatred and fear, his campaign, like Brexit, celebrated the idea of an embattled America. At the same time his election marks a vote against the election of Barack Obama and the possible election of Hilary Clinton. The simple fact is that Trump’s success was simply white America voicing its own deep-seated racism and misogyny. America still fears race and gender.

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Moise: What if kids’ school is nowhere near home?

On Oct.17 the federal government introduced new mortgage rules to try and control the unfettered growth in housing that we see in major cities across the country. These new policies are intended to make sure that Canadians are able to manage their household debt and their mortgages. All one needs to do is look around the city to see the impact of growth all around us. Condominium developments pop up on every corner reaching ever taller heights to try and keep up with the demand for new housing across the city. The amount of development is staggering. In the next five years it is estimated that the greater Toronto region will play host to almost a million new residents.

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How do we break the pattern of racial and sexual discrimination?

Does racism exist in our society? Sadly, Black Lives Matter reminds us that in 2016 racism continues to be an issue in our society. Have we addressed the issue of racism in Toronto and across the province appropriately? No. We have seen many discussions, studies and reports over the years that detail how racism affects the city and the province but on the streets little changes. How do we affect change?

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Education harnesses empathy, compassion, diversity

Harnessing the power of education allows us to foster and develop empathy, compassion and understanding for diversity and difference. Only by teaching these values can we hope to stop hatred in its tracks. We must lead by example making sure that these values are taught at all levels in our education system. This includes not only elementary, junior and senior high schools but also continuing education programs that are offered by any of the Toronto school boards. Together we can create safer places for our students and for our communities.

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June 2016

I believe that we need to invest in safe schools. This means not only ensuring that the infrastructure, the bricks and mortar of buildings are safe and sound, but also we need to provide each student with the means to realize their potential. We need safe spaces for children to play, learn and grow. This means addressing issues of bullying which I know from talking with parents is a concern for those with school age children.

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Attawapiskat

Suicide attempts by young people highlight the problems faced by indigenous communities not only in Canada’s north but across the country. Sadly, suicide is the leading cause of death for Native peoples under the age of 44, the rate for young men is 10 times higher than that of the rest of the population, while the rate for Native women is 21 times higher than the national average. 

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Donald Trump’s populist appeal smacks of Rob Ford days

As we watch the run up to the American election unfold south of the border we are reminded how divisive politics can be. We witnessed it here during the summer of 2015 in the lead up to our own federal election with the Tory attack ads against both Trudeau’s Liberals and Tom Mulcair’s NDP. Canadian Tories and American Republicans share a common view of human nature that privileges fear, hatred and self-interest over hope, possibility and the common good.

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Homelessness and poverty remain a needless plague

With the winter holidays behind us and a New Year ahead of us we now have a chance to ask ourselves how we want 2016 to be defined.

It’s a time when we celebrated the arrival of thousands of refugees from war-torn Syria. How is it that Canada has a national refugee policy and no national strategy for dealing with poverty and homelessness?

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We must stand together with our Muslim neighbours

In the face of the terrorist attacks on Paris we have seen renewed violence against Muslims in our own communities. The day after the attacks in Paris the only mosque in Peterborough was deliberately set on fire in an act of arson.

Acts like this must be seen and prosecuted for what they are, as hate crimes against our communities.

We must send a message that intolerance and hatred has no place in the Canada in which we want to live.

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