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Dalhousie’s code of conduct violates university values

Early last summer, Dalhousie University Student Union Vice President, Masuma Khan, proposed a motion that the student union should boycott Canada Day celebrations. Responding to criticism, Khan took to social media: “At this point, f—k you all. I stand by the motion I put forward. I stand by Indigenous students. (…) Be proud of this country? For what, over 400 years of genocide?” She added: “white fragility can kiss my ass. Your white tears aren’t sacred, this land is.” These posts violated Dalhousie’s student code of conduct, which prohibits “unwelcome or persistent conduct that the student knows, or ought to know, would cause another person to feel demeaned, intimidated or harassed.” That’s the official finding Arig al Shaibah, Dalhousie’s vice-provost of student affairs, made after conducting a formal investigation. The investigation followed a complaint from another Dalhousie student alleging that Khan’s “targeting [of] ‘white people’ who celebrate Canada Day is blatant discrimination.” Khan has declined to participate in an informal resolution process, which would have had her receive counseling and submit an essay. Dalhousie was slated to begin a formal process to determine her punishment, but they have since withdrawn their complaint due to public backlash. Universities these days neither understand nor appreciate freedom of expression on campus. That Khan was being persecuted for the content of her expression, or the manner in which she expressed it, was just one incident in a long line. Without freedom of expression on campus, though, universities cannot fulfill their mission as places of inquiry and discussion. Let us agree, just for the sake of argument, with the finding that Khan violated the student code of conduct. Let us also agree that she was abusive and that there is no place for abusive expression on campus. Why, then, was Dalhousie’s approach wrongheaded? What should… Read More

Why we need Bill 62

Political controversy isn't new to Québec, and every time a new bill gets passed, the news spreads through all of Canada. The latest piece of legislation comes in the form of Bill 62, a bill which prohibits the use of face-coverings while receiving government services. Naturally, the bill is being criticized as Islamophobic as the Islamic face veil -- known as the niqab -- is restricted under this ban. There are fair arguments for opposing the bill. For example, the bill also prohibits riding the bus while having face-coverings. This, I find ridiculous, as it will be difficult to ensure bus drivers will enforce the law. However, unlike some, I look at this bill as an attempt to ensure public safety. In this day and age, terrorism remains a threat, and as unfortunate as that is, the government needs to be able to identify those who they are serving. I agree with the bill solely for the protection of our government institutions. I wouldn't feel comfortable as a government employee serving someone I cannot identify. That includes all face-coverings, not just the niqab. I truly don't understand those who oppose the bill on the grounds of Islamophobia. It is common knowledge the niqab is not an Islamic requirement. Only those in the extreme sects of Islam support its use. If you want to wear the niqab at home, that is your right. However, in a world where identification can be key to the protection of our society, you can't have your face covered when dealing with government officials or offices. This debate is reminiscent of the legal battle in 2015 fought between the then-Conservative government under Stephen Harper, and Zunera Ishaq. Where Ishaq fought and won the right to wear her niqab while being sworn in as a Canadian citizen.… Read More

Age requirements for the Canadian citizenship test should not change

As of Oct. 11th, several changes occurred in the required steps for Canadian citizenship. Most of these changes are minor issues centered around the amount time spent in Canada while applying, meaning that applicants have to stay in Canada for a certain amount of time while the application goes through. Frankly, these mean very little to me. What has me angry is the new age range for the Canadian citizenship test. The new regulations, as quoted from the Canadian government website are such, ”[The] age range for language and knowledge requirements reduced to 18-54 years old”. The ages were previously 14-64. To me, reducing this age requirement is insane. I believe most naturalized Canadian citizens don't know enough about our country's history--so why are we scaling back the expectations needed for future Canadians? As for the language requirement, does it not seem crazy that immigrants aged 14-17 and 55-63 don’t need to be qualified in English or French when they become Canadians? The younger immigrants are somewhat understandable, as they are children, but even so, how will they succeed in Canadian schools? The older immigrants should have to know English or French, or else how will they get jobs and contribute to the Canadian economy? Immigrants make up a large portion of our economy, but to have them lacking in our two languages seems ridiculous.     I am all for immigration to Canada, as we are a multicultural nation with varied backgrounds. However, Canada has a long and rich history, and to allow some immigrants not to take this test is an insult to the history of Canada, especially during the 150th year of confederation. Shouldn't we all know about the places we live in? Even children aged 14-17 should have to take the test. They will be taking Canadian… Read More

Trudeau and the Canadian left’s hypocritical “feminism”

The only women worth listening to, according to the Liberals and the NDP, are pro-choice women. The only women worthy of representing women, according to our country’s political left, are women who believe what they believe.   And this show’s the Trudeau government’s blatant hypocrisy when it comes to feminism and women’s rights—namely, a woman’s right to independent thought.   Last Tuesday, the Liberals and NDP successfully ousted pro-life Lethbridge MP Rachael Harder as chair of the government’s status of women committee, after having protested her nomination just a week before.   The Liberal and NDP-majority committee used its power and, instead, voted in pro-choice Conservative MP Karen Vecchio, despite Vecchio’s objections and demands to be withdrawn from nomination.   Indeed, the Liberals and NDP would rather have a committee chair entirely uninterested in the position, rather than one that challenges their views.   And there is much to challenge. A 2016 Ipsos poll found that 21 per cent of respondents supported limited access to abortion, in cases such as rape; eight per cent supported it only if the mother’s life was in jeopardy; and three per cent were against it no matter the circumstances.   Yes, a majority—57 per cent—of Canadians support access to abortion, according to the poll, but this support is not universal. Only 47 per cent of Albertans, for example, support access to abortion—the lowest approval rating in the country, and the area of the country Harder represents.   Despite Canadians’ clear division on the issue, Canada is one of the few countries in the world with no restrictions on abortion. According to an article in the Globe and Mail, this unfettered access to abortion has created a problem for some girls within Canada’s immigrant communities.   Two studies published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal,… Read More

Millennial Media Moguls: Danielle Finestone

Disclaimer: Danielle and I are first cousins and have known each other our whole lives   Millennial Media moguls is a series of interviews with millennial entrepreneurs, young people who are making a living in jobs that didn’t exist a generation ago. Creating unusual jobs for themselves that seize on the new opportunities of the twenty-first century economy. Though also a part time employee of Yelp and sometimes a social media consultant, Danielle Finestone makes the bulk of her income from her Instagram page. Danielle is the owner operator of ToFoodies; a page which depicts delicious food from all over Toronto. ToFoodies started as a passion project of hers only 3 years ago born out of her love for Toronto night life. After years spent in the industry, a year ago Danielle quit her full time job at a major record label to take on ToFoodies full time. In that time she has made enormous strides toward growing her brand with currently over 72,000 followers. Nathaniel: So start at the beginning. How did ToFoodies start? Danielle: It wasn’t a straight path that brought me here, although it seems that way in hindsight. I did my undergrad at Ryerson in the Radio and television arts program. My specialty was in studio television since that’s what I wanted to go into. I interned like crazy -- every summer I had a different internship that opened me up to everything going on in the entertainment industry in Toronto. I interned at Yelp, MTV, Sony Music Canada and the Marilyn Dennis Show, and each one of those introduced me to a lot of people in different sides of the industry. N: Would you say your education played a big role in setting you on the path you’re on now? D: Getting an education really… Read More

Free speech in sports should go both ways

With the craze surrounding the U.S national anthem protests taking the world by storm, it is once again time to discuss what this latest protest means for the conservation of free speech in North America.   To me, the protests embody what is great about the western world—the ability to gather and demonstrate when we do not agree with what is being done, or are experiencing an injustice. It is a real shame that partisan lines have been drawn in an that should be a concern for both liberals and conservatives.   When former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started his protest about a year ago, his intentions were not malicious. He saw an injustice, and he did what he thought would bring attention to said injustice. I do not agree with Kaepernick position, nor do I agree with the method in which he protested. However, free speech is a right that everyone holds, and he deserves to have his message heard.   The problem is both the political left and right have bastardized Kaepernick’s original message so much, many have forgotten what the original issue was. President Trump only stirred the pot with his various tweets denouncing the players, and the protests are now about a completely different subject.   The protests have made one particular issue come to light , and that is the blatant hypocrisy surrounding the Pittsburgh Penguins decision to visit the White House, as is routine for the Stanley Cup winners. To be fair, the Penguins announcing their decision on the same day the Golden State Warriors were uninvited from the White House was short-sighted, but a White House visit isn’t a bad thing.   The National Hockey League has always been the more apolitical of the four major North American sports leagues, so… Read More
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