In the Shadow of China’s Growing Cities: Farmers Resort to Self-Immolation

Throughout rural China, controversial land acquisitions have been taking place since 2009, often without consent of or compensation to the local residents. In an effort to continually expand China’s growing cities, the Party has been forcibly acquiring land in the surrounding rural areas. Here we would call this eminent domain, and most of the victims of this process are pretty angry, but China has allowed things to go to a whole new level.… [Read more]

Is This Disneyland, Or Am I In Prison?

No country has more faith in the power of an adorable mascot than Japan. Their talisman-like powers have been employed in almost every walk of life: museums, theme parks, tourist attractions, festivals, and even whole cities. What is it about these mascots that make it appropriate for them to be as superfluous in a society as dedicated to serious work as Japan?… [Read more]

Free Your Mind

“Before you can read me you’ve got to learn how to see me.”

This week’s “Say It In Song“ pick is “Free Your Mind” by En Vogue.

If you’re paying attention at all to the current political climate, it is as it has been for at last the past 5 years: stuck. Stuck in a place of so much negativity that the nation is unable to truly move forward and, in fact, the actions of many appear to have the intention of taking the country backwards.… [Read more]

Workers’ Rights: An International issue

At the very last minute, the strike planned by teachers was called off. At 4:00 am today, the Ontario Labour Relations Board declared that a planned one-day walkout by elementary school teachers is illegal and, subsequently, the Elementary Teachers’ Federation president ordered members to comply with the ruling. Teachers are not the only disgruntled public sector employees in Canada; sanitary workers, doctors and other medical personnel, and sanitation workers have had to reportedly accept a pay freeze as part of their salary negotiations.… [Read more]

Making the World Borderless: Elevating Human Rights and Democracy. It’s Needed Here, Too

Who would have thought that the simple act of visiting a neighbour could be seen as historic? In this day and age of global communication, technology that facilitates instantaneous news reports and high-speed travel, reaching out to people across the globe doesn’t present the same challenges as it did many years ago. Yet, in the world of politics and diplomacy – with all of its hurdles – making an active effort to learn about other cultures, seeking to come to a place of understanding and attempting to see issues from another point of view is seen as ‘historic’.… [Read more]

Can the Law Make Us Better People?

It was the day of the election and we were talking about gay marriage.

“I think what really needs to happen is that people need to educate each other on tolerance and acceptance, because even if the federal government passes a law legalizing gay marriage, it won’t change people’s minds,” she said.

Then, after gay marriage won victories in Maine and Maryland, I was talking to another friend about the same thing.… [Read more]

Sign Of The Times

In a massive strike to protest untenable work conditions, job cuts and wages hundreds, thousands of employees abandon their post in _______  (a) England, (b) the U.S., (c) Israel or  (d) Greece?   What is the correct answer, a, b, c or d?  Or is it all of the above? The unfortunate reality — we could add an e, f, g and h and the answer would still be the same — all  of the above.… [Read more]

Swara Case in Swat Puts Girl’s Life at Stake

The tribal system of justice is a continued agent of injustice and human rights violation in many parts of Pakistan. In some parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, there is still this senseless tradition of swara, i.e. settling a dispute by giving a girl or woman from one’s family in marriage to the other party as a form of compensation for some wrong or offense.… [Read more]

What Would a Romney Win Mean for America’s Relationship with China?

Sino-American relations have always been a carefully choreographed exercise. This exercise has been well-played by President Obama and has worked to manage China relations for the benefit of American business. But what would a change in choreography mean for our country’s relationship with China?

I’m afraid you won’t appreciate me…

Although not unusual, it is always intriguing to follow the logic behind the China-stance of a presidential nominee.… [Read more]

Part Two: Canada’s New BFF –China!

It will get worse

Part Two: Canada’s New BFF –China!

The last time out, I explained to America why China is such a swell new Canadian ‘Best Forever Friend’. The former Mao men have no compunctions about buying up other countries national resources, whether farm land in Africa or scoring an ever-greater stake in the gift that keeps in giving, the Alberta Oil Sands.… [Read more]

Traffic Jam – Sex Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery

There are many unresolved issues to which we give our attention but, of all those issues, how many of us stop to think about the trafficking of humans for either sexual purposes or free labour? While we would like to think this heinous business ended a long time ago, unfortunately, that is simply not true — not around the world, and not even within the United States.… [Read more]