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Stories about the minister and her license plate:
Her personalized plate yanked over road racing and religious concerns.
Toronto Star, November 28
An Ontario government committee was told Wednesday to take another look at its decision to deny a United Church minister the right to renew the vanity licence plates she’s used on her car for almost 20 years. Rev. Joanne Sorrill of Whitby, Ont., was told that she would have to change the letters on her personalized licence plates — REV JO — when she tried to get replacement plates because her originals had become rusty.
Canadian Press, November 28
Stories about the “pie ladies” killed in a car crash:
It was less than a 20-minute drive home from the roast-beef dinner at Holy Trinity Church for Verna Neaves and Bernice Phillips. But the sisters never made it. They were killed, along with two of their friends, in Chatham Saturday evening when their Ford Focus was hit head-on by a van. Three of the women died at the scene; the fourth on the way to hospital. Police have not released the names of the other two victims…. Neaves, 82, and Phillips, 83, had been life-long members of the Anglican Church Women, and were the original pie-ladies group in the Chatham area. They would meet every Monday to make pies, and would sell them in the community.
Toronto Star, November 26
Every Monday night Verna Neaves and her sister, Beatrice Phillips, would gather with a group of retirees in a small kitchen in the back of the Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Chatham, Ont., to make pies. Around town, the group was known as the “pie ladies,” and their delicious beef and turkey pies were so popular people often waited months for their orders to be filled. Mrs. Neaves was particularly adept at rolling the crusts for the pies, which the group would freeze and then sell to raise money for their church.
Globe and Mail, November 26
A close-knit church community in southwestern Ontario was coping Monday with the loss of some of their most active members, after four women in their 80s who devoted countless hours to their congregation were killed in a head-on collision.
Canadian Press, November 26
Stories about fetal rights and euthanasia:
Joyce Arthur’s recent column, “Fetal homicide laws are not the answer” (in response to mine of Nov. 6) might be good advocacy and politics, but it’s bad law. It’s one more example of the erroneous rhetoric that pro-choice abortion advocates are using to promote their cause. Currently, one of their major concerns, as Ms. Arthur’s article shows, is to prevent any legal recognition of a fetus.
Margaret Somerville, National Post, November 22
It is always difficult to lose a loved one. The pain is compounded when the death is as a result of murder. And it is compounded yet again when the woman is pregnant, which means the family must mourn also for the loss of the unborn child they were so eagerly anticipating. Now consider how these family members feel when they learn that, according to our law, there was no child — that there was only one death. That situation must change. To that end, I recently tabled a private member’s bill in the House of Commons — Bill C484 — which, if passed into law, will ensure that unborn children who are victimized as a result of their mother’s murder will be recognized by our courts.
Ken Epp, National Post, November 27
This week, the first International Symposium on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide is being held in Toronto. Scholars and activists from across the world will gather to discuss and affirm what really are extremely basic concepts — that people should not kill themselves, that life is always valuable, and that not even doctors, nurses or relatives have the liberty to decide when a person’s life should end. Problem is, life is considered one of the least significant issues in Western culture. Compared to opinions on the state of the market or the state of Paris Hilton, the notion of a person’s inalienable right to live appears rather meager. Or to put it another way, life is only assumed to be significant when it is thought to be of quality.
Michael Coren, National Post, November 27
Stories about Sikhs and terrorism:
Every time Vancouver South MP Ujjal Dosanjh hears footsteps behind him, he quickly looks over his shoulder. That’s one of the lingering effects of a vicious beating 22 years ago by Sikh extremists upset at his public pleas for peace, Dosanjh told the Air India inquiry in Ottawa Wednesday.
Vancouver Sun, November 22
Dosanjh criticizes politicians’ refusal to condemn parade float honouring Sikh militant
Globe and Mail, November 22
When the Indian military confronted Sikh militants at the Golden Temple in the Indian city of Amritsar in June, 1984, the resulting violence gave rise to a reign of terror for the Indo-Canadian community, including Sikhs.
Ujjal Dosanjh, National Post, November 27
Canadians know Ujjal Dosanjh as a former B.C. premier, a federal health minister in Paul Martin’s government and now an opposition MP. But long before Dosanjh made a name for himself in politics, he rendered a service to this country that was arguably more laudable — and certainly more heroic — than anything he did in Victoria or Ottawa: In 1985, months before fellow Canadian Sikhs bombed Air India Flight 182, Dosanjh had the courage to criticize his own.
Jonathan Kay, National Post, November 27
Stories about religious minorities in Quebec:
The burgeoning Muslim population in Quebec is organizing itself to avoid “exaggerated” demands for special treatment and rein in “preachers of hate,” the Bouchard-Taylor commission heard this morning.
Montreal Gazette, November 22
Also: National Post
When Quebec Premier Jean Charest appointed two respected intellectuals last spring to study the “reasonable accommodation” of minority cultural practices, he was hoping to cool a debate that had begun to tarnish Quebec’s image. He was not seeking publicity of the sort provided by Mohamed Nasr during televised hearings in Montreal this week.
Graeme Hamilton, National Post, November 23
It is wrong and even dangerous to suggest that “the Quebec identity” is threatened by the practices of religious and cultural minorities, two Montreal academics told a travelling government commission yesterday.
National Post, November 27
If the “reasonable accommodation” of religious minorities had truly reached crisis proportions in Quebec, one would expect the Commission scolaire de Montreal to be rife with tension. Nearly one-quarter of the students within the province’s largest school board are foreign-born, coming from 193 countries and practising a multitude of religions. Almost half its students have a mother tongue other than French. But the school board’s president told hearings yesterday that discussion and compromise have defused potential problems, and not a single complaint has made it to the courts or the provincial human-rights commission.
National Post, November 28
Earlier: Stories about religion in Quebec
Stories about Islam and the West:
Islamic compliant insurance is the latest product to emerge from a global boom in financial services offerings that are in line with shariah law.
Financial Post, November 23
We must choose our words carefully when talking of those who want to kill us.
Globe and Mail, November 23
A synagogue and a mosque that share a parking lot in Thornhill will begin next week to work together on Toronto’s annual Mosaic Interfaith Out of the Cold Program.
National Post, November 24
U.S. immigration authorities acted constitutionally when they subjected dozens of people returning from an Islamic convention in Canada to screening tactics usually reserved for people suspected of being terrorists, an appeals court said Monday.
Associated Press, November 26
A Canadian Muslim who says racial profiling was behind Air Canada’s decision to deny him a ticket to board a flight three years ago filed a formal complaint Tuesday with the Canadian Human Rights Commission. While attempting to purchase a ticket in Vancouver to fly to Victoria in May 2004, Shahid Mahmood said he was flagged as a security threat, despite his valid government ID – and the fact Air Canada did not yet have a Canadian “no-fly” list.
Canadian Press, November 27
Mr. Van Loan said it is unfortunate that the Muslim community has been forced to debate a right that they had never asked for, but noted the controversy has inspired a wave of mischievousness that must now be addressed.
Globe and Mail, November 27
Alberta’s minister of recreation said Monday he backs a referee’s decision to ban a 14-year-old Calgary girl from playing soccer while wearing a hijab. But local soccer and Muslim associations plan to ask the provincial body that governs the sport to reverse its stance and allow religious headgear.
Calgary Herald, November 27
Choking threat to players remote, professors say.
Calgary Herald, November 28
Earlier: Stories about Islam and the West
Other stories from the past week:
The most important inquiry into the death of Robert Dziekanski is the one we need for ourselves. What’s gone wrong with our country that we weren’t able to muster a Good Samaritan for either him or his mother? How could Zofia Cisowski pace the Vancouver airport for six hours, going from kiosk to kiosk for help finding her son, who was less than 100 metres away, then drive away in the seventh hour, thinking he must simply not have arrived?
Lorna Dueck, Globe and Mail, November 21
Where have you gone, Roger Maris? Baseball should turn its downcast eyes to you. The indictment last week of Barry Bonds, baseball’s single-season and all-time home run record holder, has shone a light once again on the sport’s steroid problem. Most fans have long concluded that Bonds used steroids, it being the simplest explanation for the fact that he got stronger and much bigger as he aged. The federal indictment accuses Bonds of lying to a grand jury about the subject.
Fr. Raymond J. de Souza, National Post, November 22
The Canadian Council of Christians and Jews honoured the Asper family of Manitoba and the Lakhani family of Toronto last night for their contributions to “the fabric of Canadian culture and society.” The two eminent families were presented with the Human Relations Award at the organization’s 60th annual anniversary gala before more than 650 guests at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in downtown Toronto.
National Post, November 23
For all its boasts of being the land of the free, America still has its fair share of rigid institutions and sacred cows – with religion in public school topping the list. While the concept of daily prayer was removed from the American education system decades ago, the rules governing the teaching of evolution are hazier and appear to hail from another century. Incredible as it seems, Darwinism is still a dirty word in some corners of the United States.
Globe and Mail, November 23
Toronto is above average in participation rate, said Dr. Ian Gemmill, medical officer for Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health. The median for the province is 51 per cent, with a range of 40.7 per cent up to 70 per cent, with two out of three regions reporting, he said. At the lower end of the range is Halton Region. “The uptake has been 45 per cent,” said Dr. Bob Nosal, medical officer of health for Halton Region. “Out of 3,050 girls eligible, 1,352 took it.” The rate is 35 per cent in Catholic schools and 49 per cent in public schools, he said.
Toronto Star, November 23
Earlier: Stories about Catholic schools and sexuality issues
Warren Jeffs was a tyrant but those carrying out orders were also victims
Daphne Bramham, Vancouver Sun, November 23
A Vancouver poet/performer promotes a vehicle for self-expression, social criticism and creating sacred community.
Douglas Todd, Vancouver Sun, November 24
There’s a long-standing relationship between churches and bells, but a deal between a church and Bell Mobility to build a 35-metre-tall communications tower on its property is ringing hollow with its neighbours. A small group of protesters gathered outside the Guildwood Community Presbyterian Church after worship services yesterday to object to a 20-year lease agreement between the church and Bell to build a relay signal tower, saying the community wasn’t told about it until long after the deal was made.
Toronto Star, November 26
Should we do it anyway?
Micah Toub, Globe and Mail, November 27
Last week, I wrote about the “new anti-Semitism” disguised as anti-Zionism, and identified the university campus as ground zero for the dissemination of Israel-hatred into the general culture. To-day’s column focuses on strategies pro-Israel students are adopting to deal with the problem.
Barbara Kay, National Post, November 28