The Catholic Register's weekly editorial appears here online (http://www.CatholicRegister.org/opinion/editorial) and in our print and digital editions.


Readers Speak Out

You can also write to the editor.

Write to The Editor:

Catholic Register, 1155 Yonge St., Toronto, Ontario M4T 1W2
FAX: (416) 934-3409
E-mail:editor@catholicregister.org

Letters should be brief and must include full name, address and phone number (street and phone number will not be published). Letters may be edited for length.

Also, speak to us digitally via Facebook (facebook.com/TheCatholicRegister) or Twitter (twitter.com/CatholicRegistr)

The Catholic Register offers its readers dependable information and opinion as a joyful servant of God's pilgrim church.

{mosimage}Faced with a surefire deficit next year, it took considerable courage for the Liberal government in Ontario to stick to its commitment to tackle poverty. The poor are the most voiceless of all of us, and least likely to vote. It would have been easy for Premier Dalton McGuinty to dispense with this promise, as he had with other more contentious promises in the past. Remember “no new taxes”?

On Dec. 4, Deb Matthews, Minister of Children and Youth Services, announced her government’s commitment to lift 90,000 children from poverty by 2013. It involves doubling the Working Income Tax Benefit to $2,000 and increasing the National Child Benefit Supplement to $1,200 per child. There will also be an increase in the Ontario Child Benefit and extra millions to help children leaving foster care and beefing up its Youth Opportunities Strategy to help kids in poorer neighbourhoods get summer jobs and training. (See our story on Page 11.)

End the games

By
{mosimage}How soon they forget. Remember back, way back, to Oct. 14? We had this thing called a federal election. A certain Conservative politician was re-elected as prime minister of Canada. And in his acceptance speech, he promised to work in a spirit of compromise with the opposition parties on behalf of all Canadians in the face of an almost unprecedented economic crisis.

And a certain Liberal leader also promised he, too, would co-operate with the competition to make Parliament work. In fact, so did the leaders of the Bloc Quebecois and the New Democrats.

Baby steps

By
{mosimage}Sometimes progress has to be measured in baby steps. Sometimes, it’s a bit of a dance, two steps forward, one step back. That’s how Canadians could view the state of free speech in this country. In late November, there was a bit of progress, along with evidence that one of our most cherished freedoms is still under assault.

We’ll get to that, but first a bit of backstory. Despite what you may think — and what our Charter of Rights and Freedoms says explicitly — freedom of speech has been eroded in recent years. Human rights tribunals, unaccountable quasi-judicial bureaucratic bodies charged with ensuring we all live in harmony, have been slowly expanding their turf. From originally being concerned with rooting out discrimination in job markets, housing and other essential parts of life, they have moved into adjudicating between various people who have found ways to offend each other with their words. Their rationale for moving in this area can be found in Sec. 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act.

He is coming

By
{mosimage}Advent is a religious season that sneaks up on us. Its quiet arrival is drowned out by the noisy commercial hype for Christmas, the Santa Claus parades, shopping, seasonal parties and frenzied preparations for travel and visiting.

Yet, as with so many things in life, Advent is the more important occasion, transcending all those other “must do’s” of this time of year. It, too, is a time of preparation, but of the heart.

Great expectations

By
{mosimage}The global Obama lovefest after the Nov. 4 U.S. presidential election suggests that much of the early days of President-elect Barack Obama’s tenure will be taken up with managing expectations.

Around the world, people are comparing his election to that of John F. Kennedy’s in 1960 — the first time a Catholic became president — or the day Nelson Mandela was freed from a South African prison, or the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. And it is true, the election of an African American to the presidency is an historically momentous occasion; it marks a watershed in the long struggle to heal the deep-seated wounds of slavery and racial violence in the American psyche. It is a moment of great rejoicing.

As the Pope sees us

By
{mosimage}Every now and again it is useful to look at ourselves through the eyes of others. Our own faults, as well as gifts, take on revealing hues when they are presented to us from a more arm’s length point of view.

In late October that perspective was offered by Pope Benedict XVI. He was commenting on Canada in his official greetings to the new Canadian ambassador to the Vatican, Anne Leahy, when she arrived to present her official credentials.

Remember the poor

By
{mosimage}Where is Paul Martin Jr. when you need him? Oh yes, we threw him out of office in 2006. Yet while he had his problems as prime minister, his track record as finance minister still gives heft to his economic advice, especially in these turbulent times.

Martin has kept a low profile since resigning as leader of the Liberal party. But he was in the news in late October with the release of his political memoirs, Hell or High Water. In it, he mused about the current economic crisis. He may have been boasting a bit, talking about how his government pulled federal finances out of deep deficits and put the government’s house in order. But he earned his bragging rights and one of his points was well worth remembering.

Moral leadership

By
{mosimage}It’s probable that a majority of Canadians felt deflated by the Oct. 14 election. Nobody really won, even though the Conservatives emerged with a slightly larger minority. Instead, we lacked real leadership — the kind that people truly want to follow instead of just tolerate.

The resignation of Liberal Leader Stephane Dion reminds us of what real leadership requires, mainly because his own deficiencies revealed the missing ingredients. It’s true that Dion showed intelligence, integrity, boldness and creativity (in his poorly understood GreenShift). And by stepping down, he displayed a rare selflessness. But he failed at an essential task of leadership: getting others to follow.

A Catholic monarchy?

By
{mosimage}One of the last vestiges of official anti-Catholicism in the world is the British Crown. Yet most Canadians are probably unaware that the Queen of England (or King) — Canada’s head of state — is prohibited by law from being Roman Catholic or marrying a Roman Catholic.

Market idolatry

By
{mosimage}The international financial crisis is no longer just about Wall Street — if it ever was. Today, increasingly, it is about Main Street and its residents, about people who are losing homes, jobs, pensions and savings.

In a way, the international economic system is a kind of Tower of Babel, built on its own internal logic, but a logic that essentially created a house of cards. It was built on an ever-expanding consumption of goods; when the production of wealth could not keep up with the need to feed mass consumption, developed nations simply turned to debt. When that tower of debt began to crumble as some of its weaker bricks gave way, the whole edifice began to tumble.

Vote anyway

By
{mosimage}The federal election campaign has been anything but inspiring for Canadians. Most of what passes for debate has been name-calling, accusations of lying and trivial arguments over whose commercials were the most unfair.