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{mosimage}The report released Jan. 8 by the National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy is no more or less gloomy than the many other reports being issued these days by organizations given the task of assessing how real the crisis over greenhouse gases actually is and what should be done about it. Unfortunately, few political parties in Canada, with the possible exception of the tiny Green Party, appear ready to really grasp the nettle.

Muzzling religion

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{mosimage}Outside a small circle of socially conservative Catholics, few people have heard of Catholic Insight magazine. Yet all of us — Catholic, non-Catholic, religious and nonreligious — should be concerned about its fate as it faces a complaint before the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

Living together

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{mosimage}The Bouchard-Taylor Commission, now finishing up its work on reasonable accommodation in Quebec, is only the most significant example of the struggle we have in Canada of finding ways to live together with growing ethnic, religious and cultural differences. There have been many others. And this will only intensify as the country continues to evolve thanks to growing immigration.

He is with us

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{mosimage}One of the most important things to remember about Christmas is that Christ’s birth is a real historical event. It happened, some time more than 2,000 years ago, that a child was born to Mary and Joseph in poverty and the world came to know Him as Jesus of Nazareth, Christ the Lord, Saviour, Messiah, Son of God.

To have hope

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{mosimage}With the release of his second encyclical, Spe Salvi (on Christian hope), Pope Benedict XVI offers less a dogmatic pronouncement than a university lecture, rewarding the careful reader with profound insights into why Christians have hope in the face of a world that appears to be hopeless.

What he didn't say

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{mosimage}Cardinal Marc Ouellet appears to be taking a page from Calgary Bishop Fred Henry’s book when it comes to media coverage. The archbishop of Quebec has found himself on the front pages of daily newspapers well outside his province talking about — wait for it — religion.

Focus on caring

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{mosimage} In Canada, all too often, the debate over “health care” focuses on dollars and cents. It is about technical fixes, efficiencies and accountability. All important things, surely. However, rarely is it ever about the second word in that phrase --— care.

Tackling poverty in Canada

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{mosimage}Remember 1989, when all politicians in the House of Commons voted in favour of “eliminating poverty among Canadian children by the year 2000”? Surely the politicians would rather forget, because today — seven years after that deadline — poverty is alive and well among Canadian children.

Quebec's spiritual void

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{mosimage}The Reasonable Accommodation Commission hearings in Quebec have been described by some observers as a “horror show” or “circus” demonstrating some of the more xenophobic aspects of Quebecois culture. For that, however, they should be lauded rather than condemned. They have done all Canadians a favour.

The newly fallen

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{mosimage}Since 2002, Remembrance Days have taken on a special poignancy. The memories of loved ones fallen in battle are no longer from the distant past. Today, they include those who have died in Afghanistan.

No vision from Throne Speech

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{mosimage}The Speech from the Throne, read with pomp and ceremony by the Governor General of Canada, is supposed to represent a vision of hope and ambition for the entire nation. In fact, this is just what Stephen Harper’s Conservative government promised in its Oct. 16 address to Parliament. Unfortunately, this vision appears myopic and stunted, a thing focused less on building a grand nation than winning the next election.