OTTAWA - An independent consultant has recommended Parliament repeal the hate crimes section of the Canadian Human Rights Act.

“The use of censorship should be confined to a narrow category of extreme expression — that which threatens or justifies violence against the members of an identifiable group, even if the violence that is supported or threatened is not imminent,” wrote University of Windsor law professor Richard Moon in a $50,000 report the Canadian Human Rights Commission commissioned five months ago.

Child poverty strategy demanded of government

{mosimage}OTTAWA - A coalition of anti-poverty groups joined MPs from the opposition parties Nov. 21 in demanding a comprehensive national child poverty strategy.

At a Parliament Hill news conference, Campaign 2000 released its annual report card, showing 760,000 Canadian children — one out of nine — live below the poverty line. The report card coincided with ongoing debate on the Speech from the Throne where the minority Conservative government laid out its agenda for the 40th Parliament.

Archdiocese aids abuse victims

{mosimage}TORONTO - Male survivors of sexual abuse will be able to receive counselling from the Canadian Centre for Abuse Awareness (CCAA) thanks in part to the archdiocese of Toronto.

The archdiocese donated $30,000 to the CCAA, based in Newmarket, for its Help and Hope Project which focuses on helping men who were sexually victimized in their childhood.

Laity all have same goal

{mosimage}TORONTO - In the opening credits of The Simpsons — where Lisa goes off with her saxophone, playing a tune of her own — is not what Catholic lay movements should model in their attempts to effect change, Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins told nearly 200 people attending the archdiocese’s annual Catholic Symposium for the Laity.

“That’s the very world we’re fighting against — where ‘I have my little tune to play and so forget about you,’ ” he said.  

Aboriginal reconciliation on Pope's mind

{mosimage}OTTAWA - Canadian bishops raised the need for reconciliation with aboriginal peoples and Canada’s growing secularization during a meeting with Pope Benedict XVI Nov 8.

“There is a way faith is being pushed more and more to the margins,” said Winnipeg Archbishop James Weisgerber, president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, noting Canadians “seem to be required to leave their faith behind them when they enter the public realm or they will be discounted.”

Conservative grassroots favour freedom of expression

{mosimage}OTTAWA - Grassroots Conservatives want Ottawa to gut the Canadian Human Rights Commission’s power to investigate and punish free expression complainants deem hateful or discriminatory.

At the Conservative Party’s second policy conference in Winnipeg Nov. 13-15 delegates passed resolution P-203 to “remove authority from the Canadian Human Rights Commission and Tribunal to regulate, receive, investigate or adjudicate complaints related to Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act.” Subsection 13.1 of the Act is the so-called thought crimes provision that allows the commission to investigate anything that is “likely” to expose a group or individual to hatred or contempt. No proof of harm is necessary and truth is no defence under this subsection.

ShareLife shows where money goes

{mosimage}TORONTO - A small poster has cropped up in parishes around the archdiocese of Toronto in ShareLife’s latest change to ensure transparency and accountability.

As the fund-raising arm for the archdiocese for more than 30 years, staff at ShareLife decided it was high time to publish the breakdown of how funds are spent in its 2008 Annual Update.

Care workers must look after selves too

{mosimage}TORONTO - Care providers need to be animated by a deep compassion for their patients, be present in the moment but also learn to take care of themselves, says Dr. Mary Vachon.

Vachon delivered the keynote address Nov. 6 to a room of more than 60 attendees at the Practical Ethics in Home-based Care conference in honour of St. Elizabeth Health Care on its 100th anniversary. St. Elizabeth’s provides community and home care services as a charitable, not-for-profit organization.

Faith in a war zone

{mosimage}TORONTO - It wasn’t the kind of assignment he had been used to, but Capt. Joseph Nonato says his mission in Afghanistan so far has been an eye-opening spiritual journey.

“My favourite times are when we can have an open discussion about faith, prayer and belief,” he wrote in an e-mail to The Catholic Register from Kandahar.

Where ‘Caring Matters’

{mosimage}TORONTO - With Caring Matters, the company she founded seven years ago, Sherri Auger aims to help the aging population in the same way she helped her own parents. She works as a consultant to aging parents or their children for decision making and estate planning in preparation for illness and death.

About a year before she founded the Toronto-based company, which now has another three employees, Auger was faced with the sudden need to place her father in long-term care after her mother, his primary care-giver, became ill and passed away.

Indian violence linked to colonization

{mosimage}TORONTO - The roots of the recent anti-Christian violence in India have some links to the early missionary work of Christians in the country, says a British scholar of Christianity in India.

“The behaviour of the Europeans was seen as abhorrent by the population of southern India. Converting people was also seen as abhorrent,” said Anglican Rev. Paul Collins, an associate professor of theology at England’s University of Chichester, at an Oct. 30 lecture at the University of St. Michael’s College.