Catholic Register Editorial

Catholic Register Editorial

The Catholic Register's editorial is published in the print and digital editions every week. Read the current and past editorials below.

November 27, 2008

Baby steps

{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.
December 4, 2008

End the games

{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.
December 11, 2008

It's a start

{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.)

December 24, 2008

Ignatieff's blind spots

{mosimage}In his first few weeks as Liberal leader, Michael Ignatieff has been surefooted. He has exuded confidence, determination and a sense of what needs to be done. Canadians have seen a strong alternative to Prime Minister Stephen Harper if the country is forced into another federal election sooner rather than later.

Still, we know very little about him, other than that he is the son of Russian aristocracy, a Harvard intellectual, author of both political treatises and novels and has been absent from the country for most of his adult life. He offers plenty of impressions but precious little about where he would like to lead the country.

December 18, 2008

Let us pray

{mosimage}As we mark with joy the coming of the Saviour, let us spare a prayer for our world. What should we pray? A few suggestions:

Let us pray that, somehow, tribal conflict in the Congo can be resolved and that the United Nations gather enough international effort to help bring an end to the violence in that war torn nation.

January 8, 2009

The limits of arms

{mosimage}We can only hope that Israel gains a modicum of respite from the erratic missiles that provoked its invasion of Gaza. At least it will have earned something from its massive display of military might against Hamas.

No one should still be carrying a candle for Hamas, an organization whose fundamental aim to destroy Israel undercuts its own claim to moral leadership among the Palestinians. Terrorism is terrorism, and it should be fought wherever it festers. Nor should anyone be under any delusion, however, that Israel’s continual recourse to military means to solve its neighbour problems offers any long-term solutions. It didn’t work against Hezbollah in southern Lebanon in 2006 and it won’t now. Even though the Palestinian-to-Israeli death ratio is 100-to-one, Gaza will continue to give birth to new sons and daughters who will live for nothing more than to die in the cause of the ongoing conflict.

January 15, 2009

Bountiful problems

{mosimage}The Pandora’s box opened by the legalization of same-sex marriage continues to let loose assorted demons. The problem of what to do with the polygamists of Bountiful, B.C., is just the latest.

Bountiful is a knotty dilemma for legal authorities in British Columbia. Polygamy is illegal in Canada. But for years, Bountiful residents have been members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a tiny sect of the Mormon religion that adhered to the practice of polygamy long after mainstream Mormonism abandoned it in 1890. Among its leaders, Winston Blackmore of Bountiful is alleged to have had more than 20 wives and more than 100 children. James Oler, the bishop of this sect, has been alleged to have at least two wives.

January 30, 2009

Not Much For The Poor

{mosimage}When it comes to economics, Catholic social teaching is pragmatic, not ideological. While popes in the last 150 years have recognized that capitalism beats socialist economic systems in terms of human freedom and effectiveness, they have been under no illusion that, unless carefully managed, free market economics can inflict terrible pain and injustice.

That’s why successive encyclicals on political and social matters have emphasized the “preferential option for the poor” and insisted that governments have a duty to protect the most vulnerable from the vagaries of the market while working for the common good of all.

January 29, 2009

Advising Obama

{mosimage}If U.S. President Barack Obama thought the hard slugging was through, overcoming centuries of oppression for  blacks in the United States to make history as its first African-American president, just wait for what the future will bring.

As Obama took his position as leader of the world’s only superpower Jan. 20, he assumed control of a nation mired in crisis, on so many fronts. The economy is in the tank, facing its worst financial crisis in eight decades. The United States is in deep in not one, but two major wars, with a third conflict in the Middle East never far beyond U.S. parametres. The rich-poor divide is widening, too many Americans do not have proper health care coverage, action is needed to combat climate change and, yes, despite his election, racial tension is always on the radar — just see the reaction to the shooting of an unarmed black man by a white transit police officer in Oakland at New Year’s for evidence.

February 13, 2009

Free to speak

{mosimage}It strikes us as very Orwellian, the scenes found on many of the university campuses across Canada these days.

These supposed bastions of free speech look more and more like they come right off of the pages of George Orwell’s Animal Farm. Remember how in Orwell’s classic novel, which reflects on the ills of the Soviet era of Joseph Stalin, that all animals on the farm were to be equal, none above the other. Yet as time goes on, we find while all animals are equal, some really are more equal than others.