Stories for the Left Column of the Columns Page
Alberta's new NDP government is under pressure to bend its stated support for a healthier environment in order to allow continued unrelenting development and sale of the people's petroleum resources. This pressure, by all appearances, is the rationale for dialogue between government and the oil industry. Dialogue is essential if Alberta is to be a place of harmony and prosperity. Yet the goal of dialogue, if Pope Francis is to be taken seriously, should be to move toward new economic approaches which respect human life, the earth and future generations.
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Every abortion in Canada is paid for with tax dollars. As morally outrageous as abortion acceptance is, what adds obscene insult to moral injury is the paying for abortions with our tax dollars (without our consent). Then in late July 2015, the abortion pill RU-486 was quietly approved by Health Canada. Although women will need a prescription to obtain it, a whole new phase of early abortion is about to begin in 2016. It will be a secret killing, under the radar so to speak.
No matter how many times I read it, the words stayed the same. "The music was good. The band really rocked. "Thankfully, part of my brain was still unpolluted, and I knew something was dreadfully wrong. The time was years ago. I was an entertainment writer working in another city. The concert I was assigned to review was fabulous. But there I sat, an hour after the band's final set, too stunned to write.
The federal government's July 29 announcement of approval of the RU-486 mifepristone abortion drug was clearly timed to minimize controversy. A decision on the drug was expected in the fall, but came instead in the dead of summer when people's attention is riveted by sandflies and sunny skies. News is of no interest. Any interest stirred by the announcement was quickly diverted by the calling of a federal election.
Perhaps the most controversial policy of Alberta's new NDP government is its plan to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2018. Despite the headwinds of opposition, the Notley government should forge ahead and just do it. Paying a living wage is basic morality. The argument against a sharp increase in the minimum wage is that jobs will be lost, mainly in small businesses tempted to try to do the same work with fewer staff.
Many issues are being debated in the current federal election campaign; absent from the list is how elected officials should respond to the Supreme Court decision overturning Canada's laws against euthanasia and assisted suicide. Such lack of attention is both bizarre and reprehensible.
The traditional Catholic view is that human beings are the only creature God willed for its own sake as they were created in God's image and likeness. This puts animals and plants on a lower plane of being, a view reflected in the Catechism of the Catholic Church's statement, "Animals, like plants and inanimate beings, are by nature destined for the common good of past, present and future humanity" (n. 2415).
Every year at the first hint of the waning of summer, the Church celebrates the feast of Mary's assumption into heaven. I have heard cynics refer to it as "the blessed assumption" – a tenuous belief that Mary was taken bodily into heaven when there is no direct scriptural support for such a belief. The Assumption, however, is one of the Church's oldest feasts, the celebration of which is attested to as far back as the fourth century.
In human history, the world has never seen anything like it. In June, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees reported "a staggering crisis." The number of people forcibly displaced at the end of 2014 as a result of war, conflict and persecution had risen to 59.5 million, compared with 51.2 million a year earlier and 37.5 million a decade ago.