Who's influencing reproductive policy in Canada? Unfortunately, the difference between the religious right in Canada and our neighbours to the south is not so much doctrinal as it is window dressing. The Tea Party’s "late term abortion" red herring with its attendant gruesome imagery very much parallels the "gender-selection" trope of the Conservative base in Canada. It’s a matter of media and public relations, knowing your audience and playing to its sympathies.
Years of labour peace between the government of Ontario and teachers came to an end this year. Like their colleagues in British Columbia, Ontario teachers and support staff are complaining of unfair, unnecessary, and unconstitutional legislation -- the Putting Students First Act, 2012 -- that gives the Education Minister, Laura Broten, unchallenged power to ban strikes, job actions, set compensation and benefits, and to take over local school boards who are non-compliant. Ontario school boards are unanimously opposed to the Act, which reduces their power, and so are teachers and support staff, who feel the government is manufacturing a crisis. Most see this as a cynical ploy to capture public support for two by-elections this week that could nudge the Liberal government into majority status. ETFO and OSSTF, two of the teacher unions involved, have repeatedly pointed out that "the school year is not in jeopardy", that they had already accepted a wage freeze, and that local bargaining is proceeding well. As legislation looms aheads, teachers, support staff, and labour activists are wondering: is this the end of collective bargaining for the public sector? [more inside]
Scientists working for the Canadian government aren't allowed to talk to journalists without permission from Ottawa. And the restriction isn't limited politically sensitive topics like climate change and the Alberta oil sands -- the co-author of a recent Nature article about flooding at the end of the last ice age was told to "wait for clearance from the minister's office" before talking to reporters about his work. The policy has only been in effect at Natural Resources in Canada since March, but Environment Canada has had the same rules since 2008. (Previously.)
Culture en péril - In these Canadian election times and in response to the recent Culture cuts from Conservatives - three of the best Quebec talents in music, theater and humor join forces and hit back hard (lol) with a highly satirical imagining of the replacement program (captioned).